When Tiger Mom Met Helicopter Mom

So far, 2011 has been the year of the Tiger Mom. If you don’t know what a Tiger Mom is, you should read Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” .  Amy Chua created quite a stir with this article and with her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”. While some praised her strict parenting style, many criticized her harsh methods. The debate continued with TIME magazine’s cover story, “The Truth About Tiger Moms”

Tiger Moms are strict and push their children to succeed no matter what. This is in direct contrast to the parenting style of the Helicopter Mom.  These mothers are called Helicopter Moms because they are overprotective and hover over their children. Helicopter Moms jump in to fix their child’s problems and go to great lengths to keep their child away from dangerous situations.

Tiger Mom and Helicopter Mom – the ultimate odd couple. It’s a reality show just waiting to happen. Picture this: Tiger Mom Amy Chua and her daughter Lulu are forced to live with iCarly‘s Helicopter Mom Mrs. Benson and her son Freddie. (Yes, I know they’re fictional, but I can’t out any real Helicopter Moms. Just go with it.)

This is the story of what happens when two mothers are forced to live in a house and stop being polite…and start getting real. The Real World: Tiger Mom & Helicopter Mom

[Freddie and Lulu arrive home from school]

Freddie: Hi Mom. We’re home from school.

Mrs. Benson: Oh Freddie, I’m so glad you’re home. I missed you. [gives Freddie a giant bear hug]

Freddie: I missed you too, Mom.

Mrs. Benson: I love you.

Freddie: I love you too, Mom.

Lulu: Hi Mom.

Amy Chua: Don’t “hi” me. Let’s get down to business. You had a math test today. What was your grade?

Freddie: She got an A.

Mrs. Benson: Lulu, that’s great! An A!

Amy Chua: A? A, schmay. What percentage was your A?

Lulu: 92% [hands her mother the test]

Amy Chua: [shakes test violently] 92? This is not an A. This is an A minus. This is test is garbage and you are a worthless garbage collector! I might as well use this 92% test to wipe my butt after I take a crap!

Mrs Benson: Oh no, that piece of paper is much too harsh to wipe your butt with. You should use Charmin. My Freddie has a very sensitive tushy, so I always buy Charmin for him.

Freddie: MOM!

Amy Chua: [mutters] Stupid American mother! [raises her voice] Lulu, I’m very disappointed in you. You have brought great shame to our family. I want you to spend an extra 2 hours studying math tonight. But that’s after you spend 2 hours practicing your violin.

Mrs. Benson: Freddie, how did you do on your math test?

Freddie: I got a B.

Mrs. Benson: Oh, that’s wonderful! You did a super duper job! [gives Freddie another giant bear hug]  I’m so proud of you! I’m sure the only reason you didn’t get an A is because that teacher is unfair! I think I’ll call her up and tell her to stop putting such hard math problems on your test.

Freddie: Don’t do that mom.

Mrs. Benson: But I have to tell her to stop being mean to my baby boy. And luckily I have her phone number on speed dial!

Lulu: Great job on your math test Freddie! Your math grades are really improving.

Freddie: Thanks Lulu.

Amy Chua: LULU! Don’t talk to that stupid American boy. Stay away from him! He may poison your superior Chinese brain.

Mrs. Benson: Don’t talk that way about my little Freddie! I would argue with you, but I can’t because right now I’m on hold with Freddie’s teacher.

Freddie: I’m going to have a snack.

Mrs. Benson: Freddie, I made you some cookies and hot cocoa. But be careful drinking the cocoa. It’s very hot and I don’t want you to spill it on your lap and burn your testicles.

Freddie: MOM!

Mrs. Benson: I’ll just blow on your cocoa so it’s not too hot for you. And I better break your cookies into little bite size pieces so you won’t choke.

Amy Chua: [mutters] Stupid inferior American mother!

Lulu: Mom, can I have a snack?

Amy Chua: No, no snack for you! It’s time for you to practice your violin. You know the rules, if your violin concerto is perfect, then you can eat. Now, go practice!

[Lulu begins practicing her violin in another room]

Freddie: I’m going to go do my homework.

Mrs. Benson: OK. Here’s a pencil for you. Oh wait, this pencil tip is too sharp. [breaks pencil tip] That sharp pencil was an accident waiting to happen.

Freddie: I don’t need a pencil, Mom. All I need is my laptop.

Mrs. Benson: Oh! Well, don’t put the laptop on your lap. I don’t want you to burn your testicles.

Freddie: MOM!

[Freddie goes upstairs to do his homework]

[Lulu is still practicing her violin]

Amy Chua: NO, NO, NO! The tempo is all wrong! Lulu, your mistakes are unacceptable. You are a disgrace to this family. You are going to stay here and practice that song until it’s PERFECT! That means no food, no water and no bathroom privileges. Now, pick up that violin bow and get back to work!

Lulu: Yeah, I’ll pick up this violin bow…then I’d like to shove it up your rectum, ascending colon and transverse colon!

Amy Chua: LULU! I’m shocked…shocked at your appalling knowledge of colon anatomy! It’s rectum, DESCENDING COLON and transverse colon! Once again, you have brought shame to our family and the whole Chinese race. After you practice violin for 3 hours and practice math for 3 hours, I want you to spend 2 hours studying anatomy.

Lulu: Fine, but I’m going to practice violin in my room.

Any Chua: Fine. Now go!

[Lulu goes upstairs and practices her violin]

Mrs. Benson: You were kind of rough on Lulu, don’t you think?

Amy Chua: Not at all. I will not tolerate anything less than perfection from my children. No mistakes. I demand perfection and I will push until I receive it. My children will achieve great things in life, unlike your pussy son.  

Mrs. Benson: Oh yes, Freddie’s a little pussy cat, isn’t he?  

Amy Chua: [mutters] Stupid inferior American mother!

Mrs. Benson: I don’t hear any noise coming from upstairs. Oh no! What if Freddie fell, hit his head and is lying unconscious in his room?

Amy Chua: I don’t hear Lulu’s violin. She still has 3 hours of practice left!

[Amy Chua and Mrs. Benson run upstairs]

Amy Chua: Lulu is not in her room.

[Amy Chua and Mrs. Benson open Freddie’s bedroom door and find Lulu and Freddie half-naked in Freddie’s bed]

Amy Chua: AHHHHHH! [clutches heart and passes out]

Mrs. Benson: AHHHHHH! [clutches heart and passes out]

Freddie: Are they dead? Do you know CPR?

Lulu: Well, yesterday my mom told me to study CPR for 2 hours, but I didn’t. They’re not dead. But they’re going to die when we tell them I’m pregnant! [dials 911]

Freddie: Wanna fool around some more until the paramedics arrive?

Lulu: Oh yeah!


Has Facebook Killed The High School Reunion?

I graduated high school in 1990. In November 2010, our class gathered for its 20 year reunion. (But because I suck at blogging, I didn’t blog about it until now.) When I first received the information about the 20 year reunion, I thought, 

Go to my high school reunion? No way! 
Not a chance! 
Only when hell freezes over!
Or when that Justin Bieber kid cuts his hair!

There was no way I could go to my 20 year high school reunion. I was still way too mad at my high school best friend Kelly for stealing my boyfriend Dylan when I spent that summer in Paris. Then I remembered that wasn’t me…that was Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210.  Huh. I guess I missed my 10 year high school reunion for nothing.

Since my slutty ex-best friend was a work of fiction, there was no reason not to go to my 20 year high school reunion. Right? Wrong. There was still another reason why I was hesitant to attend the reunion.


Who needs a high school reunion when we’ve got Facebook?  I used to spend countless sleepless nights wondering what my old high school classmates were up to. But Facebook solved that problem. Thanks to the miracle of Facebook, I have instant access to a classmate’s birthday, marital status, city, education history, occupation, kids, pets, height, weight, shoe size, bra size, favorite Starbucks coffee drink, high school locker combination, social security number…pretty much everything.  Plus, I can check out photos on Facebook to see who’s addicted to Botox and who really needs to put down the Ding Dongs.

Facebook has killed the high school reunion. Things you learn about classmates at reunions like who’s married, who’s divorced, who’s fat, who’s skinny, who’s bald, who likes to wear a pirate patch for fun, have already been revealed by Facebook. The element of surprise has been taken away. And that’s why I was reluctant to attend my reunion. I mean, since I already know everything about my classmates from their Facebook pages, why would I want to see them at a reunion? I imagined a conversation would go something like this:

Random classmate: Hi! How are you?
Me: Good. How are you?
Random classmate: Good. I saw on your Facebook page that you’re married, you have 2 boys, and you’re a doctor.
Me: Yes, that’s right. I saw on your Facebook page that you’re single, you’re a yoga instructor but your dream is to go back to school to study astronomy.
Random classmate: Yeah, I just love horoscopes!
(awkward silence)
Me: Alrighty then. See you in 10 years at the 30 year reunion.

