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Mommy Tantrum

I threw a tantrum, and it wasn’t the first time.  I mean, I threw a tantrum last week.  And I am not proud.  The tantrum and I are old pals.  I have been throwing it around for a good 35 years.  Just like how you throw a party.

In the 6th grade, my family went to Disneyland.  On a Wednesday.  It was back in the days when your parents could take you out of school for a trip to the Magic Kingdom without the threat of someone calling Child Protective Services.  So, during this trip, I got a souvenir: a fabulous white shirt with Minnie Mouse on the front dressed in pink with a black hat.  I love love loved it, and I couldn’t wait to wear it to school the next day because I had show and tell and I was going to show off my new shirt.  A little bit of a brat?  A little bit.  So we get home and of course I HAD to put my shirt on and then of course got it dirty and so into the laundry it went.  The next morning I head to the dryer to put on my shirt and ta-da!  SHRUNK.  Like 2 sizes.  I LOST it completely.  I screamed, I ranted, I fell to the floor clutching my favorite shirt and wailed like a baby.  I blamed my mom.  She tried to console me, but there is only so much you can do for an 11 year old throwing a tantrum.  Warn them they have 30 minutes until it’s time to leave for school and walk away to go pack some lunches.  I can still remember roaming up and down the hallway, finally throwing myself on the floor in my parents’ bedroom, pulling like a mad woman on the neck of the shirt, willing it to go back to it’s previous size.  I was pissed.  Really pissed.  I can still recall the rage.  I finally calmed down and put the shirt on.  The final result was a too small shirt with a too large neck that hung and drooped.  It was a mess and I never wore it again.  This is sort of embarrassing, and age 11 sounds too old for a Tantrum.  Ha!  That’s funny.

My sister ate my most favorite piece of Halloween Candy one year, right out of my bag.  We have that tantrum on video.  My mother had just redone my sister’s room and was “interviewing” my little sister about the new wallpaper and throw pillows.  About 3/4 of that video is me whining and carrying on in the background about my missing candy.

I’ve had other mild temper tantrums, like the time my husband and I were packing for our honeymoon, a few hours before our rehearsal dinner.  I had just gotten my nails done like 15 minutes beforehand (right here, procrastinator, raising my hand) and I was attempting to zip up my suitcase with my teeth, then my palms, afraid I was going to mess up my French Manicure.  I pouted and rudely asked my husband to zip it up for me, to which he asked “why can’t you?” as he stood in the closet, having not yet packed a thing.  “Because I just got my nails done.”  He looked at me.  “Why?” as he walked over to close my suitcase.  “BECAUSE WE’RE GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!” I threw up my hands as proof.  He laughed, but I was fuming.  Wedding planning is super fun and stressful.  🙂

So as I have extensive experience with the Tantrum, I expected my kids to throw their fair share of Tantrum parties.  And they have, and they’re pretty good, but they haven’t been quite the caliber of their mom’s, yet.  I am totally jinxing myself here.  But what I didn’t expect, was that I still had more tantrums in me.  Mommy Tantrums.

So, last week, I finally had enough of my daughter’s messy room.  She has so many things and these things were everywhere.  So I grabbed the baby, took him to his sister’s messy room, and sat down with him in my lap, and attempted to help my daughter straighten up.  At first she was super duper excited about Mommy helping.  Things were being put away, clothes were being folded, dirty clothes went in the hamper and then 1 minute later, she started hanging upside down on the bunk bed.  I got her to refocus and she started putting her clothes back in the drawers.  And then, at the coaxing of her older brother, started to run out to the living room to see what Clifford the big ole red dog was up to.  I reigned her back in and warned her brother.  And then she’d put a shirt away, hop into the hallway, do a dance, hop back into her room, count her My Little Ponies, put another shirt away because I asked, hop back into the hallway, do another dance, run to Clifford, and then come back.  So I got serious.  And I sat her down and said “We are cleaning this room, and we are not leaving until we are done.  No more running out the door, no more fooling around.”  She nodded with a smile, stood up, did a dance, and knocked a box off of a stool onto her baby brother who had since crawled away from me and was chewing on a crayon.  And then I lost it.  I took away TV time I am sure, took away her ponies, took away her car when she turns 16, until THIS ROOM IS CLEANED UP!  Mommy Tantrum.  And she snapped out of the sillies and we got the darn thing cleaned up.  Oh, and baby brother was unfazed by the box that fell on top of him.  He’s fine.  Third kid.

