Momma's Dramas

Real Stories with Humorous Perspective

Grounds For…?

Posted on Sep 11, 2011 07:05:26 PM

TRAGEDY OF THE WEEK: September 12, 2011

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Grounds For…?

It was too early. I was still in my bathrobe, desperate for a cup of coffee before I started my day with Charlie and Tucker. I had broken the glass carafe for the coffee maker the day before, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from finding a way to get my morning fix. I couldn’t possibly begin my day with a four-year-old and a newborn without coffee. I filled the machine with coffee grounds, and water, and I waited until I could hear it percolating. I hunched over the counter with a makeshift carafe that I had fashioned from a glass measuring cup and the plastic coffee pot lid. I held the potentially clever but mostly pathetic device under the brew spout, and I pushed up the spring hoping for the best.

“OW! DAMMIT!” I screamed as steaming hot coffee dripped from under the machine and saturated my hand.

“What are you doing?” Tom questioned, as he entered the kitchen.

“I’m burning the shit out of my fingers, TOM, that’s what I’m doing!” I yelled.

“Are you trying to make coffee?” Tom had a look of quizzical horror on his face as if he thought I might have finally lost my mind.

“I’m making coffee! What does it look like I’m doing?” I hoped my attitude would make him feel like he was the one lacking reason.

“What do you mean? The coffee maker is broken, Ellie. What are you trying to do?”

“No. The coffee maker is not broken. I broke the carafe, not the machine.” I readjusted my fingers and continued pressing up into the spring of the brew spout. “Shit!” I yelled as another flow of coffee gushed out onto my fingers and trickled down my hand.

“You can’t make coffee without the pot, Ellie,” Tom calmly insisted.

“Too late. I’m already making it,” I snapped.

“You’re being a little extreme.”

I shot Tom a fiery look that I hope burned with the same intensity as the coffee that was now dripping down my arm and into the sleeve holes of my bathrobe. “You don’t have to stand there and watch me. Go away!”

“Are you trying to push on the spring with your fingers?”

“YES…OW! DAMMIT! Stupid piece of …”  I sucked in my breath and continued to swear under my breath.

“Can’t you just go get a cup of coffee?”


I slammed the glass measuring cup on the counter, and turned towards Tom. “Are you kidding me?” I said, motioning to my bathrobe. “I haven’t even showered, and I smell like milk. I can’t leave the house like this.”

“Ellie, half the kids working at the coffee shop look like they just rolled out of bed too. No one cares what you look like.”

“Well, now I feel sexy. Thanks!” I rolled my eyes in exasperation. Tucker cried from upstairs. My body crumpled in response. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter,” I said as I trudged out of the kitchen.

“I’ll get him,” Tom said. He passed me in the hall and went upstairs while I made myself as comfortable as possible on the couch and prepared to nurse. It hadn’t been going well, and without my coffee, I was feeling especially emotional.

Tom came downstairs with Tucker, and Charlie bounced down behind them. He was blocking his ears in response to Tucker’s crying.

“Sorry, buddy. Did he wake you up?” I asked.

“No, but he’s too loud. I don’t like it.”

Tom passed Tucker over to my nest of pillows that I had positioned in a way I hoped might help things go more smoothly. Charlie stayed in the doorway of the living room and watched. “Are you going to feed him?” he asked, removing his hands from his ears as Tucker quieted himself with a mouthful of milk.

“Yes,” I said, trying to smile through the pain to ease Charlie’s discomfort and concerns about nursing.

“That’s gross, Mom.”

“It’s not gross, Charlie. I fed you like this when you were a baby.”

“Blech!” he said, sticking out his tongue. Tucker squirmed and fussed with an inability to latch on comfortably. “I don’t think he likes it, Mom. You should give him a doughnut instead.”

“Babies can’t eat doughnuts, buddy.” I smiled and repositioned Tucker to try to stop his fussing.

“Okay. I’ll eat his doughnut for him. Me and Dad are going to get some.”

“We are?” Tom asked.

“Yeah. You promised. You said after Tucker was born we could get doughnuts.”

