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
24 thoughts on “Forgetful Forgetful Grandma”
I love Mama Dot! Cause she reminds me a lot of my MawMaw!
Same thing. Fab gifts, but don’t you dare break that loud stuff open at her place. And “Here, try this dessert I made just for YOU!” then “Get yourself to this table and don’t you leave till you finish everything!”
Those were the good old days.
“You don’t eat when you’re hungry, you eat when it’s time.” – Mama Dot
Oh yes, I remember the HHH. My sister and I had one.
And Operation too…that game gave me serious anxiety.
My grandma purposefully gave us noisy toys or ones that had a bazillion pieces for every birthday and Christmas, and she would giggle away whenever my dad would grumble. I guess it’s payback!
It must be!
We never had an operation game but friends did – it was a very stressful game for me, as well. Partly because that dude is naked.
My late grandmother, Gram, who passed away from hip surgery in Nov 2005, was a force in our family. She was a brilliant woman who wrote poetry, could cook anything, and had unbelievable charm. She literally could tell people where to go, how to get there, and make them like it.
She was also my best friend who thought I did little to no wrong. I miss her so very much.
Every Christmas Gram would finish her food in maybe 2 minutes and start begging to open presents like a 2 year old. The truth was, she wanted to see my sister and my faces when we opened our stuff. She symbolized the “giving” part of Christmas.
Lance, the image of a grandma scarfing down food to open gifts is funny and wonderful! Gram sounds awesome.
I totally forgot about all the damn noise HHH makes until I gifted it to my daughter several years ago. I don’t know what happened but soon after she received it, a burglar came into our home and took JUST the HHH game. I don’t know why a burglar would do that, I keep on telling my daughter. We mourn together sometimes.
As a child, my pacifiers disappeared under similar mysterious circumstances.
The burglar probably needed more marbles for his old HHH game.
She secretely loved the Hungry Hungry Hippo. If she didn’t, there are ways to make those marbles disappear. My kids still don’t know where ours went.
Oh, that was just the first day. I’m pretty sure our marbles rapidly dwindled.
I once got a toy — I think it was an old-skool Strawberry Shortcake thing — that was so stinky it cleared the house. It was a horse called Maple Sugar or something and, like all the Shortcake crap, it was imbued with a scent. That damn horse was so overpoweringly smelly we went to my grandma’s house for safety — and YEARS later, you could still smell it through the box it was packed away in, stinking up the attic.
Those things stunk! I can’t imagine breathing in that stuff was good for us. I had the SS baby with the smelly breath. Who wants to smell a dolls’ breath? Weird.
Dang, I never had a fun grandma. I had two crotchety old ladies who weren’t “into” children….which begs the question, “why have any?”
I got gypped.
I’ve found that most people have one crotchety grandma and one kid-at-heart grandma. So, those people who have two kid-at-heart grandmas must have forced a cosmic balance that gave you yours.
My eight year old daughter is obsessed with hippos and of course the hhh game. A burgler did not get our game though, we still have it but the marbles are gone, I think my 2 year old ate them.
That’s when you need to have had extensive experience playing Operation.
I still love hungry hippos! However, I draw the line at buying it for my kids because it is possibly one of the most annoying sounds in the world.
It really is unbelievably chaotic and loud. I love it too, though. Well, the nostalgia part of it, anyway…
What!? I can’t hear you, I’m playing Hungry Hungry Hippos!
I remember how ungodly loud that game was. And yes, those marbles are the first to go. Now that I think about it, my parents were the last ones seen near the game . . . hmmm.
I had a rule with my Mother in Law . . . you can buy the kids any noisy toys you want, but they have to stay at your place (our basement) as they will not come to my house. She always followed the rule, god love her.
And we have those poltergeist toys that just randomly make noises in the playroom. Freaks me right the fuck out. I keep thinking that if they are motion sensing that we obviously have a ghost. Scary.
That is a very good rule!
My sister got a motion sensing toy for Christmas one year, and every time we walked past the Christmas tree, it would make a purring sound. The element of surprise was kind of ruined.
You had a Hungry, Hungry Hippos? I never had one. Did you have a Lite Brite, too?
NO, and I wrote a post years ago on a defunct site about not having a Lite Brite. I wanted a Lite Brite and one of those inflatable characters with sand in the bottom so you could punch them and they’d pop back up, but, alas, I never had either.