by Karen Moline
"Mommy, are you mad?" my son's sweet little voice piped up.
Mad, moi ?
I'm mad because I have such a rotten cold I can't breathe and the stupid cold pills are starting to make me twitch.
I'm mad because everyone who owes me money has forgotten to put the checks in the mail.
I'm mad because the complex we live in has decided to replace perfectly usable metal keys with swipable photo ID cards that will put us all at risk for identity theft.
I'm mad because I ate all the chocolate I'd stashed in my desk and my cold is so rotten I don't have the energy to go to the corner deli for more.
I'm mad because my son's school had only one day of classes this week due to an extended (to their minds, at least) holiday weekend.
I'm mad because the woman Angelina Jolie used to facilitate her son's adoption from Cambodia just got sentenced to 18 months in prison for visa fraud and money laundering (in other words, she was a child trafficker) and 18 months isn't long enough for the dregs of the earth like her.
I'm mad because I only get rotten colds when my son's nanny takes some extra time off.
I'm mad because Mercury Retrograde is only a permissible excuse for everything going wrong, and I can't use this excuse when Mercury really is Retrograde.
I'm mad because kids always throw up only when you've just put nice clean new sheets on the bed.
I'm mad because I picked up all my parenting magazines, looking for advice on how to deal with the neighborhood bully who gets his ya-ya's out by spitting on the innocents as his mom sits nearby and coos, "Honey, we don't do that" before turning her much-needed attention away from her Brat and back to her latte, and I realized that much of their advice sounds the same. You know, here's the problem (I'm always stressed!), here's how I screwed up (Dumb me!), here's what the experts say (Aren't they clever!), here's how I fixed it (Aren't I amazing!). These columns are textual equivalent of a sitcom, where the world's problems are solved in a pert 21 minutes with some pithy comments from a preternaturally perky little Olsen twin and a group hug.
That makes me mad!
So what do I say to my son, looking at me with such imploring trust when he repeats his question, his voice trembling.
"Mommy, are you mad?"
"No, my love, I'm not mad," I reply, somehow managing to scrunch my features into the funny face that always makes him laugh, and kissing the delicious sweet spot on the back of his neck. "Do I look mad?"
He pulls away and shrugs, and then my little Mr. Macabre goes back to making spells with toothpicks dipped in food coloring gels (water soluble, highly recommended for rainy days) and then swirled into his neatly arranged plastic martini glasses with the skulls on the stems. He's happy. Order has been restored to the kingdom. I blow my nose and paste on a smile.
But inside, I'm mad!
MAD MOM is the place to vent. Life can be a real pain, but what do we do about it? My friend Rebecca was struggling with breast cancer. She'd had an excruciating mastectomy, her hair had fallen out from chemo, and she was so tired she couldn't even pick up her 2-year-old daughter. I asked her how she was doing.
"Fine," she said.
Did she need anything?
"No, I'm okay. Really."
Rebecca is a darling, and she's mercifully on the road to recovery, but she needed to get with the program. She wasn't a mad mom. She was afraid to vent.
So MAD MOM will be her venting site by proxy.
This is the column for all Mad Moms and Disgusted Dads, Nonplussed Nannies and Bursting Babysitters, Frazzled Friends and Revolted Relatives to vent, too.
Ask me questions.
Tell me what makes you mad.
And then together we can try to do something about all the madness in the world.
Without going crazy.
MAD MOMENT OF THE MONTH
You know what makes my blood boil? Whenever I buy my son a new toy, it is affixed to the box with at least 85 of those little plastic tie thingies and it takes an hour of grunting, broken nails, cursing ("Mommy, you said a bad word!"), and threatening all the unborn children of the toy manufacturer's CEO to undo them.
Can someone please explain to me why 85 little plastic tie thingies are needed to affix for a toy that costs $2.99 to the box? Is there some special factory paying slave wages to those unfortunate to have to make a living twisting plastic ties around someone else's toys? (If there is, that would really make me mad.) Do toy manufacturers and toy stores really think that so many of their $2.99 toys are going to be shoplifted, and that notion somehow justifies the 85 little plastic tie thingies?
I think not.
And to top it all off, literally, there are layers of thick, nonrecyclable plastic on top of the $2.99 toy that has already been affixed with the 85 little plastic tie thingies.
What a waste of resources. What an unnecessary addition to the already overburdened landfills of the world.
Toymakers of the world, you make me mad.
MAD QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Dear Mad Mom:
My little girl, Ashleigh, is 6. She's a real tomboy. I'd dreamed about having a feminine little girl and whenever I buy her something really sweet and adorable to wear she tells me it's "pukefying" and to give it away because she'll "puke" if she has to wear it. Can you help?
Frustrated and Frilly
Why would you want to change your little girl's personality to suit your own desires? When you come up with a good answer, please write me back and I hope it's a good one or else I'll really get mad!
In the meantime, count your blessings that your home is not cluttered with Bratz, Barbies, My Little Ponies, Cabbage Patch dolls, American Girl dolls, Wipey-Diapies and whatever other revoltingly overpriced merchandise is clogging toy store shelves. (Now that's what I'd call pukefying.) Be grateful your sweet 6-year-old isn't yet interested in makeup, manicures, and pedicures. Take her to aikido lessons, or fencing lessons, or pottery classes where she can get down and dirty. Most of all, embrace her strengths.
And get over yourself!
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