Tom shook his head as if flustered. “I didn’t mean today.” Charlie scowled, but before he had a chance to complain, Tom raised his eyebrows and nodded his head. “Actually, let’s do that. We’ll get some doughnuts, and I’ll get your mom some coffee. What kind of doughnut do you want?” he asked me with a wink.

“Mom likes pink. Right Mom?” Charlie offered.

“I do like pink,” I said, smiling at Charlie. I looked at Tom. “I like Boston cream too, but I think the last thing I need right now is a doughnut.” I gave my belly a pat and hoped Tom would give me the – You just had a baby, you’re not fat – lecture again.

“Okay, I’ll just get you a coffee,” Tom said with an oblivious shrug as he turned away from me. “Ready to go?” he asked Charlie. Charlie nodded enthusiastically as he hopped off the couch, and they headed out.

I was relieved when they left because Tucker was still not latching well, and it was hard to keep my discomfort hidden from Charlie. I tried to reposition myself, but Tucker suddenly pulled his head backwards without releasing me and a seething pain pierced my chest. “OW! SHIT!” I screamed, startling Tucker. I wasn’t any better at brewing breast milk than I was at brewing coffee. I sat and cried quietly. Tucker squirmed but eventually settled into a position that worked for him. It continued to be painful for me, but I didn’t dare move. My body was frozen in a cringe of pain that only a warm cup of coffee could thaw. I couldn’t wait for Tom to get back.

It felt like forever, but I finally heard the return of the car in the driveway. Charlie burst through the door with his usual loud excitement. “Mom, look!” he yelled, running to me with a doughnut bag and a very blue drink. “Dad let me get the blue raspberry freeze and a doughnut.”

“Awesome!” I said.

Charlie plopped next to me on the couch, and jostled my arm, but Tucker was finally too full of milk to fuss.

“Here,” Tom said, passing me my coffee.

“Wait, wait!” I said, waving him off. “Just put it down. I can’t hold hot coffee with Tucker.”

Tom put the cup down on the coffee table. “Here, I’ll take him.”

I passed a contented and sleeping Tucker to Tom and relaxed for a moment. The morning finally felt peaceful as I watched Charlie happily eating his doughnut and Tom holding our newborn son. I reached for the coffee and took a few cautious sips. It was hot, but so strongly flavored with normalcy that I couldn’t resist inhaling a few gulps, even at the risk of burning my mouth. “This is the best! Thank you,” I said to Tom. “You got a doughnut in there for me?” I joked to Charlie.

“No,” he said. He looked nervous. “Dad said you didn’t want one.”

I nodded and took another swig of coffee. I could feel the magic as it warmed my soul. “Seriously, this is the best coffee. Is this their usual decaf or did you get me something special?”

“What do you mean? It’s not decaf?”


“It’s your usual with the chocolate syrup and cream.”

“It’s not decaf?”

“No. Why would you want that?”

“Because I’m nursing! I can’t drink regular coffee.” I plopped the cup down on the coffee table and took a shaky breath.

“So you were doing all that stuff earlier for decaf? Are you serious?”

Tom’s tone was one of innocent surprise, but I couldn’t hold back my emotion. I burst into tears.

“I told you we should have got her the pink doughnut,” Charlie said, looking at Tom. “It’s okay, Mom.” He rested his head on my shoulder in an attempt to comfort me.

Tom shrugged and shook his head. “ Sorry. El. I didn’t know you were drinking decaf.”

“It’s okay. Never mind. Just forget it,” I said with a pitiful sigh. I was well practiced with being a martyr these days, and I quickly sniffled up my tears. I took a deep breath and tried to smile at Charlie but my jaw was set with teeth that clenched and made room for no more than a smirk.

“Here, Mom,” Charlie said, offering a piece of his doughnut. His gesture was enough to at least coax my eyes into a smile.

“Thank’s, honey,” I said.

Tom passed Tucker back to me, and walked towards the hall. “I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get you another coffee,” he said softly. “Need anything else?”

“Yeah,” I said, munching my piece of Charlie’s chocolate doughnut. “Get me a Boston Cream, too.”

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