Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The Matron pulled this from the back forty -- the vast unread beginning of her blog -- because the demands of the first week of the semester have her tripping over her To Do list. A child under age 5? You might relate (although she hopes you never had to endure such a day as the one below).

When Merrick was 2 1/2, Scarlett (then 7) sniffed twice and proclaimed herself too sick to attend school. The Matron knew otherwise, but is a big believer in hooky. Plus, she was secretly thrilled. Scarlett was that toddler's best wind-up toy. He'll be occupied! She made a list: kitchen floor, bathroom, laundry, pile in Stryker's room with plans to whip through everything! Incurable Clutter Brain Suck, at bay!

Scarlett, however, had other plans. Home without Stryker evaluating her every move, she spent the entire day moving from one electronic devise to another: Game Boy, DS Lite, TV, Computer. Her eyes glazed and she grew surly. Merrick wailed in her wake, begging Scarlett to to 'pway' the Game Boy or build blocks -- or any other thing at all ---with HIM , and begging his mama to intervene.

"But this is my day off!" Scarlett whined. Cough, cough.

They fought the entire morning. Thurston, the 13 year old dog, threw up twice. The Matron cleaned up everyone's messes and forgot that list.

Conveniently around 12:45, she remembered Merrick's 1 pm dental appointment!!!! He had fallen a couple of weeks ago and hit a front tooth; the tooth turned gray, then white and now gray again. The Matron gathered her youngest two with some urgency -- hurry, hurry, hurry!

Scarlett shuffled to the van, cleverly remembering to bring the Game Boy so they could continue fighting about it. Merrick inquired about Destination. Lying is an excellent parenting tool which the Matron stupidly forgot.

"To the dentist." They both scream! The dentist is like Dante's Inferno, the guilotine, and post-Thanksgiving Day shopping sales wrapped up altogether.

Matron: "No, no, no--just for Merrick!"

Mistake. This is the stimulating dialectic she enjoys for the next 20 minutes:

Merrick: "I go to dentist?"

Me: "Yes! It'll be okay."

Merrick (wailing): "Please no make me, please no make me."

Matron: "It will be okay!"

Merrick: "Please don't make me, please don't make me!"


The dentist's office was jam-packed. There's one big room with four dental chairs and everybody was in the same mood as Merrick. One child screamed. And screamed and screamed. Merrick collapsed.

He was 2 1/2.

"I want ki-ki!" This is code for Let's Nurse, Mama!

These words should mean the Matronly milk lets down but instead it's sweat. The whole weaning thing was about one year behind schedule. She was on board but Merrick? Firmly in the ProKiKI Camp.

"I want ki-ki!!" Merrick moved from firm to frantic in fourteen seconds. 'KI KI. KI KI."

The dental assistant's horror was palpable. You'd think something slimy had crawled up her shirt. If only. "Oh my God, you're not still nursing him, are you? That's the worst thing. You should see the teeth rot we get here."

Suddenly there was NO noise as even babies stopped crying to see the sloppy lazy over-indulging mother who was STILL nursing her toddler.

The Matron is suddenly the most agreeable mother the hygenist will see all month. "No, no, no. Of course not! Yes, ugh! Awful. He just remembers, isn't that funny!" Merrick tears at her shirt, looking for an angle in. He weeps and claws. The Matron holds her shirt down like a fortress.

Merrick pounds at the collar: "KI KI KI!!!"

Thank GOD the dentist arrives for further humiliation.

"Why are you even here?" she demands, like the Matron crashed her party.

"Well, I called. The woman on the phone said to come right in."

"But teeth bruise and change colors all the time. It's no big deal. Everybody knows that."

Except the Matron, it appears. She took her thoroughly scolded self back to the van where Merrick got his ki-ki in hiding. Scarlett woke up from the Game Boy long enough to ask if a trip to Creative Kidstuff would be in her future. There are 40 minutes to kill before picking up Stryker from school. Before she tosses in the towel, she fondly remembers the optimism with which the day began.

Why not more torture?

The children bounced through this very expensive toy store, which exists as a unique kind of parental hell. Children get to fall in love in twenty different ways, with gym-scale race tracks or $100 dolls-- and parents get to be the ogre who says "No" to every last thing they adore. "No, no, no. I'm sorry, no."

