L.: I can think of a few advicelets, which maybe will cover this once you’ve stitched them together.
1. Be patient. It might get worse before it gets better, but counting to five is not the Mona Lisa. Its dazzle moment will pass. Worst possible case, this child as a tween will shut down any lingering “show PopPops” faster than . . . well, everything. Nothing shuts anything down as ruthlessly as a middle-schooler.
2. Be patient on a slightly more optimistic schedule. If a new sibling is forthcoming, then that typically halves, not doubles, such stage-parenthood.
3. Frame your forbearance as a gift only grands can give, or close to it. Rational new parents (not an oxymoron) understand it is a big, cold world full of utter indifference to their baby’s first digits. But grandparents! They have to care! Right?! So you get all of it, every micro-brag. The more ways you can muster to enjoy it while it lasts (see No. 1), the better.
4. When you can’t change the conversational rut — “Is this freaking Baby SeaWorld?” is best left unsaid — change the conditions that formed the rut. So, if you’re all just draped around the family room with no agenda except to watch the baby do baby things, then try something else: Bundle up the nugget, grab the stroller and go strolling. Split the adults off into pairs, to do . . . whatever pretense you can think of to get out of the family room. Go to the kitchen to cook ahead for the coming week (edible mercy for parents). Etc. If you’re just Zooming, then reduce those sessions and increase direct phone calls to your daughter.
5. Make projection your co-pilot: “New moms can feel like they’re losing themselves. If you ever want to talk about something else, just say so.” Not to manipulate her, but to allow for her being as desperate as you are.
6. You were presumably much mellower parents to your daughter? Since, on average, parents Now are markedly less chill than parents Then — which every person with an opinion has taken every available opportunity to point out on their public platform of choice. So, please don’t forget your parenting attitude was as much a product of your times as theirs is a product of theirs — and give them breaks accordingly.
7. Simultaneously work the best- and worst-case conversational scenarios. By that I mean, have some topics ready for when you see a glimmer of an opening — and abandon all hope you will ever get to use them. Because nothing stops time like hoping for something better to happen.
Kids grow too slowly and then too fast, as you know — so, congrats, deep breaths and enjoy the show.