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Pebble Pie

October 05, 2005 | Category: In My Life

When I was learning how to cook, pie recipes would tell me that I should bake the crust before filling it. So I would dutifully bake the hard-made crusts, and the crusts would bubble and bulge in the pan and be ruined.

I asked around, and one woman told me to use dried peas to hold the dough in place. Another cook told me she been using the same bowl of washed pebbles as weights for over 20 years. So I dug up handfuls of tiny stones and scrubbed them clean and carefully laid them down into my crusts.

And that's how I made pebble pie.

You see, no one had told me that you needed a layer of parchment paper between the pebbles or peas and the dough. I guess it seemed obvious. But as I chomped down on that apple & rock pie a la mode, all that was obvious to me was that these women must have been a lot better at picking stuff out of crust. Then again, maybe I am slow.

Today, I took Bear to the new doctor to get cleared to go back to school. Part of me was dreading it, because the last day or so - as Bear has improved - has been a very special time for him and I. We have spent hours cuddling on the couch and reconnecting. And I know that once he goes back to school, I will have to re-enter the whirlwind of stress and power plays that is my job.

But that's my shit, not his. And the sooner he gets back to life as regularly scheduled, the happier he will be. So off we went, and the doctor certified him as healthy and wonderful and raring to go.

He raced ahead as we exited the exam room and the doctor looked at me and said "You are, for lack of a better word, ballsy."

I got that confused wrinkle in my head - the one that says "huh?".

"Chutpah, ma'm. You got it. Most mothers are in here demanding MRI's if their children have that kind of fever just a day."

You know, that didn't make things any clearer.

"Normally," she explained to my Joey-like expression of interested ignorance, "when we tell a parent that we can not do any more for a child and that only a hospital is a logical next step..."

"Did I do something wrong?" I asked.

"No, no..." she said, patting my arm. "Look, he's fine... perfect. You certainly listen to your instincts."

She told me that Bear's fever - at 10 days - is the longest she's ever had a patient go. And that she and her partners couldn't believe we didn't bring him back to the hospital when it got bad again on Thursday.

So, yeah they'd told me that we should check him back in at Children's if he didn't improve. But his fever never hit 104f again and CD and I felt that while he was uncomfortable and sick - he wasn't in danger. But now she was making it seem like their advice to us had been some kind of code for "wrap your child in a blankie and race him in"?

The doctor told me no, that wasn't what she meant. But I got the sense as I walked away that I was missing something obvious. That I'd somehow been a bad parent. In a way much worse than pebble pie.

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Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life


I'm with the group that thinks the doctor was complimenting you :) I know so many parents that run their children to the doctors 3 or 4 times in one week for a cold and think their child is dying and needs all kinds of tests and drugs etc. I think pediatricians see it all too often and are probably glad to see a more level headed parent. You and CD would never have kept Bear at home if you thought there was any danger at all - that's obvious from your writing about Bear :) Some things (illnesses) just have to run their course but so many parents just want a quick fix. Good for you :)

Posted by: Jules on October 11, 2005 01:49 PM

Whatever the doctor actually meant, you do have good instincts. And you follow them. Which is a good thing.

And Bear is better, and I am happy : ) It was so good to see him with my own two eyes, and get hugs and kisses in person. He is SUCH a sweetie!

As for the pebble pie...I have had parchment paper pie, when the paper meant to keep the pebbles/beans from sticking got baked into the crust. Perfect pie crust takes practice and special magic, I have come to believe. You follow the instructions to the best of your understanding, until one day, after much repetition, it finally clicks. I think that is when you become renown for your pie, and people start calling you Nonna or Grammie or Ma. At about the same time, your hair turns silver and people come to you for wisdom, where they used to come to you for advice.

Doesn't mean you don't bake some mighty fine pies along the way, just you might not be so sure WHY they turned out so well.

I don't think that necessarily has anything to do with your story, it probably really is about making pies. Or maybe it does, a little bit. But now I am rambling.

By the way...the quiche was fantastic. I don't know if Mike even got any. Thank You.

Posted by: Laura on October 6, 2005 09:11 AM

Sounds like a compliment to me, too; that you're calm in a crisis, have good instincts, and can deal with the medical establishment on a more even footing than most. Perhaps she was trying to convey that sometimes doctors can't figure out what's going on, and in that situation all they can offer are more tests and hospitalization, even when that's not really likely to solve the problem and will stress the child/family more, and that you were brave enough not to go that route without some other justification than ongoing fever.

So glad to hear he's back to health!

Posted by: Andrea on October 5, 2005 03:03 PM

Are you sure she wasn't praising you? I have friends who run their children to the dr for every sniffle and DEMAND drugs because they can't handle caring for their child...I think she was pleased with how you cared for Bear...not freaking out

Posted by: cursingmama on October 5, 2005 01:49 PM

I would feel like you did. She was kind of saying that they would be freaked as doctors, and you stayed calm, cool and collected in the face of a very difficult time.

In reality, no one knew what was going on or what could be done -- so whether Bear stayed in a hospital or a home, little more could be done. What you did was give him the comfort of home which probably made things go much smoother -- and actually helped him heal!

Perhaps she truly did envy you :)

Posted by: Eyes for Lies on October 5, 2005 11:17 AM

I'm with Nicole on this one, I don't think that's what the doctor meant in the least. Most people are too quick to demand a CURE NOW, even if the best cure is time. Your doctor was telling you that your instincts are good, you are right to listen to them, and Bear will do well because of that. Sounds as though she gave you a very large compliment.

Posted by: Ruth on October 5, 2005 07:50 AM

Or maybe she was telling you that you were a good parent and that the others were not.

I'm so glad Bear is better.

Posted by: RP on October 5, 2005 07:50 AM

No, I don't think that's what she meant at all. Doctors, like many people, do not always communicate well...but I think she was saying that you trusted your instincts & your son is the better for it. Over reacting never helped anyone.

I don't know you, I enjoy reading what you write & through that I can tell your a loving, intellegent mother. It's easy to doubt yourself...that's all part of motherhood.

I'm glad he's doing better,


Posted by: Nicole on October 5, 2005 06:10 AM