Bringing up baby: the things Moms never thought they'd do Tales from the station wagon

May 08, 1994|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Sun Staff Writer

There's no doubt that motherhood transforms women: In the 1990s, the job description includes singing along with Barney and selling oversized candy bars to slight acquaintances.

Moms who live in the Baltimore metropolitan area recently phoned the Sundial service to confess acts they never expected to commit -- all in the name of motherhood, of course.

Take Paige Pape, of Perry Hall. Mrs. Pape phoned every McDonald's within driving distance in her search for two Happy Meal transformer toys. Frustrated, she dialed long distance to McDonald's regional office in Fairfax, Va.

"I thought that was the ultimate insanity," she says. "But what was really scary is that I was apparently not the only Mom who freaked out. They said they had gotten several other calls."

Before Alex, 7, and Andrew, 4, Mrs. Pape was a commercial photographer with glamorous assignments that included taking the Orioles' official team photograph. She also drove a Firebird.

Now she drives a Hyundai -- "the trunk of the Firebird couldn't hold a stroller" -- and works part time as a lactation consultant, renting breast pumps.

Any other minor adjustments?

"I've seen 'Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree' at least 3,000 times," she says. "My language has changed from excusing myself to go to the ladies' room to going pee pee in the potty. I had my hair permed because school starts 30 minutes earlier now and I needed that 30 minutes to dry my hair," she says.

"I've also put my name on a 43-page waiting list for the Power Rangers [toys]."

Some mothers commit acts of physical madness.

Catherine Max of Pikesville recently crawled into a tubular maze in the Discovery Zone kiddie land so her 10-year-old daughter, Danielle, would have a playmate. Mrs. Max suffers from claustrophobia. This was not one of her smarter moves.

"Kids are like little mice. They love mazes," she says. "I was right behind Danielle, crawling on my hands and knees. We got to a corner, and I couldn't see the way to get out. I started to panic. So I called, 'Danielle, Mommy isn't handling this very well. I need you to come back here and get me out.' I could tell I was about to have a full-blown anxiety attack.

"Later I told her, 'Never again can Mommy do that.' "

Mrs. Max is a mom who practices what many others only preach: She will try something before spurning it. Last winter, 7-year-old Amanda persuaded her mother to ice-sled on an inner tube. On her first attempt, Mom crashed right into a tree, deflating the tire but amusing her offspring.

"I didn't do it again," Mrs. Max says.

'I'll never do that'

As a mom, it's hard to know exactly what you will do and what you won't do until you've tested your limits. Linda Nachimson of Reisterstown never imagined she would bribe her child in order to survive supermarket shopping.

"My 2-year-old goes completely bonkers," she says. "I open up everything that's in our cart and feed him to keep him quiet. When I used to see other mothers doing that, I thought, 'I'll never do that.' Well, I do it. To keep him quiet, I feed him.

"I also thought I would never feed my child only cookies to get him to eat. But this child eats nothing during the day. My pediatrician -- who I won't name -- says as long as he's eating something, feed him. And the only thing he'll eat is cookies and chocolate milk."

Nancy Mays of Relay never thought she would hide snack food from her children to make it last through the week. She never thought she and her husband would spend their lives driving Gary, Travis and Justin to their various activities.

And until recently, she never considered the impression she leaves with the younger set.

"I went to pick up my oldest son from his driver ed class and he wasn't there," Mrs. Mays recalls. "After a while, I realized he must have gotten a ride home. So when I came home, I said, 'Why did you leave when you knew I was coming to pick you up?'

"And he said, 'Didn't Diane tell you that I got a ride home with Chris' mom?'

"I said, 'I don't even know Diane.'

"He said, 'Well, I told her to look for a middle-aged lady driving a white station wagon.' Then, when he saw the expression on my '' face, he said, 'I said you were a middle-aged lady who looks really young.'

"I'm 42 years old," says Mrs. Mays. "But until he made that comment, I had never thought of myself as middle-aged. It was a very enlightening moment."

For Donna Poole of Brooklyn Park, one of the touchiest moments of motherhood came when her son Matthew was a 7-year-old second-grader. It happened in the kitchen, while she was cooking dinner.

"Matthew said, 'Mom, the big kids at our table were talking about something. Like it had the word 'sex' in it or something. And it was about a man and a woman and they kiss and this and that.'

"Well, after I picked my mouth off the floor and looked at his dad -- who had gone into a coma -- I said, 'Matthew, if there is anything you'd like to know, you can ask your Mom or Dad and we'll be glad to help you on the things we know.'

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