Thus, I decided not to go to my 20 year high school reunion. Then some friends who were going were all like, You’re not going? Oh, you have to go. It wouldn’t be the same without you. You HAVE to go! I’m not easily swayed by peer pressure, so I still wasn’t going to go. But then I realized, hey, I’m married, I have 2 kids, I’m a doctor AND I weigh the same as I did when I graduated high school.  Why wouldn’t I go to my high school reunion and rub it in my classmates’ faces spend time with my former classmates?  

So I went to my 20 year high school reunion. And guess what? Facebook has not killed the high school reunion. Sure, Facebook has beat up the high school reunion a little bit, kicked it in the nuts a few times, but reports of the high school reunion’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Contrary to Mark Zuckerberg’s popular belief, not everyone is on Facebook.  I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. There were many classmates at the reunion who aren’t on Facebook. And there was a baby at the reunion and I’m pretty sure that baby isn’t on Facebook either. Yes, a baby. The baby belonged to an old high school friend of mine. This friend is not on Facebook so I was quite surprised to see her. And her BABY. Unfortunately we weren’t able to catch up since she had to leave. Because she had to get the BABY home. But that’s OK, because if we did have a conversation I’d be too distracted by Reese Witherspoon’s voice in my head saying, Look at you, you have a baby…in a bar.  

I guess the element of surprise is still alive and well at the high school reunion!

Another advantage high school reunions have over Facebook is alcohol. Reunion + open bar = drunk classmates. Talking to Drunky McDrunkerson at the reunion was highly amusing. You can’t get that drunken entertainment on Facebook. Sure, you can have a Facebook chat with a friend who’s sitting at home in front of their computer drunk without pants. But it’s not the same as chatting with a friend who’s drunk without pants in person. I’m kidding about the pantless part. Everyone at the reunion was wearing pants. Almost everyone. I’m pretty sure that baby wasn’t wearing any pants.

But the biggest surprise of the night was that people read my blog. Shocking, I know. Several people came up to me and said, “Oh, I heard you have a blog” or “I read your blog”.  People I hadn’t seen or talked to in 20 years were reading my blog. And they liked it!  

People actually read my blog.

Uh oh. People actually read my blog.

Since I don’t know who may be reading, it looks like I’m going to have to censor this post. No gossip about the reunion. No comments about which common high school reunion clichés came true. No comments about why my friend said that everything was finally right with the world.

So the high school reunion is not dead; Facebook has not killed it yet. Would I go to my 30 year high school reunion? That’s a good question. I’m sure sometime in the next 10 years, my high school will award me its Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of my accomplishments such as this blog. And successfully removing a condom from a patient’s vagina.  So I’ll definitely have to go to my 30 year high school reunion to rub the award in my classmates’ faces. I mean, to spend another memorable evening with them.

Happy Holidays 2010

This is recycled from last year but, once again, it’s true

I’m just a Jew, a lonely Jew doctor on call on Christmas.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


The Pessimist Club

Over the weekend I drove past a Christmas tree lot. Not so unusual – a Christmas tree lot in December is a fairly common sight. It wasn’t the lot itself that caught my attention, but the sign on display in front of the Christmas tree lot that caught my eye.

Optimist Club Christmas Tree Lot 

An optimist club?  How very…well, optimistic!

I kept driving and, lo and behold, there was another Christmas tree lot on the very next block!  The first lot I passed was full of thick, lush and strong trees. The second lot was filled with lots of empty space. And three sad, puny, Charlie Brown Christmas trees.

The sign on display in front of this Christmas tree lot?

Pessimist Club Christmas Tree Lot

OK, I lied. That second lot didn’t exist. Except in my head. Yeah, I made it up. But I couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of a Pessimist Club Christmas tree lot right next to the Optimist Club lot. How funny would that be?  I also started imagining what the Pessimist Club would be like…

And now back to It’s The Pessimist Club, Charlie Brown! on CBS (sponsored by Dolly Madison)

Linus: Charlie Brown? Is that you?

Charlie Brown: Yes, Linus, it’s me.

L: Why are you at the library in this meeting room all by yourself? And why are you sitting in the dark?

CB: The lights went out. They must hate me.  

L: The lights don’t hate you Charlie Brown. They’re probably on a timer.  Why didn’t you turn them back on?

CB: *SIGH* Why bother?

L: (turns the lights back on) Charlie Brown, are you here for a meeting?

CB: Yes. I’ve organized the very first meeting of the Pessimist Club.

L: You formed a club? That’s great, Charlie Brown! What time is your meeting?

CB: 2 hours ago.

L: Oh, so no one is here because your meeting is over?

CB: No, the meeting was supposed to start 2 hours ago. No one showed up.

L: No one?

CB: No one. Oh, except for Peppermint Patty and Marcy. But they weren’t here for the meeting. They kept inviting me to some French place. Menage-a-something.

L: Menage a trois?

CB: Yeah, that was it.  Have you been there?

L: Good grief Charlie Brown! You’re such a blockhead!

CB: Tell me something I don’t know.

L: I can’t believe no one showed up to your meeting. I mean, look at this great sign you made…Pessimist Club meeting. Refreshments will be served. Where are the refreshments, Charlie Brown?

CB: Well, I was going to buy cupcakes, but then I thought, what if I buy vanilla cupcakes and everyone likes chocolate? Then I thought, what if I buy chocolate and everyone likes vanilla? So I decided to buy cookies instead.

L: Where are the cookies?

CB: Well, I was going to buy 2 bags of cookies, but then I thought, what if 2 bags aren’t enough. Then I was going to buy 3 bags, but then I thought, what if 3 bags aren’t enough. Then I was going to buy 4 bags but…


CB: Oh. I didn’t buy any.

L: Good grief Charlie Brown!


L: Charlie Brown, I know I’m just an audience of one, but why don’t you call the first meeting of the Pessimist Club to order?

CB: You mean start the meeting?

L: Yes.

CB: Oh. Um. Well…I didn’t actually plan anything. I figured no one would show up so why bother.

L: Good…

CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, good grief. I’m a blockhead. I know. I know. (looks at watch) Oh no! I’m late for my appointment with my psychiatrist Lucy.

L: Honestly, Charlie Brown, are you really going to take advice from a psychiatrist who runs her practice out of a glorified lemonade stand? Do you even know where she completed her psychiatric training?

CB: I think she trained in a foreign country. Hey, maybe she trained in that French place…menage-a-something.


Surely You Can’t Be Serious

Last weekend Leslie Nielsen died. 

Did you just ask yourself, who’s Leslie Nielsen?  If you did, I’m terribly sorry, but we can no longer be friends. You are dead to me now.

Leslie Nielsen was an actor who starred in Airplane! and The Naked Gun trilogy. In my humble opinion (and let’s face it, my opinion is the only one that really matters), Airplane! and The Naked Gun are the two greatest movies ever made. Brilliant films. Comedy classics. Airplane! has always been my favorite movie. It was my favorite movie when I was 10 years old, and it’s still my favorite movie at 38 (almost 39) years old. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, the men who created those movies, are comedy gods.  And their decision to cast Leslie Nielsen in these films was a stroke of genius.

Leslie Nielsen is dead, it’s true. Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with a seat missing, but it hurts. If you don’t recognize that quote from The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, then, once again, you are dead to me. Most comedies may have a funny line or two that are worth repeating. But Airplane! and The Naked Gun Series…too many gut-busting, pee in your pants, hysterical lines to count.  I’m guessing that every day, someone, somewhere utters the classic Airplane! line, Surely you can’t be serious. I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

In honor of Mr. Leslie Nielsen, I have created a movie called Airplane?! My Tribute to Leslie Nielsen. A few things about my movie:

  1. If you’re looking for a professionally produced and edited video, you won’t find it here…my 8 year old could produce a better movie than this one.
  2. It’s a little blurry. Sorry.
  3. You may have to screw around with the volume. Sorry.
  4. I didn’t have any female Lego figures so I had to improvise.

(If the video is not showing up here, this is the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPWcqp-CZj0)

Handwriting Fail

My last post was about a stupid patient. This post is also about an idiot. But it’s not another patient. The idiot featured in this post is me.

Two days ago I was the poor son of a bitch the lucky parent who got to take J to a birthday party at Pump It Up. Oh yay, another Pump It Up party. Two hours of fun for the kids, a 120 minute headache for the adults. I grabbed J, the present and the invitation and headed to Pump It Up for the kabillionth time.

When we got to Pump It Up, there was a large group of kids and adults inside. A large group of unfamiliar kids and adults.  Who were these people? I didn’t see any of J’s friends or their parents.  I assumed our party was already in the play area, so I approached the front desk.

Pump It Up Employee: Are you here for [unknown kid]’s party?

Me: No, we’re here for [known kid]’s party.

Pump It Up Employee: There’s no party for that kid today. Do you have the invitation? Maybe her party is at the other Pump It Up.

Me: SHIT! If her party is at the other Pump It Up, I’m going to be SO PISSED! (I didn’t actually say this out loud, although it seemed pretty loud in my head.)

I pulled out the invitation. Was I at the wrong Pump It Up? Nope. The address on the invitation was exactly where I was standing. The invitation also said the party was November 21, 2010.

So where the hell was the birthday party?

The Pump It Up employee looked up J’s friend’s name on his handy dandy computer. Then he gave me the bad news. Her party was not November 21,2010.  It was November 24, 2010.

November 24?

Wednesday November 24?

Wednesday November 24, the day before Thanksgiving?

How could this be? Who has a party the day before Thanksgiving? Plus, the handwritten invitation said the date of the party was Nov. 21, 2010.  It didn’t say Sunday Nov. 21, 2010, but it did say Nov. 21.

Or did it?

I took another look at the invitation. Upon closer inspection, I realized what I thought was the 1 in 21 was really a very skinny, very messy 4 in 24.

The party was not November 21, it was November 24.

Me: Does this look like a 21 or a 24? It looks like a 21, right? I’m not an idiot…I’m just the innocent victim of sloppy handwriting, right?

Pump It Up employee: Yes, it looks like a 21.

The Pump It Up employee agreed with me – I wasn’t an idiot. But he was probably just humoring me so I would leave him the hell alone. 

OMG, I was an idiot! An idiot who showed up to a party on the wrong date. An idiot with a 4-year-old kid who thought he was going to play at Pump It Up today.  How was I going to explain this to him?  I could tell him, “Mommy made a mistake and thought the party was today because your friend’s mommy has shitty handwriting.”  Or I could have him join that unknown kid’s party already in progress. Honestly, who would notice an extra kid?

But we didn’t crash a stranger’s Pump It Up party, we went home. I still had the invitation, so I showed it to my husband. He said I was right…it looked like a 21 not a 24. And he wasn’t just humoring me so he could get in my pants.

Maybe I’m not an idiot after all.

Candy 101: Unwrap Before Eating

The worst part about being a doctor is taking call. Or maybe it’s having to stick your finger in people’s orifices. OK, they’re both pretty bad.  But today’s post is not about sticking fingers in people’s nether regions, it’s about being on call.

Last week I was on call. I was sound asleep dreaming about fudge covered peanut butter filled Oreos (they don’t actually exist but, dammit, they should), when my delicious dream was rudely interrupted by this:


It was the horrible sound of my beeper.

Do beepers still exist?
Yes, beepers still exist.
Did someone fire up the DeLorean and send us back to 1990?
No, it’s not 1990. It’s 2010 and I still have a beeper. Please control your jealousy.

So my stupid beeper woke me up. I looked at the clock…12:30 AM.

Ugh!  Any patient calling at fucking 12:30 in the  morning better have a damn good reason. Like chest pain, shortness of breath, or right lower quadrant pain.  This patient better have an acute medical emergency.

Still half asleep, I phoned the patient. The reason for his call…his fucking 12:30 in the morning call was not for chest pain, shortness of breath, or right lower quadrant pain.

He had swallowed a candy wrapper.

He had swallowed a candy wrapper 20 hours ago.

According to the patient, 20 hours ago, he ate a Starburst and apparently some of the Starburst wrapper as well. Since then, 20 hours ago, it felt like the wrapper was stuck in his throat. But he could eat, drink, talk and breath without difficulty. For the past 20 hours.

OK, what’s wrong with this picture? Well…

1. I was called because a grown man ate a candy wrapper.  

2. I was called because a grown man ate a candy wrapper 20 HOURS AGO.

3. I was called because a grown man ate a candy wrapper 20 HOURS AGO and he decided to call me at FUCKING 12:30 IN THE MORNING!

There wasn’t much I could do to help this patient from my house at FUCKING 12:30 IN THE MORNING.  I told him to call the office in eight hours, schedule an appointment with me and I would be more than happy to shove my hand down his throat and pull out the candy wrapper. Or maybe I didn’t say that. Like I said, I was still half-asleep. The patient seemed satisfied with my words of wisdom, so I hung up the phone and went back to sleep. Or I should say, I tried to go back to sleep. For some annoying reason, I was now wide awake. And not the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kind of wide awake. More like the evil-eyed, pissed off kind of wide awake.  I tossed and turned, turned and tossed, shared my discontent on Twitter, tossed and turned some more and eventually went back to sleep.

Eight hours later, I was in the office and I was tired. Very tired. I checked my schedule – Candy Wrapper Boy wasn’t on it.  How dare he not follow my somewhat coherent FUCKING 12:30 IN THE MORNING advice! I had my nurse call him to check on his condition.

Guess what? 

His symptoms had completely resolved and he was feeling great. 

Of course he was. 

The next time this patient eats a Starburst, I hope he removes the entire wrapper first. And if he doesn’t, I really, really hope that I’m not the doctor on call.