Loving Treats from Grandma and Grandpa

Family. Your extended family - grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. What fun your family can be! You love them, and they love you and your children.

Sometimes they love the youngsters a little more than you appreciate. What we mean by that is this.

Let’s say it’s meal time. If you were at home, you’d have complete control of the menu. You could feed your children all the good and healthy food they should get.

But now you’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. One or both of them gets to set the menu. And while they might have some of the same foods that you would serve at home in mind, they might also be thinking, “It’s time for something special - something they don’t usually get to eat at home. Let’s have pizza and ice cream! And then chocolate cake for dessert!”

“Okay,” you say to yourself, “it is just one meal. And it is a special location. And we don’t get to come here that often. It’s almost like a birthday party, and Abby’s is just a month away. It’s not like the kids won’t eat anything healthy once we get back home, right? Right?”

Of course, you’re right.

Everyone involved knows that this is something out of the ordinary and that the ordinary will return soon enough. Giving in or letting go - however you prefer to think about it - won’t undo all your years of training in one fell swoop.

And that’s not what Grandma and Grandpa have in mind anyway. They trained you to like healthy foods for meals and snacks, didn’t they? Look how you turned out. Look at what you’re doing for your own children.

Even people on strict weight loss diets sometimes allow themselves a “cheat day”, don’t they? It doesn’t mess up their whole diet or routine. In fact, you could say it’s part of their routine.

So, if the grandparents want to show a little extra lovin’ by treating your family to something a little different, something almost a little silly, there’s no need to argue about it or fight against it. Just relax and enjoy the pizza, ice cream, and cake with everyone else.

Speaking of “silly”, we used to have a meal every once in a while at our house with our three children that Mom called “Silly Supper”. It usually occurred on Sunday nights. It was a rare occasion, and it was fun when it was declared.

When Mom said it was time for “Silly Supper”, everyone knew that they were on their own as far as setting the menu. And you could put anything - absolutely anything - on your menu that you wanted (as long as it was already in the house).

Anything and everything was fair game.

Ice cream? Sure.

A bowl of cereal? Two, if you want.

Pancakes or waffles with syrup or honey? How many would you like?

A candy bar? If you can find one. (Though that was usually difficult.)

You get the drift, yes?

The main idea here, though, is that this was a rare and special meal - if you can still call it a meal. It didn’t hurt anyone’s health, nor did it throw the normal meals out the window. All of us are still hale and hardy today. And we have fond memories of those Silly Suppers.

So again, letting Grandma and Grandpa set an out of the ordinary menu for your family once in a while is fine. Maybe it (or our own supper experiences above) will even inspire you to institute something similar at your own home - a meal where health isn’t the main focus.

You wouldn’t have to or want to make it a predictable event, as in, every third Thursday of the month is a Silly Supper night - or whatever you want to call it. That would take some of the fun out of it. A big part of the enjoyment comes from the unexpectedness and unpredictability of the day.

“Surprise! It’s Silly Supper night!”

Grandma and Grandpa probably aren’t planning every meal to be “silly”, are they? After all, they aren’t eating those kinds of meals all the time when you’re not around. They probably wouldn’t be there if they were. They know how to eat well. They also know that treats have a place and that your arrival is one of the reasons to have treats.

When it comes time to go back home and Grandpa says, “Kids, come here a minute,” and you can hear the crinkle of cellophane wrappers in his hand, just smile and remember that’s just one of the ways he (and Grandma) show they love you and their grandchildren.

“Take a couple of these for Mom and Dad, too.”