Jennifer Ginsberg: My daughter Kiana's weekly toddler group is a hotbed of maternal angst. For the first half hour, the facilitator leads a discussion with the moms while the children play. The overarching theme is Let Us Count The Ways In Which We Are F&*#ing Up Our Children.
After we are thoroughly berated for being worthless and inept mothers, we are expected to enthusiastically jump to our feet for the "song and dance" portion of the class. Despite years of practice, I find it impossible to do the Chicken Dance with my child without feeling like a complete and total dumbsh*t.
Whether we are exposing our children to radiation from our computer screens or allowing our babies to drink from sippy cups made with cancer causing materials, there are many reasons for modern moms to live in a constant and pervasive state of anxiety.
Unfortunately, singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" does nothing to mitigate my angst, it only makes me long all the more for a double shot of vodka with some foamy nonfat Xanax on top.
Last week the topic was Toddler First Aid and Emergencies. First, we were given a handout listing all the possible dangers lurking inside of our homes. Some of the things to become hysterical about include:
-Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
-Deadly Bee Sting Allergies
-The Ingestion of Poisonous Plants and Chemicals
When we got to the last bullet point, the facilitator paused and gave us a cryptic stare.
"How do you know if your child has concussed?" she rhetorically asked us, in a menacing tone.
Concussed? I don't even know what the f*&% that means, let alone how to determine if this has happened to my child! I normally have quick and snappy retorts but for once I was struck silent.
The leader continued, "Is your child stumbling around, discombobulated, talking rubbish, or passing out? If so, you should be very concerned."
Stumbling around? Discombobulated? Talking Rubbish? That describes Kiana on a good day!
She then passed out forms for a Toddler Hearing Test, which would be taking place the following week during our group. "It is imperative that your child has a hearing test at this stage of their development. Hearing problems are severe and can progress rapidly. Do not assume that your child is OK."
I'm sorry, but this is where I draw the line. There is nothing wrong with Kiana's hearing.
On the contrary, she seems to have super bionic hearing. Every morning I tiptoe into the kitchen to make my coffee, praying I don't awaken her so I can have my first blessed cup in peace. As soon as I place the filter in the pot, Kiana shrieks, "MOMMY OUT!" from her crib, which is in her room. On the other side of the house. Behind a closed door.
If there was something I could do to decrease her hearing, I would be all for it!
As the forms were being passed around the room, I surprised myself by not caving in to the peer pressure and taking one. The facilitator gave me a disapproving look and I could have sworn I heard her mutter "Tsk-tsk!"
Perhaps I am being remiss, neglectful, and ignorant. But Angst Mom doesn't need any more fuel for her Anxiety Flame. I knew this Hearing Test was just another potential pit of angst, waiting to ensnare me. I was not going to succumb this time.
After the group, one of the moms approached me and said, "I didn't take a form either. Last year I did the hearing test for my son. Afterward they told me he was basically deaf!!! I immediately made an appointment with a pediatric hearing specialist who ordered all these scans. Several hundred dollars later, I was told that he was absolutely fine. He just had a cold on the day of the hearing test!"
Angst Mom is vindicated once again!
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles writer and mother to three, surprisingly angst-free children. As a former actress/waitress, turned clinical social worker specializing in addiction, turned full-time mother/part-time psychotherapist/writer, Jennifer is particularly well-versed on the topic of angst.|
Find out more about her life at angstmom.com