It was also an extremely good hair day

By Mir
January 6, 2006

What I should be doing, right now, is all of the work which I did NOT do today. But I am tired and it’s only Friday; there is plenty of time to freak out and work into the wee hours before Monday gets here! Tonight I should just watch “What Not To Wear” and eat popcorn and nod off early and jerk awake wondering if I remembered to take Monkey to the bathroom.

I just love to aim high.

But first! Answers to some recent questions, both asked and unasked. I do often try to email folks when they ask stuff in the comments, but the blog has been having a small nervous breakdown this week (a sympathetic reaction to my own plight, I’m sure) and for some reason many of the comments were never emailed to me. Which meant that I could not email BACK anyone who had a question. My apologies.

1) The cupcake holder featured in this picture is, sadly, one of my most prized possessions. It’s true. Tupperware fanatics will recognize it as the rectangular cake taker, albeit in a discontinued color. Ordinarily you’d have to sell a kidney to be able to afford one of these babies. And plenty of women cheerfully do so, because the base is a flat platform to hold a sheet cake, one way, and then flips over to 18 indented cupcake holders, the other way. No mom should be without one. But LORD not at that price. That’s craziness. Every now and then Tupperware clears out old colors and that’s when people like me go “Oh look, it’s that cupcake thingie for $5! Cool, I think I’ll get one!”

2) Someone–I do not remember who, and I’m too lazy to look–asked if Monkey had ever been tested for gluten intolerance. By the age of two Monkey–who both projectile vomited and suffered from constipation practically from birth–had been put through just about every medical test on the planet. Aside from the now-outgrown food allergies, the verdict was always the same: “immature system.” Reflux due to immature digestive system. Constipation due to lazy, immature intestines. Small size = small bladder = immature development of nighttime continence. Etc. There was a period of time when one doctor was convinced he had celiac disease, but the tests were negative. He’s just… immature. But cute!

3) No, I did not have my happy pills in the glovebox of the smushed car. In fact, I was tapering off the happy pills when we had the crash, at which point it took only about four days of PTSD nightmares before I went to the doctor and sobbed incoherently about how I’d almost killed my children and needed MORE DRUGS PLEASE NOW THANK YOU. So I knew that the samples discussed in the previous post had been in the glovebox of the new car. Today I discovered why I had no memory of removing the pills from the car. That’s right–a couple of you called it–it was because I HADN’T. The boxes had somehow slipped down underneath the new-car paperwork in such a way that they were all laying flat and I managed to miss them the half-a-dozen times I’d checked the glovebox. I decided to take everything OUT and lo and behold, there they were. Ahhhhhhh. I feel better already, just because having lost them was driving me insane.

4) Nobody asked, but I will tell you, because it is VERY TRAGIC. My most favorite current footwear, the delicious boots I showed you here, turned up with a gigantic SCUFF across the toe yesterday. I am in mourning. Also I now need to find some polish that matches. And some knowledge about how to use it.

5) Also not anything that you probably wanted to know, but there is a cat in heat (I assume; unless it is a toddler squalling over a dropped cookie, which is really what it sounds like) outside my bedroom window tonight. I kept turning off the TV, thinking I was hearing one of the kids crying, before I figured it out. Then once I figured it out, I mostly just wished for a coyote to come along and EAT IT ALREADY.

Moving on to my very thrilling day….

Today I “babysat” a friend who was having a minor surgery. I had a lot of other things that I really should’ve done today, including a meeting which I had to reschedule, but I owed her. She’s taken me to two major surgeries in the last few years. And today she was having just a 10-minute procedure. When I was tempted to feel put-upon, I did a quick review in my mind.

[Two years ago: She entertained me and got me warm blankets while I lay in post-op after my tonsillectomy, violently shaking with a reaction to the anaesthesia. She alerted a nurse and I was given a nice dose of Demerol, after which I stopped shaking and instead declared my love for everyone in a 5-mile radius.

