Monthly Archives: December 2010


Tackling Shannon 1

was never something I had ever, ever intended to do.  All moms and some dads who’ve had daughters know those awful, awful, hormonal, pre-teen, just-shoot-me-years. That’s how old Shannon was when I tackled her.  It was a fairly normal school morning when Shannon was in 6th grade.  I’d gotten the children up for school and going through the whole routine breakfast, dress, get to the bus on time routine.  For about 3 weeks in a row Shannon had a fabulous new habit of loudly announcing that she didn’t want to be awake and that everything in the world was wrong.  She sounded something like this “bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch”.  Actually, she was louder and more demanding.  The younger kids just tried to stay the hell out of her way.

Trust me, I am not a morning person.  I worked evenings at the time and when I got home from work I’d spend hours reading, watching tv,  doing laundry or whatever.  I think my normal bedtime was around 4am.  I’d get up, get the kids off to school and then go back to bed for a few hours.  I can’t say that I was ever entirely awake when I got them off to school.

On this particular morning I was no Carol Brady.  After requesting a few times that Shannon simmer down and not being listened to I got in her face, probably pretty loudly.  I pointed out to her that she wasn’t the only person in the world and that none of the rest of us wanted to be up either but we weren’t bitching and carrying on.  How I’ve just written it is, I’m sure, a lot nicer than how I presented it to Shannon.  I don’t remember my exact words and I’m sure I added some choice ones in my presentation to her.  She stormed into her room and I took a breath.  Not 2 minutes later she came out of her room “bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch”.   At the exact moment she walked down the hall bitching I accidentally stepped into the cat’s water dish and I snapped.  In my frustration I picked up the cat dish and threw it at the wall.  I missed.

I had one of those fake antique bubble gum machines (half full) that was given to me when I was a teenager.  I loved it. Guess what I hit when I missed the wall with the cat dish.  Yep,  it shattered,  glass and gumballs flew everywhere.  That shut Shannon up.  For a moment,  just for a moment.  Come to think of it, that shut everyone up.  After her moment of silence, Shannon started apologizing to me over and over and over.   I let her know that it was NOT her fault that I broke the bubblegum machine.  I let her know that I was an adult and I was the one in charge of my actions and I’m the one who picked up the dish and threw it.  It was my decision, no one had made me do it and I should have behaved much better than that.  I reminded her that I hadn’t  been happy with her behavior and told her why but stressed that my breaking the gumball machine was not her fault.

She seemed to understand and calmed down and went back to her room to get dressed or get her things or something.  When she came back out 3 minutes later she came out “bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch”.  That was the snap after the snap.  I chased her down, tackled her to the ground, sat on her, pinned her down and with my finger in her face, told her exactly what I thinking at the time.  Not a proud moment in my parental history, and later that moment got worse.  I’m only 5 feet 2 and didn’t weigh very much at the time but I was still bigger than a 6th grader.  It also wasn’t a matter of her being physically hurt.  Emotionally scarred maybe?  I don’t  know, you’d have to ask Shannon how it feels to have a parent tackle you.  Once I finished my rant I looked up and the other 2 kids were staring at me with horror on their faces.  I could have died.

The kids when off to school but I didn’t go back to bed that day. I sat down and put my head in my hand. I felt like I’d just done the lowest thing on earth.  One can never take back anything one’s already done, not ever.  I had tackled my 12 year old and mortified my younger kids.  That’s kind of a heavy thing to wear.  I had to live with it.

A week or so passed, we all continued with life.  When Alex was little he had the habit of saying “um” a lot and not quite looking people in the eye when he talked to them.  Alex and I were doing something together when he said “hey mom”,  I answered him and he asked me “you know that time you tackled Shannon?”……heavy sigh….”yes”… I looked at him.  He was darting his eyes this way and that way avoiding contact with me “um….is that going to happen a lot?”.   SLAM!  Once again I felt like the lowest life form ever. I assured him that that was never going to happen again and added “okay?” and made him look me in the eye.  “Okay” he said.

A year or two later Samantha was being a pill at bedtime.  She found every reason in the world to get up repeatedly.  I finally agreed that she could sleep in my bed if she would stay there.  She didn’t .  I don’t know what I was doing that last time she got out of bed and  came out into the living room, but whatever it was ,  I was doing it from a sitting position.  I remember that because when I stood up, she ran back to my bed.  I followed her to my room and demanded to know why she had gotten out of bed, yet again.   She informed me that she was afraid of something outside.  I informed her that the only thing she had to be afraid of was inside and that it was me.  At that she kind of giggled and told me “mommy, the only time I was afraid of you was when you sat on Shannon”.  Again, SLAM!  This is why we are supposed to stop and think before we ever say or do anything.

