Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Matron Apologizes

to pretty much every human being who had the fabulous adventure (um, serious misfortune) of interacting with her during the first two years of Stryker's life -- before she had more offspring onto which to focus her considerable energy. And anxiety.

You see, the Matron?

When her firstborn was approximately 43 days, 11 hours and 32 seconds old (not that she was tracking), she noticed yellow snot oozing out of said child's nose!!

Her instant instinct was to dial 911. She is not kidding. Thank God her mother-in-law was nearby to physically hold her back from the phone.

The Matron apologizes to the female pediatrician she interviewed while four months pregnant. Oh My God! Repression has its merits. The Matron actually did something like this:

Newly Pregnant Matron: "How many years experience do you have?"

Pediatrician: "Twenty-five. Twenty of those as a mother of four."

NPM (sooo not impressed): "Hmmmm. Did you see the recent AMA study linking ultrasound noise to fetal discomfort? How about the Congressional hearings on vaccines and autism? Lead as a public health issue? Correlation between the Great Lakes and thyroid disease? My notes indicate that your clinic recently partnered with the University of Minnesota, offering in-services on childhood nutrition to doctors. Did you partake in this opportunity? Knowledge of scoliosis and screening? How do you tend to children with clear gender identification issues? Gay or lesbian children or those wondering and when do you consider these things? Are you able to glance at a child and guarantee they will not be run over by a minivan or contract the nation's only case of malaria?"

Funny how just after that 'interview,' the pediatrician's nurse called to say the doctor was no longer taking new patients.

The Matron is sorry for being utterly unbearable!

She also apologizes to the preschool staff who suffered through the Matron's intense scrutiny of their school, perched on a child's stool for one week solid while she scoped out 3 year old education ONE FULL YEAR in advance!!! With questions and unsolicited advice!

Matron to preschool teacher: "You know, I read in Psychology Today that squabbles among children are actually a good thing, that one should allow the fight. So maybe you should NOT have intervened when little Sally hit Theo on the head."

Note how this was not a question.

Preschool Teacher: "Mary, is that your stool in the corner? You should go there."

But -- a glimmer of hope! When Stryker was just 9 months old and at a friend's house with the Matron, a messy house full of children and half-eaten food and complex Game, Stryker picked up a muffin that someone had dropped and popped it in his mouth.

The Matron didn't miss a beat in her adult conversation.

More experienced mother: "Are you okay with Stryker eating something that Lucy dropped on the floor?"

Matron: "Oh my God. Yes. If it's not poison, have at it."

Experienced Mother: "You're going to do just fine."

Today, the Matron noticed how Merrick runs wild up and down the block. He has several adult, childless neighbor friends with whom he spends quality time, helping them garden or unload groceries or walk the dogs, the things the Matron is TIRED of doing with underage aid.

Merrick: "Mom! I going to Chip and 'Sanndwa's! Be back soon!"

"Mom! I wide my bike now. Bye!"

"Mom! Wosy (Rosy) has cookies fow me. Bye!"

If he's not bleeding, screaming or breaking a bone, the Matron assumes he is fine. What a difference one decade (plus two years) and more children make. She thanks Buddha-God-Oprah that she had enough self-awareness to know that intensity-anxiety like hers demanded distribution among three, rather than razor-like focus on one.

But maybe she should've had four. . . . ?


JessTrev said...

Oh my good Goddess, could you just thank everyone I knew from 2003-2006?

Suburban Correspondent said...

Naah...then you would get too relaxed, like me...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I loved this!
Then I remembered how hypervigilant I was with my firstborn. I would hear him begin to stir in the night and would have that diaper off as he began to unload. And I would wash his toys if another child used them.
I was so frightened I would kill him with neglect. Instead? I annoyed him and anyone else within irritation range. But I'm feeling MUCH better now.

Anonymous said...

a teeny bit of that anxiety sounded like someone who happens to have the same address as me ... someone who is more appropriately medicated these days.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

The Matron? Her brilliance goes on and on.