Satisfied, I walked out of her room, and found my oldest son waiting for me.  He had been strangely quiet since my Mommy Tantrum.  I wondered if he was trying to avoid cleaning up his mess too.  But then he handed me this:

My 6 year old son, very concerned that I’d forget all of the restrictions I had imposed on his sister, made sure he wrote down all of the things I had taken away until she finished cleaning her room.  He had written it on the back of a sheet of stickers.  I guess he just grabbed the nearest thing to write on so as not to miss the gems spewing from his Mother’s mouth: No more gymnastics, yes I remember saying that.  No more candy.  That’s a definite.  All of the above apparently are restricted until his sister proved she could be good.  Ok, I remember that.

No more anything!  ??  I don’t remember that one.  Can we say, Mommy Tantrum?


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We’re Immune

My children get immunized.  They get their shots according to the schedule that their pediatrician sets.  In my opinion, based off of my own research, this is what is best for my family.  But that’s not to say it is the best for ALL families, and I would never ever never tell another parent that they should get this shot or that shot for their kids.  And so I expect the same respect from those parents who choose not to immunize their kids.  Don’t go all immunization-scare-politics on me and tell me that immunizations are horrid, that the Chicken-Pox disease is a Rite of Passage, that Rubella is part of a conspiracy and doesn’t really exist.  Because this sort of anti-immunization warfare has happened to me.  Twice.  And both times I was topless, lying face down on a table.

Long gone are the days when my mom would get a phone call and after a few mumbled words of sympathy followed by muffled excitement, hang up the phone, grab her purse and announce: “Jennifer and her little sister BOTH came down with Chicken Pox yesterday!  We’re going over to their house for lunch.”  Because what was worse than getting Chicken Pox in the 3rd grade?  NOT getting Chicken Pox, that’s what.  (Because Chicken Pox as an adult could potentially be even worse?  But what about the fact that if you have Chicken Pox as a child you also have the opportunity to get Shingles as an adult?  And from what I hear, that sucker SUCKS.)  So off we’d go to our friend’s house to gather up some germs.  And sure enough, my siblings and I caught the Pox and we missed 2 weeks of school.  And it was an itchy horrible yucky thing.  And if by Rite of Passage they mean having the pleasure of saying things like, “Oh this?  It’s a Chicken Pox scar.  Yeah, totally cool huh.” then I guess I’ve made my passage.

Would it be the absolute worse thing in the world if my kids came down with Chicken Pox?  No, not really, but they have a shot for that now, so why put them through it?  But again, this is MY opinion, based on MY research, yada yada schmada.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I made appointments to meet with pediatricians.  We wanted to “interview” them in the hopes of picking the perfect doctor for our child.  We only met with two because I am a procrastinator and by week 36 of my pregnancy my OB was threatening to pick one for me, so I figured we’d meet her two favorites.  So I was in my office at work, preparing my Pulitzer Prize winning list of questions for the doctors (What are your hours?  Where did you go to college?  Were you in a sorority?  Can I email you more questions later after I’ve come up with better ones?) when my boss came in and asked what I was doing.  She suggested I ask the doctors what their view was on immunizations.  What?  It didn’t dawn on me that I had a choice in the matter.  I added that to my list, but somehow I never got around to asking.  I might have been a bit intimidated by the degrees on the wall, but I was confident that the doctor we picked knew what she was doing.