Not one of the 3 kids has ever brought that incident up again.   A few years later I confessed this to my friends one night after work when we went out for a beer.  Not a fun thing to confess.  My girlfriend, Paula, fell into gales of laughter.  I looked at her, she looked at me and in between laughter she said “I can just see little you doing that”.   As much as I’ve tried to look at  it from Paula’s point of view, find the humor in everything…nah.  Low point in life.

To Shannon’s credit, she grew out of that awful, awful, pre-teen, hormonal, just-shoot-me-stage  pretty quickly.  Honestly, there was only one other time I ever felt the urge to tackle her physically.  I refrained from the physical and tackled her verbally instead.  Shame on me for that one, too.  However, it wasn’t much later that we were in the car and she informed me that all of her  friends hated their moms and she didn’t.  That and her friends thought I was pretty cool.  I don’t imagine she ever told them I tackled her.   To my credit, I have  mostly learned to quit throwing things.   The gumballs?  We kept finding them for months afterward.  Alex and Samantha?  They either never gave me a reason to tackle them, because I’d terrified them when I’d done it to Shan, or I never tackled them because I learned after tackling Shannon.


Normally Bob will guard a secret

with his life.  However, there was that one time.  In the summer of 1984 Rob and I lived in an apartment in Richfield.  He’d gotten back from his ROTC boot camp, gotten a job w/Control Data (which was right across the street from the bank  I worked at) in Bloomington and we were expecting our 1st baby.  It really was kind of an exciting time.  Not just that we were expecting our 1st baby, add to that I think it was the 1st time we felt like we were grown ups.  We were no longer married students, we were a married couple who both had jobs.  It was a natural high paying bills simply because we weren’t always able to previously.  We bought “real” living room furniture (instead of using milk crates and beer cases), we  had 2 cars…hello luxury!  We had fun preparing the nursery.   My parents gave us the crib that most of their babies had slept in and I repainted it white.  I was given a dresser that was my uncle’s, when he was a kid, I sanded it down and painted the dresser and knobs white and painted each drawer a different color.  Rob wallpapered the top half of the nursery in a Sesame Street wallpaper, put a border in and painted the bottom 1/2 of the room white.  It was a good time in life.

As the due date came closer I panicked more and more.  Not because I was afraid of giving birth or being a mom.  Just wasn’t bright enough to be afraid of those things.  Rob’s mom was an RN.  Rob’s mom and I pretty much weren’t very fond of each other in those days.  She wanted to be my nurse at the baby’s birth.  I was very young and didn’t always say what I may or may not have wanted, or thought or wished.   When she said that, repeatedly, I think I just produced a frozen smile and maybe half nodded.  She didn’t like me, why would I want her there?  Also, I was hoping for a more private affair.  Doctors and nurses that  I didn’t know, fine.  Outside of them I only wanted Rob with me.  That’s what I was panicking about of, her being my nurse when my baby was born.  I never told her that she couldn’t.

My mom…my mom didn’t want to know when I went into labor.  It was excruciating for my mom when Claudette was in labor with Luke and Kelly.  My mom couldn’t stand it.  A mom knows, all to well, what her child is going through and there is nothing the mom can do to help.

Light bulb.  Great idea.  My solution to these issues was to decide to not tell anyone when I went into labor.  I informed my family that I wouldn’t be informing them.  That’s the reason my dad called me at work every day under the pretense of offering up baby names.  I really wish I remembered more of them than Prairie Chicken.  Trust me on the fact that the rest of the names he suggested were just as appealing.  Brother bear was living in Chicago at the time and when I told him that we weren’t going to tell anyone he was highly insulted “I’m in Chicago, who am I gonna tell?” was his response.  Yeah, okay, that made sense.

Shame on me, bad, bad me.  Young, stupid daughter-in-law did not inform Rob’s mom of this decision.  Wow, I hope I never have a daughter-in-law like me.  I was highly intimidated and did the duck and cover.  Right, I know…I should have grown up sooner but I didn’t.

So there it is.  I had the idea, Rob agreed, that’s what we’re going with.  We’re not telling anyone.

