The grandparents are determined to turn Henry into Little Lord Sissypants. Not that I have a problem with sissy-fying Henry’s pants—indeed, I had planned on it, but I was hoping to institute a low-key sissy-fying initiative. Like, I would suggest cooking classes instead of after-school sports. And then, instead of football, Henry would prefer baking cookies with his mom. Or, better: for his mom. Or better: veal piccata. Or, no, veal is evil. Something piccata. For his mother. And father. And several guests.
But instead of teaching Henry how to make a wine reduction, they’re ensuring that even his play outfits are smart enough for the country club; they're getting him accustomed to insisting on only the finest of juice drinks. In the local Met Food a few days back, a few rugged-looking youths behind us in line were buying Kool-aid drink mix, and Henry turned to them, pointed one soft finger at the canister with Scary Pitcher Guy on it, and observed, “Oooh— Pom.” Which in case you don’t know is insanely expensive pomegranate juice. My mother is singlehandedly supporting the “Pom Wonderful” company by filling my child’s delicate insides with it. Luckily the kids didn’t understand him, as no one but me can decode his charming jibber-jabber, so we got away that time without getting our asses kicked.
Thanks to the grandparents, every outfit Henry wears has a Polo insignia on it (and yes, I realize I could buy outfits for him myself, but you see, I am both cheap and lazy. Oh--and poor). My mother defends her choices by claiming she bought them at the Ralph Lauren outlet, but I can’t very well stick a “Bought this at a steep discount” sticker on his back; I tried that and it fell off after a few minutes. And then we go to the playground and every other kid is wearing—horrors!—Gap wear (or worse! Sometimes there’s no discernible brand at all!). I’m waiting for the day, and it will come, when Henry runs up to me in his polo shirt and pleated shorts and patent-leather taps and frilly ankle socks and weeps, “Mother, those children knocked me on my bottom with their rambunctious monkeyshines!”
Just last week I made Henry some toast—the old Henry used to love my toast!—and he looked down at it in disgust and I said, “Look, Henry—toast!” and he asked, “French toast?” Only he pronounced it “Fr-aah-nch.” The poor boy. He never had a chance.