One year ago: She entertained me and got me warm blankets while I lay in post-op after my hysterectomy, jabbing at the PCA button repeatedly and drunkenly announcing THIS IS NOT ENOUGH MORPHINE, IT STILL HURTS WAY TOO MUCH.]

Like I said, I owed her.

So I dropped the kids off extra-early and drove to the hospital and did some pre-op cheering (“Yay you! Go… sleep while they do their thing! Okay! See you afterwards!”) and spent a lot of time playing Bejeweled on my Clie and half-listening to Good Morning America. (And it became crystal clear to me why I never watch it. Look! Three sisters who had three babies within three days! IT’S A MIRACLE! Or just, you know, slightly unusual or whatever. Um, excuse me if I can’t get overly excited about this on the same day that Ariel Sharon was rushed back into emergency surgery.)

The surgeon came out and told me everything went swimmingly, and then I had to wait about another hour before they’d let me go back. My friend was… completely punch drunk. I played the role of supportive friend and taunted her mercilessly for forgetting what she was saying mid-sentence or just trailing off and falling asleep while we chatted. I’m good that way. She also felt the need to retell a “hilarious” blonde joke the surgeon had told her, and managed to do it in such a way that the only thing that was funny was her spectacular, rambling butchering of the punch line.

So I played nursemaid and chauffeur for a large part of the day; which was fine. I especially enjoyed how I assured her not to worry about me going out to get her prescriptions, and then the pharmacist proclaiming that my total was $70. Ouch. She’ll pay me back, if she remembers that I got them for her. I can always jog her memory with the blonde joke, if necessary.

By early afternoon we were back at her house and she was ready to go nap for a bit. I asked her if I could use their computer so that I might be able to do a little bit of work. No problem, she said. She would log me on. Only, she was still completely loopy and couldn’t remember her password. So she decided to log me on as her 7-year-old. Fine. She went to bed.

I then discovered that every web site I wanted to visit (including that den of iniquity, GMAIL!) was deemed to have ADULT CONTENT by whatever parental control thingie they have set up on their machine. Consequently, I was able to load any web page I wanted, as long as I only wanted, say, the top 1/8th of an inch of content. So. Um. I ended up playing TipTop and Bookworm for a while. Heh.

When I picked the kids up after school, I hadn’t been home since 7 this morning. I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing and maybe even doing something fun with the kids tonight. Hahahaha. I’m such an idiot.

Hey, did I mention that one of the gifts I got Monkey for his birthday is Monopoly Junior? It’s so cute. Instead of houses and hotels it has lemonade stands, and of course the whole thing is simplified quite a bit. I thought this would be a perfect Friday night family activity, because I’m stupid. I bribed the children with the promise of staying up late and gameplaying, and in return they… goaded and tormented each other through dinner anyway.

I’d all but declared GOD DAMMIT WE’RE PLAYING THIS GAME NOW AND ENJOYING BEING A FAMILY! by the time we actually started playing. Chickadee was being the banker and working on her math. Monkey was working on reading his own Chance cards. Or maybe Monkey was flinging himself around on the carpet in a barking seal impression when he wasn’t busy bemoaning the fact that everyone had more lemonade stands than hiiiiiiim, and Chickadee was trying to control every last facet of interaction (“Okay, if he has to pay you, actually he has to give it to ME and I will give it to you”).

Fortunately, in Monopoly Junior the game is over as soon as someone runs out of money. So the torture didn’t go on for too long before Monkey was broke. Unfortunately, he then burst into tears and wanted to know why he “always loses” when we play this game. My pointing out that this was the first time we’d played did little to assuage his sadness. So I set about clearing the board of my and Chickadee’s lemonade stands and setting up only his, boldly declaring “Look! It’s MONKEYWORLD!” This stopped his tears, and he giggled and joined in… until Chickadee… ummm… blew a fuse.

