All big dark saucer-eyes, the little tyke begged convincingly with the type of appeal that a major advertising agency would be proud of. He pointed fat chubby fingers at the lollies stashed by the counter.
‘No, not today’
I stifled a laugh. My mother turned to me exasperated.
‘Why do they put them at the counter? We’ve almost got out of here scot-free’.
We’d successfully negotiated the trolley past the crisps aisle (‘Nope nothing down there we need’) and past the doughnuts with their cream and gluggy strawberry jam. We’d managed to divert his attention when the free-be tester was handing out chocolate.
As if chocolate could ever really taste bad. ‘No we don’t want free chocolate?’ Get real.
We’d finally managed to career the trolley with the dodgy wheels to the counter and were almost free. The exit sign was tantalisingly close.
‘I think they just put them here at the counter to torment Mummies’ I told my son. My mother smiled ruefully.
‘No, you can’t eat too many lollies or all your teeth will fall out,’ she told my son.
He opened his eyes wide. No he didn’t want to lose his gnashers.
We struggled home through the humid Gold Coast summer, unloaded the groceries and put the three year old down for a nap. That night we fired up the BBQ and grilled big fat juicy steak and sausages. After dinner my mother excused herself. She had a dental appointment the following day and so she raced off to clean her teeth, and the dentures she’d had fitted as a ‘treat’ (to stop getting fillings) when she was in her early twenties.
I was watching TV and unaware that Son had disappeared into the house, following on Grandma’s heels like a little dog. All of a sudden a horrified howl emanated from the bathroom, and Son came racing into the lounge.
‘Mummy, mummy, mummeeeee, Grandma’s eaten too many lollies. AND ALL OF HER TEETH HAVE FALLEN OUT!’
I rushed to the bathroom expecting to see my mother in a bloodied mess, teeth poking out of the plug hole. She turned to me and smiled a gummy smile.
Toothbrush in one hand, her false teeth in the other.
Son didn’t ask for sweets ever again really.
He never did develop a sweet tooth.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons: tupwanders