Motherly insights include how to control children with a jalapeño

image This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our youngest daughter’s many pre-pubescent mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young. This hasn’t been easy. As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life. As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is — or has the potential of becoming — a cheese-like substance.

My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really means, are two completely different things.

As I understand it, this is the first step to becoming a woman.

Being a man, I am no stranger to this concept.

However, I was in denial when it came to my daughter. Mostly because I didn’t want to admit that she is growing up; time is slipping away. And that, in just a couple of years, my wife and daughter will probably be sharing the same PMS cycle.

Though I kept this realization to myself, it was clear that my wife’s insightfulness is something that only comes with motherhood. It’s a bond that starts during that first nine months, when mother and child reach a special understanding that if baby doesn’t stop using mommy’s bladder for step aerobics, mommy will eat a raw jalapeno. In this way, even before birth, a child learns Mom will endure physical or emotional discomfort if it means providing a valuable life lesson; because that’s what Moms do best.


If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Breast Pump. True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough for a child to be respectful. If you’re in doubt, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the on button, and keep it there until a) your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal, or b) someone calls the police.

And calling the police on yourself doesn’t count.

You will quickly realize just one of the many things a mother endures for the sake of her child’s wellbeing and why, if it were up to fathers to provide breast milk to the human species, we’d all be nursed by monkeys.

So this year, I plan to do something special for my wife; something to let her know how much I appreciate all that she does as a mother.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The fact is, I haven’t been able to think straight since that whole car vacuum incident. In hindsight, I never would have taken my shirt off if I knew my wife had that many quarters.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

Published by

Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

59 thoughts on “Motherly insights include how to control children with a jalapeño”

  1. Oh, this is great stuff here and as a mother of a teen boy, I could certainly give you some stories about teens and hormones. OMG. But lovely thought to actually want to do something spectacular for your wife this year…personally, I think you make sure she sees this post (possibly in a frame for her dresser) and treat her to a day of unending pampering showing her by deed that you not only appreciate what she does as a mother, but also how much it’s added to what the two of you were before!

    1. We still have three teens at home (two boys and a girl), and I have to say my wife and I have become so much more together than we could ever be apart. We are a blended family, and my wife is constantly an inspiration — and I don’t wait for Mother’s Day to let her know, any more than she waits for Mother’s Day to be a terrific mom and wife 😉

  2. I would suggest sending her to a weekend spa or any other type of retreat. If she doesn’t want to go away, I then suggest you and your daughter leave, that way your wife can read a book in the bathtub with loads of hot water.

    1. We’re actually childless for the first half of the day (kids with other parents), so I am making breakfast for my wife, my mom and our oldest daughter (even though she’s not a mom yet and better remain that way for at least 10 years…)

  3. Oh my goodness.. I love this! I genuinely laughed aloud – having both a daughter (with whom the threat of spicy food in utero was met with celebration) and used a pump (to which I can personally relate to the car vacuum analogy).

    My suggestion would be to take her out. The everyday minutia has a tendency to make us feel frumpy.

    I personally enjoy sharing experiences with those that I love more than receiving items or having an experience alone, but everyone has a different love language. So play into that.

    Good luck! 🙂

    1. Jules, congratulations for making it through the breast pump phase with your sanity intact, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this tribute to my wife and mothers everywhere — particularly those with spicy daughters. Like you, my wife is more of a shared-experience type, so we will spend most of the day together as a family making her feel special and, more importantly, appreciated.

      Since she’s Spanish, jalapeños will still probably be involved at some point 😉

      My best wishes to you for a wonderful Mother’s Day, Jules!

  4. *snap* That reminds me, I need to have my car detailed. Hmmn…you could serenade her. Write a poem perhaps? Mix tapes! Throw a few rightchous balleds on there. Chicks dig that kinda stuff.

    1. My objective is for her to enjoy Mother’s Day, and my singing would be like a punishment. So that’s out. I think I’ll start with making breakfast —Linguica and eggs — and go from there. I’m working on a poem, “The Things You Taught’a Me Since Your Epesiotamy …” but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

  5. I was in the delivery room when my eldest nephew was born back in 1998. Having seen the whole process, the biggest miracle in my view is the fact that so many women choose to do it (along with other minor acts of masochism motherhood requires, like breast pumping). I don’t know how they do it, but thank goodness they do!