In the midst of all these 'no's, the Matron heard Scarlett scream: Daddy! John (whose office is across the street) saw us and surprised his darlings!! He threw each child up in turn. They're rescued. It's Mr. Fun! They beamed.

A white-haired grandmother sighed. "What a good father. Isn't it wonderful how they do so much work these days!" An ugly animal growled within the Matron. Aren't there stairs this Pollyanna can be pushed down?

After Mr. Fun leaves, Scarlett begged for a $3. hot chocolate at Woullets Bakery. The Matron was firm, absolutely not. We have a bucket of Nestles at home.

Scarlett looks up from the screen. "Isn't that one of those mean big corporations doing bad things to children? Don't they use dirty water for babies or something?"

Over at Woulletts, they all sat at a tall table with hot chocolate. Merrick reached over for a napkin . . . . and missed.

The spill was truly spectacular. An explosion, really. Cocoa on the windows, the walls, streaming down the floor, covering Scarlett's white pants, pouring on Merrick's tummy. Wow.

"What a bad thing to do! Look at this mess!" The Matron HISSED and SNAPPED at her children.

Way to go, Matron. Merrick wailed louder.
The person behind the counter doesn't helpfully jump in: she handed the Matron a towel. She wiped up the best she could through the din only when she shoved the cocoa and coffee into the waste container, it spilled again. The Matron was sweating. Again.

A woman and her young daughter carefully avoid the beet-red, despondant, exhausted, fried and frayed and now soaking, sugary wet Matron on their way out. Carefully avoid, as in pointedly step around.
"What's wrong with those people?" asked the child, anxious. The mother dispensed wisdom. "They're messy. Some people just are that way."

One more person the Matron felt needed a good shove down some stairs.

Her urge to scold Merrick into a pulp of shame was replaced with despair when the little guy lifted up his tiny t-shirt to show big red burn marks from the cocoa. "It hurts." He blinked new tears.

They staggered to the van, wet, Scarlett limping dramatically with those two legs of hot cocoa--and still able to play the Game Boy! Boy, her children have talent. People stare. The Matron settled in Merrick and must have stepped on the paper towel roll stored in the van (because she's so messy). A sheet sticks to her sticky cocoa-sodden sole and the roll flies, arcing up and across Grand Avenue -- miraculously, one sheet still stuck to her foot as the roll playfully bounced through traffic to the other curb. What a trick.

Weren't those the good old days!


Michele R said...

What a good read!! Omg I felt your pain!!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Yes, some people are just like that. One can only hope that woman had her comeuppance one day. A child vomiting in public, say...

Becky said...

I want to hug all of you. Back through time.

And push that twitty dental assistant down a hill.

Minnesota Matron said...

If only this weren't 100% true. I still feel the exhaustion of that day.

MJ said...

That was indeed a day never to forget. As a mom on the verge of ceasing to be a stay-at-home mom, I'll never forget how difficult those stay-at-home days were!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The heat and the sweating when it just won't quit--I've had a day or two like that myself.

Mrs. G. said...

I absolutely don't like any people who say, "but everyone knows that".

Hay said...

OMG, we live the same life.

Beth Cotell said...

Wow!! What a truly horrible group of people you encountered that day!

Are you sure you didn't shove any of them down the stairs? I think I would have!

~annie said...

I'm sorry - I know it must have been an awful day for you at the time, but the way you write about it has me in stitches!

The Other Laura said...

I could literally feel this day in my bones. I vividly remember days like that from when Max was small. (And I nursed him until he was almost four, once during a particularly colorful meltdown in the zoo parking lot sitting on a curb!)

Common Household Mom said...

I was sobbing with you, commiserating with you and with myself too for the days I have had that were at least a little bit like that. But, oh, the paper towel!

Amanda said...

My goodness!! How rude of that dental worker!! You just go ahead and nurse as long as you want!!!

So there! :)

Hey! Just an FYI, I am giving away $100 cash on my blog. Easy stuff! just stop by if your intereested!

God bless-

Daisy said...

OMG, the memories! Did you laugh or cry at the paper towel performance art?!