Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pierced Nipple Anxiety

I was back on my A game -- or so I thought.  I have nearly licked this bug that I've had all week -- passing it off to Dave -- who is traveling again.  Last night after the house was picked up and the girls were asleep, I whipped off an article on "How to Deal with a Child Flipping Out at the Dentist."  Completed in less than an hour, I was hopeful that I would get two articles done today.  

It's nearly time to pay the girls' October tuition for preschool, and beggars can't be choosers when it comes to accepting titles of articles to write about.  The article I have selected has taken me into uncharted territory: pierced nipples and breastfeeding. 

Searching the internet, I find there aren't a lot of authoritative resources on this particular subject. Scanning the indexes of my parenting books only leads me to get distracted when I find topics such as "nose: beans and pees, inserted," or "nipple confusion" followed by "noise making toys" and "overstimulation" and I begin to wonder if I've picked up a bedroom-type book -- if you get my drift -- as opposed to a parenting book. 

Time's a tickin' before I have to get the twinados from preschool and the more I think about it, the more paralyzed I become. My template glares at me.  I have nothing to write on it.  My heart beats. Fast. 

As an undergrad, I'd hand in term papers weeks ahead of time. I couldn't stand the pressure of doing it last minute, nor the weight of it hanging over my head.  

Handing in a 15-page research paper on "Why it does Not Harm Children to be Raised by Same-Sex Parents," the child development professor told me she knew she'd be seeing me, term paper in hand,  weeks before anyone else even thought to start theirs.  I smiled at her and dashed into my other child development class. We were getting our exams back and I. Couldn't. Wait. to see how I'd done. 

The days leading up to the exam consisted of eight-hour runs of note taking and reciting information under my breath.  Lists of terms, phrases summarizing theories, and fact-based opinions on parenting styles consumed my mind. Contrary to my fellow classmates, the night before the exam contained no last minute cramming.  It contained quiet.  And by exam mornings -- silence reigned.  I offered no "hello's," to classmates and ignored Dave's small-talk.  Classmates would talk nervously and try to review information in the hall and I would enter the "dark zone" where nothing comes in or out.  It's as if speaking -- hell, even breathing -- might allow a critical piece of information to slip from my mind, never to be retracted. 

Once in the test, I'd scribble my answers down furiously before the information in my mind evaporated. I'd jump around on the test, completing what I felt like doing -- no particular order ruled my test-taking.  The order of answering questions was ruled by what my gut told me to do. 

The days leading to the test results allowed pessimism to overtake me.  "I failed. This time I really failed. I didn't know a single thing on that test."

"You say that everytime and you always ace it," Dave, in his 21 year-old wisdom, would try to reassure me. 

Frustrated that he just didn't believe me I'd go on and on about failing the test.  I could barely function. Barely think at times. And so I cleaned.  I cleaned and cleaned -- until the morning of the arrival of the test results. 

Sliding into my chair, the professor pulled out the exams.  My stomach flip-flopped and my bladder contracted.  Should have worn a pad, I'd think, fearing that I'd pee my pants a little out of the suspense of waiting to see my grade. 

"Someone in here threw the curve off by scoring a 98 on her test," the teacher announced. She continued on, explaining how grading was done, but I didn't hear her.  I'd begun ruminating angrily.

"THAT BITCH!" My eyes scanned the room wondering what person had thrown the curve off.  Was it Miss Happy Peppy Pants with all the blonde curls, bright blue eyes, and perma-smile?  Probably it was.

"Shannon." Oh god. She said my name.  This is it. My bladder surged again. Really should have worn a pad -- do I have to stand up? I'll surely pee my pants.  I open the folded exam -- and circled -- is 98.

Got Sheepish?


  1. I can so relate to the test taking part of this. Getting back tests or papers usually comes with a barrage of miniature gremlins in my head shouting "you failed you failed you failed!" Followed by a "phew... well that was lucky."

    Wish I had your paper writing gumption though. (She says, as she sits here avoiding her research paper like the plague.)


  2. Hi B-

    Thanks for the note :)
    Hope you got that paper done. I'm sitting her avoiding an article.....