The Weighting Game

At least three times a day, my daughter and I play a game that isn’t fun for either of us. 

The first round, which begins at about six thirty a.m. on weekdays and eight a.m. on weekends, plays like a Pokemon or Bakugan battle arena: 1) Mom rolls the dice to find out what condition Jess will be in when she awakes  2) Mom plays the yellow “bright and cheery good morning” card while she offers a bottle full of 250 calories of nutritional goodness 3) Jessica then selects a red card to counteract Mom’s sugary sweet attack – these cards provide a selection of the following responses – a/ vehemently refuse the bottle and kick mom in the gut,  b/shove the bottle away and smack mom on the arm,  c/accept the bottle and only drink half  4) After playing her card, Jessica rolls the dice to ascertain what Mom’s disposition will be when she responds to her counter attack card.  This round continues on an endless cycle until either Jessica’s bus arrives or an episode of iCarly comes on.

Round 2, which only occurs on weekends or days-off around noon, is strictly verbal and played like a game of Outburst.  Mom always starts first:

“Jessica, what would you like for lunch?”

“Nothing.”

“You have to eat something.  How about a ham sandwich and some applesauce?”

“No.” (Mom then makes a ham sandwich with ten pieces of ham, two slices of cheese and gobs of mayo, and mixes a tbsp of Duocal, a calorie supplement, into a cup of applesauce, and mixes another tbsp of Duocal into a cup of strawberry milk….totaling a meal of approx 850 calories.  Mom sets meal on table in front of Jessica.)

Jessica: “I’m not hungry.”

Mom: “Eat your lunch.  Do you need help?”

Jessica: “No!  I don’t want it!  I want chips.”

Mom: “You can eat chips after you take a bite.”  (Jess takes a bite that would starve an ant.  Mom gives her a potato chip.  Jess takes one hour to eat one chip.  Mom gets Jess to eat a few more bites of sandwich and one bite of applesauce.)  Gameplay continues until Jessica finally eats at least 100 calories.

Round 3 includes the whole family and is played at, you guessed it, dinner time.  This round is a combination of the two previous gameplays with the additional use of the bright, neon, fire engine red card called, “*The Feeding Tube.”  This card, which can be played by all family members excluding Jessica is threatened in the following way: “Jessica, if you don’t eat this, we will have to put you on the feeding tube.”

*Round 4: The Feeding Tube card must be played if the previous three rounds have been unsuccessful.  This game involves the entire family and is played like “Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robots.”  Dad holds Jessica.  Brother holds Jessica’s cup of water with a straw.  Mom attempts to place feeding tube through Jessica’s nose and down her throat into her stomach.  Jessica screams and flails her arms around.

If Round 4 is unsuccessful, which lately has been the case, most likely because Jessica’s back is too twisted to allow the tube to be placed properly, then the entire game must be played again the next day….and the day after that…and the day after that…until my sweet, amazingly adorable 11-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy, supravulvular pulmonary stenosis, severe scoliosis and a heady case of failure-to-thrive, finally wins this arduous, disheartening, energy-zapping, life-sucking Weighting Game.

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Why I Have a Potty Mouth

WHERE ARE MY @)%& @! TWEEZERS?!!?!

I don’t get mad often, unless it’s that time of the month, you know, when the PECO bill is due.  And I don’t really sound like a truck driver all of the time; though, let’s be honest, I think truck drivers get a bad rap for this – I know a few, and their mouths are sparkling clean (maybe they chew Orbit while they’re driving?)  But, I do tend to erupt during certain unfortunate incidents, such as: losing the most prized constituent of my vanity maintenance kit (I am extremely attached to my tweezers.  See “Why Old and Fuzzy” for FAQ), watching the Phillies “dream team” lose the first part of the playoffs (are you $*#%! kidding me!?), or plunging the toilet and mopping inches of cesspool water from the first-floor bathroom and basement floor after my son finally releases a sequoia log that he’s stockpiled inside his intestines for about a week. 

I blame my father for my occasionalinfrequent, (really not too often. quit judging me. who are you, Donna Reed?) potty mouth.  Watch “A Christmas Story,” especially during the untangling-the-Christmas-lights scene – That’s My Dad.  Funny thing is he hates that movie.  Apparently, he also wasn’t allowed to have a Red Ryder BB gun because he was told, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”  Shame on Jean Shepherd for writing my father’s unauthorized biography.

Although my brother and I frequently overheard our dad’s imprecations, we, of course, knew we would get in big trouble if those same words ever came out of our own mouths.  They never did, until some weird, inexplicable switch went off in my head when I became an adult.  I don’t know if the minute I turned eighteen some little devil popped on to my shoulder and whispered, “hey, you’re an adult now.  curse away.”  Can’t remember the exact moment I let those first expletives fly.  All I know is that I’m doing it now.  And I’m falling into the same family tradition that prohibits my children from repeating anything they overhear.  I’ve decided, however, to only use this as a temporary parenting technique.  Yep, I’ve decided to up the bar a bit by monitoring my potty mouth and making myself a, gasp, positive role model.

I have a wonderfully perfect friend whom I admire a great deal and try, but frequently fail, to imitate.  She and her super cool husband have four beautiful, talented girls with great big hearts and strong Christian values.  The youngest two girls are twins with cerebral palsy.  The oldest is in her first year of college.  My friend keeps herself incredibly busy with parenting and keeping an immaculate house and teaching music therapy and running a Joni and Friends support group for Moms of Special Needs.  And she says, “for pity’s sake,” when something goes awry.  What the hell…..heck!  Who says that? 

“Tessa!  Your house is on fire and all of your designer silk floral arrangements and custom Italian tiles are melting!!”

“What?  Oh for pity’s sake!”

I don’t think I can do it, you know, limit myself like that.  I just don’t see me using phrases like “Heavens to Betsy,” or “Oh My Stars.”  And I’m not Catholic, so I can’t use the standard, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Sweet Mother of Mercy.”

I have an idea though.  My stepdaughter was a regular viewer of Tourettes Guy  (click link at your own risk) on Youtube (for the record, she watched this at her Mom’s house).    Danny, the Tourettes Guy Who Didn’t Really Have Tourettes But, Apparently, Had Many Other Issues, is dead now.  However, he did leave behind a legacy.  For some reason, in between tirades of blaspheme that would turn even my dad’s face crimson with embarassment, Danny would randomly shout out “Bob Saget!”  I can’t stand the guy, Bob Saget, that is….tv dad in one of the worst sitcoms ever made other than Small Wonder….obviously disgruntled “I don’t want to be here, even though it pays far more than I’m worth,” host of America’s Funniest Videos.  Soooo, Bob Saget has become the chosen one.  The chosen catch phrase.

“Mom!  The coffee pot’s clogged again and leaking unbrewed swill all over the countertop and shorting out the toaster that’s causing the circuit breaker to pop, thereby cutting off the electricity in Section A, which includes the plug that powers your laptop with the dead battery you never replaced and causing you to lose your 3,000 word document that you never saved that’s due tomorrow!”

“@#%O&O!$%(&%…..Bob Saget!!”