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added Mar.22

by Karen Moline

"Mommy, are you really mad?" my son asked, his eyes round.

Mad, moi ?

I'm mad because my sweet nanny had her wallet stolen on the subway after taking her son to school, and the pickpockets worked as a team, targeting the small and meek (as Dorothy said to the Wizard), and they got all her cash and credit cards and baby photos of her little boy and her social security number so they can swipe her identity as well, and they left her sobbing all weekend and I just want to pulverize them into a puddle of misery so deep they can never crawl out of it.

I'm mad because I only just finished paying the exorbitant fees for the year to send my son to a decent preschool, and I've already had to start paying for classes that don't begin until next September.

I'm mad because a friend of mine just died a horrible, painful death from cancer at age fifty-four, and she'd spent a year growing progressively sicker yet was so afraid to go to the doctor to find out what was wrong that her fears literally killed her.

I'm mad because at her wake, her friends all fought over who was the "better" friend, when in truth none of them were good enough friends to drag her to the doctor when there was clearly something terribly wrong.

I'm mad because Global Warming is a reality, even if our President refuses to admit it, but it's still so cold that the leaves on the nascent daffodils are frozen solid and it seems as if spring will never arrive.

I'm mad because mummies have better teeth than me, no doubt due to the sadistic orthodontist who tortured me for years and blamed me for the fact that I exposed him to mumps which was hardly my fault but he took it out on me anyway, yanking all my baby teeth with no anesthesia in malicious glee.

I'm mad because poor people can't afford to go to the dentist, so mummies have better teeth than they do, too.

I'm mad because a four-year-old found a loaded gun his mother's purse in her bedroom and used it to shoot his two-year-old brother in the head when they were fighting.


"Mommy, are you really still mad?" my son asks.

"Yes, my sweetest lump of love, I'm still mad," I reply, "but not at you."

"Then why?" he asked, stuffing a Tibetan momo into his mouth.

"I'm mad because sometimes grownups do really stupid things, and it just gets to me," I tell him.

"You said a bad word," he says happily, then goes back to his dumpling. He's thrilled to catch me out. I need to watch my bad words.

But inside, I'm mad!



You know what makes my blood boil? Downsizing. Not just corporate downsizing that fattens the top shareholders' wallets while depriving those lower on the totem pole a chance to advance or even hold onto their jobs. I'm talking about the daily downsizing you find at the grocery store.

Yogurt used to be sold in eight-ounce cups. Now it's a scant six ounces. A bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips used to a pound. Now it's twelve ounces (even with my limited math skills, even I know that's a 25 % decrease). A can of tuna used to be seven ounces. Now it's six. A can of tomato soup used to be twelve ounces. Now it's ten and three-quarters. Why don't food manufacturers just shrink everything down to dollhouse size and be done with it?

And do the prices go down when the yogurt cup and plastic bag and metal can start shrinking? What, are you mad? If consumers are lucky, we'll get an ad trumpeting "New and Improved" just because a soup can has a pop top now. Frankly, I can still use a can opener, and I don't want to pay twice as much for half as much all for the convenience of not having to spend fifteen seconds opening a can.

Moral of the story: don't buy any processed food. But that is next to impossible in this world. Besides, cans of soup are worthy staples to have stashed in the pantry for impromptu cooking. Unsweetened yogurt and canned tuna are good to eat. Everyone likes a melting hot chocolate chip cookie now and then (or mostly now).

Food manufacturers of the world, you make me mad!



Dear Mad Mom:

My five-year-old daughter has declared that she will only eat all-white foods. Okay, so off-white, like pasta, will do in a pinch. That means she'll only eat egg whites (good), mayo (yuck), yogurt with some sugar in it (passable), white fish (excellent), white American cheese (okay), vanilla ice cream, pasta with white sauce (blech), and drink milk (good). The other day I caught her scarfing whipped cream from the can. My husband hates to cook (I love to, so that's not the problem) and he tells me not to worry, it's just a phase. But my daughter isn't getting a lot of nutritious food in her, like fruits and veggies, and I'm going crazy. Help me!




Dear White-Out:

Excuse me, Madame La Blanche, but who exactly is the chef du cuisine around your house? As seven-year-olds are fond of saying, Are you the boss of me? In this case, I'm afraid the answer is yes. You, dear Mama, are the boss. You make the food. You serve the food. You make the rules. You enforce the rules.

So to ease your menu planning, make each meal simple. Protein, carbohydrates, veggies, and fruit, all on the same plate. Every meal. Every day. On your plate, too. If your little girl won't eat of the veggies, don't nag her. Just put them on her plate for the next meal…and the next…and the next. Make sure she sees you eating them.

Eventually, she'll start eating them too.

And what, pray tell, are you doing with a spray can of chemically-flavored, preservative-laden alleged whipped cream within reaching distance in your fridge? Someone's been a naughty, naughty parent!


Mad Mom

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