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November 27, 2008

Grandma Envy

2_2 When Ashlee Simpson had her baby recently, my immediate reaction was: this is not supposed to happen.  I don't mean only the name: Bronx Mowgli--don't get me started on that.  But I also felt an immediate stab of empathy for Jessica Simpson--because the younger sister is NOT supposed to have children first.

I hate to put a jinx on Jessica but my younger sister had her first child 7  years before I did.  And the same thing happened recently when my sister became a grandmother this year.  This time I think I'll be waiting even longer than 7 years to catch up.

It's not that I'm in a hurry for my kids to have children.  But I'm about to spend Thanksgiving with my side of the family, and those first grandchildren are adorable identical twin girls.  So I'm a little worried that I might develop symptoms of a serious condition I recently read about in a medical journal :  Grandma Envy. Here's an excerpt:

Grandma Envy (GE) is a newly documented physiological and psychological condition with clearly recognizable symptoms.  Generally the typical GE patient is female, and over the age of 50.  The sufferer will often approach (sometimes even aggressively) small children, particularly infants, often holding them against their will. Occasionally GE victims will find themselves involuntarily browsing in stores that sell baby items, or engaging in fantasy play involving imaginary children.  They are also susceptible to become unnaturally attached to their pets, especially small ones, especially those willing to be dressed up in clothing.

The most severely afflicted GE patients are known to constantly whine about their complaints, most often to their adult children.

Due to the increasingly higher age of first-time mothers, this disease is dramatically  on the rise and someday may reach epidemic proportions.  Some scientists estimate that as many as 85% of all women over 50 will develop Grandma Envy at some point in their lifetimes. Treatment options are limited, and researchers are trying to develop a vaccine.  As yet there is no known cure.

Sounds pretty scary. 

A potential solution occurred to me when I read another periodical--not a medical journal this time, but People magazine. You can't miss the exploding baby boom among Hollywood celebrities. And they are all going to need nannies.  Voila: match up the desperate women wanting nannies with the desperate women wanting to be Nanas.

I'm guessing Angelina and Brad have a monopoly on the premium nanny market.  Which leaves new mommies like Ashlee Simpson and Jessica Alba in the lurch.  So this is a win/win situation all around.  The wannabe nanas get valuable hands-on grandparenting experience--while taking the pressure off their own kids.  The movie stars get the benefit of a nanny who knows a waffle iron from a curling iron.  And a mob of paparazzi is a pushover for someone who's already raised teenagers.

After spending a week with my sister's twin granddaughters, I'm sure I will come down with a severe case of Grandma Envy.  But I have a plan.  I've checked out the celebrities and their gestational status. And since their older daughter is the most adorable child in Hollywood, I'm planning to apply to be the next nanny for Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.


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