Amok Mama: Naughty Nana!

What's more important for your child's well-being? Contact with their grandparents or being raised according to feminist principles? Jacinta Nandi isn't so sure anymore.

When Rico was a baby, I became really good friends with Katja, a German single mum who lived round the corner to me. She was great, this woman was, witty and intelligent, sarcastic but kind.

She’d had about a million abortions, and I am exaggerating, but not as much as you think I am, it was literally five or something. When she’d gone in for her last abortion, the doctor had told her that it really would be her last – she was over 40, you see. The thought of never being able to have another abortion again made her feel so sad that she decided to have the baby. And I have to say, she was one of the best mums I’ve ever met. A but neurotic, but apart from that, pretty much perfect.

Katja wanted to raise her daughter according to feminist principles, you know the kind of thing, no pink, no dollies, no Barbies. I was raised pretty much the same way myself, to be honest. But Katja took it all a bit further than my mum did. When Katja’s mum bought her daughter a doll with a make-up set – you know those tacky little pink make-up sets they make for young girls – Katja phoned her mum up and started yelling and yelling and yelling at her. “I really let her have it,” Katja told me, and I kind of believed her, she was tough, Katja was.

So Katja’s mum told her that the make-up set had been in the packet with the dolly. I mean, this is the kind of lie that is so obviously a lie that it’s not even insulting anymore, isn’t it? But the problem is, Katja was German, you know, and the thing with Germans is, they don’t actually have different categories for lies. So Katja went to the shop and checked out the dolly and saw that the make-up set was in a different package to the little dolly and then she went ahead and BROKE OFF ALL CONTACT with her mum. Katja said it wasn’t just the anti-feminist presents, it was the lying about it, and it wasn’t just the lying about anti-feminist presents, it was also her feeding the ducks in the park even though that was ecologically unsound.

But aw, man. I’ve got to admit. I felt sorry for that nana, I really did. So, what do you guys think? Don’t you think the benefits of spending time with your grandparents outweigh all the disadvantages? They might be politically incorrect, they might not believe in global warming, they might think that Turkish people have smaller brains than Germans but not, interestingly, Indians, but they’re still the GRANDPARENTS, man. That’s where we come from. Isn’t it? I’m really not as sure as I used to be. Rico’s just got back from holiday at the seaside with his Grosseltern – he calls, them, slightly worryingly, his Elterns, I’m Mama and my ex is Papa but they’re the Elterns – na ja, and he got in lots of trouble with Opie for crying for me. He said her cried every night and every night he got called a girl! That’s terrible, the Opie said, you’re crying like a little girl!

My ex wants us to – well, not break off contact completely, but cool things down a little. But I don’t know. I kind of think that Rico’s mad feminist/socialist/environmentalist grandparents will more than make up for his politically incorrect German ones. It’ll all come out in the wash. Under 40° C, of course.