What is it about stepping over the threshold into Grandma’s house that has our children transforming into pitiful creatures who’ve seen nary a morsel of even stale bread cross their famished and parched lips in weeks? Or at least for the last 30 minutes. And typically it’s more of a weak stumble over the door jam, which elicits concerned cries of, “Oh, mon chéri…you poor dear…can I get you anything? Are you hungry? Do you need a drink?”
Of course they’re hungry, and practically wilting from dehydration. After all they’ve just come from home and we never feed them. It’s not part of the manual. Not mine anyways. Tell me I’m not alone.
Regardless of the time of day, like right after lunch, once the kids arrive at my mother’s house they say hello and make a beeline for the kitchen. “Can I have a snack Mamie?” “Of course. What would you like?” That right there is why we, as parents, will never be able to measure up, or even feed them adequately. At Grandma’s house it’s not an offer of one specific snack or even a choice between two reasonably nutritious options, it is what do they want to eat. Implying choice. Implying limitless possibilities. Implying the potential for candy, which Maman never buys because she’s heartless and mean and doesn’t remember what it’s like to be a kid. Or something like that.
Grandma’s house is entirely unlike home where we force them to eat kale, beets, and worst of all…Brussels sprouts. For the record, I loathe Brussels sprouts and would never force my children to eat them. That’s bordering on unpardonable cruelty. What I do feed them, or try to, are nutritious and well-balanced meals, although we love a good pizza as much as the next family. It’s not that grandmothers don’t do this. They do. They cook delicious, healthy meals for their families in quantities large enough to feed any passing stranger. They also stock the house with 3 or 4 flavours of ice cream, cookies, croissants, shrimp chips, countless varieties of crackers, and soft caramels as an extra special treat.
Parents don’t buy all – okay maybe some – of these mouth-watering goodies because we know the battle to limit our children’s daily consumption of non food group approved foods will be, in a word, epic. Also we, or maybe it’s just me, have no willpower. If there’s a croissant in the house I’m eating it before the kids can even sniff it out. So I’ll smile at my children’s acting abilities when we get to my mother’s house. It makes them happy to excitedly walk through the kitchen discovering what delectables she’s brought home from the store. It makes my mother happy to spoil them just a bit and provide them joyful memories. Isn’t that what having a Grandma is all about?
Now get out of the way…I smell pain au chocolat.