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Friday, July 23, 2004
She is the very model of a modern meddlesome Mummy
This week America's Worst Mother™ drops a bombshell on us, admitting that she is an overbearing hectoring Mummy. Quite frankly I haven't been so stunned since Shaquille O'Neill announced that he was "a large black man".
It seems that it took a trip to the neighborhood pool with Anselma, Turnip, Levitra, and Horatio for Meghan to realize that she is constantly pick, pick, picking on the kids:
The more extensive category of What Having Children Teaches You: Dismaying, contains, it turns out, a reservoir that is more like a Cassandra's box. In this reservoir, or box, are endless quantities of tedious, prefabricated comments of the sort every childless career-gal self swears she will never utter. These include, but are not limited to: "You're not going out of this house looking like that," and "I told you so," and "Go put a sweater on, I'm cold." With the advent of children, one recapitulates a long evolutionary line of hector and reprimand presumably originating with Lucy, the Australopithecus. One discovers a fantastic inherited capacity for nagging. One tires of the sound of one's own voice, as I did on this very day on the steps leading up to the swimming pool.
Molly: (Wincing as her bare foot meets a rock) Ow!
Me: Put your shoes on, please.
Molly: It's okay, we're almost there.
Me: (Chippily) Why do you suppose Daddy and I buy you shoes, sweetheart? To. Protect. Your. Feet. Got it? Put them on.
Molly: But —
Me: Is there some reason you will not wear your shoes?
Molly: No. Okay. Sorry.
Me: (Splashing uncontrollably into the Reservoir of Nag) I'm not sure you're aware, Molly, but other people take considerable trouble to ensure that you have food to eat, and a house to live in, and shoes to wear. Your feet grow, you need new shoes. So I pile everyone in the car, we go and get you a pair of shoes. To pay for those shoes, Daddy must work long hours. He does not work just for fun, but —
Unmentioned is the family's deep dark secret that Daddy actually works long hours to stay away from home and get some peace and quiet. That, and to afford his mistress. Daughter Turnip (she's the studious one) will be covering these issues in her memoirs: Bulimic, OCD, Passive/Aggressive, and Gay: Growing Up Gurdon. Check your local listings for her Oprah appearance.
Other things Meghan tells the kids:
"I work my fingers to the bone cranking out one column a week for NRO and this is the thanks I get."
"Levitra, please take your tongue out of the wall socket."
"Horatio. Take off your sister's underwear this instant."
"No. You may not have dinner until Mummy has finished her pitcher of Harvey Wallbangers"
"Put your clothes on this instant and quit playing with your penis" (Sorry. That one was for Mr. Meghan.)
"Because I'm the Mummy, that's why. Now eat your trifle..."
Back to Meghan's story, she later decides that in the world of Gurdon "tough-love" she's giving off too much tough and not enough love:
"Mollikins," I say, looking earnestly at her, "Please forgive me nagging you earlier about your shoes."
"That's all right," she says.
"The content of what I said is true. You really ought to wear your shoes. But I wish I had used a more pleasant tone of voice."
"Thank you, Mummy," says she, "I will."
"One needs, as a mother, to keep things in order," I continue, as much to myself as to her, "But one must be vigilant to keep from turning everything into a total nagfest."
I'm not sure if Meghan is being ironic here or not, but I was waiting for Anselma to say, "Mummy, would you shut the hell up already! Christ almighty! Go read your Sidney Sheldon and let me get back in the damn pool. I mean, Jesus!".
But somehow I don't think readers of The Fever Swamp would appreciate that kind of talk.
Then again, maybe they would....
Bonus Manly Sighting: "Let's see...," Paris puts his splinted hand ruminatively to his chin. "I guess I'll be a sting ray."
Super Extra Bonus Anglicism Sighting: Molly: Please don't be cross, Mummy. I have put them on.