I didn’t realise this before I pushed a small person out of my foof, but apparently there’s a secret law that basically states that once you have a kid, you’re a walking invitation for a shitstorm of grannies to accost you daily, give you their two cents worth of out of date granny advice and suffocate you in a cloud of their dodgy powdery, flowery granny scent.
Some grannies are cool. There’s one at one of Bean’s clubs who I get on better with than any of the younger parents or carers. I once accidentally elbowed her in the face and knocked off her glasses, when I didn’t know she was behind me, I was apologising profusely, all flustered and she just laughed and told me to “chill out, love”. See? Cool granny.
Some other grannies? Not so much.
Here’s a rundown of the good, the mad and the ugly that I have so far come across…
The Sweet Granny:
Bean and I are waiting to pay at the local newsagent’s, Bean is wittering away about some bollocks or other, in a cute way of course, but still. Also, he is wearing this hat, which for some reason unknown to me, is a fucking old folks magnet. Old men nod to him and smile with a strange hat appreciating respect. Old ladies flock and coo, “Ooh, ain’t he lovely?” I’m gonna burn the damn thing, soon I’ll have to start leaving the house earlier with a Polite Granny Banter time factor added in or just leave Bean at home locked in a cage with Cadburys Chocolate Buttons, apple juice and a puzzle to keep him going. Hm.
Door opens, in comes Sweet Granny. She has hair like candy floss and she’s carrying a carpet-bag like Mary Poppins, she pauses where she is and listens to Bean going on about poo or spiders or whatever it was and she has this serene look on her face. She starts moving with purpose after a moment, and begins perusing the chocolate and sweets below the counter, she selects a Milky Way, seems pleased with her choice and shows the dude on the till, “This is for the little boy.” gives him the money and presents Bean with the chocolate. Bean says thank you, all angelic and in awe, like she’s given him a bucket full of frogs, mud and a catapult, I say thank you, floored by her generosity. She smiles, nods and goes off to buy cat food and soap or whatever it is grannies buy. Lovely, we’ve seen her a few times since, say hello and that’s it, no advice on how she thinks I should manage Bean, no bollocks about how she brought her kids up, nor any diatribes on how badly kids behave today. Just a kind old dear. Fucking marvelous. All grannies should aspire to be like her.
But don’t let that fool you.
The Mad As A Box of Frogs Granny:
First time we met her was tolerable, second time I was somewhat bewildered, third time and thereafter: OMFG LEAVE US ALONE, WOMAN, PLEASE.
She looks nice enough, she has a granny trolley she accordingly crashes into anything, stuff that’s not even in her path, she seeks obstacles out, like the Terminator. Bean and I are walking along the pavement, she’s coming towards us, her granny senses alert her to the close proximity of a child, I see the radars and sensors flash in her spectacles, and the siren emanating from her hearing aid. I brace myself for what’s about to occur.
Mad Granny: “Aw, he’s lovely, ain’t he?”
Me: “Thank you.”
MG: “What’s his name?”
I tell her.
MG: “Aw. He’s lovely. How old is he?”
MG: “Aw.” *Bend down to Bean.* “HELLO, YOU’RE LOVELY AIN’T YA?”
*Bean looks alarmed, he grips my hand a bit tighter and says nothing.*
MG: “Aw. So lovely.”
Me: *Starting to walk now* “Thanks!”
Doesn’t sound so bad, no? Only trouble is, we see her EVERY. SINGLE. DAY and have the exact same conversation EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone, I reckon we need to move.
The Mean Granny:
There’s many of these. Too many to be able to distinguish one from the next. I know they’re old and creaky. I know they’re more than likely afflicted with some horrible illness or mental impairment that makes them grumpy, bad-tempered or just not themselves. I understand, I do. But don’t take it out on my kid, yeah? As much of a monster he is at home, when we’re out Bean is very well-behaved. He doesn’t scream, or run around like he’s jacked up on illegal substances and suchlike. We’re in a supermarket, we’re selecting our items and putting them in the basket like people in supermarkets do. Along stalks a granny (cos that’s what mean grannies do, they stalk), she glances at me, I smile politely, she ignores it, she glances at Bean who is just minding his own business (probably thinking about spiders and poo), and gives him THE LOOK. It’s a look of pure, unadulterated contempt, she holds the look on my son for a moment longer, looks up and stalks off in search of rat poison or methylated spirits to make potions with in her evil lair of hate.
Why do this? My little boy hasn’t done anything, he’s just a child in the supermarket choosing which yoghurt he’d like with his mum (always always the tubey ones with all the sneaky E numbers). He’s not in anyone’s way, he’s not being loud or bratty or rude. So why look at him like this? The whole thing lasts only a few seconds, but it really gets to me and makes me think that people really are just a bunch of arseholes, more than I already do. This has happened numerous times, more so when Bean was still in his buggy or pram (apparently politely saying excuse me is enough to deserve the Death Glare and a overexaggerated ”TSSK!”) yet I still can’t fathom what I’ve done to deserve it.
Honourable mention goes to the batty old dear with the stupid, stupid little yappy dog that wouldn’t leave Bean alone the other day in the park, it wasn’t on the lead and kept chasing him and jumping up at his face, consequently scratching his little chubby arms to bits with it’s evil claws. Bean wasn’t doing anything to encourage the stupid animal, wasn’t urging the mutt to chase him, and in the end I had to carry him out of the park away from the cursed creature. “Oh sorry, Sheldon! SHELDON! SHELDON! He’s not scaring your little boy, is he? SHELDON!” she faffed around a bit, but failed to stick the thing on it’s lead, I mumbled “No, it’s fine,” scooped up Bean and walked off. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who are able to just say “Yes, you dozy mare, he is scaring the shit out of my son, do you think you could put it’s lead on or learn how to control the fucking thing? If it jumps at his face again I’ll fucking go postal on it’s furry arse. ” But alas, I’m not.
Also to the hard to please granny that once made a stunning passive / aggressive comment in passing that Bean was too old to be in a buggy, when he was about two and a half. I smiled, said nothing. Sod’s law I see her again a few months later when I’ve ditched the buggy and Bean walks everywhere. “Oh it’s a bit far for a little one to walk innit?” WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME WOMAN. SEND HIM TO HOGWARTS SO HE CAN LEARN HOW TO FLY?
So there’s the guide to recognising your grannies. I’m sure it’s helped you tremendously.
If you have any more to add, please do let me know (I’ll reward the best with a Wurthers Original), I love a good crazy granny anecdote, I do.