Friday, May 18, 2012

Parental Toddlers

When you become a parent, the term to describe the journey is "raising children".  I have searched and have not found a comparable term to describe taking care of parents. Sometimes it  feels like I am raising them, as well, except that this time around they talk back, have opinions about things I do, and eat anything they want.  My father uses a walker, but in the first two and a half years they were here, he refused to use a cane or a walker.  When a child is learning to walk, he is cute when he's wobbly.  If he falls down, he usually lands on a diaper that cushions his fall.  When a 5'10" man is wobbly it is definitely not cute because if he falls something is going to break.  Not to mention all the items he is grabbing as he stumbles through the house trying to keep his balance!  When toddlers are being potty-trained, anything goes in terms of how to motivate and reward behavior.  How do you tell an adult that they need to wash their hands after using the toilet without coming across as pushy or dictatorial?  Offer them a cookie?  I also gave up trying to get them to eat properly.  Telling them they have to eat veggies doesn't work when they can go get ice cream, cookies or candy without my help!  Everyday for breakfast my parents eat the exact same thing.  Daddy eats one egg, scrambled with coffee. The coffee has cream and sugar in it.   EXACTLY one spoonful of each.  He measures the cream into his spoon, then he picks up the creamer and empties a single drop into my mother's cereal.  It doesn't matter that I only put a spoonful of cream in the creamer in the first place! What he does with the cream goes along with his shaking the sugar shaker before measuring it, as if it has developed lumps since he shook it yesterday!   My mother eats fruit loops, every day.

Me: Mom what kind of cereal do you want to eat? Mom: What was that multi-colored cereal I had yesterday that looked like Cheerios?   Me:  Froot Loops?   Mom: I like Froot Loops!! I want those from now on! That was 3 years ago and she hasn't missed a day.....until this morning. Oh, the humanity!! LIFE JUST DOESN'T HOLD THE SAME WITHOUT FROOT LOOPS!!!  I guess we all know where Heidi will be this morning! Mom is fine. She had some "Frosty Flakes" instead.  I'll be in trouble if she starts wanting the toys enclosed!  Lunch is the same everyday, as well.  This time Daddy has Froot Loops and Mom has half of a sandwich usually with coffee.  So no neurons are needed when I fix breakfast or lunch.  Dinner is a whole new issue.  When it comes to serving dinner I have to be a magician.  I can cook an entire meal and they will not want it.  Usually, I end up making three different meals because they are rarely in the mood the same thing.

When Daddy was growing up in Memphis in the 1930's one of his favorite things to do was getting tamales at Leonard's restaurant.  He has talked  fondly over the years about how his Gram would give him a nickel to go down on Sunday night to get a tamale.  Since then he has tried to find a tamale as good as Leonard's, to no avail.  After they moved here I began the quest for the better tamale and eventually came across canned tamales in the Hispanic section at the grocery store.  I think he was surprised to like them as well as he does.  So when he doesn't like my prepared dinner he asks for tamales.  This happens about 3-4 times a week!  Well, at least he's eating!  My mother's go to meal when she doesn't want what I made is Ramen noodles or Cream of Wheat.  I used to get frustrated trying to come up with numerous meals for them to choose from and then realized they are children with limited palates.  After all, it's more important that the child eats something!

No comments: