I turn on the shower. I am alone at last. I found a secret place to regain my composure, and to think. The water runs over me . . . delicious . . .

Suddenly, I hear that word again. It has been haunting me all morning. Everywhere, there were those voices shouting that word over and over again. And now alone in my watery space, where I foolishly thought I could escape, I hear that word once more.


("Please God, can't I ever have a moment to myself?")

"MOM!" (Bang! Bang! Bang!) "Hey, Mom, can you hear me?"

(God, I really need to shave my legs.")

"I can't hear you Allen. I'll be out in a minute."

The bubble has burst. I throw soap on my legs; I've got to get the job over with fast so I can grab a minute more of daydreaming.

"MOM! "Mom I need to --."

The water muffles the sound just enough so I can't really tell what he is saying. Was it something silly that could wait? Was it someone on the phone? Important maybe? Was he hurt -- had he broken an arm, had a mild concussion and was delirious? No! He's just badgering me again for attention.

"I'LL BE OUT IN A MINUTE ALLEN!" I scream so loud I'm convinced the people next door -- maybe down the block -- can hear me.

"MOM! I need to tell you something important. I --."

I had shaved half a leg and was ready to use my razor on his face prematurely. (Ugly thought, but true.)

That son of mine is 10 years old. He's old enough to comprehend what I told him earlier, before I got in the shower. I explained that I would take a quick shower, and if the phone were to ring, answer and take a message. I tell him that before I take every shower, and we always go through the same routine. Simple request -- I don't want to hear from him unless it was an emergency.

"MOM! (Bang! Bang! Bang!) Mom! mom! open the door so you can HEAR ME!"



I toss my razor on the floor, grab a towel, and throw open the door like a wild woman.

He looks up at me, blinks his eyes twice very serenely and says, "Mom, can I go outside?"

My eyeballs are dancing with fury; blood vessels popping through the skin.

"Allen, I'm going to be very calm, and I want you to listen to me, son. I want you to go right to your room, and if you step one foot, just one foot outside of it before I get out of this shower, I'll break you in half. Now do you understand that?"

His lower lip falls to the bottom of his chin. "Mom, you don't love me, do you?"


"Allen I love you, son, but you never mind. I just want to take a shower in peace before the babies (24 months and 13 months) wake up from their naps. Now I told you not to bother me unless it was an emergency, didn't I?"


"Okay, then why did you bother me?"

"Well you always want to know where I am. You asked me to always tell you where I am, so I want to go outside . Can I?"

"No. Now go to your room and when I get out of the shower, we'll talk about it."

I start to close the door. He holds it open.

"Mom, I want to go outside now ."

"Allen, you're not minding. Now go to your room and wait."

"Mom. I don't want to go to my room. Please. If you let me go outside, I'll leave you alone."


"Okay, okay. You're boring, Mom!"

I step back into the shower. Sigh. A minute of silence again.


("Please God, don't let me kill him !")

"Allen, I'm going to break every bone in your skinny body if you don't get out of here!"

"Mom, it's Pam! (12-year-old daughter)."


"Mom, allen's bugging me. He won't leave me alone! he keeps coming in my ROOM AND BOTHERING ME!"

I throw open the bathroom door with a look that would have made the Incredible Hulk run for his life. I was naked; Pan could sense I was less than happy.

"Mom, I'll handle it."

She runs out of the room.

I close the shower door once again, trembling in despair. I finish shaving my legs in record time, all the while sobbing and muttering to myself, "The President of the United States is the busiest person in our country, and he never looks like he needs a shave and I bet he takes a shower every day in peace. I wonder if he ever yelled at his mother while she was taking a bath?" p

I turn the shower off and move reluctantly out of my domain to get dressed. And then I get a small sample of what lies ahead of the second half of my day . . .


"HEE, HEE, HEE. Pam loves Roger, Pam loves Roger!"



The babies are screaming and chanting at the top of their lungs and . . . there's a strong odor coming from their room . . . and . . . I'm waiting for my husband to come home any minute and ask me what I did all day.