A few months ago I found out that my 22 year old son has a 3 year old boy. Instant Gramma, just add water. I had long since forgotten what one does with a 3 year old. As my sister reminded me, they refer to the "terrible twos" because THERE IS NO WORD FOR THE THREES...
Fortunately I have a dog. A big, silly, sweet, very patient dog who likes children. My first time meeting my grandson was a 'babysit for 4 hours' slog. When he tired of playing with the dog we found dinosaurs on the internet. And I made hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs.
I think that the key to the Gramma gig is to keep my sense of humor polished like the snazzy suit of armor it is, have a good game handy, shamelessly use the dog, and keep the freezer stocked with hot dogs. It must be working because apparently he is telling his other gramma all about me. The Gramma. Heh. And to think I was worried about doing it wrong.
Watching my son and his young girlfriend parent, I try to remember to bite my tongue. There is so much yelling. I remember that at their age I did the exact same thing. When the little boy threw a book across the room (on my watch), then refused to pick it up with a loud "No!" I smiled and threatened to read my book and ignore him. The book got picked up off the floor, nobody got punished or angry.
Why didn't I do this when I was the one raising little kids? Fighting battles against a 3 year old is exhausting. It never occured to me when I was 22 that the battle is usually not necessary if you just out-think the little buggers. My son goes ballistic when the 3 year old says "No" to him, which is part of the job description of a 3 year old. I must bite my tongue, and be very gentle in giving advice because I was that age and likely did the same hard-headed things. Shutting up is also an important part of the Gramma Gig, right up there with a freezer full of hot dogs!