Mrs. G. said... would have thought I was the most pathetic mother ever. Thank God for the gift of time and mellow.

Heather said...

I like to think I wasn't that bad with my first-born. I'm probably delusional though.

Loved this post.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The most uncomfortable 2 hours of Danger Boy's (#3) life were the ones he spent as an only child out to dinner with his parents. He actually said he couldn't stand the pressure of having to carry the whole conversation.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Well done for stepping away from the edge!

My best friend has just been told by her husband and son that she is a 'helicopter mother' - she walks into the room and they make "whacka,whacka,whacka" noises!

Anonymous said...

Oh, let me catch my breath first from laughing! Brings back memories... hehe.

Peggy Sez.. said...

Because my memory is NOT what it used to be I am desperately trying to recall my child rearing knowledge acquired from my first two hellions..I mean children..

The problem is I can't remember if I want to raise "The Boy" the same way or not..What were we talking about?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. One mother had mentioned to me how young and poor, she had used the first drawer of the clothes cabinet as a makeshift crib. Autobiographical accounts of poor yet paradoxically, fortifying childhoods, as told by Wells, Karr and O'Neill, seem a paean to another time, a world uniquely rare if viewed from the prism of today's hyper-parenting.

Your posts are timely. Here in Canada's national newspaper this week, a popular columnist wrote of many parents' phobias of everything from plastics in toys to chemicals in the grass, lamenting lost childhoods that were ours.

I'm pregnant now with my first, and due to circumstances, perhaps my only. While expected to give birth this August, I've done ashamedly little to prepare, perhaps a reacion to the plethora of information, debates, advice circling everywhere, dizzying to the point of narcoleptic response.

Still, I sit here and obsess of vaccines.

Angie said...

Oh how I cringe when I think of myself with my first too.

R-e-l-a-x, was NOT in my vocabulary.

Anonymous said...

You in the beginning would've been appalled at me in the beginning. I was at your 9 months, right from the get go. LOL.

In my "defense" I raised my little brother so I felt like I had already done it all.

Minnesota Matron said...

Oh, the vaccination issue, anonymous! I understand. We do vaccinate our children but on a slower schedule and a later age. Everybody is doing fine! Reason for this is that Scarlett actually had a seizure at 2 months, post-vaccine. So we even had medical approval to do a different schedule with her. She still reacts with swollen injection sites. But I've become convinced that the greater good is at stake for the majority of these diseases.

Still, we're waiting on the new Hep A. . .

Anonymous said...


If no imposition, could you briefly explain "the slower schedule and at a later age" in a few more details?

I've got no blog, but do have e-mail, if that would help you.

Thank you.

Kimberly said...

Ha! Oh, I can relate to this post all too well. Fortunately, I found myself pregnant again on my daughter's first birthday, so my torture of those around me was rather short lived.

Jennifer S said...

I owe a huge apology to a nurse in the delivery room with my second child.

But your stories are better! I loved this.

Natalie said...

that was hysterical! i have seen those parents but never was one. my mom wouldn't have stood for it. i had a friend once who gave her mom a schedule when she came to watch the baby. all i could think was that if i ever gave my mom a schedule when she came to watch my oldest when she was a baby she would have laughed in my face and then done exactly what she darn well pleased. ahh...motherhood. so fun.

Minnesota Matron said...

Anonymous: You can send me an email at petri017 AT

That's zero one seven. I'd be happy to share our loose plan with you!

Bonnie said...

4??? AAAKKK!

Love the stool in the corner. I often give myself time outs.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Yep that pretty much nails it.

stephanie said...

I'm pretty that because I *think* I wasn't a crazy person, I must have been at least a little nutty.

But I've always been of the same mind as you about food on the floor/ground. I've scandalized many a germ-phobe, but I'm of the Nietzsche mindset there (What doesn't kill you makes you stronger).

Excellent post - should send to new moms...