J.P.M.S.- What’s Your Excuse?

Woman tearing her hair out

She gets a little edgy when it takes her 45 minutes to drive to the mall which is only 8 miles away.  She parks about as far from the entrance as one can get after circling the garage 3 or 4 times.   The store is out of the item she is looking for and the saleswoman is rude and patronizing.  She returns home and takes it out on the first family member she encounters.  Blame it on H.S.S. – Holiday Stress Syndrome. (there is a pre and post H.S.S., by the way)

In Wisconsin, she would get a bit irritated and jumpy after months of sunless, grey skies and house-bound children, a car that took forever to warm up, piles of soggy clothes ruining the hardwood floors, missing hats and mittens and snow up to the eyeballs.  When she ran after her mouth-y, middle-child with a hairbrush, intending to use it as a weapon, she realized she needed help.  A trusted friend encouraged her.  “It’s just S.A.D.,” she said. – Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Sometimes she starts a project, never to finish it.  She’s been known to begin a story, head it off in another direction, and end up not knowing what she was originally going to say.  Perhaps she has A.D.D.- Attention Deficit Disorder.

She couldn’t stop crying and was wildly overwhelmed after 10 days of little to no sleep.  The bundle of joy she brought home from the hospital wailed constantly,  wanted to nurse every two hours, hung on tight to her sore nipples and sucked for at least 45 minutes. (you do the math).  “Perfectly normal,” her friend said, “P.P.D.” – Postpartum Depression.

She bravely suffered through other typical  hormonal behavioral conditions, counting on the day of the month or the increasing number of years to explain and label her outbursts.  Was it -P.M.S., pre-post or menopausal?

She is a gracious southern woman, taught from birth that you “get more with sugar than with lemons.”  She exercises self-control and always chirps a pleasant, “good to see you,” at parties, soon to be followed by,  “bless your heart.”  Today, however, she spoke in anger and stormed out of the room slamming the door.  This time she doesn’t question her condition.  She knows that she suffers from a bad case of  J.P.M.S. – Just Plain Mad, Stupid!

Ears on pitchers?


The adults were talking and the grandkids were playing.  I wasn’t really paying attention until someone pipped up, “little pitcher’s have big ears,” which immediately sent me into a tailspin. What exactly does that mean?

My husband used that phrase a couple of times when our kids were younger.  I had never heard that odd saying before and was not sure if he was talking about the guy that throws baseballs, the thing  you pour milk from or, for that matter, the framed landscape that hangs on the wall.  I asked him once what the heck it meant and he said that his stepmother used to say it all the time and point to him behind her raised, flattened hand.  It always made him mad.  He quit using that saying around our house.

I forgot all about that annoying idiom and filed it away somewhere in my mind’s folder with other things of nonsense like, “why is a raven like a writing desk?”  But, the other night when almost in that zoned out, turn off the light place, in bed, reading Flannery O’ Connor, I bolted straight up when her character said, “little pitchers have big ears.”

Twice in one week, forced me out of bed, to the computer and to google. There it was, the phrase, and it’s meaning.  Seems like someone, somewhere thought that children are like milk pitchers and their ears are like the handle – hence, even though they are little, they can hear what the adults around them are saying.  Really?

Still annoyed and confused, I ask you, why not,  “Little sugar bowls have big ears?”.