  6. The wife reckon she doesn’t need any material gifts for Mother’s Day, she just needs time on her own, which implies I need to take the kids of her hands for the day.
    I decided that I’m getting her a nice, expensive bracelet for you can’t always get what you want.

  7. Funny you should mention…
    I’ve been trying to frame being an “older” mom to young children in a positive light, and I’ve realized that unless McDonald’s reeeeeeally amps up those growth hormones, it’s unlikely that my 3 1/2 YO daughter and I will ever PMS at the same time. Small solace, but solace nonetheless.
    Buy her a nap. And about an hour of absolute quiet time. I’d just about sacrifice a limb for that.

    1. Even being a man and therefore given to denseness, I’m seeing a pattern with the “quiet time” gift-giving theme for Mother’s Day 😉

  8. Oh Ned, this made me laugh out loud! Our son was a screamer as a baby, thought I would lose my mind some days. My husband went to rent a breast pump for me (upon my asking) so that I could pump a few extra bottles in order to get some sleep & let someone else feed our son.

    As I sat there with this contraption on my breast, listening to what sounded like someone on a ventilator, I had a new appreciation for how cows feel. I sat there for what seemed like days in order to pump enough for a bottle. As I was disengaging from the pump, somehow the milk I had just spent an eternity to get, got knocked over & spilled all over the floor.

    At this point my husband looked at me with complete horror as he knew someone was about to die & at that moment, he seemed to be the most likely candidate. He is alive & well, I am happy to say although his snoring these days may land me in jail at some point!

    The fact that you are making breakfast for the women in your life & showing them how much you appreciate & love them is all the gift they will need.

    1. LOL! That’s worse than spilling a bottle of good Tequila! Kudos to you, Lynn, for enduring that torture device (breast pump, not husband) and thank you for the kind words.

      I’m wishing you a most wonderful Mother’s Day, more often than once a year and ESPECIALLY on May 11 😉

  9. You are a thoughtful gentleman, Mr. Ned (Not to be confused wth Mr. Ed – so if I make a typo, please fix it in your head). The breakfast idea for 3 generations of women (two mothers and one who will be allowed in about 20 years) is amazing. Women love it when you fix them a meal – you probably should not wear your Mexican hat though, it could interfere in impressive (any height attained over the top of the frying pan) pancake flipping. You should make a short video of the breakfast so we can see your culinary abilities in action. Even better, ask Alicia to make the video. The last one she made of you planting your face in the ground in the midst of a rainstorm while she laughed her head off, was truly inspired. I still crack up everytime I think about it! Ha! Also, I’m sure it would cheer her up to record your antics for posterity – complete with her laughter as a sound track.

    1. Wilbur! Sorry, I mean Paul — My sombrero is where I keep the eggs, so it has to stay. But I’m pretty sure my wife would be more than happy to record my posterior. I’m just glad her laughter is a constant soundtrack in my life and the lives of our children 😉

  10. So THAT’S why my chest resembles a deflated balloon animal. I knew that pump had to be causing some longlasting damage. Don’t get me started on the repercussions of a 10 lb baby. That’s a certain sacrifice, and I don’t mean the Madonna softporn video.

    Sorry I’m no help as far as MD gifts. I never want $ spent on me because really, that’s OUR $, and we will need to retire one day. Just a shoulder rub please. And maybe some flowers. And a bottle of rosé chilled. Oh, and dark chocolates, the nuts and nougats, if you would be a dear.

    1. Ha! That video was probably behind the creation of a good number of today’s mothers…

      My wife is the same way (like you, not Madonna), in that she’s more about deeds than dollars. I have to agree, hence the breakfast and pampering, which I really try not to save just for Mother’s Day.

      Someone should be arriving with you chocolates shortly. By the way, 10 pounds?!? You’re lucky to be alive and so is your husband 😉

  11. What a beautifu and heartwarming tribute to your wife. You described her as a person I’d love to meet, learn from and dish on our husband’s with. The fact that you recognize all that she does as the mother of your children is a special gift in itself.
    I’ve been through the ringers of which you speak (however, no cops or carwashes were injured) and it always meant the world to me when my husband simply said, “You are such a good mom.” It brings tears to my eyes right now.
    And, if you don’t already know, you’ve given a gift to your children, too. There is no better example or set-up for future marital success when they see daddy love their mom the way you do.
    “Scuse me…I seem to have something in my eyes that’s making them water.

