I had the honor, privilege and pleasure of being Strudel’s winter vacation destination. Technically, she didn’t have winter vacation. Her mom, my DIL #1, allowed me to kidnap her because my surrogate granddaughter actually did have a winter vacation and I didn’t want to be lonely. Strudel didn’t want to go to the Bahamas or Camelback. Once she found out how many people were going to Panama, that was totally out of the question. She just wanted to go to Babka’s. As I said already, I was honored and know what a true blessing it is.
First up on the fun-filled, jam-packed itinerary, a day trip to the supermarket! As the supermarket is my happy place, I was really excited when Strudel was old enough to sit in the cart so I could take her there. Can you imagine being in the supermarket as a toddler? The shopping cart must be awesome. You are sitting up, looking around, taking it all in and enjoying the piped-in music. Kids probably think it’s an amusement park ride. First up, fruits and vegetables.
Strudel loves pointing at the produce that she likes, or thinks she likes. We had an unpleasant encounter with a pineapple because though it is sweet on the inside, it is a bit prickly on the outside. “Bad, bad pineapple!” She loves peppers, especially the red ones, and the ones from the supermarket taste a whole lot better than the plastic ones from her pretend shopping basket at home. I often wonder what she is thinking when she bites into the plastic fruits and vegetables. “Why does Babka keep giving me this stuff? Doesn’t she know it isn’t real?” Poor kid.
And then there is the cereal aisle. This always becomes the most fun because she points to almost every box and wants to try it. Cereal, like most things at the supermarket, has gone up in price, and though I love my little Strudel more than anything, miserly Husband #1 might get a little grumpy if I spend seven dollars on a box of cereal that no one ends up eating (and I already have gotten the “It is almost Passover, please stop buying so much cereal.” Does anyone else get that from the person they share a house with?) In any event, we delightfully discovered that Strudel does like Honey Nut Cheerios, which was very good because, you guessed it, they were on sale.
The highlight of this particular day trip to the market occurred in the soda aisle. As we walked by all the bottles and cans of soda that were not on sale, and we would never pay full price, Strudel spotted the Fanta. She looked at me and said, “Papa.” Yes, even Strudel knows that Husband #1 loves Fanta. Things like that make everything worthwhile. (Her saying “Papa,” not that Husband #1 loves Fanta. Just to be clear.)
As we begin losing interest in the frozen food section and I discover I am running low on her snack of honey wheat pretzels, it is time to check out. Now this is a fun activity, as I only go to the self-checkout. I don’t know why I do that, but I enjoy it as well. Strudel loves all of the beeping and action that goes on in this area of the supermarket, and why shouldn’t she? It is downright entertaining. Ahh, to be a child again.
At this point, you might be thinking that Strudel made the wrong choice by coming to Babka winter camp, but you would be wrong. We also went to the aquarium at the American Dream mall. Yes, there is an aquarium at the American Dream mall and it is free for children under 3. This is a good thing because it is $30 for an adult and the whole aquarium could take less than 20 minutes to walk through. But not if you are Babka. If you are Babka, you are getting your money’s worth and you start pointing out every little detail to your adorable Strudel and singing songs from the Little Mermaid. Fortunately, we were the only ones in the aquarium because everyone else was, yup, I’m going to say it, away for winter vacation.
And if you just got back from wherever you were, I hope you enjoyed your winter vacation as much as I did.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck would like to wish Son #2 a very happy 25th birthday. This shoutout is his birthday present, so she hopes he had low expectations for this year’s gift.