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.