When toddlers attack

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grandma gets her groove on

Our surro was released from the hospital a few days ago.  After getting pounded for a few days by a strong winter storm, the weather is warm and beautiful.  We've approved a set of plans for construction on the house.  And miracle of miracles, my mother is showing signs of interest in being a grandmother.

It started slowly a few months ago, when she was still in the hospital with pneumonia.  "Shocking," was the pronouncement regarding our pregnancy from her older sister, my aunt, whom I now refer to as "the Dowager Countess," after Maggie Smith's incredible character on "Downton Abbey."  Minus the Edwardian costumes.  And the sense of humor.   My mother, of course, couldn't wait to tell me, which touched off a feud between me and my aunt.  Why shocking?  Hell if I know, but take your pick:  we're old, we're gay, we like Gilbert and Sullivan.
Whatever the reason, I noticed that my mother was, for the first time, acting like she was looking forward to being a grandmother.  She told my aunt that this was her life now, and basically that my aunt could help welcome these children into the family or get out of the way.  Last week, she came home with two enormous boxes from Costco: car seats, you know, for our now non-existant minivan.  I have no idea how she maneuvered them by herself into her own car. 

"Let's go to Ikea," she says to me a few nights ago.  She's already donned the new pair of sandals she bought the previous day at Ross Dress for Less.
"Ikea?"  I ask, wearily.  I've just slogged my way home from work through 45 minutes of rush-hour traffic on the Hollywood Freeway, a trip that should take 15 minutes.
"Yes, they have cute things," she says.  "I want to look at cribs."
I've already been to Ikea and seen their cribs.  A friend, furniture shopping for the patio of the nursing facility he runs, has already dragged me there and signed me up for Ikea Family, which is supposed to get you wonderful discounts and free Swedish meatballs or something -- if you ever remember to bring the card.  But I want to encourage her burgeoning interest and assent, even though it means dragging my sore, stiff hindparts back into the car.
"Check to see if they have patio furniture," texts my friend as we enter. 

"No, this stuff doesn't look like it would stand up to people not quite in control of their bodily functions," I text back.  "I think I saw the collection you're looking for in the catalogue... it's called 'Pööpü.'"

"LOL... Ikea's Finnish?"
Well, we thought it was funny, but we're language geeks.

Meanwhile, my mother has gone off in the direction she thinks is most likely to lead to children's furnishings.  It leads instead through a jungle of silk plants, through a hundred different ways to organize your cabinets, and finally to an elevator which I know heads to where we want to be.

"Oh, isn't this DARLING!" she exclaims over the mass-produced, homey wooden toys.  "Oh look!" she says, "you had a set of stacking rings like this!" 

I'm pretty sure Tutankhamen had a set of stacking rings, and just about every child born since.

"Yours was plastic, though, not wooden."

"They don't have plastic in Sweden," I tell her.

Laugh, though your feet are breaking...
She continues this way for another 15 minutes or so, then her enthusiasm flags noticeably.  Her new sandals are attacking her feet.  Cribs, not so darling after all.  She stops.  She sits in an armchair.  She rises and hobbles to an escalator.  There's still a warren of housewares, handy storage options and DARLING home decorating ideas to navigate.  She removes the shoes.  This is a common theme for us; she limped across most of Madrid four years ago, insisting on wearing shoes that were 'cute' instead of sneakers or something sensible.  This was before she stepped off an unexpectedly-high curb in Alicante the day before our wedding, tearing a ligament in her knee.  We got her a wheelchair, but one trip across the bumpy cobblestones in the plaza in front of city hall was enough to convince her that perhaps she wasn't THAT bad, and what's a torn ACL when your dignity is at risk?

"Oh, that's much better!" she exclaims, as she proudly marches through Ikea in her bare feet.  I'm afraid someone will run a cart over her toes.  But no, we maneuver our way through the checkout line and out the door.  I tell her to wait in the loading area as I go for the car. 

She's still in her bare feet.  Don't they sell sensible shoes at Ikea?


  1. Hi Dear Guys
    I am so happy that your mum is being keen. She will adore her grandchildren. This is a really beautiful story encourage all of her love and i assure you that she will be besotted by babies when they come. Besotted. It is a function of being human.So So happy for you .
    lots of love a friend from Sydney who has travelled the road less travelled

  2. I think your Mum is absolutely gorgeous. Loving how she has told her sister to get on board with it. Happy shopping

  3. What a funny and enjoyable post! I'm so glad you're mom is being supportive. Being a grandparent is absolutely wonderful and the Dowager Countess might even come around when she sees your beautiful babies :)

  4. Love it! Great post. Yay for awesome and sometimes adorably odd moms. I can only hope I grow up to be the same. (Growing up would probably be a good start.)

  5. Oh this rings so familiar! My MIL still acts this way and our baby is 8 months old! Sadly, I have the cheapest MIL in the world, so she never bought anything for our baby. Its great to see your mom coming around! Hope she stays positive, and bare foot!

  6. I'm guessing it wasn't exactly funny to you at the time, but reading the summary is pretty darn entertaining ;)