What We Don’t Inherit, We Get in the Mail

I read a piece in the Globe and Mail yesterday about in-laws. Apparently those old saws about mothers-in-law have been investigated and the findings are in; mothers are engineered to compete with their (sons’ female) mates. Whether or not this is true is not applicable to me because I have outstanding, incredible in-laws and so does Saint Aardvark. I realize I am very lucky because I do know a lot of people for whom “in-law” is synonymous with “person I want to poke. hard. with hot pokers.” But in our family we understand each other pretty well. Some of us, like SA and my dad, understand each other a little too well, but I try to be grateful rather than freaked out and then I enjoy all the booze they make in their respective homemade stills and it doesn’t matter anymore.

Last week we got a parcel from SA’s parents. It contained a Winnie the Pooh bed sheet and a number of books for Trombone. There was one small book for Fresco too but he ate half of it while I was looking at the bed sheet so he will get it back when he is 17 and no longer eating everything. We get these care packages pretty frequently; SA’s mom is the unofficial queen of Value Village and what she doesn’t sell for killer profit on e-bay she sends our way. But the best part of this package was the gift for me. A zippered bag filled with Taco Bell Fire Sauce.

I have written before (in 2003? feels like only yesterday!) about how annoying it is that Canada has precious few Taco Bells and how the TBs there are only sell Mild and Hot sauce, as though we can’t HANDLE THE FIRE, which is totally not true, just look at our Prime Minister –

(Lame Canadian politics joke. As you were.)

Anyway, I have been going on about it for a number of years now so unsurprisingly I am well known in the family for loving Taco Bell’s Fire Sauce. So much so that when SA’s aunt and uncle recently drove up to visit his parents, they went through America and ripped off a Taco Bell of its entire Fire Sauce supply and then it got mailed to me.

Everyone should have extended family like this.

Yesterday I made play dough. I highly recommend this activity because 1. you get to find the cream of tartar at the supermarket, which is kind of an adventure! (unless I am the only one who doesn’t keep cream of tartar in her house?) and 2. your toddler might really like it (the play dough, not the cream of tartar) and keep himself busy with cookie cutters while you try not to pass out from the killer head cold he gave you. (Also, 3. he might beat the play dough instead of his younger brother. Your mileage may vary. Mine certainly does.) When I was a kid, my mom worked as a preschool teacher so I have a lot of memories of play dough being made at our house. As I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded and added food colouring and kneaded, I felt, for the first time, like someone might look in my window and mistake me for a real mother. Not a dishevelled nanny or a deeply troubled auntie, but a real, honest to goodness, mother.

All those connections over history, advice and experience passed from woman to woman and what it takes is play dough. Funny old world.

(I used this recipe for Nature’s Playdough (only with real, poisonous food colouring instead of vegetable colouring) in part because it called for an ingredient I did not have and we needed a walk and a walk with a goal is a walk worth taking!)

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