Shannon was due on the 27th of September.   Someone in our Lamaze class had their baby a month early.  I shouldn’t have been told that.  I’m impatient.  I expected this baby each and every day in August and September, to make it’s arrival into the world.  I started a betting pool w/each pregnancy, always was the one to bet on the earliest date and always lost.  September 27th took FOREVER to get to and I was astonished to still be pregnant each and every day.  September 27th came and I went to work and was crabby with everyone.  September 28th was the same.  September 29th came, it was a Saturday and I was in dire straights.  I hung up on people who called to ask if I was still pregnant.  Sunday, September 30th came and I woke up and ran to the bathroom.  After realizing that my water had broken I felt like I was stuck on the toilet.  Our bathroom was directly across the hall from our bedroom.  Rob sleeps very hard.  He’s been partially deaf since he was a kid.  Something has happened and I could yell at the top of my lungs but he wouldn’t hear me.  I can’t leave where I am.  What do to?  Pondered that for a bit and then started picking up anything and everything heavy with my reach to throw into my bedroom.  At some point, one of the items I’d thrown had loudly impacted with his dresser and I heard him stir.  Once I heard him stir I started yelling.  Rob doesn’t like to wake up.  Can’t blame him, I don’t either.  It was a battle to get him from stirring to conscious that included more throwing things and yelling.  He did finally reach the fully awake point and once I explained what was going on he said that we had to go to the hospital immediately.  See where he’s the smart one?  I said no.

Hey, I made sense to me.  My best gf had had a baby 3 months previous.  When she was having labor pains and went to the hospital, they sent her home and told her to come back later.  I couldn’t imagine anything worse than that in the entire world.  My water had broken, I wasn’t having labor pains yet.  They’d send me home, I couldn’t deal with that.   That’s why I said no.  That was NOT going to happen to me.   I know, and Rob was perplexed as well.   I don’t know why he listened to me on that one, he’s usually a lot more logical, but he did listen.   We ended up playing backgammon until after the noon hour.   I am the queen of denial.  Labor pains can start lightly, which the did for me, and I would write them off to wishful thinking.  By the time I was convinced that they were labor pains and called my doctor I was yelled at, by him, for not calling and/or checking myself  into the hospital as soon as my water broke.  Live and learn.  We went to the hospital and checked me in somewhere between noon and 1pm.

Back to not telling anyone.  Rob’s dad was going to be driving through the Mpls/St. Paul area that day and had planned on stopping by our apartment.  Rob had to call him to let him know we wouldn’t be there.  I remember Bob’s statement “who am I going to tell, I’m in Chicago” so I asked Rob to call Bob as well.  Rob’s dad was able to reroute a little bit and come see us at the hospital.

I don’t know about anyone else but labor pains are extremely personal for me.  I don’t want to share that much of myself with people I only kind of know, a stranger would be better.  So yep, there we are in my birthing room, which was kind of a new option then, as opposed to going into an operation room for the delivery, Rob, his dad and me.  Shoot me…anyone?  While I was trying to downplay and suppress the fact that I was having a labor pain….Rob and his dad were at the foot of my bed discussing the roads.  Um……….I think I was a little bit screaming in my head.  It was probably something like “YOU REALLY CAN’T GO INTO THE EFFIN’ HALLWAY TO DISCUSS THIS?”   This was still only late afternoon.  Retrospect tells me that this was Rob’s 1st baby as well and he was very, very glad that his dad stopped by.  I’m sure his dad was too, I was just focused on me.  I don’t do pain well to begin with and then to have to try to hide it…not a good combination for me.

This is probably just a me thing  too, but I expected everyone to lie to me when I was in labor.  The only person I trusted was Rob.  If a nurse said something I’d wait till she left the room and look at Rob.  If he agreed, okay.  Sometime after 9pm I looked at the clock and hoped the baby would wait just a few hours more so my dad could win the pool, he’d bet on October 1st. Hahahaha!  Silly me, apparently Shannon had his sense of humor even before she arrived. She still wasn’t even close to making her arrival.  On October 1st at 2:10 am I was offered and given the 1st pain relievers.  During the next 10 minutes I felt fabulous and told my nurse my entire life story.  By 2:20am I was feeling pain again and asked for more.  Nah, didn’t happen.  By 4 am I was back down to labor pains that were 8 minutes apart.  I fell asleep during those 8 minutes apart.  I was then told that this was no good and that they were going to give me something called pitocin that would speed up the labor and I begged them not to.  I really liked sleeping for 7 minutes at a time. They did anyway.  Soon enough Shannon wanted to make her appearance.   Well she wanted to but she couldn’t.  Whatever, whatever, whatever.  People said things, things happened and the bottom line was that they would have to take me into an operation room even though I’d opted for a birthing room.  She wasn’t a completely difficult baby, she was just stuck behind cartilage.  She was yanked out with forceps.

Shannon FINALLY made her appearance into this world at 7:52 am on October 1st.  Yay, my dad won the pool was not my thought at the time.  “OMG, it’s OUT!” was pretty much, probably my thought.  Then I was informed “it’s” a girl” and that statement was what make me realize that I had a baby. Then I saw her.  That was probably the single most amazing moment in my life.  Tiny, bald, blue, screaming, naked, that was Shannon.  Entirely speechless and awestruck, that was Rob.  Instantly and entirely in love and already overly protective “get away from my baby”, that was me.