At the end of my pregnancy I came down with Sciatica which is super fun pain that shot down my leg all day.  (Sign me up for that immunization when they come up with it.)  My OB set me up with a Chiropractor that specialized in Pregnant Women, so I sashayed with my Sciatica down to her office for a consult.  I was guided to a room and instructed to undress and put on the patient robe thing.  The Chiropractor came in and she was super bubbly and promised that my sciatica would go away after 20 adjustments, so I got up on a table that had a large opening for my preggo belly and laid down.  As my face became accustomed to being smushed into the little face pillow, she placed warm towels on my back that put me, almost, right to sleep.  I was in heaven.  And then she began to adjust me.  And then these words: “Do you know about the side effects of immunizations on babies?  You’re not going to get your child immunized, right?  It is not good for babies.  If you MUST get your child immunized, then I will agree that Polio is a good one to go with, but that’s all you need to worry about.”  I couldn’t talk.  My face was smushed in a pillow.  I was held hostage.  But my back felt soooo good.  And the pain was disappearing.  And I found myself listening to her because, well, she was a professional, she was a mom, she had obviously done her research, and she was making my pain go away.  And when the session was over, I sat up and nodded as she continued her little lesson on shot-free living.  But when I got to my car and buckled in, I started to get angry.  I certainly hadn’t asked her about immunizations, and she didn’t ask if I wanted to know.  She already had my attention and she knew I couldn’t go anywhere.  Yet I still went back as often as I could stand it (she healed the pain!), and each time she had another bit of anti-immunization speech for me.

After our son was born and was a few months old, we took a much needed trip to a hotel with spa amenities.  I signed up for a massage right away and was looking forward to my quiet time alone on the massage table.  I didn’t get the quiet and I didn’t get the alone.  The masseuse was a very nice woman who also asked me to disrobe and get on the table, face down.  My face again smushed in the pillow, as I started to fall asleep, I was jolted awake by another prepared anti-immunization speech.  “Again?” I thought.  I tried to block her out, but by the time the massage was over, I was exhausted from pretending to listen.  I was way too nice because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and I was afraid if I attempted to voice my own opinion on the whole immunization thing, that she would stop the massage, which, really, besides the incessant talking at me, was very soothing.  At the end she gave me what I thought was her business card.  It was a piece of paper with the name of an author and their book about how horrible immunizations are.

While I didn’t even say the word “immunize” to either of these professionals, I certainly got an earful. I heard what they said (I didn’t really have a choice, now did I) and I followed up with my own research and I came to my own conclusions.  And I am appreciative of my own mom, who had to deal with 3 kids with the Chicken Pox.  I bet there’s a story there!


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The Eyes Have It

Ailments.  Afflictions.  Infirmity.  Illnesses.  I have had  my share, and they have all been, for the most part, normal cold-like, flu-like, allergy-like, sicknesses.  But then there are the alien type, what-in-the-world-did-you-do-to-yourself-wait-here-while-i-get-the-other-doctors-so-we-can-talk-about-you-after-you-leave illnesses.  And I’ve had a few of those.  And I find myself wondering if my kiddos will inherit my knack for the wacky health.

In 4th grade, what was I, 10? 11?, I came down with a strange eye affliction.  They thought it was pink eye and treated it as such, but the daylight and the class lights hurt my eyes and I was soon the strange kid who wore sunglasses in class.  I recall many visits to the eye doctor who’s waiting room sported a TV in the corner that only showed EYE SURGERIES.  Imagine being a little kid, with a sore eye, at the eye doctor’s office, and the only distraction in the room is a TV that shows surgeries on eye balls.  Bleh.  After a mis-diagnosis of eye herpes (OMG), they decided I had something even stranger, prescribed an assortment of remedies, and after a month or so of wearing sunglasses to class, I was finally healed and left with mild scarring on my cornea that only an eye doctor could see with his telescoping whatever.  Mild scarring on my cornea.  Yep, just another day in the life of me.

