The Bruno Triple Throat Clear and Other Unfortunate Legacies

Posted: March 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Daddio, Discoveries, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Sisters, Sleep | 1 Comment »

I wandered into a used clothing store yesterday in that aimless way that mothers sometimes enter stores where they have no interest in the products but just want to gain a feeling of exasperation from wedging a bulky bright red off-road stroller through narrow clothing-lined passageways and tight corners populated with old women burrowing through rayon blouses.

Halfway through my why-the-hell-am-I-in-here-and-how-will-I-ever-get out realization, a woman in the store sneezed. Not just any sneeze, but a deafening sonic boom aaaaaah-choo! that caused everyone in the place to recoil in shock. It was so sudden, and so terribly loud, it created what I indelicately like to refer to as a “tampon-expelling moment.”

Anyway, the gal’s apparently sent shock and awe through other shopper-packed stores because as some of the older patrons were still blanched by the event and readjusting their wigs, she made a brief and unembarrassed announcement.

“Sorry!” she called out. “Yes, I’m a loud sneezer. I inherited it from my grandfather.”

Okay, so who really cares about Grandpa’s sneezes? If I were her life coach I’d help her work up a better post-sneeze remark.

But the little episode did get me thinking about The Bruno Triple Throat Clear. It’s one of those divorce-able habits that are the patented (and only) approach the women in my family unconsciously (and constantly) use to clear their throats. It’s a kinda “mmm-mm-mmmm.” A peppy throaty trifecta that actually makes me miss my mother to even think about because it’s one of those little things that was just so her.

And, as it turns out–unfortunately for our spouses–is so my sisters and I too.

Of course, my annoying habit is one thing, but Mark ran into the room where I was the other day wild-eyed, as if he was about to report a family of rabid badgers had set up house in his boxer short drawer.

“Kate!” He bellowed right up in my face. “She just did The Triple Throat Clear!”

Of course, I could just smile coyly, thinking about how she sucks all the water out of her toothbrush after using it, then gives it two quick taps on the edge of the sink before putting it away.

“Oh. Really?” I eventually said. “Huh.”

Maybe some of the stuff my family does is easier to pick up on since there are four of us, and we’re all girls. That has to make it easier to detect our shared annoying habits, right?

Case in point. We were all just back in Rhode Island for my Dad’s 80th birthday extravaganza. I think it was after the party, later at home, when we were beaten down from excessive socializing, daytime alcohol consumption, and the sweet relief of having the shindig successful and behind us. I walked into the living room to see my sister Judy sprawled asleep on the leather couch, her left arm slung up over her face and her mouth gaping open. It was the exact stance I’d seen Ellen in on the blow-up mattress earlier that morning. And that night, in front of one Law and Order show or another, my father nodded off, head turned to one side, mouth agape. (He didn’t do the arm sling thing. We got that part from Mom.)

At this point in my life, I can tolerate the humiliation of knowing that every time I fall asleep on an airplane the flight attendants could set a cocktail napkin and bag of nuts in my open mouth. (The Bruno Flung Arm Sleeping Maneuver is thankfully too difficult to enact in a seated position.) What concerns me at this juncture is which shameful traits my little innocents will pick up from me. Which crosses of mine, as it were, they’ll have to bear.

Miss Paige has always been a star sleeper. (My genes, thank you very much.) But in the past few weeks she’s somehow realized that she can sit up in her crib and look around her room. Something she finds so fascinating–reviewing an unchanged space she sees every day–she now does it at the beginning of every nap. The problem is, tired as she may be, she hasn’t managed to make the connection that she has to lie down again in order to sleep.

So I’ve been having to go into her room and readjust her, gently pushing her shoulders down onto the mattress. At which point she looks up at me grateful and groggy, and dozes off nearly instantly.

The other day, she started in on the why-am-I-still-sitting-up-when-I-want-to-sleep-now? whine. (It’s amazing how you can categorize their different laments.) I was hoping that something in her brain would finally fire and she’d realize she could solve the problem herself. And a few minutes later, as if I’d willed it to be so, she was totally quiet. So I waited a bit, then cracked open her door to take a peek.

And there she was. In a seated position but pitched forward, totally face-planted into her blanket, and sound asleep.

Of course, like any sensible mother I didn’t dare move her for fear she’d wake up and her nap–and my cherished child-free time–would suddenly evaporate. So an hour or so later when she eventually came to, I went in to get her. Her face was pink and indented in the pattern of the lovely afghan that Aunt Terry knitted for her. But she was well rested nonetheless.

Well, she’s found a solution. Since that first ergonomic nightmare of a nap, she’s fallen asleep a few other times the same way. One of these days I’ll put a silencer on my camera shutter and take a picture of it. It seems wretchedly uncomfortable, poor dear, but at least I can say for sure, she didn’t get that one from me.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “The Bruno Triple Throat Clear and Other Unfortunate Legacies”

  1. 1 Mary said at 9:16 pm on March 27th, 2009:

    Oh my… that was SO @$*&#Q funny. I need a friggin highlighter to mark my favorite parts!

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