Fore and aft

I want to be ready for when my exasperated daughters-in-law finally put me in a home. They will be completely justified in this action, I just hope it isn't next week. I still have all of my teeth and a few of my wits!

When the nurse and the social worker do the in-take interview they will ask me to count down from one hundred by sevens and to say the alphabet backward. That's why I'm making this cheat sheet to start preparing.

You could photocopy it, fold it down the center, and send it through the laminator. Add a festive tassel, and it could be a nice holiday gift for the AARP-agers on your Christmas list.

I'm so blessed to have two daughters-in-law with loads of common sense, great senses of humor, extreme tolerance and patience. I never expected to feel this powerful bond, this love and gratitude, and such enormous respect. Who knew a Grinch heart could grow two more sizes, and then more for a grandson?

And as for having all my teeth, don't make me eat that pureed stuff! Not the applesauce, not the pumpkin, not the pudding with ground up pills, absolutely no bananas, and especially not through a tube!

Cheery thoughts all. Why? Not remembering Howie's decline. I'm just sitting at the picnic table watching three to five year olds suck and squirt fruit purees from pouches. They've still got a Go-Gurt stashed away for afternoon snack-time.

If I were to scale K2, I maybe could gag down a fruit puree through a tube at base camp. Just like if I was so incontinent and used to the humiliation I could wear a Depends and grasp for the button to call the aide for a change. But I'm not.

Why are parents who have survived a toddler's teething sending tiny portions of fiberless squeezy tooth-rotting mush instead of packing green grapes, half a banana, or a peeled clementine in their preschooler's lunchbox? And now the food companies want adults to schlurp meals too???? Are we just consumer sheep? Are we still middle-schoolers squirting ketchup packets and Cheez Whiz down our gullets to impress acne-blooming table-mates?

Many tout themselves as organic, 100% fruit and with no added sugars — and while that may be true, they're not quite as deserving of their health halo as they seem, says Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, of the New York University College of Dentistry. Gerber's organic apple puree has 11 grams of sugar — "a massive amount for what comes to a very tiny serving," Wolff says. "Because it doesn't come with the fiber from the whole apple, what you're actually getting comes really distilled down as sugars, a little bit of other stuff, and that's all."Unless you're vigilant about rinsing and brushing afterward, that sugar can linger on your child's teeth and contribute to tooth decay, Wolff says.

Fresh fruit is delicious and inexpensive in season.

Chewing is good. Texture is a treat. Biting is useful, just not of other people.

Wielding utensils is excellent for eye-hand coordination development.

Daughters-in-law are golden.

You gotta be kidding!  Twelve grams of sugar in a 3.2 oz. pouch of GoGoSqueeze natural applesauce?

It has been a long day. Winged monkeys are silhouetted when I close my eyes. I clicked my ruby slippers, but I 'm not in the home. I'm not even in assisted living! There's no place like....

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder

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