She began a keening wail that–at first–made me giggle, because I thought she was pretending to be upset. My giggles infuriated her and she elevated to full-out SCREAMING the likes of which I haven’t heard her do probably for several years.

“Someone’s tired,” Monkey intoned sagely, and I laughed again. I shouldn’t have laughed.

I asked her several times to please stop screaming. She ignored me and only got louder. Finally I told her to get upstairs and into bed, as I wasn’t entertaining THIS sort of behavior. “YOU CARRY ME UPSTAIRS!” she demanded, sounding like a two-year-old.

“I’m sorry, but you don’t behave this way and expect that I’ll consider carrying you, no.” She was enraged and stood up on the couch to get right up in my face.

“You don’t CONSIDER, YOU DO!” she bellowed. It would’ve been funny if she wasn’t so obviously unhinged by this point.

“This is the last time I’m going to say this. You will go upstairs to bed, NOW. Refusal to do so will result in as many consequences as it takes to get your butt into bed. Starting with we will not be doing your knitting kit this weekend if you cannot control your behavior.” She has been looking forward to this project ever since she got the kit for Christmas. I thought it might bring her back to reason, but I was wrong. She mouthed off again. “Okay,” I said over my shoulder, as I walked upstairs with Monkey, “you’ve lost the knitting kit.”

“YOU PROMISED!” she shrieked as she ran up the stairs behind me. “YOU CAN’T BREAK YOUR PROMISE!”

“In our family, we promise to treat one another with respect,” I replied as evenly as I could manage. “YOU are breaking your promise to ME right now by treating me so disrespectfully. I would have loved to do your kit with you tomorrow, but I won’t tolerate this kind of behavior. Period. Go get in bed.”

It continued. By the time I left her, sobbing and hysterical, in her bed with the light out, she’d lost several more items, and told me she was going to “tell on me” to her Daddy, who would “come hit me until I was flat.” Ooooookay.

This sort of explosion comes out of nowhere (okay; triggered by… little plastic lemonade stands? Because they are so naturally infuriating?) and I may as well try to flap my arms and fly as calm her down when she gets this way. Tomorrow she won’t even be able to recount it for me other than “I was upset.” Something in her brain just misfires. And for about an hour her head spins around and she speaks (screams) in tongues.

I guess I should be grateful; it’s been an unusually long time since her last episode like this. Several months, I think.

It’s my least favorite way to end an evening.

Me: I love YOU, very much. I’m not loving this behavior, though.
Her: Give me back my stuff.
Me: You can work on earning it back.
Her: NO! Daddy would just GIVE IT TO ME!
Me: Well, I doubt that, and we’re not arguing about it. Go to sleep.
Me: Goodnight, Chickadee. *leaving*
Her: ANSWER ME!!!!]

I’m glad I was able to spend most of the day in a nurturer role. I need that as a counterbalance for these times when I feel like I’m just not able to find the right thing with Chickadee. Even though I know, even though her therapist has told me, that it’s just what happens with her, sometimes. The guilt and frustration don’t just evaporate because I’ve been given the professional “it’s not your fault” benediction.

The fact that my hair was magnificent today was no help whatsoever, but it happens so rarely, it had to be mentioned.


  1. Chookooloonks


    Can I just say that you are officially my she-ro when it comes to parenting? You handled that EXACTLY — and I mean, EXACTLY — like I hope I do when faced with the same situation with my daughter (because, let’s face it, she’s not yet 2, and it’s BOUND to happen). You did that beautifully.

    And, based on what I’ve read here, you and I both know that Chickadee will come around. She always does. And it will all be okay.

    But seriously: when I grow up, I want to be a mommy just like you.


  2. Kris

    Good on you for not getting unhinged back. It’s so easy to do.

    Learning to disengage myself with my kids, too. It’s not easy. (Just disengaged myself with the hubby today. I’m sick of them learning his behaviors. Maybe they can at least learn what my responses to their behaviors will be when they pull the same crap.)

    Hugs on you both.

