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Jewish World Review June 7, 2001 / 17 Sivan, 5761

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

How grandma punishes her kids -- When we gave my mom one of those grandmother necklaces a few years ago, we never dreamed she'd get so much mileage out of a simple gold chain and five tiny figurines.

Mom wears the necklace often and says she loves keeping the grandchildren "close to her heart." The thing is, you never know how many grandchildren will be close to her heart. Some days all five may be on her chest, others days there may be only three or four.

"I see one of the boys is missing, Mom. What happened?"

"Your brother's youngest smarted off. I took him off the necklace."

Mom doesn't actually take a grandchild completely off the necklace. But if one of them gets cocky, she has been known to give the kid a fling and shoot the figurine around to the back of the chain. One minute, top of the totem pole, the next minute gone from glory. Just like that.

"When he straightens out, I'll put him back with the others."

A short while later another figurine was missing.

"Who's gone now, Mom?"

"Your oldest," she said. "He chuckled at my shorts."

Laughing when Grandma isn't laughing is automatic grounds for being spun around to the back. Any sort of humor regarding her age is also grounds for disappearance. You also can be spun to the back for sassing and poor manners. Ditto for lying. Make that double ditto. If the woman even thinks you're lying, you might as well plan on your figurine breathing stale air under her back collar for at least 24 hours.

She can be a tough cookie, but she's also a grandma who would do anything in the name of fun for all five of the figurines. When they were younger, she let all five grandkids make tents and forts out of two flip chairs in the basement. They jumped on them like trampolines until the foam completely disintegrated. In first class Grandma fashion, she hauled the mutilated flip chairs to the trash with a smile, patted the figurines on her necklace and said, "The grandchildren had a lot of fun for $29.95."

The only thing better than having the grandkids dangling around her neck is to have them around her in person. A true-blue grandmother, she lunges at an opportunity to have the entire family for dinner. Lately, Mom's meals have been picture perfect. Of course, when one of the grandkids pointed out that the picture perfect enchiladas were store-bought ones she had slid into her own glass baking dish, he took a spin on the chain.

When granddaughter No. 2 pointed out that the picture perfect salad came from a store-bought ready-mixed job, she joined him. And when it was disclosed that the picture perfect assortment of brownies most likely came from the empty Mrs. Field's box sitting on a shelf in the garage, she asked me how I'd like to do the dishes by myself.

Mom loves her grandkids more than life itself, but she recently went on record saying that if any of them get a bizarre tattoo or weird piercing, she will take drastic action.

"I will remove them from the chain immediately and put them face down in a dresser drawer," she said."They would not come out until I knew that tattoo or piercing had been removed."

There's something sad about a Grandma necklace with no grandchildren on it, but hey, who's to say a plain gold chain can't look attractive, too?

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman