Monday, August 22, 2005

Schizo Mommies

School has started and all around me, the phenomenon of the Schizo Mom Syndrome has begun. Every afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. the mommies receive phone calls from their adorable offspring who have just arrived home from a hard day at school. Per instructions from their loving mom, they make the obligatory, "Hi, mom. I'm home," phone call.

The conversations that I can't help but overhear every afternoon start out all sugar and spice and everything oh so nice.

"Hello, honey."

"Hi, baby."

"Hey, sweetie. How was your day?"

Then, invariably, things take a sharp turn to the dark side.

"Now, sweetie, we spoke about that."

"No, mommie told you..."



"He hung up on me. The little bastard hung up on me! I'm gonna kill him!"

There is no cure for Schizo Mom Syndrome. With every fiber of her being and with the naivete of Alice Through the Looking Glass, the Schizo Mom starts every phone call every afternoon with the false hope that this time, just this once, it will be different. On the rare occasions that the phone call does not end in a screaming match, the Schizo Mom is left wondering what catastrophe awaits when she gets home.

Those two short hours from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. are fraught with peril. My son called me religiously every afternoon as soon as he got home from school. I had a fairly quiet kid who was pretty laid back so I didn't suffer from Schizo Mom Syndrome. However, in those two hours, Cory once broke his arm so badly it required surgery and once got hit in the head with a golf club requiring three stitches.

The golf club story is actually kind of funny. Cory was twelve or thirteen at the time. I got home from work and was met at the door by one of Cory's friends. The first words out of the friend's mouth was, "Ms. Anderson, don't panic." Cory came around the corner from the bathroom with a bloody towel on his head. When he removed the towel, I could see skull. It turns out he got in the way of the other kid's back-swing while they were practicing in the back yard.

When he broke his arm, he calmly called me at the office, asked for "Laurie Anderson, please," and when I answered he said, "Mom, I think I broke my arm." When I got home, he was on the neighbor's front porch (he didn't want to go inside), pale as a ghost (as was his friend's mom) with his arm freakishly twisted practically completely backward. Ah, good times. Good times.

So, moms, this margarita's for you. Good luck. You're going to need it.


OldRoses said...

Whew! I remember those days all too well. I once came home to firetrucks in front of my house and firemen all over the yard and pouring out of my house. My daughter had managed to set the oven on fire. Fortunately, there was no harm done and she and the cat were safe at a neighbor's house.


This is really funny, yet so true!

I love it when moms turn from this loving and sweet angels into raving lunatics in a matter of seconds!

But we still love em anyway! He-he.

Ed Abbey said...

I think when I have kids, I am going to turn a spare room into one of those padded rooms with nothing in them for the stark raving mad. There will be a door on an automatic timer and a close circuit camera tied to my computer at work. It might be over protective but any kid of mine would have half my genetic makeup and I know how bad I was after school!

Lorna said...

I almost fondly remember getting a call from Chris when he was 12, asking how to turn off the wacky smoke alarm we had. I told him to take the broom handle and knock the housing off and put it on the stairs for when we got home. "OK" he says "What should I do about all the black smoke coming out of the basement?"

Aisha said...

This is sooooo funny. YOU are.

Ever thought of going national as in syndicaetd column? Dave barry springs to mind...
Maybe you have:-0

Jazz in my blog BTW...

OldHorsetailSnake said...

What are those kids doing in the house? Two hours is plenty of time to tend the marijuana crop, smoke a little dope, play doctor and get dressed again.

Glod said...

I have a friend whom's mother does the same thing, but ithout calling to check up on him. It means his house is HQ for anything we do, wether it be plotting potatoe cannon ignition systems (temporarily on hold), or misuse of the internet whilst slicing apples midair with large knives.

It's even better now that the living room contains three badly made reproduction Japanese swords (bit blunt, and the blades twist, but still good for stabbin'), though at least now his brothers are confined to the swordless grandmother's house.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I am one of those sweet loving angels, trying so desperately to remain calm and sensible, yet knowing full well that the raving lunatic will ultimately surface. I truly like the idea of the padded room. Only it will be for me, not my child!

Shelli said...

My brother and I used to fight with each other when we were home..usually because he wouldn't do his chores and I would be the one getting in trouble for the both of us. We used to call my mom I know this must have been her. We even yanked the phone out of the wall one time.

Mary Beth said...

Hilarious! I remember those days all too well. My favorite calls were those where they called, each on an extension, to fight on the phone so I could take sides. My plan remained the same through the years – whoever won and was left on the phone had to hear me yell – “DON’T CALL ME AGAIN UNLESS THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE – but call the fire department, first – preferably from a neighbor’s house!”

Laurie said...

Old Roses - Holy cow!

Material Boy - As long as they turn back from the dark side just as quickly.

Ed - Sounds like a good plan. It won't work.

Lorna - Oh my God! That's hilarious!

Aisha - You're so nice!

Old Horsetail - It's scary because it's true. :)

Glod - Another scary one!

Anonymous - It sounds like it's a big club. Good luck with the padded room.

Shelli - I am loving all of these stories.

Mary Beth - You guys are cracking me up!

ME Strauss said...

Thanks for a fun read.
It's great that you can take it in stride. I'm sure there are days that you want to hang up the phone for her. :)

Laurie said...

ME - Oh, it's not just one co-worker. It's several of them. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that any of them with small children have gone whacko at least once.

Tanda said...

Guilty as charged.

/mother of a nearly 7 year old, nearly 3 year old, and nearly 8 month old.

Laurie said...

Tanda - To quote The Carpenters, you've only just begun.

Donna said...

I can see the writing on the wall. I'm so on my way to Schizo Mom-hood.

Laurie said...

Donna - It happens to the best of us.