As a step-grandma, I confess I don’t know how Mom’s do it—eat, I mean. Oh, there is food everywhere. In the frig—miniature cheese sticks, tiny juice boxes, yogurt tubes that you squeeze like toothpaste. In the cabinets are pop-tarts, Teddy-Grams, and fruit roll-ups, small packages with pictures of cartoon characters or robots, which have a name like ‘bionic-bots’ or something (Hey, ask a 5-year old!) and most of it is purple, but nothing adult-like. I was most intrigued by the fruit roll-ups that dye tongues green (or orange, or purple).
“Gammie, hold for me.”
“What?” The 3-year-old grips what looks like an orange square of chewy substance with imbedded green stripes in one hand and pointing at his tongue with the other,
“Hold for me.”
So I hold the orange chewy (and now sticky) stuff on the three-year-olds tongue, and count to five, which is the magic number for green color transformation.
Amid diaper changing, food spilling, brothers fighting, and clothes folding, the morning slips away—along with it my hopes of food. Now close to noon (and lunch?), Mom needs to run errands. We decide it’s best to get food on the road. Yes, food! At MacDonald’s Mom orders two baby-sized burgers, fries, and orange drinks—and stops!
Leaving, and wondering what just occurred, I take deep breaths, drinking in the smells of fries, and burgers pining for these to sustain me. We move on; next stop—Costco.
My chance for food was now down to sample give-a-ways at Costco. I manage two samples of lobster chunks (the second achieved by hiding behind, and sticking my hand through, the branches of an azalea plant I had in my basket). Mom and the boys have successfully landed some jellybeans. After an unsuccessful try at the 5-year-old, I score with the 3-year-old (Tip: if a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old have food, go for the 3-year-old).
Back home and preparing for dinner guests, my hunger dissipates to mild nausea and dizziness. Exhausted I go up to shower thinking, “They shoot horses don’t they?” I never saw that movie, but wonder if it had something to do with missed meals and no naps. I can’t figure where the horse part comes in.
Later that evening, I overhear my stepdaughter saying she FORGOT to eat lunch. FORTGOT? SHE FORGOT? Here my every moment revolved around how to scheme food, and she forgot! They don’t eat; they don’t sleep. How will Moms become Grandmothers if they forget these things? Obviously they will become extinct, leaving grandchildren under the precarious charge of step-grandmothers who blithely, and naively, ended up with the role. You will recognize us; we’ll be the ones that bleary-eyed, and weak from hunger are wangling extra samples from Costco, or scavenging under car seats anticipating lost Teddy-Grams. But, if there remains the slightest doubt as to our validity—you can check the tongue. If it isn’t green, orange or purple, she’s an imposter.