And back again to Brother bear’s “who am I going to tell?  I’m in Chicago.”   Bob kept his mouth shut for several, several hours and then I think he thought he’d simply been left out of the picture.  At 7:50 on the 1st he finally called my mom and asked “what’d she have?”  My mom asked him what he was talking about.  He informed her that I’d gone into the hospital the previous afternoon.  My mom got off the phone.  She paced for 10 minutes before she called the hospital and was connected to me so the timing was right anyway.

This marriage,  I adore my mother-in-law.  The 1st marriage I think we both thought we knew everything, guess what…we don’t :o)   We all live and learn.

I tease Bob about the “who am I going to tell” now and again but the truth is he’s a great secret keeper.   However, don’t ever tell Bernadette anything…


Wow, do I ever suck as a daughter

Fyi, I absolutely ADORE my mom.  She’s the only sane person I got DNA from. She’s also the one I learned common sense from.  She is an amazing mom and my example of an incredible person. That’s what I strive for, to be like her.   Being my dad’s “straight man” is not her only job in life, probably just her hardest.  Okay fine, except raising 5 children, 4 of which are attention deficit.  Well wait, we’re no longer living with her so maybe being my dad’s straight man truly is her hardest job.  That and I’ve got to believe that she loves being a mom, a grandma and a great-grandma.  She also loves being my dad’s wife, still though, hates being his straight man. Last week my dad told their sever, at a restaurant,  that it was my mom’s birthday.  Her birthday is in April.  I get why that was fun for my dad, but I don’t have to live with him.

Snowstorm here tonight, no biggie if you’re born and raised here.  I don’t drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle, even though there’s one sitting my driveway not being driven.  I also don’t think I’ve done donuts in decades. I drive a Cobalt that likes to slip-slide-away.  I love my car.  It’s a 2005 so this will  be our 6th winter together.   I’ve only gotten stuck once and that was in my own driveway.  Another time I did go into a snowbank but I got myself out.  Last year on Christmas Eve there was a snowstorm and 3 of us, at my place of employment, had to work.  One of us got stuck in a snowbank, one of us parked at the DMV and walked the rest of the way, one of us had her husband drive her in the 4 wheeler.  So I cheated, I know my car’s limits.   Anyway, back to my wussie car tonight and the drive from work to the bookstore.  They’re about 3 and a half miles apart.  The 1st vehicle in distress that I encountered was a mini van stuck half way on the main road leaving a parking a lot.  That puts my 2 lane down to one lane.  Shortly after we got back to 2 lanes and then a hundred feet  later there was a  fender bender on the other side of the road which  put it back to 1 lane again.  Back again to 2 lanes by the time we hit the stoplight and after the stoplight the road inclines.   In past years my car hasn’t always wanted to go up the incline.  It has always made it but there were iffy times.  Tonight, crawling up the incline, I watched a pick-up truck hit the snowbank, with it’s bed, on the passenger side.   Those of us in the right lane were stuck behind him.  It took a few minutes but he did get himself out.  Ten yards up there was a car in the left lane who was spinning his tires yet going no where.  Back down to one lane.  Ten yards past him was another car  mimicking him, spinning tires and getting no where.  After that it went back to 2 lanes for the remainder of my short journey.  My car was flashing me the “low traction” light until I finally turned onto another road.  The roads are bad tonight and it’s still coming down.  I got to the bookstore, met my mom, shopped,  ran into previous co-workers ( I really do miss working there) and had fun.

After we left, my mom and I met again at my house, half way point from the bookstore to her house.  She came in for a while and then she left at 7:22.  My mom drives a mini van.  I asked her to call me when she got home.  Apparently she’s feuding with my dad today.  She turned me down so I had to let her know that if she didn’t call me in 20 minutes I’d call my dad and tell him to call the authorities.  Okay that swayed her.  She only lives 10 minutes away, tops.  She left and I sat down and started doing something on my computer and got totally sucked in and then my phone rang at 8:12.  Holy effin crap!  What is wrong with me?  I’d given my mom 20 minutes to make a 10 minute drive yet she had to call me 50 minutes later to tell me she forgot to call me?   ARGGGGGGGGGGG!  I am an awful daughter!

She blamed her forgetting to call me on age.  I blamed my not calling her on the fact that I’m attention deficit.  Not something she can usually argue with.  In this instance she did though. “Oh no, not necessarily, Jacqueline, I think I started losing it at 50” she said.   Whoa, SLAM!  Funny because my dad is the one who slam-dunks, not my mom.  Apparently she’s picked up a few things from him these past 55 years.  I am an awful daughter :o(