November 30, 2007
I think I have one of those kids who is extra sensitive to refined sugar. Really, that's just a nice way of saying I have one of those kids who acts like the spawn of a depressed Richard Simmons and Rambo at the mere sight of a gum drop. You know--kind of weepy, a little bit off-the-wall, and just plain violent.
I wish I could say that I'm surprised by this behavior, but unfortunately, I'm not. I know just where he gets it from--his mother. When I was a child, two drops of orange soda or one sniff of an Oreo cookie would send me into a tailspin. I'd turn from the funny-looking-girl-with-the bowl-cut-and-the-extra-wide-gap-in-her-teeth to the nasty-little-gremlin-child-with-the bucket-on-her-head in two seconds flat.
Unfortunately, the sugar tirades are one of my clearest childhood memories--the urge to rip my own hair out by the root, the desire to kick the back of the driver seat until it came loose from the floor bolts, and of course, the overwhelming need to karate chop my sister in the kidneys until she screamed for mercy and surrendered whatever Barbie she had in her possession at that moment. Actually, now that I think about it, the whole scene was very, very similar to my PMS symptoms as of late. And let me tell you, Katy still can't handle my lethal karate chops.
I also remember the sweet relief that I gained from my bucket. It was big, it was red, and I'm quite sure that it wasn't designed to be worn on the head. But that sand bucket--oooohhhh that sand bucket--it was the only thing on this planet that could help me gain my composure. When I'd feel a "moment" coming on, I would take that pail, put it on my head, use the handle as my chin strap, admire the red plasticy glow, and listen to the muffled sound of phrases like "what's wrong with her?"
And my poor, sweet mother would drive around town with her bucket-child strapped securely into the backseat. Can you imagine the looks she got? The comments? The whispers? But my mom was the wise one--she knew that it was far better to push a child through the grocery store with a sand pail on her head, than it was to watch that four year old get hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace...or disorderly conduct...or kicking a children's librarian in the shins.
I also remember using the bucket on long car trips. One time, when I was about four or five years old, we were making the four hour road trip to a cottage on Cape Cod. And somehow, I managed to finagle an orange soda out of my father at a road side vending machine. Holy crap people, once we were back on the road, that Ford Escort could barely contain me. It was totally driving down the Mass Pike on its back two wheels as I pinned my sister to the maroon vinyl seat and plucked out her eyelashes one by one. And not a moment too soon, my mother whipped that red bucket out from under the seat, tossed it onto my head, and peace was restored to the Earth.
When we arrived at the beach house that afternoon, my mom opened the back door of the car, gently knocked on my bucket, and was like, "We're here, Amy. Would you like to take that sand pail off of your head and use it at the beach?"
I was like, "No." And I think I stayed in the backseat of the station wagon until bedtime.
I was a lovely child. And now, I'm a lovely adult--who often has the urge to stick my head in the nearest picnic basket, or Fry-Daddy, or cement mixer at the first sign of stress.
Like yesterday for example, after James ate a sugar cookie with multicolored sprinkles from the food court at the mall, I tried to fit my head into my purse. Unfortunately, it was too small.