In the past, I have written about my surrogate granddaughter. She is the little girl I have been babysitting for the past few years. We started together when she was in kindergarten, and now, thank God, she is in fourth grade.
I am grateful to her because she got me to start training for my time with Strudel, Strudel’s sister, and Strudel’s cousin Danish. And by training, I mean sitting on the floor and getting up from the floor, and then sitting on the floor again and attempting to get back up again. Arts and crafts projects, coloring, and, in general, girl stuff that I never did with my boys. But, most importantly, the sitting on the floor and getting up from the floor — that is the gold standard for being a good grandmother.
Before I continue about my surrogate granddaughter, many of you have been kind enough to congratulate me on Strudel’s sister. I have also been asked what she is going to be called. To be perfectly honest, in the current climate, I want to be as not annoying as possible, and I feel that bringing a third pastry name into my column might not only be narcissistic, but insensitive to what is going on.
So for the record, I love my newest addition to Team Ganchrow Girl, but I will just continue to refer to her as Strudel’s sister. Let’s be honest, she is the second child, so not giving her her own name might, ultimately, toughen her up. I am kidding. She is the cutest little dumpling and now that she has earrings, I just know that if my dad were alive, he would call her Carmen Miranda. But I just majorly digressed from the point of this column. There are points to my column? Who knew?
Back to SG #1 (surrogate granddaughter #1). I have got to be honest. The homework is getting harder. Today it took two of us and a FaceTime call to Husband #1 to figure out why none of us were getting the right answer. SG #1 was doing “new math.” I was doing “old math,” and Husband #1 used his calculator. It took some time, but eventually, we all got the right answer. It was almost smooth sailing after that.
And then we were up to current events homework. This brought me back to Yavneh Academy, 1970-something. I loved current events because my dad would help me. We would go through the Bergen Record together, find an appropriate article, and read it together. My dad loved reading the paper every single day. Especially the obituaries. “I just want to see if there is anyone I know and make sure that I am not there,” he would say. Man, I miss that guy. In any event, after reading through it, I was allowed to use the “big” scissors and carefully cut out the article and the picture, if there was one. Then the fun really began.
I would pick out a piece of colored construction paper and tape the article to the paper. I am surprised these projects never made it to a museum. Then I would write a summary of the article, yada yada yada. It was so much fun and educational!
Fast forward to 2023 current events. SG #1 has three “kids” sites she can go to to find an article. The only cutting and pasting is done on the computer. No construction paper, no working on your fine motor skills with the big scissors that no one ever puts back in the right place….just click and read.
And then you have to answer some questions. Fortunately, the current events are heartwarming pieces like, “Pandas return to China after their stay in the Washington Zoo.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that was the only thing happening in the news?
That is the good thing about SG #1, her world is still small enough to protect her. And when I am with her and trying to figure out how to multiply two sets of two numbers, it kind of protects me too.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck hopes that you all had a peaceful Thanksgiving.