December 14, 2007

My mom went to Catholic school. I think this is where she picked up her intense love-affair with edicts - rules which were written in stone and were absolutely iron-clad. And they worked for her throughout much of her life ... when I was first diagnosed with asthma and allergies at age 3, her love-affair with organization and rules (commonly known as OCD today) rose to the challenge. Monday and Friday were vacuuming days. The ENTIRE house was vacuumed those days. Since one of my allergies was dust, the doctor told Mom that the house had to be very clean - I had a box springs covered in plastic. Actually, I probably should have been in a bubble.

Anyhow, Mom had her set days to vacuum, to wash clothes, to wash the sheets. In time, it went from a routine to a full blown obsession, as did most of Mom's edicts.

Many of her edicts didn't make sense, however. Not long after we'd moved away from my beloved Austin, my new school had "Hat Day." I was in third grade now and after so many peer group moves in short succession, (kindergarten and first grade in one school, second grade in another, a new peer group when I went back to my old school for third grade ... and then moving to Arlington after just the first six weeks of third grade), I was struggling to make friends. I was eager to participate in Hat Day. This just seemed perfect for my Donald Duck baseball cap. It was a nice red ballcap with a circle appliqué of Donald's head. Not too kiddie, but cartoons are a great way to start conversations when you're eight.

Mom's edict: no Donald Duck hat for school that day. I was too old for such things and I would be teased.

I was in shock. I argued. I presented cogent arguments. When I realized that logic would not budge her, I whined, wailed and threw everything short of a full-blown fit.

And then I got stubborn. I shoved the cap down the back of my pants. (I had no homework and so I never had a bag to take stuff home ... and if I'd had one, she would have checked that.)

I went to school and my hat was a huge hit, just as I'd known it would be.

All hell broke loose as I attempted to smuggle the hat back into the house. She'd gone looking for it whilst I was at school. I denied, quite plausibly. She couldn't see where I'd hidden it. She screamed. She hollered. She told me she'd invaded my inner sanctum and conducted a thorough search. She KNEW I had worn it to school explicitly against her wishes, and by gum, I was to cough up that damn cap NOW!

I fished it out (and wasn't she just HORRIFIED to discover it was keeping my li'l ass warm when it wasn't on my head) and I handed it over.

It went into the kitchen trash.

I fished it right out.


She yanked it out of my hands and threw it in the trash again. This time I did throw a complete and total fit. I had disobeyed and been caught and I fully expected punishment. But this? This didn't seem like a punishment to fit the crime to my about-to-turn-nine-years-old mind. Grounding, no TV, no hats for a month. But throwing away my favourite Disney World souvenir because I wore the cap to school on Hat Day????

(And no, I'm still not over that hat. I see a red ball cap like that to this day and whine about my Donald Duck cap.)

There were other edicts passed down through the years. A favourite one is that you have to make a recipe EXACTLY like the recipe card or book says. If an ingredient says "(optional)" next to it, that comment you ignore. Everything on that card goes into that recipe, darnit! It got to the point where I hated it when my mom made "Grandma's Chocolate Cake" ... because she always put nuts in the frosting. I like nuts, but not in that frosting. And they made the roof of my mouth itch, which didn't make for a pleasant birthday cake, really.

Once, after a hard day at high school, I decided I wanted some chips and dip. We didn't have any dip. So I thought for a moment. Most dips were either cheese based or sour cream based. I got out the sour cream, dumped some in a bowl and headed to the spice rack. I don't recall now everything I dumped in there ... it was more of an open the jar, sniff and dump kind of thing. Hey, that smells good, put some of that in there.

I sat down to enjoy my snack and my little sister waltzes in. I share, not super willingly as I really hadn't made enough for two people, but I do let her have some. We're chowing down happily.



MOM: Where did you get that?
LI'L RED MONKEY: From the fridge.
MOM (horrified): That wasn't in there this morning. Where did you get it?
LI'L RED MONKEY: I made it.
MOM (panicked now): Where's the recipe? (looks around frantically)
LI'L RED MONKEY: There's not one, I just added stuff to it until I liked it.
MOM: You can't DO that!
MOM: You have to have a recipe! You'll get food poisoning and die!

I think I was about 15. You can imagine the snotty teenaged reactions after that. Unfortunately, my sister did get a stomach upset after eating it, which just further codified Mom's belief that You Must Always Have a Recipe Created By a Licensed Chef.

Never mind that my sister was lactose intolerant and just ate a bunch of sour cream ....

Don't confuse Mom with facts. It's not nice.

The interesting thing to me, though, is how all of Mom's edicts were supposedly designed to keep us as collectible children in mint condition ....

Posted by Red Monkey at December 14, 2007 12:15 PM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


mikster said:

This explains so much....lol. I never had to put up with many edicts myself when it came to my parents.

December 14, 2007 8:16 PM


Pand0raWilde said:

I think we lucked out being Lutheran--the only edict from on high was that Saturday was housecleaning and laundry and absolutely nothing else until that was done, even if it took half the night.

Um, maybe I should reconsider that...

December 14, 2007 11:51 PM


Mama Zen said:

But did you ever wear a cap on your ass again?

Awesome post!

December 15, 2007 1:26 AM


Azh said:

Is it wrong that I'm laughing so much!?!

Awesome post.. I must add your blog link to my blog for others to read!

December 18, 2007 6:09 PM
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