  3. Ms Sisyphus

    Oh Mir. I’m only giggling because if you replace Monopoly Jr. with Mousetrap and the stories ends with the mom eventually being briefly sucked into the vortex of screaming, you just pretty much described my evening with Diva Girl.

    We totally deserve ice cream. Or wine.

  4. buffi

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one having these exchanges with my daughter. I have worked hard at maintaining control while this goes on.

    The “you don’t love me” is the newest twist in our little game. It seems so much more cruel than “I hate you.” What happens when they are teenagers, Mir? That convent is looking better & better!

  5. Pamalamadingdong

    Y’know sometimes it’s just nice to read that someone else’s kid is acting like a lunatic sometimes too! And I thought it was just mine! I totally blame Xmas vacation time…here didn’t start till Dec 23rd! So they didn’t spend the usual week off before xmas. Where you could often threaten them with the all seeing Santa when the evil spirit inside them decided to show it’s ugly head. No! Santa can TWO days after school got out and it was all over by Monday. The two weeks that lay ahead were nothing but under-rested…over-stimulated out of control hell. My oldest is BORED beyond belief..too old for daycare…too young to be home all day….oh my…rant out of control…lost point long ago…too much wine…,,,lemonade stand..maddening.

  6. Cori

    It’s got to be the age, since Buffi and I have discussed a similar phenomenon when talking about our girls. So far I do a pretty fair job of pulling back from the situation when it gets to this point. If it’s this bad now, how will we get through the teens??? *shaking in horror*

  7. Busy Mom

    I have been playing a lot of Bejeweled here at the hospital today, and, I have that cupcake thingy (at home, not at the hospital), too. Just thought you should know.

  8. Cele

    Woah Mir, serious kudos. Now I know what my mother went through with me. Me Be*atch, her Saint. So is Chickadee’s screaming fits caused by food?

    Glad you found your happy pills.

    Missed the boots. I have to tell you. Four weeks ago I slipped on the ice, and despite the fact I was laughing, it hurt like the dickens because I dislocated my hip. I went to St. Gregory the chiropractor and he munched me back into shape. Until I walked through the produce aisle and slipped on an errant green bean and (you got it) wacked out my hip again. Pass the happy pills please.

  9. Dawn

    I’m telling you – book the convent now!

    Seriously, you do so well in that situation. It would be so easy for a mom with less maturity and self-control to allow it to turn so ugly so fast.

    And sometimes, honey, spectacular hair is all we have to cling to. I mean all to which we have to cling. (Sorry. my junior high grammar teacher just smacked me in the back of the head. She clearly doesn’t love me!)

  10. Jenrigg

    I’m exhausted just reading about it! LOL But I had to laugh cos I was coming on here to ask what you had written in your blog: when I tried to read it from work it was blocked with the message “adult content”. What a coincidence ;)

  11. Leanne

    I can always modify the tipped halo, you know. ;P

    I’ve been known to cut out a paper crown and write “DRAMA QUEEN” on it, and when necessary, force it on a young noggin and let her sit with it in her room, in front of a mirror. Don’t you just wish that they would listen when you say “cut the crap” the very first time?

    Makes me appreciate how long my mom tolerated my sassy little mouth before she got out the willow branch and chased me down the street.


  12. David

    In the unending see-saw of life, one kid goes up while the other goes down. And mom is ever the fulcrum, holding up both at once. Bless your heart.

  13. Carrie

    Wowza! I don’t know if I could have handled that situation without throwing someone out the window. Great job on remaining calm and sticking to your guns. I hope tomorrow is a better day with Chickadee.

  14. The Other Leanne

    Wow, I’m guessing what Chickadee meant was “You don’t love me [as much as you love Monkey because you created Monkeyworld for him even though I did a very good job as Banker but I’m having trouble expressing my feelings in an appropriate manner and so I just have to BE MAD AT YOU!]” My goodness, I’m glad I outgrew that behavior (hahahahaha!).
    Love the Drama Queen crown, Leanne, can I borrow it?

