My daughter and I are in Rio staying with my mother-in-law. This morning, my mother-in-law asked if she might offer breakfast to my daughter and rattled off a few healthy options. “Certainly,” I responded.
A few minutes later, I turned around to find my daughter with a bowl full of chocolate cookies. My daughter recognized my look of concern at the sight of this, and eager to divert blame from herself, offered up the obvious question.
“Why did Oma give me these chocolate cookies for breakfast?” She said this, of course, with a mouthful of chocolate cookie.
Across the continents, my niece and nephew were being provided, as was my daughter months prior, a constant supply of Kraft Mac & Cheese, Oscar Mayer Pizza Lunchables and chocolate chip cookies. Not necessarily in that order.
Who are these people and what have they done with our parents?
I distinctly remember stuffing my face every opportunity I got with cookies and snacks at neighbors’ houses because that kind of food was not allowed in my own. My husband recants tales of he and his brother opening the refrigerator to find, to their dismay, nothing but green stuff.
So what happened in the years between our childhoods and theirs? Some kind of scientific discovery that junk food and sugar are actually beneficial to the development of a child? I doubt it. What I do suspect is that there is a universal attitude amongst grandparents that goes something like this: They had to put up with raising you. Now, their God-given right is to obtain the devotion of their grandchildren by pleasantly surprising them with food products they don’t normally get at totally unexpected intervals, making themselves, finally after all of these years, the good guys.
At least there some consistency in her life, a bridge of chocolate between my daughter’s two worlds.