Apter's prescription for peace within the first family: "Appreciate what (Robinson) has done as a mother." That'll go a long way toward reassuring her that she won't be "edged out" of the family.
Robinson, 71, retired in 2007 from a part-time job at a Chicago bank. For now, she lives in the same South Side home where she and her late husband raised Michelle and her brother, Craig.
During the campaign, the Obamas said repeatedly that Robinson virtually made the presidential run possible. In February, Michelle Obama told voters in Ohio she was "standing here, breathing in and out with any level of calm" because her mother was home with the girls.
From what small glimpses we've seen of her so far, Robinson seems as candid as Madge Wallace, although without a trace of Wallace's disdain for her son-in-law. She told USA TODAY in August that after months of getting upset about the TV coverage of the family, she was watching Frasier reruns.
Asked how she felt about relocating with her daughter to Washington, she told the Globe, "I will do whatever she needs me to do ... I'll be mad, but I'll do it."
When the topic turned to discipline for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, who are famously fed organic meals and no more than one hour of TV a night, Robinson confided: "I have candy, they stay up late -- come to my house, they watch TV as long as they want to. We'll play games until the wee hours. I do everything that grandmothers do that they're not supposed to."