  15. shannon

    Ah yes, the good hairday can often buoy your spirits…

    As for the shoe polish question, if you send me a photo of the scratch I can offer some suggestions (I sell shoes and we have a repair shop as well).

    Chickadee will get over it. You did good. Monkey makes me smile.

    Happy Saturday…ugh, I just want to go home (I love working retail).

  16. Niki Vogler

    I rarely comment, but had to today, and just to point out that all the drug/demerol/morphine references in today’s post got me a Google ad for Vicodin – 20% more free. Sounds like it could be good after today’s escapades! And as the mom of 2 girls, 15 and 10, both drama queens, I’m very glad you found your happy pills – they make life (and kids) much more tolerable.

  17. Fraulein N

    I know it wasn’t funny at the time, but “You don’t CONSIDER, YOU DO!” is pretty much hilarious.

    Having been big sister to a little boy who was NOT a very gracious loser, I can kind of understand — but certainly do not condone — Chickadee’s psycho meltdown. You handled it like a true pro.

  18. carson

    I’ve played that scene before with my daughter. Including the script about the stuff (without the extra whirl of playing parents against each other.)

    I’m so glad you had a good day before that.

  19. Nothing But Bonfires

    Dude, being a banker is STRESSFUL. No wonder she had a meltdown.

  20. margalit

    I’ve got a teenaged version of Chickadee. Same kind of tantrums, same ‘tude, same outrage. When she was 3, I took her to a therapist because she had 3 hour tantrums and nothing would calm her down. Ditto for ages 4, 5, 6, 7… and now she’s 13 and she STILL has the same type of tantrums. It is a personality thing, because she’s in therapy and has been forever and a day, and we’ve been in family therapy forever, and we’ve had more advice and professional help than anyone I know and nothing but nothing works. It’s just who she is. If I didn’t have effexor I would have tossed her out in the snow, I swear it. But when she’s nice, she is so sweet and so loving that the screaming always kinda shocks me.

    I hope Chickadee gets her act toether before puberty sets in. If not, move and leave no forward address whilst she’s in school.

    Thanks for the tupperware info. I was the person who asked about it.

    Take your boots to the cobbler and ask for custom polish. He can mix something up for you, or polish them right there.

    Oh, and when the kids get old enough for real monopoly, refuse to play with them. You have a headache. You ALWAYS have a headache for monopoly. Believe me on this one.

  21. Heather

    I’ll have to agree with the others that you managed to handle what must’ve been a very difficult situation beautifully. I think I may have been like that as a child, some days. I’m hoping if my (hypothetical) kids have those days (which they probably will) that I’m able to handle it as gracefully as you.

  22. Lizzy'sMom

    I heart you Mir. My 11 year old is going through puberty, and Oh-My-God, well, lets just say sometimes I need an extra glass of wine & whine(mine) at night!
    Do you think they know we go to our rooms and crumble after these episodes?

  23. Angela

    Oh Mir. I would do that little *hugs* thingy, but that’s really strange coming from people you don’t really know, isn’t it? (My appologies to anyone in previous comments who have done *hugs*.)
    Anyway, praying for you here. You are a phenomenally strong woman. And it WILL be okay. I’m 37 years old and sometimes I WANT so badly to just act like Chickadee did. (I detest Monopoly. It’s a tool of SATAN intended to make me lose my sanity, so I can only hypothesize that Monopoly, Jr. is the same, only as a kid friendly version…er…if you can imagine that any tool of Satan would have a kid friendly version.)

  24. Amy-GO

    Poor baby. Poor, poor baby. I mean you, not Chickie. I’m so sorry and just want to say…I’m completely impressed with your mommy skillz. I would’ve had a meltdown right back at her. And it would have put her meltdown to shame, and probably scared the crap out of Monkey to boot. It has happened before. Good on you for not going there! Mir = my new hero! ;)

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