Grandma’s Day with RG

May 29, 2008

Punctual (as she usually is), Mrs. Random arrived at the Little House in the Medium-Sized City soon enough that Random Granddaughter did not have to go to pre-school.

Mama (Random Daughter) asked Grandma to return a book to the library and provided a card so RG could check out some books for RG. She also indicated they could stop at the bakery on the way for a snack. Mrs. Random wanted to buy a loaf of bread, though she now bakes most of the bread we use, so she was happy to stop at the bakery.

When they got to the bakery, Random Granddaughter said, “I want a BAGEL. I want a bagel with POPPY SEEDS and cream cheese on the side.” RG was very definite about exactly what she wanted.

Mrs. Random detests bagels. As a person with strong opinions of these matters, Mrs. Random has often expressed to me and others the belief that no one can possibly want to eat bagels. In her usual jazz riff method of expressing her displeasure and contempt, she can elaborate with great detail and flair the evils and contemptibility of bagels. “They are very hard and don’t have much taste,” she begins. She can go on at some length on this theme.

People have often said to my wife, “You haven’t had real good bagels from [whomever they think sell REAL bagels.]” When someone makes such a comment to my wife, her jazz riff then turns into an entire symphonic suite worthy of Duke Ellington at his finest.

Mrs. Random said nothing about her opinion of bagels to RG. Although she does not think so, she is an excellent Grandma. Mrs. Random ordered a poppy-seed bagel and a side of cream cheese for RG and a scone for herself. RG, gazing in wonder at the display case, asked for a scone as well. Grandma said, “No, you have to make up your mind. Either you get a bagel or you get a scone, but not both today.”

RG, realizing she was in the presence of a force of nature, did not argue the point.

Grandma asked, “Do you want a knife to spread the cream cheese on the bagel?”

No, RG was not interested in a knife. She wanted a spoon.

RG began to eat the cream cheese with her spoon with evident delight.

“Don’t you want some bagel?” Grandma asked.

RG gave Grandma a What’s your Problem? look. RG began to pull bits of the inside of the bagel out and eat them. All the poppy seeds were on the outside of the bagel. RG carefully avoided the poppy seeds she had asked for so definitely. Perhaps RG loves the appearance of poppy seeds. Perhaps RG loves the Platonic essence of poppy seeds. Mrs. Random perhaps finds the ways of four year olds as mysterious as four-year-olds find the ways of adults.

They continued to the library. As is her usual practice, RG picked some books at Random (so to speak) for no reason any adult can decipher. In fact, when she gets home with the books RG usually does not seem to know why she picked the books. One of the books had some poetry. When Mrs. Random started to read the book to RG, RG said, with considerable contempt, “That’s a poem book. I don’t like it.”

We are in an age that doesn’t much like poetry. Just as RG realized at the age of two that she hates slugs and hates spiders, she realizes at the age of four that she hates poetry.

When RG woke from her nap she called for Mommy (birth mom). She did not seem pleased to see Grandma instead of Mommy. Evidently during her hap she had forgotten that Mommy was not home with her. However, RG did not have a melt-down, and pretty soon settled down to putting up with Grandma for the afternoon. They went outside and she took a long ride on her bicycle with training wheels. Sylvie came outside as well and behaved pretty well, and did not try to run away outside the yard.

“We had a pretty good day,” said Grandma, but I could tell she felt a little restless and disappointed. She didn’t feel that RG was all that excited to have Grandma take care of her.

I said, “It is a sign that RG is so loved and surrounded by people who love her that she doesn’t feel a need to let us know how much she appreciates us; that in fact she mostly takes us for granted.”

“Hmph,” said Grandma.

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12 Responses to “Grandma’s Day with RG”

  1. Pauline Says:

    RG’s approach to choosing library books reminds me of my younger son’s. I think he’s starting to pay more attention to what he takes, but for a long time it seemed to be whatever caught his attention first, whether the color on the cover or something in a picture on the front (which doesn’t always give a good indication what’s inside). I would try to suggest another book that I thought might actually interest him more, but once he had picked a book that was that. And he certainly didn’t want to wait for me to look for a second book for him. Once he was done playing (I think he considers the library a big playroom more than a place to get books, since they do have a good children’s play area) and decided it was time to go, he had no patience for silly things like looking at books.

  2. modestypress Says:

    Pauline, I think you’ve got it about right. For very small children, books are not very interesting toys and showing interest in books is a lure to get grownups to pay attention to them. Only gradually do books develop much intrinsic value to children.

  3. vroni1208 Says:

    I’m beginning to realize I probably don’t like bagels either. I think I just eat them because other people are always telling me how great they are, but they really are hard and tasteless. Mrs. Random may be on to something.

    I do like scones though. I’m going to become a scone person from now on. Thank Mrs. R. for me.

    It does sound like RG had a good day…or maybe it’s just the way you describe these things with such care and detail…? šŸ™‚

  4. Pauline Says:

    Bagels range from hard and tasteless to chewy and delicious. Fresh bagels from a bagel shop are usually excellent. Prepackaged bagels from the supermarket are OK for toasting and holding an egg patty and a slice of cheese together.

    Completely off topic, someone left a question for Modesty Press in the comments on the Credo page of my blog.

  5. Vicky Says:

    Random, My grandchildren have done the same thing with the cream cheese and spoon. Maybe they think that’s how you have to order a side of cream cheese!


  6. I add my voice to the “Mrs. Random has had only bad bagels” chorus. A good bagel is chewy on the outside, and soft and spongy on the inside … not hard at all.

    I think it’s something of a compliment to be taken for granted by a four-year-old. And the problem with excitement is that it sets the bar higher. If a kid really likes hanging out with you, then you kind of expect the same reaction next time, and set yourself up for disappointment. We adults forget how completely self-referential kids are; their excitment or lack thereof usually has a lot more to do with themselves than with their companions … which is why they seem to alternately love and hate their own friends.

  7. pandemonic Says:

    I’m with Mrs. Random on bagels. My main problem with them is that the modern bagel is way too big. Back in the olden days, bagels were about three inches in diameter. Now they’re as big as salad plates. I used to make bagels, which at some point involves throwing them into a boiling pot of water. I don’t think modern bagels are made this way.

    I love RG. She’s quite opinionated, which is a good thing.


  8. […] Random knows that I love Random Granddaughter. I think he and I have an unspoken agreement in that I am the Internet President of the Random […]

  9. bejewell Says:

    The kid is loved. She knows it. One day she’ll appreciate it.

    She’ll be 32 and talking to a friend about books, and she will mention how her grandmother used to take her to the library. Later she’ll think about it again, and realize how special that was. She’ll be grateful that she had that time with her Random Grandma. Trust me. I’ve been there. It took me a while, but now I am thankful every day that my grandmother was such a presence in my life.

    And maybe one day Miss RG will wake up and realize that the bagel is the poor man’s scone.

  10. truce Says:

    RG will get better at judging a book by its cover šŸ™‚ But isn’t it nice to have such proof that humans are not, in fact, born with this intrinsic ability?

    I now want a poppy seed bagel with cream cheese.

  11. Vicky Says:

    I rather prefer the sesame seed bagels myself! šŸ™‚

  12. Pauline Says:

    No seeds. But some flavored cream cheese would be great. Strawberry cream cheese on a chocolate chip bagel, or garden vegetable cream cheese on a tomato basil bagel…

    Anyone know if it is true that eating poppy seeds can make you test positive in a drug test?


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