My grandma, Mama Dot (my dad’s mom), was a true character. I hope to be as sassy as she was someday. She was this fantastic combination of the ultimate nurturer and illogical judgment, as I’m sure many grandmas are.
For example, she stocked her cupboards with candy so that her grandkids could gorge themselves on Reece’s cups and York peppermint patties. Then, she’d admonish us for not wanting to eat dinner.
She was a very generous Christmas gift-giver. I didn’t have to come from a broken home to get two Christmas stockings, because she did them for EVERYONE – four grandkids, three children, two in-laws, then, eventually, two in-law grandkids. She would also give us several Christmas presents – a mixture of whatever she randomly chose, and a nice number of things from our specific lists. This of course meant she was buying things that she had no clue about. And, really, who would care to learn more about plastic ponies with pictures on their asses?
One year, either my sister or I had asked for Hungry Hungry Hippos. Here is the ad:
Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of those toys that no one who lives with you wants you to have. It is noisy, it has marbles as game parts, and, usually within the first day, at least one hippo commits suicide. Plus, once you take the dancing cartoon hippos and catchy jingle away, all you have left is the game, which is entirely lame.
But, that’s not the point. The point is that to a kid, the colorful Hungry Hungry Hippos ad makes this game look like a fine way to spend your time, and we wanted it. And we got it. Mama Dot got it for us.
“Hooray!” we exclaimed to ourselves in our minds because we’re both introverts, we got Hungry Hungry Hippos! We immediately opened and set it up, and commenced with de-hungering the Hippos.
Now, if you didn’t watch the commercial, watch it. You will notice that you don’t actually HEAR the game being played. You hear the ecstatic giggles of the children, and you hear the very loud jingle. There’s a reason for that. HHH sounds like a construction site but instead of jackhammers, there are hippos, and instead of cat calls, there are marbles rolling around.
So, when my sister and I happily started our first game (and that is the only time you happily play HHH), Mama Dot walking by, stopped, and exclaimed:
Mama Dot: Who in the hell got you that!?
Us: You did!
Mama Dot: I most certainly did not.
Our Mother (knowing very well who the hell got us that): Yes, you did.
Mama Dot: I think I would know if I got something like that. I wouldn’t get something like that.
After much back and forth, it was established that yes, Mama Dot had gotten us this thing that was filling the house with the sounds of plastic clacking and clanging like awful Christmas bells.
It was actually a running gag in our family – aunts and uncles would get their nieces and nephews noisy toys on purpose. My parents won this contest because they got my nephew an extremely noisy police car. My aunt and uncle thought the torture would be over when the batteries ran out. They swear that the battery somehow fused with the casement to create a never-ending lifespan. You didn’t even have to play with it. If you looked at it wrong it would yell, “STOP! Pull over!”
However, my grandma never participated in this tradition because we actually stayed at her house, so she knew it would eventually bite her in the ass. Needless to say, she was very disappointed to find out that she had brought Hungry Hungry Hippos on herself. But, it never stopped her from complaining about how we have too much stuff, about 25% of which was her fault.
This post was written in response to Studio30 Plus’ prompt: The Gift