Quick! To The Panic Room!

A Mother's Quest for Peace and Quiet

Thomas the Train, Tootsie Pops and Other Obsessions

Thank Gawwd for Thomas the Train!

If it weren’t for that “cheeky little engine” Caveman would be glued to my leg 24/7.

Thomas from the “Island of Sodor” is the center of all Caveman’s routines. And nothing, I mean NOTHING, can disrupt them.

At bedtime, I must cram myself into Caveman’s mini-bed and listen to a CD of Thomas stories.

And Caveman has other bedtime rules that must be obeyed. I know I may not leave the bed until the first story on the CD is over. Believe Me, I’ve tried. Caveman responds by grabbing Me by the hair and forcing my head back on the tiny, infant pillow we share.

Last night we were following all the procedures:  I was wrapped around Caveman and listening to our CD, when I heard a high-pitched shriek coming from the Family room and…


Mini-Man: “Okay, go ahead. I won’t do it. Start again.”

Then I hear Mini-Me counting and making a disgusting, slurping noise.

Mini-Me: “seventy-nine (slurp), eighty (slurp), eighty-one (slurp), eighty-two…”

I’m listening to her count when suddenly I hear Mini-Man yelling out miscellaneous numbers in a monotone voice.

Mini-Man: “Fifty-eight, ninety, twenty-four, thirty—”

Mini-Me: ” Come ON! I’m telling! MOM! MOM! MOM!”

Now the first Thomas story is not over, so I know I can’t respond to Mini-Me’s cries for help. That would be breaking the rules, and Caveman would punish me for that.

Instead, I grit my teeth and wait until the bell rings on the CD, signaling the end of the first story. And like Pavlov’s dog, I respond appropriately to the bell by giving Caveman a kiss goodnight and turning down the lights.

I hurry into the Family room to find Mini-Me hopping madly around with a Tootsie Pop in her hand. Mini-Man is lying on the sofa with a smug look of satisfaction on his face.

Mini-Me: (furious) “MOM! He is messing me up! Tell him to STOP!”

Me: (tired, exasperated) “WHAT is the problem?”

Mini-Me: “I’m counting how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop,  and HE keeps making me confused!”

Now you would think that counting the licks is just a commercial-inspired game, but to Mini-Me, it’s serious business.

Like Caveman’s obsession with Thomas, Mini-Me has her own obsessions. And one of them is trying to outdo characters on TV. That owl, or a new slick Tootsie Pop pusher, is taunting her into trying to solve the big mystery.

Mini-Man is far more cynical than Mini-Me. Age has spoiled him.

Mini-Man: “Mom, she is driving me crazy. Tell her she can’t do it. Tell her to give it up.”

Me: “No. She can count if she wants. Don’t interrupt her.”

So Mini-Me begins to count again. Mini-Man gets off the couch, throwing a smirk at me that says, “she’s all yours,” and goes to his room.  I know he has beaten Me, which might have been his plan all along. He’s crafty that way.

I finally take the Tootsie Pop away from Mini-Me, jot down the number of licks she is on, and put the sucker safely away so she can continue her quest tomorrow.

So ends the day.

In my bed I listen to the now quieter sounds in the house. Caveman’s CD  is playing Thomas’ “Theme Song” over the baby monitor. Man is tapping the keys of his computer. And Mini-Man is strumming his guitar and singing off-tune.

I pull out my phone and go through all twitter posts @leannrimes. Then I pull one of the books from the large stack that I MUST flip through in order to fall asleep and realize I have my own routines, my own obsessions.

I wonder what has caused all of these quirky behaviors?  Why is the Family so weird?

But like the answer to the Tootsie Pop mystery, the Family may never know.


June 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So I Read This Book Yesterday…

So I Read This Book Yesterday….

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment


I have a t-shirt with”GOOD KARMA, NO DRAMA” printed on it. The words mean the wearer is a peaceful person who has received many gifts in return for her random acts of kindness.

I obviously have no business wearing this shirt.

I save  this costume for the rare occasions when I’m in public, alone and away from the Family. In it, I am transformed.  I chat with stressed-out strangers in store check-out lines. In fact, I let these people cut in front of me. No big deal. I do this kind of thing all the time. I am full of  good deeds and simply ooze bliss.

