Grandparenting is great fun. Grandkids are the best excuse ever for playing in mud, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, rolling down hills and making fart noises with your armpits. Helping bring those little people into the world though ... it's enough to give you grey hairs.
It's just over a month now until I become a grandma for the fourth time.
I know, I know, I don't look old enough to be a grandmother ... that's because you're looking at a photo taken when I was just a grandmother twice.
There have been a lot of grey hair and wrinkle-causing times since then.
Actually, the grey hairs started with my own children and multiplied exponentially as my children began to have children.
The first of my daughters to multiply made sure we got in plenty of practice for rushing-to-hospital-while-in-labour. She made us rush to hospital several times for frights and false alarms.
Those all happened at civilised, daylight hours though. The real thing, of course, happened in the middle of the night.
When the real call came that our taxi services were urgently needed we ran about half asleep bumping into stuff for a bit, then whizzed to her place to pick her up.
The hospital is about 40 minutes drive from her place.
The contractions were about three minutes apart.
Two minutes into the drive we saw flashing lights ... no, not behind us, that would have been awesome: "sorry officer, my daughter is in labour ..."
No, the flashing lights were in front of us and the policeman attached to the flashing lights informed us there had been a crash up ahead and the road was closed.
"Um ... but ... my daughter is in labour," I explained.
The officer looked bemused but waved us towards a detour sign. It pointed to what I knew was a fairly lengthy detour. A lengthy, windy detour.
We had no option.
"Hang on," I said to my daughter.
The contractions were still at about three minutes but she was feeling sick. I handed her a plastic bowl I had prepared earlier.
Actually there was a whole birthing kit in the car ... my mother had half-jokingly packed it for us in case we were caught short. It contained a plastic sheet, towels, scissors and a small container enclosing two pieces of string.
"That's in case you need to tie off the cord," she explained. "I have boiled the string so it's quite sterile."
As we travelled the windy detour the contractions got closer together and we discovered that a plastic bowl makes a good amplifier, when someone shouts and groans into it.
Between contractions my husband got a word in edgeways.
"This detour means we will have to stop and get fuel, or we won't make it to the hospital," he said.
There was a plastic-bowl-amplified expletive from the back seat.
The contractions got closer as we neared the hospital but just as I was rummaging for the birthing pack, there we were, in time for the baby to be born in a responsible and civilised manner, and my car seats were saved.
Second time round we were better prepared. We thought. Daughter was ensconced in our spare room to save time, car was gassed up. We were onto it.
Until she woke us at some ungodly hour saying "it's time to go and the contractions are getting really close really fast".
This time we had her sister on board as cheerleader and I was on back rub duty.
One of us obviously did our job too well.
Twenty minutes into the 40-minute trip it started to look like we weren't going to make it. The contractions were constant and I suspected pushing was imminent.
Half an hour in, it was touch and go and I was thinking longingly of that container of boiled string. We screeched into the maternity wing carpark and my husband and non-pregnant variety of daughter ran in to get a midwife.
The in labour daughter leaned against the car, panting. As the midwife appeared my daughter yelled ... quick, run! and she launched herself towards the swing doors.
With the midwife propping up one side and her sister the other, she was propelled in, down the hallway and onto the first empty bed.
One push later and the baby arrived.
"Oof, that's better," she said.
The midwife swaddled the baby in a towel, turned to my daughter and said, "right, dear, now that's over with, what's your name?"
The next grandbaby was produced by my youngest daughter and, not to be outdone, she decided to have a breech baby with no pain relief. That was all very well until just as the baby was being propelled into the light of day (this one had chosen a respectable mid-afternoon birth hour) she changed her mind.
No, not about the pain relief ... about having the baby.
She took some convincing that the situation was non-negotiable. Actually, it took three of us to keep her on the bed. She was quite determined.
That baby is now nearly 3 so her parents decided it was time for a new one.
This time round we're going for "uneventful".
In the meantime the car is gassed up, the plastic bowl is at the ready, and where did I put that boiled string?