    PS: LOVED the facebook pictures I happened to see last night. Priceless!

    1. On behalf of Alicia and myself, thank you so much for those thoughtful words. When we first met, each of us with custody of our two children, one of the first conversations we had was about how important we felt it was for our children to see their parents openly affectionate and respectful to each other — things that were missing in our previous spouses. Thank you for recognizing that, and for the wonderful example I know you and your husband are for your own family.

      Of course, none of this include my Facebook photos yesterday, which my children are still recovering from. I told my daughter I was going to drop her off at school with that sombrero on and she opted to walk the three miles if I did.

      1. OMG!!! You get me to spit Mountain Dew at least once a week! People in this airport are covered in my Dew as I imagine your daughter saying she will walk three miles in order to avoid the sombrero (there’s a Seinfield episode in here somewhere)
        And, back to the topic at hand, you are most welcome 🙂 Seeing stories like yours help me know that I’m not too far off the path myself.

  12. as the mother of 3 daughters, all close in age, i understand all of this so well, and my mantra is, “i’m just happy we all somehow made it through and survived.” that is all.

    1. I’m sure it’s a mantra echoed by your daughters as well. Probably behind your back..

      Seriously, thank you for all you’ve done — and continue to do — as a mom, Beth 😉

  13. Ahhh the breast pump. Invented to assist mothers whilst humiliating them at the same time. After my last was born, the hospital loaned me an electric one to use. I was sitting in my private room (thank goodness) and pumping away when my partner walked in. I immediately tried to disguise what was happening to which he replied “Don’t worry about it. I used to work in a dairy and know all about those things”. When he regained consciousness I had finished.
    At home I had to use a hand pump and was set up in the corner of a room one day when the middle child decided to bring his friend around to see the baby – unannounced. I was mortified. My son just waved at me and said “Hi mum. Nick is here to see the baby. That’s alright isn’t it?”
    Now, I am going to have a book a therapy session from dredging up that humiliation…. 😉

    1. I’m surprised your partner is still alive, actually! I just remember sitting on the couch one evening, watching TV with my ex-wife, listening to the breast pump and thinking, “At least she won’t risk starting an argument with her breast pump going…” 😉

          1. Very wise move. And I am sure your wife will appreciate the fact that she could not reach you when you gift her with something amazing on Sunday. lol

  14. I have a couple of horrible mammilla pumping nightmares – one of which involves a neighbour inadvertently receiving a warm milky power wash from across the room. I think I’ve just gone back into shock, so any ideas I may have had for you have just been drowned out by the mental screaming.
    I can say though, that I’d be willing to bet the dairy farm that Alicia will adore any kind of day with you.

    1. LOL! (sorry) How long until your neighbor moved? Or did the visits become more frequent? Never mind, none of my business…

      By the way, thank you 😉

      1. One time visit only – but I’m pretty sure I cleaned a lifetime of grime off one side of his face and an old spot on his shirt.

        Anyway, I intend to re-blog this on the weekend. I can’t come up with anything near as worthy for Mom Day warmth, 🙂

        1. Lol! Wow, that’s a powerful lactation! You should’ve bottled it and sold it. Oh wait, bottling it is where the trouble began…

          I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and I’m flattered to know it’s Mother’s Day worthy for a great mom to re-blog. Thanks, Robyn 😉

  15. Hey man! It’s so nice you want to do something for your wife… But I believe that no matter what you do, your wife will only truly get it if it comes from your daughter. However, you could give her some time off – at the spa, a weekend away in a beautiful and relaxing place, or a nice dinner… I hear these are the things a mother most wishes for!

    1. That seems to be the popular consensus. My wife is more of a all-inclusive type who really just wants to enjoy her family; my job is to make sure she can with as little effort as possible 😉

  16. “One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life.”

    Thank you for proving that I am, in fact, a teenage girl.

    1. I can’t tell you how much that means.
      Actually, I could tell you, but after a while I think it would get awkward…

      But truly: thanks, Maggie 😉

  17. Even though I’m late seeing this, I’m glad you were planning ahead to do something special for your wife on Mother’s Day. What did you end up doing?

    1. Made her breakfast with flowers (for decoration, not for eating), made a trip to the “big city” for a movie she wanted to see and dinner, then came home and opened gifts and settled in for some quiet time after the kids went to bed. The weather was fantastic, so it was an added bonus 😉

No one is watching, I swear...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s