But in reality….

I am the Oscar-winning star of my own daily drama. And clearly my mini-deeds have not accrued many karma points.

Take today…

It started when Caveman decided to paint his cave. He did not use markers. He did not use crayons. Instead, he used the contents of his diaper.

His bedroom looked like scenes from Manson’s Helter Skelter, only stinkier. Dark foot prints trailed in a non-sensical pattern on the floor. And small, smeared handprints covered the walls and back of the door.

Kiefer Southerland, real-life star of the TV show 24, would have screamed. He ain’t seen nothing like this in his career at the Counter Intellingence Unit. And he has real weapons at his disposal. I’m unarmed.

So,did I scream? Not initially. I just gasped at the sight of Caveman lying naked in his bed. He was asleep and camouflaged with mud-like streaks across his face and body. And his feet looked like he had walked through a hot blacktop but the tar remained.

I finally did scream, but for good reason. I needed Man to come help me clean up.

Me: “Please come up here. I’m in Caveman’s room. And bring a mop and lots of Lysol.”

Thank Gaawd Man is not squeamish. He quickly joined the team and together we got rid of all the evidence. Caveman’s room was even cleaner than the day before.

And so the day continued. At pick-up time  I was exhausted and asked Man if he wouldn’t mind leaving his office and getting Mini-Me at school. He, again, was part of our special forces and retrieved her on time.

I then went to pick up Mini-Man exactly 15 minutes later. And that’s when the action started.

I should have known something was up when Mini-Man jumped into the car  Starsky-and-Hutch-style and told me to “Go! Go!” Suddenly his teacher appeared at my window holding a math workbook with dozens of yellow post-its sticking off the pages.

Teacher: (smiling knowingly) “I just need him to make some corrections over the weekend.”

Me: (temporarily calm, even without wearing the t-shirt) “I see. He will definitely get it done.”

We pulled out of carpool line and onto the road. And that’s when the real Me started yelling.

Me: “Are you kidding me? What is this about? You are sooo lucky that teacher doesn’t kick you out of the math group.”

Leave it to Mini-Man to not respond. Sometimes we trade places and he’s the adult. He knows if he just looks regretful and is quiet he will force Me to stop lecturing.

Me: ( a little more quietly) “You are just going to have to get it all done this weekend.”

Mini-Man: “Okay.”

Later that night  I went to Mini-Man’s bedroom to check on him. He was dead asleep. That is until I decided to adjust his pillow.

He woke up , but instead of getting mad he said in a muffled voice, “I love you, Mom.” He must have been dreaming about some other Mom. The Dream Mom who cooks great dinners and is calm when faced with frustration.

Or maybe he has come to terms with the fact that his real-life Mom is a spaz.

Let’s face it. Real-life Mom wears t-shirts in order to become the person she wants to be. She tries to do good deeds but is not always successful. And the good karma stuff, she’s hoping someday that will come.

But for now, GOOD KARMA, NO DRAMA; well, that’s just a slogan printed on a t-shirt . And that shirt has gotten enough wear and needs to be passed on. Maybe to some other person in need of the perfect disguise.

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Volunteer of the Month-In My Dreams…

This week is going to be crazy. And I’m deliriously happy.

I think it’s because being super busy gives me an excuse for not doing the boring stuff in my life.

For example, there is a pile of laundry that needs to go in the wash and I am just too busy to do it. If Mini-Man has to wear shorts to school and its 36 degrees, oh well.

And my car is full of empty Chick-Fil-A kids meal boxes and half-empty sippy cups. It needs to be cleaned but when will I find the time?

You see, I have offered to help at my children’s school, and that is far more important.

More important to me, that is.

For one, Caveman will have to go to the babysitter and his sitter is AWESOME. She’s working on potty training and I am ready to leave that one to her. She’s obviously a pro because Caveman makes less mess in the bathroom than anyone else in The Family. And he is very cute when he excitedly says, “Flush!” at the end of the process.

And, I know at school I will actually get a “thank you” for helping. I will feel appreciated. And I’ll get to talk to the teachers and they are ADULTS. I mean the real deal, not just a bagger or check-out person at Harris Teeter.

Now, Mini-Man is less enthusiastic about my being a super volunteer…

Me: “I’m going to help your class create a newspaper. I’ll be at your school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Mini-Man: “No…No!No!No! You have to tell them you can’t. You are too embarrassing, Mom!”

Me: “Well, too bad because they need help and I’m helping.”

Mini-Man: “Okay, help, but don’t say anything like ‘you all’ or ‘okay folks’ or anything. In fact, you may not talk at all. And you definitely can not give homework. They will hunt me down and kill me if you do.

Me: “Well, I’m going to have to talk. But I think we can get the work done during class time.”

At that point Mini-Me interrupts the conversation. Normally, Mini-Me gets told she has GOT to work on her manners. However, this interruption is welcomed.

Mini-Me: “You’re coming to school? Yeah! What are you going to wear? I like it when you have your hair down long and NOT in a ponytail.”

Mini-Me is remembering the times when my hair is actually washed and brushed. She likes Me like this.

Me: “Well, I’ll do what I can. You can help me.”

Mini-Me is thrilled with this idea and starts jumping around.

It’s then that I realize she will probably have Me wearing either my yoga pants with high heeled boots or one of my old bridesmaid’s dresses, depending on the image she wants me to portray (that is, either Cool Mom or Really Glamorous Mom).

But I’m okay with all this. I’ll let her design an outfit for me.

Because this week I am just too busy, and I just don’t have time for that sort of thing.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

My Competitive Streak

Okay, I admit it. I like to win. I like to be the best.

And so does Mini-Me.

I thought I needed to take my daughter ice skating so that we could bond. You see, Mini-Me had been getting on my nerves and I needed to show her I can hang out without scolding her.

Ice skating was not the answer.

In this freezing, dimly-lit cage of a place, crazy pre-pubescent boys in hockey helmets went whizzing by. “You Spin Me Round” by The Chipmunks blared and disco lights flashed over the fake ice.

Mini-Me was in heaven.

Me, on the other hand, was not enjoying the scene.  Keeping an eye on Mini-Me as she tried to dance, jump, and spin “round, round, like a record, baby” was enough to cause a complete freak-out in Me.

Me: “You are spazzing. You are gonna knock your skull on the ice. Calm down, and slow down. I do NOT feel like going to the Emergency Room today.”

Mini-Me: “Watch this!”

Me: “YOU have GOT to be CAREFUL!  You have only skated once, maybe twice before. You do not know how to do these tricks.

Mini-Me: “Do you think I’m better than you?”

Now, here you would think I would want to encourage my child and say something nice like, “You are a wonderful skater.” After all, I am an adult.


Me: (with smug smile) “I think I’ve been skating longer than you, honey. I’m better.”

Mini-Me: “No. I mean when you were my age. I would be better than you, right?”

Me: (slight pause) “So, what you are asking is if we went back in time to when I was your age, would you be a better skater.”

Mini-Me: ” Yes. I think I would be. Watch what I can do.”

And at that moment Mini-Me totally rocked out. Throwing her head back, she began singing and using wild whole body gestures to the song, “Boom, Boom, Pow,” as she moved dangerously through the skate crowd.

I think she thought she really was back in my day, at my ice skating rink. And we were having an ice skating dance off.  Mini-Me was in her own rock-n-roll fantasy.

And then she rocked right into the wall.

Me: (awkwardly scurrying to the side wall) “Oh my gosh. Where are you hurt?”

Mini-Me: (big tears in eyes and fake ice all over her backside) “I-I-I’m okay. My arm just hu-hu-hurts.”

The time warp was over.  I was back to my proper mother self. I pulled Mini-Me up and gave her a big squeeze.

Mini-Me: “So, you think you could have done that when you were my age?”

Me: “Not in a million years.”

We went home and both took children’s pain medication. I told everyone how awesome Mini-Me was at skating and how I couldn’t believe she did so well without ever taking a lesson.

I let her be the best. She was the star.

Before going to bed, Man had to get a full recap of our adventure.

Man: “She’s pretty coordinated. I’m not surprised she did well.”

Me: “Yeah. She did…But, I can skate backwards.

January 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: