Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Perceived Crisis, Meet Actual Crisis

The other day we set out for the outlet malls.
We all piled into the van as usual with Chloe and Tessa fighting over which booster seat they'd get and Alena begging to PLEASE sit by Paige and NOT *eyeroll* by them.
Nothing new under the sun.
I settled my purse by my feet and secured my water bottle into the cup holder.
I handed Paige a book over my shoulder as she has trained me.
Then I put the car in reverse and began to back out of the driveway.

That was the moment a cry rang out from the backseat unlike any I had ever heard.
A WAIL like a siren.
A cry so loud,
so panic stricken,
so alarming,
that I was POSITIVE when I turned around there would be blood splatter on the back window, and limbs strewn about.

It was Tessa.

The veins in her neck were bulging and her eyes were the size of dinner plates.
She looked clammy.

I slammed on the brakes.

"Tessa?! What on EARTH is the matter?!" I asked.

When I heard the answer, I just sat frozen.
I locked eyes with her in the rear-view mirror and just kept staring for a minute.
Was this for real?
Was this really happening?
Was I on some sort of acid trip?

"My seatbelt isn't buckled yet."
She moaned.

Now I am all for safety while in a car.
I am 100% on board with always ALWAYS buckling up.
I have actually reported parents to the police before who I have seen driving with their toddler standing up on the rear seat completely unbuckled.

It wasn't the being unbuckled.
It was the complete and utter PANIC that happened before and as she told me.

"Tessa. It's OK. Just tell me next time. Good grief. You almost gave me a stroke."

It took a good 10 minutes for her to return to her normal self.
15 before she was back to annoying Chloe.

What a freak.

Then, the very next day, while I was applying my makeup, I heard footsteps.
It was Alena.
Her hands were clasped around something I couldn't see and her face was ashen.

"Mama! I need help!" She said.
The tone of her voice was worry mixed with fear and had a dash of terror added.
She was almost shaking.

I got worried.

The weirdest thing is that the first thing my imagination came up with that was happening was that she was clasping some sort of mangled baby bird that the kitten had gotten ahold of.
I was picturing making sutures out of fishing line, and possibly having to heat the hot glue gun.

When she opened her hands, it took me a second to even figure out what she was holding.

What IS that?......

"Tessa broke it. I can't get it to work now."
Her voice cracked like she was on the very brink of tears.

The Laser pointer.

It was the LASER POINTER?!
The little key-chain attachment laser pointer that we got to play with the kitten?

The battery was missing.
The button was jammed.

For the love of all that is Holy.

Can someone please explain to me how a LASER POINTER is worthy of tears and trembling and sending one's own mother into stress triggered A-FIB?

"Honey. This is NOT a crisis. I will fix it later when I'm done getting ready."
"But the BUTTON IS STUCK!" She burst.

And that is when I realized:

My kids have NO ability to judge the difference between PERCEIVED crisis and ACTUAL crisis.
And I realized it was time they learn.

I have created a master list of scenarios to aid in the detection of Actual Crisis.
When in doubt, they can access this list and weigh out the likenesses of their own situation in their own minds.

I hope this helps:

*There is a man with a chainsaw hiding in your rear floor-board after you pump gas. You do not see him until it is too late.

*Tessa won't hang up her swimsuit and the floor got wet by your bed.

*Your shoelace gets caught in the rungs of the escalator at the mall and your foot is then detached at the ankle in front of multiple onlookers.
Mall goers shriek and panic. A stampede breaks out.

*"She got the pink one."

*A flash flood ravages your entire county and the only way out of your home is by helicopter that never comes.
You are forced to eat a beloved family pet.

*Chloe is laying on the right side of the bed and you wanted that SIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEE. And she had it LAST time!!!!!!!

*You are casually looking out of a 50 story window when an earthquake hits, shattering the glass and pitching you outside where you hang on to the window ledge by your fingertips. You then remember that earlier in the day you had received a text message saying that your mother had been kidnapped and if you did not respond to the text by 3:00pm, she would be tortured and killed. You had forgotten to respond. It is now 2:59pm.

*The bee won't leave your meat alone.

* Your arm gets wedged in between boulders and you have to use your own pocket knife to cut it off and then find help after two days of drinking your own urine for hydration.
Everyone you love thinks you're dead.

*Someone drank the last watermelon Honest Kids and you really wanted that last Honest Kids because last time you asked for it and she took it and then she promised you that you could have it the next time but then she took it anyway even though she told you you could have it next time, and......


