It's strange finding myself on the other side of parenting; the grandparenting side.
I'm not raising the little one this time around; she has two awesome parents for that.
Now I'm in the position of being the "older generation". And I'm telling you, I'm amazed my kids even made it to adulthood. For one thing, child car seats didn't have to be specially fitted into our cars; we just stuck them on the seat and strapped the seat belt around them. As a matter of fact, when I went home from the hospital with Newborn Baby Laura, I held her in my lap the whole way; we didn't even HAVE a car seat yet. Although it was on the list of Things We Needed For The Baby When We Could Afford It.
And food. I don't remember exactly when I started giving the kids solids but it seems to me it was pretty early on. Oatmeal, I believe, at 4 months or so. Eventually I would grind up whatever was grindable from what we were eating and spoon it into their mouths. As they learned how to grasp, I'd chop up foods we ate and put it on their highchair tray. And we'd all eat together.
When Laura was around 7 months, she choked on a piece of bacon that I hadn't cut up quite small enough, or maybe it was just the taste of fatty, processed pork that set her off. Grabbing her up out of her high chair, I gave her a little mini-baby-Heimlich maneuver.
No doubt that is the exact opposite of what one should do for choking babies in 2010 but in 1978 it worked and the piece of bacon flew spectacularly across the room.
Then we both cried.
For a long time after that, the only pig-oriented food Laura got was cut-up bologna or hotdogs.
What? It was OSCAR MEYER, SHUT UP!
So I thought nothing of sharing my fried egg sandwich with Lucy the other day when we were taking care of her. She's 9 months old now, going on 10, and she likes to nom on whatever the people around her are nomming on. This is a good thing, babies thrive on this, it's tribal, it's natural.
"EH!" she says when we are eating, reaching out her little hand. Of course I'm going to oblige her, right?
So Lucy and I nommed companionably on my fried egg sandwich together; I'd take a bite, then I'd give her a Lucy-sized bite. She especially loved the runny eggy part, so I gave her as much as she wanted. She loved it.
C'mon, what is simpler than an egg? It's a classic. Imminently NOM-ABLE! And whole wheat bread! A staple food for multiple generations of human beings! Right?
Egg sammich! It's totally made for babies!
Imagine how floored I was the other day when the five of us were at a pizza place for lunch and I tried to give Lucy a piece of my bread roll only to hear...
"Mom, what are you doing?" Laura's tone was definitely disapproving.
"Giving Lucy a piece of bread?" I froze, bread fragment in my hand all ready to go, Lucy's mouth open and waiting like a baby bird, ready for some yummy pizza-place roll-action.
"No, Mom, she can't have bread yet." Laura stared at me, incredulous that her mother could be so clueless about the Evils of Bread when it comes to babies.
Dropping the tidbit back onto my plate, I threw a beseeching look at Dawson. Because everyone who knows me can read everything I'm thinking all over my face and I knew that Laura was going to find out...
"What?" Keeping my voice bright and casual, struggling to keep the guilty tone out.
"Mom...did you already give her bread before this?"
"Well..." Trying not to wince.
"Well...um....yes and no. Technically, it was toast."
Laura shook her head, amused and slightly annoyed, both. "She's not supposed to have wheat yet, in case she's allergic."
"It was just a little bit," I lied, "Just a smidgen of my fried egg sandwich."
"WHAT?! You gave her egg, too?? She's not supposed to have egg yet, either, Mom. Not until she's a year old."
"Oh...." Again I looked over at Daws, hoping he'd back me up, but he put up his hands and shook his head silently with a, "You're on your own, babe" husbandly shrug.
We all looked at Lucy who by now was pointing at her mouth frantically, pantomiming that she wanted more bread, Nana.
Okay, not really. But it might have helped if she had.
"But she really liked it, Laura," I said weakly.
Laura glared, then smiled and sighed.
Honestly, I never thought I'd feel so out of the loop. So I raised two kids, so what, what do I know? Apparently not much. We gave our kids eggs and bread and obviously bacon, or whatever we were eating and only now, all these years later, do I realize it's a miracle they lived through my pathetic parenting skills.
We all stopped at Stark's on our way home for some Happy Hour goodness. Since I hate pizza and had only had a roll and a small salad, I ordered a meatloaf slider. Only $1.50 but that's $1.50 packed full of pure happiness and WIN.
As we chatted and laughed together, I kept giving Lucy little bites of my meatloaf slider, relieved she wasn't allergic to bread after all and a potentially disastrous situation had been narrowly averted...
"What?" God, it was the same tone she'd had at the pizza place.
"What are you feeding her?"
"....meatloaf slider?" I said in a small voice.
"SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEF YET, MOM!"
We all looked at Lucy, happily chewing and smacking over the meatloaf.
"But Laura...she likes it."
Laura shook her head and sighed. Again.
Oy. Poor Nana just can't get a break.