Grandma’s been in one of her “I just ate” phases lately. She gets like this from time to time. You bring her food and she says:
“I just ate…”
“You’re tryin’ to make me FAT!”
She’ll push her food around her plate, dropping some of it on the couch, the floor and herself before taking a bite or two then unceremoniously setting the tray aside. I try feeding her things I know she likes but it’s the same story. If I ask her why she’s not eating she says:
“I’m not hun-reeeeee”
…then proceeds to tell me the story of the little boy who was always “hunree”. The little boy, unfortunately, was me. She says I was barely old enough to talk when I started telling people I was “hunree”. She finishes by saying:
“You were always a chubby little guy”
Wait..did Grandma just call me fat..!?!?
To be fair, I was always on the heavy side growing up, and I’ve rarely been thin my whole life. Now, between working and being home to care for Grandma, I don’t have as much time to work out as I used to, so my weight is on the higher end of normal for me.
To complicate matters, I’ve been cooking foods that are high in calories and not lacking in fat in hopes that the few bites of food Grandma does eat will be enough to keep her going. This has resulted to two things:
1) Grandma’s weight has remained steady at 108lbs for the past year (win!)
2) I’ve succeeded in gaining about 20 pounds (fail!)
For a woman who is as progressive as she is in many other ways, Grandma seems to have a particular prejudice against overweight people. I recall when I was a kid she’d come to visit and one of the first things she’d do was give me a hug, then pat my belly and say “Looks like someone isn’t missing any meals”. I guess it could have hurt my feelings, but having her call me fat wasn’t the same as having another kid call me fat. I knew deep down that she never said those things to be mean, but was only concerned for my well-being.
Recently, I’ve been making an effort to take better care of myself. I quit drinking both alcohol and caffeine and I’m making salads as my main course for at least one meal a day. Weather permitting, I’ve been walking a 3-mile loop through my neighborhood. Yesterday morning, I decided to start using my elliptical machine again to further activate my metabolism.
The elliptical sits next to the couch in the living room, facing the TV. My thought was that I could zone out watching TV and get a workout in at the same time. When I got to the living room at 6:00am Grandma was already on the couch. She was just sitting there, eating from a box of chocolates. Rather than give her breakfast before my workout, and since she was already munching, I decided to make breakfast for both of us after my workout.
As I was sweating away on the elliptical Grandma reached back into the candy box one time, two times, three times…finally I snapped “Enough Grandma! I need you to eat your breakfast first!”
She pulled her hand back and sat still a moment before getting bored and rolling over to go to sleep. I ended up going to work without giving her breakfast, knowing that Jackie (our home health aid) would feed her when she got here. Sure enough, I confirmed with Jackie when I got home that she barely touched both her breakfast and her lunch. I then confirmed with the box of candy that she’d eaten two-thirds of it.
During dinner she barely touched her food, but kept reaching into the same box of chocolates. Finally, I took the chocolates away from her, admonishing her again with “I need you to eat your dinner first!”. Sometimes I feel like I hassle Grandma too much. (Also, when did I turn into my mother?)
To try to make up to her for being so “mean” about the candy I sat next to her on the couch and gave her a backrub after dinner. As we sat there I asked her “How you doing Grandma?”
“As you can see, I’m givin’ the world heck!”