We’ll skip over walking-pneumonia in the 6th grade that had me quarantined at home for a good month or so, and the fact that my body forgot to make me a permanent eye tooth, and I had to suffer through a removable fake tooth on my retainer so that when I took my retainer out to eat, heaven forbid, so would I be taking out my tooth.  The girl with dentures in 7th grade.  We’ll go right to college where my afflictions became more entertaining.  They say college life runs you down, which must be true, because during winter quarter one year, I found myself suffering from bronchitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis all at the same time.  And then I got a weird eye thing again.

On the bus, on the way back to school from Spring Break in Mexico (wheeeeeeeeeeeee!), a dear pal of mine accidentally stuck her finger in my eye.  Thank God it was on the way HOME from MEXICO and not on the way there.  I’d probably only have 1 working eye right now.  My friends and I tried to laugh it off, and I tried to ignore the feeling that there was a large rock in my eye.  A painful rock.  With jagged sharp edges.  So my pals took me to the ER.  And the doctor put a green dye in my eye.  And it made my eye glow in the dark.  And my friends came in to see.  And they laughed and tried not to pee.  And the doctor said “what-in-the-world-did-you-do-to-yourself-wait-here-while-i-get-the-other-doctors-so-we-can-talk-about-you-after-you-leave” and he brought in more doctors and said “look!” and they looked and gasped and in the end I had 6 layers of my cornea flapping in the wind.  Sigh.  So the doctor sent me home with Vicodin and and eye patch that I was to wear for 1 week.

This is me in college after the eye "incident". There are other pictures. Of me thinking I could swim in my bed, thanks to the lovely Vicodin. You won't see those here. This is embarrassing enough.

You try being an English major wearing an eye patch the whole first week of Spring Quarter.  Professors expected me to read an entire book that week and my only good eye could barely read the instructions on my medication.  My good eye, sick of doing the whole “seeing” job alone, would give out on me in the middle of campus and I’d be standing there, pirate-like, with my other eye closed, trying to feel my way to a bench.  And I was expected to get through half of my Norton Anthology.  Right.

My adult post-college years weren’t any better; I spent a week at my first job suffering through a skinned up knee that would seep puss through my one pair of professional black pants (I was running in flip flops, and then flipped and flopped on the sidewalk).  My knee grossed my boss out so much he sent me to the ER, with a stack of envelopes to stuff, because, well, I had work to do.  I figured when I became a Mom, I would grow out of these random accidents and bodily afflictions.

I figured wrong.  The problem with illnesses as a Mom, is, you don’t really have the luxury to go to the doctor whenever your body plays a joke on you.  Bronchitis?  Eh, I’ll get over it.  Fever?  Stick a cold washcloth on my forehead and let’s go to the park!  Stomach Flu?  “Hold on honey, I’ll get make you breakfast after mommy throws up real quick.”

And then my body decided another eye affliction was due.  My eyes hurt and they looked gross, but I was in denial until a family member said “um, yo, your eye, is um, YO.”  And then my Mom came over to watch the kids and MADE me go to the doctor.  A pure luxury.  The doctor scowled and said “how long have you had this?” and antibiotics were prescribed along with instructions to give my eyes hot compresses for 5 minutes five times a day.  Ha.  I have three kids under the age of 6 and you want me to have my eyes CLOSED for FIVE minutes at a time, FIVE times a day?  Yeah that’s not gonna happen.  And in the end I had to have one of my eye styes removed.  Yes, one of them.  I have a few.  I say it’s from little dirty feet stepping on my pillow while they look out the window in my bedroom, or from the eye makeup that I wear 3 times a year.  But the doctor says it is probably from bacteria that resulted from elevated hormone levels which resulted from having kids.  Thanks kids.  So this happened:

Whaddya know, same eye.

So there we are.  At least my kids thought I was cool when I came home from the doctor.  “Mom!  You are a Pirate!  Like on Jake and the Never Land Pirates!  But put your sunglasses back on, then you’re not so scary looking.”


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