Thursday, December 15, 2011


Deanna Verbouwens
I am in inadequate hugger when my children need it most, and I need an intervention. It’s just not a natural instinct for me to hug them when they fall or get hurt. I can hug the shit out of them in a normal environment, cuddle up watching TV, reading a book, tickle them and kiss them up until they tell me to stop but once the hurt starts, the tears start flowing my initial reaction is “Get over it” or “Shake it Off”. It literally takes my brain a few seconds to activate the” Oh, shit I should probably hug them” brain cell. It’s like my brain’s defibrillator needs to be fine-tuned because now those shocks are coming in at a turtle’s speed and it ain’t doing nothing for me. It shouldn’t take a good 5-to-15 seconds for my brain to register comfort, hugs, love… but it does.

The littlest bugger pummeled Richie and smacked the crap out of him with a plastic elephant, which I know hurt, it had too; there was no way it couldn’t. What did I do? I turned around, and walked to the kitchen, than a full 15 seconds later it registered that the poor little guy must be in pain. I know, I know, I am SO getting Mother of Year award, the plaque is being engraved and I believe it’s being shipped out as I write this. What’s wrong me with me? I am really trying to figure this one out as I’ve noticed in recent weeks that my response rate to any injury is terrible, thank goodness I am not employed by EMS. I shudder thinking about those poor people I would have let down, I would have been fired. I wonder if my children notice that I let them cry it out instead of running to their aid. I am actually training myself to stop what I am doing the minute I hear the hurt happen and go to their aid; it’s hard, very hard. I mean, I just had to stop writing this wonderful blog to comfort Richie. The two-year old with full force, with the fire in his eyes, his little body moving so fast it looked like his feet were flying, grunting like a weight lifter from one end of the basement to the other sacked Richie as if he was a linebacker for the New York Giants. Knocked the crap out of him. Richie didn’t know what hit him; the poor little bugger looked like he got knocked out by Tyson, but thankfully he still had his ear.

I am wondering if the fact that I grew up with four sisters and a sick dad made an impact on my response. We fought but with words, rarely with anything physical – we’re not angels. We laid the smack down but only when we really had too. But our words, our words could cut you like a knife, they still can. I mean, my older sister was overweight and we came up with the most hurtful thing in the world to call her “Blubber Harry”. We slung that in her direction any chance we got. I actually apologized last year (okay, a little late) but c’mon, you couldn’t get any meaner. We were mean, mean, mean.
There was the one time when we came home from school in our catholic school uniforms all ready to start the laundry, dinner or whatever Mom put on our chore list for the day, but first we had to go the bathroom like nobody’s business. You know the drill doing the pee-pee dance, crossing the legs, etc. We forgot our keys, again, I should add that we did this to my older sister every single day, and so we logically knocked on the door. Our sister pretended not to hear us – she actually yelled from the window that she was in the shower, but that was impossible, because the shower was in the back of the house. We were onto to her, so we broke into the house, and staged and all out battle. Did we pee? I think we forgot about it because we had revenge in our hearts and that trumps expelling ones bladder. We stole her clothes, towels, robes and everything from the bathroom, had a decoy sister totally taunt her, we really knew how to push her buttons, the sister in the “shower” was the same sister we called Blubber Harry, but I digress. We got her so worked up she came running out of the shower butt ass naked like a seal! My other sister and I were positioned in different areas of the house pulling the blinds to showcase her as she ran through the house. She chased our decoy sister like a bat out of hell through the house and into the garage, where we trapped her naked ass and opened the garage door for all the world to see. I am not sure if any neighbors saw her in all her glory, but I didn’t care, still don’t - it was beautifully orchestrated, team work to the max and something I will never forget for all of my life. Hilarious!!

As for the physical fights, don’t remember any as a toddler, adolescent or really a teenager- I am sure they had to happen, we were five girls with two bathrooms so a fist had to be thrown around at some point. I do remember one awesome physical assault when one of my sisters actually “jumped” another one in the middle of the high school hallway because she stole something out of her closet. She mounted her like a jockey racing to win the Kentucky Derby; I think she may have even pulled her hair. Now in the defense of the jumper, the jumpee had stolen a complete outfit from head-to-toe, and did she really believe that she would have gotten away with it? Nevertheless, the best part was that I ran into them as it happened, classic moves don’t often happen like that so I am glad I witnessed it.

As for my parents, frankly, they didn’t get involved that much because we were good kids. I am sure there were some physical rifts and rafts, we were kids, and definitely not locked in a padded white room, well a white room yes but no padding (hey, we’re Italian – everything’s white!) Perhaps the fact that my dad has Multiple Sclerosis impacted the response to our falls, trips and injury’s, because really – who has the trump card here… a skinned knee or your husband who is in the middle of an “episode” with trembling knees, unsteady hands and the inability to walk? No Brainer. Can I really blame this on my parents? I thought I was over that after three years of therapy. I mean, my mother when a fall, or injury occurred didn’t leave us to bleed in the corner, she definitely made sure we were okay and breathing, however she did wait an entire 24 hours after wrapping my sister’s arm in a ace bandage, to take her to the doctor after she had fallen out of the tree. Thank God she took her because it was broken. Hmm, that was the same sister who we called Blubber Harry and shower attacked, how in the hell did she get through her childhood in one piece? Anyhoo, I don’t remember getting hugs from my parents or anyone for that matter when we fell or got hurt – but were we as physical as boys? Are we just a generation of softies? Think about it. When your kids play sports, nobody ever loses anymore, everyone gets a trophy, no one is left out. Fuck that, I was left out a lot! Not invited to parties, sat out entire softball games because I wasn’t good enough. So maybe I’m not a bitch or a bad parent, I’m just trying to toughen my kids up like I was. Yeah that’s it. I suppose what I need to do is to keep training myself to get off my ass the minute I hear the tumble, and the cry, and go comfort the boys. Like Pavlov’s dog – instead of a slimy treat I’ll gather my little bugger in my arms and hug him until he feels better, not a bad trade off, but of course no longer than fifteen minutes at the most, I mean come on, what he is he a big baby? Kidding, just kidding, I think. I better go work on that some more.
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