To make matters even more clear, dear children, I have also composed a

Use this for self evaluation:

Am I bleeding profusely?
Am I even bleeding at ALL?
Is a crime in progress that is punishable by time in a federal prison?
Do I, or someone around me, suddenly qualify for a teardrop tattoo?
Will it ruin yet ANOTHER article of Mama's clothing?
Is the mere sight of it enough to cause someone to have an actual cardiac event?
Could I die from it?
Could someone I love die from it?
Has anyone in the history of time ever died from it?

If you have answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, Proceed to "Actual Crisis Protocol."

Call 911.


If you answered "No", then you will follow "Perceived Crisis Protocol."

Take a breath.
Sit down.
Consciously make your voice three octaves lower than is your first crisis-loving instinct.
That VOICE you're using technically gives ME reason to use Actual Crisis Protocol.

*If something you own is cracked, broken, leaking, melting, wilting, running, torn, too soft, too hard, too cold or too hot- NOT A CRISIS.
*If you are bleeding but I still would require a magnifying glass to locate the injury- NOT A CRISIS.
*If anyone took your anything and you had it first - I repeat - NOT A CRISIS.

People have REAL needs in life!
Water that is not contaminated.
Shelter from the elements.

You want help picking the bits of your chewed up La La Loopsy out of the dog crate because your arms are sore from the Wii?
That's not one of them.

If you spend most of your days with a roof over your head and a big bowl of something called "Cheddar Rockets" in your lap and you never have to leave your seat to even get the mail let alone find a well,
chances are you will rarely ever have an ACTUAL CRISIS.

I'm not trying to be mean.
I'm just trying to do my job as a mother.
The job that says that I need to somehow form you into an adult that doesn't freak out every time they have to stand in line or they don't get the parking spot they want.
An adult that can hold it together in Costco when for some unexplicable reason Kleenex stops making their kleenex boxes in 16 oz. size and now they are 14 oz.s for the same price.

And who checks the weight on Kleenex ANYWAY?!

It's my duty that you know this.

It's my job to make you awesome and to teach you how to handle things and to simply COPE.

So, in summary:

There are far too many nut jobs out there already.

Don't be one of them.

Take a deep breath,
Assess the list,





  1. YES! I am sharing post haste. Now, if only people will actually read and understand....

  2. I love this! I will be sharing, also.

  3. OH...MY...GOSH!!!! This is almost as though you have been living my life!
    So funny!

  4. Totally love this! My friend Katie pointed me towards your post, and I shared it on SantaRosaMom's Facebook page. Can't. Stop. Laughing!

  5. if you DON"T get the writing jobs,
    just send them THIS !!!
    sure love the way you can turn a phrase -
    oh yeah, and now that I'M not in the middle of such crises, i find your stories more-than-minimally amusing !
    Love ya, Girl !

  6. You don't say how old your children are that I noticed. Little ones don't have the capacity to decide on a moment's notice whether something is a true crisis or not; to them, everything is. Also, it seems that they learned how to go into crisis mode from you. I say this because you've written things such as, "Tessa. It's OK. Just tell me next time. Good grief. You almost gave me a stroke." Did she really almost give you a stroke? If so, I suggest you go to your doctor and ask to be checked for high blood pressure. If you weren't almost having a stroke, then I suggest that rather than becoming so annoyed with your children for going into crisis mode - which is what children do - you might look to yourself to change what you say around them because children mimic and internalize what we model to them.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I am sorry that you cannot see that everything that was written was for humor purposes.
      Laughter is good for the soul AND the blood pressure.
      You might want to try it sometime.
      If you knew my children, you would know that they are beautiful, happy, witty, and extremely well loved and it is all because I know all about what should be modeled for them.

    2. How cowardly to criticize anonymously! You certainly have a lot of suggestions to offer, so here are a few for you. I suggest you step down from your high horse. I suggest you read blogs that are less enjoyable and more boring. I suggest you withhold judgment from a wonderful, hilarious, and creative mother who is raising amazing kids. I suggest you get some sleep instead of making negative comments at 1am. Perhaps you'll wake up in a better mood.

    3. Hello Anonymous,
      I am sure that you meant well, but you need to know that what you experienced was the writing of a true storyteller (which is a lost art form). I can assure you that her children are not only beautiful and loving but have such vivid imaginations and are so creative and funny. They are this way because they have a beautiful, creative and loving Mother and Father. So many have been blessed by the words that she shares, making us laugh and cry and reminding us that we are human. I just thought you should know what is real and to remind you that one should not judge without being more informed.

  7. I can confirm this. Kerri has exceptionally bright, caring and exuberant children. Even the best moms struggle with this. That's what makes it funny. We can all relate. I'm sad for you that you don't understand this. Maybe there isn't enough laughter in your home. Pull up a chair "anonymous" you might learn something!

  8. You are a master! Love this to the hills...