Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I try to be kind---it's just always "come natural" to me, and it's certainly a lot easier than being a grump. And I can't find or imagine a moment in this world that MEAN would be appropriate or acceptable.

I read once, during the time that all my children were very young, that there are two kinds of Mothers. One, hearing a crash somewhere in the house, shouts, "What did you BREAK!!!??"

The other, the more coveted sort, calls out, "Are you OK?"

I resolved that the latter was the one for me. I kept to it: it became second nature, then first, and we went on for years in such accord, as a matter of course.

Then, there was that one day that it was hot and I'd grasped a handful of ooey-dead-but-not-quite-stiff fishing worms, by running my hand innocently into DS#1's jeans pocket. Then, I'd had to take a cut potato to the broken lightbulb that just WOULD NOT come out of the lamp.

And then there was the dropped gravy bowl---said bowl would hold about two cups, but by the time the stuff had run like lightning from the central splash, it had filled up the entire kitchen linoleum and was making its way toward the den rug---the Augean STABLES had not that much liquid. I sorta corralled it into the dustpan with a baker's-bench scraper, and thus into the sink, but it was a MESS, and I don't mean maybe. Super-hot mopping water and half a Mr. Clean to get up the greasy film, even after two rolls of paper towels.

Oh, did I say it was HOT? Deep South HOT, with a blaze unknown in gentler, more tepid climes---like, say, the Kalahari. I'd been in the garden before daylight, to take advantage of the "cool spell"---why, it had barely reached ninety before 6 a.m.---and we'd shelled and washed the beans, and I'd sweated and stood over boiling pots of blanching beans, in the afternoon-sun-filled kitchen, and I think I'd just. had. enough.

About the third crash, the fifth yell from afar, I just took leave of my senses, and, motto and parable aside, I screeched, "YOU'D BETTER BE BLEEDIN' !!!!

I apologized and it was accepted, but still I cringe at the memory.

Any similar Mama stories?


~~louise~~ said...

Hi Rachel,
Just dropped by to say HI! I have a whole list of Mama stories...don't we all:)

I used the Dr. Ginott method with my children. Childrenese is all fine and good but I tell ya, a good curse word worked just as well or better!!!

Pam said...

oh my! when my "14 months apart" babies were about 2 and 3 years old,at the dinner hour, after a long day of dealing with toddlers who were asserting themselves relentlessly, i recall putting them both - screaming - in their respective cribs and rooms. i then put myself in my room and called their daddy, saying, "you better come home now, or your children may not live to see another day!" he came right home (and i would have NEVER hurt my precious babies!)

racheld said...

Well, Hi, to both of you!!!

I don't remember any "method" other than just looking them in the eye for a quiet word, so they knew what was expected, and they usually did it. I've always had the feeling that there were very few children I couldn't reason with, given a moment of quiet talk together.

PS---Pam, I had a set of 16-months-apart "twins" myself, and that was quite a time. I understand that needing to turn over the reins "right now," just to remain sane.

Keetha said...

Oh, dear. I wouldn't want to list them. I strive to be kind first and irritated later, but some days are better than others.

He's a dear, though!

Kouign Aman said...

Too many to count. She could probably cite you chapter and verse on them tho. Sigh.