Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grandma, please

It's been a week and I still find it irritating, so I'm going to blog about it even though I feel like I've been giving my grandma a hard time lately.

Scene: Fourth of July, Mom and Dad's annual party.

I invited Lucy, Chet and Baby A to the party. My friend from high school, Heather, and her daughter were there, too.

First, there was Grandma and Heather's baby. We're sitting on the deck playing with a bucket of baby-friendly toys that my mom keeps around. Grandma was playing, too. Grandma loves babies. (I always feel bad I haven't given her a great-grandchild.)

Lucy sent me a text message to indicated that she was on her way. The baby got interested in my phone and, rather than have me surrender my phone to the baby, Heather took out her own phone and turned on an app for her.

And my grandma says something disapproving along the lines of "oh my goodness, I don't think so" as though she has any business saying such a thing, any knowledge that Heather allows the baby to play with her phone on a regular basis or anything (like, say, having read many scientific studies on the subject) but a gut feeling that the baby shouldn't be interacting with Heather's phone.

Heather has the world's loudest voice and she was talking so she didn't hear my grandma tsk-tsking her parenting choices and thank goodness because that would have been embarrassing.

Lucy and Chet and Baby A came over right as dinner was served. They had just had dinner at Lucy's mother's house and another meal wasn't necessary. Except Grandma felt that Baby A wanted to eat, so I find her in the kitchen fixing him a plate.

My mom made bacon-wrapped hamburgers and, because they're Jewish and they wish to eat that way, Chet and Baby A don't eat pork. (Lucy will on occasion.) Not that unusual. Grandma has a Jewish son-in-law. It isn't like she doesn't know this.

So she's in the kitchen peeling the bacon off of this burger. "They won't know," she said (according to my father, who pointed out the whole situation to me so I could interfere before things got really awkward).

Which is rude. Just because Lucy and Chet wouldn't know (and, honestly, I think they saw the spread and they would have known and they would have had to stop her and that gets delicate and weird) doesn't make it okay. It's disrespectful. Grandma knew they don't give the kid pork and she was just going to give him pork-soaked hamburger anyway.

"He can't have that, Grandma," I told her. She's taking off the bacon, she tells me. I don't even get into that and skip right forward. "He only gets kosher meat."

Which is mostly true but not entirely and I didn't want to get into it because, as strict as they are or are not, Baby A doesn't get pork or anything cooked in pork and I wanted to shut it down before she started shoving it in his face.

"Oh. Is that so? Well," she said, tsk-tsking again.

"He'll be just as happy with a little fruit, Grandma."

I understand where Grandma was coming from. She is coming straight from the old school. Food is love and what the hell does it matter what kind of food it is? Technology is bad and what the hell do the details matter?

I don't know why I'm so sensitive to people criticizing the parenting decisions of other people but it just burns me. Especially when it's my grandma. Especially when she's ripping on my friends.

Just be respectful, you know? You don't have to understand why someone is doing it that way. Just respect their decision. 

This is just foreshadowing many incidents of hurt feelings if/when I have a baby, right?

But I would still like to give her a great-grandchild that she can tell me I'm parenting poorly.


Belle Vierge said...

I was reading this, stopped halfway, and turned to my boyfriend in shock. I can't imagine KNOWING someone keeps kosher, understanding what that means, and intentionally giving that person non-kosher food.

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