Following her example, I would take a drink and a snack with me and give it to the children as I met them at the gates of their infant school. "Here, have a drink, have a snack" I would say, leaving the rest of the conversation until later.
Years later, my husband used to commute to London. Usually he drove to the station, but Occasionally I would have to drop him off at the beginning of the day and collect him in the evening. On one hot, humid summer evening I opened the car window and held out a chilled bottle of Perrier water, beaded with condensation, ready for him to grasp as soon as he reached the car. The envy of the other commuters was almost audible. He had the lid off the bottle and half the contents drained before I had even opened the door.
My mother started the snack-straight-after-school routine, because my brother and I would be grumpy and cross when school had ended. Eventually, my mother realised that we hadn't actually had a bad day. It was just "low blood sugar"; we were tired, hungry and thirsty and it was making us bad-tempered.
Occasionally I have had a busy day and forgotten to eat enough, or drink enough (and I don't mean wine!). I suddenly find that I am feeling wobbly, can't concentrate, and feel scratchy and bad-tempered. If I manage to realise what is going on, then a drink and biscuit is all I need to get back on track again.
Today, when we went to visit my mother, we found her querulous, confused, and confusing. After yesterday it was all a bit worrying and disappointing. We had brought the bridge column in, and a catalogue for choosing tiles for the bathroom renovations, and ideas for the kitchen which is also being rebuilt. None of these diversions were going to be at all appropriate.
As time went on, and after chatting with the nursing staff, we discovered that she had rejected breakfast, and only had a few spoonfuls of lunch. The staff were concerned that she wasn't eating enough, and were very happy for me to see if she would eat some of her favourite yogurt, which we had brought in.
Half a tub of yogurt. Such a simple remedy.