Do you walk around with hole-y underwear and wait until the last possible moment to take care of your own needs? Sounds like a mom! Linda Sharp, author of Stretchmarks on My Sanity, shares a recent experience.
by Linda Sharp

The Tootsie Roll incident
I am often told by friends who read my articles that while they always laugh; they are more impressed with how unashamedly I expose what goes on inside my house. They say it makes their lives feel a little more normal, they feel less alone in the everyday parenting struggles, and they always come away feeling a bit less stupid about what goes on inside their homes. It is in that vein that I once again bare to you what is the idiocy of my soul.

Several months back, I was happily indulging in my favorite sweet treat, a handful of mini Tootsie Rolls. Chomping away, enjoying every chewy, chocolaty, decadent bite, I suddenly felt something go crunch. CRUNCH? In a Tootsie Roll? Now, being the curious soul that I am (also being alone at the time), I spit the offensive "wad of goo" into a napkin and began a quite forensic examination. My autopsy instruments were a spoon (for spreading) and a fork (for deeper poking). As I probed and prodded, every news account I had ever read about people finding glass, rat tails and the occasional petrified cockroach in their food, flashed through my mind. UGH, I thought, please let it be glass.

Further examination revealed a small white fragment, which looked suspiciously familiar. One open mouthed look in the mirror (you should REALLY brush your teeth after eating Tootsie Rolls) and I found its origin. A piece of a molar had broken off from the filling it had once bordered. Hmmmmm, I thought, not good. At that moment, the kids came rushing in the door from school, and being pain free, the broken tooth was promptly pushed off the priority burner in favor of school tales, gymnastics practice and homework.

The birth of unselfishness
What is it about parents, especially mothers? We always place our needs and wants at the bottom of the totem pole. Heck, I think mine are actually under the dirt in which the totem pole is buried. Is your underwear best described as "religious" (hole-y)? Say a Novena and wear it some more, Johnny needs a new soccer uniform. That new best selling mystery novel is now available in paperback? Read your three month old issue of Good Housekeeping again, and make Johnny's check payable to Scholastic Book Orders. And how many times have you found yourself staring up at yet another Disney epic when your heart cries out to be one theater over watching the new Brad Pitt flick? It seems that when we give birth, not only do we push out a human being; we push out all selfish impulses too.

So it goes that three months have passed since the Tootsie Roll went CRUNCH. Along the way, pain free went to occasional OUCH. Occasional OUCH transformed into my chewing on only one side of my mouth. And now single-sided chewing has given way to THROBBING, STABBING, CONSTANT, IBUPROFEN POPPING PAIN. Or as my three year old succinctly put it, "You have a major owie, Mommy." Well, to borrow another of her pithy comments, "Duh."

So here I sit, phone book before me, ready to beg, plead, barter, and cry my way into the first available dental appointment. (Pain hath no dignity. The Book of Moms, 3:16). Being new to yet another town, I am using my time tested, highly scientific approach to finding a new doctor: I systematically go through the hundreds of names and look for one that sounds nice. Dr. Harry Hangnail? Not in my mouth, thank you. Ima Poker, DDS? I think not. Dr. Sally Warm-Fuzzy? Hello, I'd like to see the doctor as soon as possible, please. What? Nothing available until next Wednesday? (Tears) But, it . . . hurts . . . (sob) . . . sooooooooo . . . WAHHHHH . . . badddddddd. Pleeeeeeeaaaaseee???? (heavy moan) What? She can see me at 3 this afternoon? God bless you!

So, have we all learned a lesson at my expense? Probably not. Your underwear will continue to disintegrate into underwear molecules, you will continue to read the Halloween issue of Better Homes & Gardens as spring blossoms around you, and I full well expect to bump into you this weekend as we all buy tickets for Kangaroo Jack. (Hey, if you buy the popcorn, I'll bring the Tootsie Rolls.)

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