The first morning my mom had already prepared the breakfast table with every sweet delight that was banned from my house growing up — Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, enough sugar cereal to fuel a 5- and 8-year-old through more than a morning’s worth of tantrums and meltdowns.
I know the topics of “Grandparents spoil their grandkids” and “Why do my kids get the foods I never got as a kid?” have been done to death, but this is a little different, because, frankly, it’s happening to me.
In my family growing up, my mom filled the kitchen with the healthiest food the ’70s had to offer: Roman Meal bread (instead of Wonder Bread), grape juice from concentrate (instead of soda), Red “Delicious” Apples (instead of fruit cups), Triskets (instead of chips), and, the worst travesty of all, Laura Scudder’s Peanut Butter (instead of, you know, peanut butter). Laura Scudder’s is the kind that has the oil sitting on the top that you have to stir in like some kind of cruel science experiment. It’s thick and pasty and there is zero chance of not ripping your bread to pieces when spreading it. My mom has even admitted that she used to put wheat germ in our brownies as a “fiber booster.” What kind of twisted …
All this was done in the name of eating healthy, and to this day I think I have pretty good eating habits because of it (my man-food habit aside). I’m grateful to her for her efforts, and even though as a kid it seemed like my friends were eating Pop Tarts, Pop Rocks and Sugar Pops for breakfast, I knew she did it because she loved us.
So, I just want to know, who is this woman pushing the Pringles on my kids and what has she done with my mom?
My mom has taken on legendary spoiling status among our friends. We get requests to tell the same stories over and over again. Like once, after seeing Disney on Ice at The Honda Center, my mom bought Emily, my daughter, cotton candy on the way out the door after a whole parade of special treats during the show. When I protested, my mom shrugged it off and justified it saying cotton candy was “mostly air.” Mostly Air! She’s a legend. This is the sort of thing only a grandmother who is completely head over heels in love with her grandchild would say.
Which leads me to my husband and my stance on the whole subject — my own personal feeling of injustice aside — we think it’s wonderful. Our kids are lucky to have a grandma and gramps who love them and spoil them rotten. So many of my friends have lost one or both of their parents already, or their kids’ grandparents can’t be bothered with them, or they live too far away to see them.
It’s not like they have no control at all. My parents require our kids treat them and each other with respect. They make them say “please” and “thank you” and they look after them like hawks, but they just can’t help but be spoiled by them — and that’s OK.
That our kids have grandparents that fill them with sugar, let them jump up and down on the couch, and even encourage them to bring frogs into the bathtub is all counted as a blessing in our minds. It also helps if they’re the ones who are watching them when all this is happening, not us … oh, it’s an advantage if we have at least one day of “Grandma-detox” before school, piano lessons, or basically having to bring our kids out in public.
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