"Mommy, are you still mad?" my son asked me with a quaver in his voice.
Mad, moi ?
I'm mad because the 9/11 Commission Report had key elements blacked out until after the election, and now we find out that all that intelligent "Intelligence" was discarded and dismissed about Osama, and non-intelligent "Intelligence" was distorted and displayed to send us to war in Iraq and kill countless thousands of innocent children and their parents.
I'm mad because the selfish, thoughtless, clod-hopping rhinos otherwise known as our upstairs neighbors nicknamed by my son as "The Scrapers," due to the tiresome fact that they are too lazy to lift their lardy carcasses out of their chairs and gently pick them up instead of scraping them along the floor -- have invited a clod-hopping brigade of builders inside to drill, pound, yammer and hammer, and scrape, scrape, scrape till the cows come home.
I'm mad because an insipid, simpering, sycophantic simpleton like Paris Hilton gets her mug in the papers practically every day and there's just no way to get around seeing her vapidity trumpeted in print.
I'm mad that we live in a society where seemingly any bimbo with a famous last name can get attention simply for being born.
I'm mad because Prince Charles finally proposed to the love of his life after he married and divorced a women who wasn't the love of her life, and if he had proposed to the love of his life when he should have, we wouldn't have had to read about his wanting to be reincarnated as a tampon, and Lady Diana Spencer would have married some nice bloke who would have given her the dozen children she wanted and she'd be the Grande Dame of some country pile and still be happily alive and kicking.
I'm mad because it's getting on to be that horrid time of year when I have to do my tax paperwork and dump in at my hapless accountant's, and a gallon of organic milk costs nearly $7 in New York City and I can barely afford to live here.
I'm mad because tsunami-fatigue has already set in. The story has all but disappeared from the news.
I'm mad because a lovely subscriber named Carrie emailed to tell me "I am mad that my kids are being pushed to grow up too fast. I am mad that the schools push them earlier and earlier…. I am mad that the schools now have to teach values, conflict resolution, and anger management because parents no longer teach their kids these things" -- and she's so absolutely right that now I'm extra-mad!
"Mommy, are you really still mad?" my son asks.
"No, my angel of love, I'm not really still mad," I reply, pretending to look for fluff in his belly button and listening to him squeal with laughter. "Do I look mad?"
"Of course you do," he says matter-of-factly, then goes back to burying his cardboard mummies in the Play-doh sarcophagi we've made. He's happy. Order has been restored to the kingdom.
But inside, I'm mad!
MAD MOMENT OF THE MONTH
You know what makes my blood boil? High-fructose corn syrup. Why can't I buy a container of yogurt or a bottle of ketchup (well, never mind ketchup, I can't stand the stuff) or a loaf of my son's favorite 100% whole wheat bread without reading high-fructose corn syrup on the label? What do they need to put that junk in there for when a dab of honey will do the trick?
That I live in a nation of fatties who are only getting fatter is not just something that makes me mad. It makes me worried as hell for all the fat little children who are growing up obese because their parents don't feed them properly and don't incorporate exercise into their lives and come up with lots of excuses why they can't walk for a measly half an hour every day but they sure can spend hours plonked in front of the TV, scarfing snacks and snorking down sodas laden with high-fructose corn syrup.
Food used to be sweetened with simple sugar, which was bad enough. According to the US Department of Agriculture, in 1966, refined sugar (sucrose) accounted for 86 percent of sweeteners used. Now, nearly 40 years later, high-fructose corn syrup (sweeter and easier to use, and derived from cornstarch, usually from genetically modified corn) accounts for 55 percent of the sweetener market. Last time the USDA checked, in 2001, Americans ate on average, 62.6 pounds per person of the stuff. Now that really makes me mad -- 62.6 pounds!!!
But wait -- it gets worse! What about the other 45 percent of sweeteners? Consumption of all sugars has leapt from an estimated 113 pounds per person in 1966 to 147 pounds!!! Holy Krispy Kreme, I'm getting a sugar rush just from the thought.
Did you know that a single 12-ounce can of soda can contain as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup? Or that a low-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt can have 10 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup in one serving?
Since the USDA advises most people to limit themselves to 10 to 12 teaspoons of added sugars each day, why don't food companies and school lunch makers listen? What's really going into the food our kids eat at school? Or drink on the indulgent days when you want to give a tired and fussy kid a Snapple? How many kids are going to develop diabetes and heart disease before their parents wake up and read the labels?
High fructose-using food companies of the world, you make me mad!
MAD QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Dear Mad Mom:
Okay, I am ashamed to admit that my 3-year-old daughter still uses a pacifier. She just loves that stupid binkie. I curse the day that my husband first gave it to her when she was really tiny and needed the comfort, but everyone is really getting on my case now. My little girl is totally addicted and I don't know what to do. Please help!
Blast that Binkie
Dear BB –
Love how you blame your husband for the bestowal of the pacifier -- did you think I wouldn't notice! Very clever. I salute you.
Anyway, I called to get advice from my son's pediatric dentist, who is a kind and gentle soul and, even better, has a huge waiting room with tons of toys and a DVD player, so the little patients can relax before being taken away kicking and screaming into the examining rooms (just kidding -- pediatricians and other children's MDs who don't have good play space for their patients really make me mad!). She said it is physiologically okay for a child to chomp away on a pacifier up till around the age of 4. It's verboten as soon as the permanent teeth start to come down. I have to admit I was flabbergasted when she said that, because everyone says pacifiers are a no-no after age one or so.
She also said that a pacifier is always better than a thumb. She suggested you cut the tops off to make it impossible to suck. And you can't cut off a thumb!
If that doesn't work, the only way to go is cold turkey. Brace yourself for a few days of screaming. Bribe the little sucker with Goodbye Binkie presents. Make a ceremony by either Burning the Binkies or Flinging the Binkies into the Ocean or River. (Or creek, or gutter, whatever.)
Good for you for allowing your daughter to comfort herself in a manner that does no harm. It just makes a 3-year-old look like a baby, and mom and dad look like pathetic parents. And that kind of automatic assumption makes me mad!
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