At The End Of My Rope


Little feet following my every step and more questions than I had answers – was it really so long ago?

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | December 18, 2013

This week I was talking with a friend by e-mail about different things and the conversation turned to frustration with young children and trying to be patient. As I read and began remembering my own experience before I came to Parents Anonymous…

The problem was me, not my child and she will carry that tiny lump with her forever. Taking my frustration on a loaf pan had, in my opinion, been just as bad as if I had hit her myself.

Getting rice started was the first step in preparing supper. I was making rice in an oblong loaf pan in the oven and needed to begin baking it soon or it would not be ready in time. (Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Basic Rice Recipes below.) I got out the rice, vegetables and spices and three-year-old Katie was asking question after question. “Why do spiders make webs?” “What will I learn in school?” “Why do people talk funny?” “What makes grass green?” I turned to get the pan and almost tripped over her – that was it! I took a deep breath and lifted the empty loaf pan about ten inches above the stove and then just let go!

My intention was to create noise with the pan banging on the stove but the pan bounced and hit Katie in the middle of her forehead. Katie immediately began screaming and holding her head – I was terrified! She wasn’t bleeding but it began to swell. I quickly phoned the pediatrician to ask what I should do. He said to take a bag of frozen vegetables and hold it on the bump and it should help the swelling. The swelling went down rather quickly and her pain disappeared but she still has a tiny little lump the size of a grain of sand where the pan hit her in the forehead.

The result was me feeling hopeless in dealing with my frustration— the problem was me, not my child and she will carry that tiny lump with her forever. Taking out my frustration on a loaf pan had, in my opinion, been just as bad as if I had hit her myself. Over the years I had used many methods to stay calm: Counting backwards, going outdoors, locking myself in the bathroom, making a phone call and the latest – imagining an adult friend sitting in the room. My imaginary friend helped me calm down but on that particular day frustration caught me off guard. Just suppose I had dropped a knife or a glass instead? I had reached the end of my rope.

I had to do something and after a few days I had decided the kids might be better off without me and called child protective services. Within a month I found my way to Parents Anonymous and other parents who were struggling much the same as I. The members and I supported each other when needed; we shared tips and tricks to deal with frustration. When a parent was looking for a therapist, another gave recommendations. When someone needed help to pay for heat in winter, someone knew where to look. We also shared coupons and our favorite recipes; the recipe I mentioned earlier is shown below.

This recipe was found in Proudhomme’s cookbook and has been a favorite of mine for many years now. The first was designed for the oven by Proudhomme and the other was adapted by me for the pressure cooker  a couple of years later since time was always short.  Both recipes turn out well consistently if measurements and times are followed. You can adjust either recipe to suit your tastes. From me to you— enjoy!

Paul Prudhomme’s Basic Rice For the Oven

2 cups uncooked Rice
2 ½ cups Chicken Broth
1 ½ Tbsp. very finely chopped Onions
1 ½ Tbsp. very finely chopped Celery
1 ½ Tbsp. very finely chopped Green Peppers
1 ½ Tbsp. Butter or Margarine
½ tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder
Pinch of White Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Black Pepper

Makes 6 cups. If you intend to make and store the rice, omit the green peppers. In a 5 x 9 ½-inch loaf pan, combine all ingredients and mix well. Seal the pan snugly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° until rice is tender, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Serve immediately. However, you can count on the rice staying hot for 45 minutes and warm for 2 hours. To reheat leftover rice, either use a double boiler or warm in a skillet with butter or margarine.

Paul Prudhome’s Basic Rice For The Pressure Cooker

2 cups long grain White Rice
3 ½ cups Chicken Broth
1 ½ Tbsp. finely chopped Onion
1 ½ Tbsp. finely chopped Celery
1 ½ Tbsp. finely chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 ½ Tbsp. Margarine
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. minced Garlic
Pinch of White Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Black Pepper
2 cups Water

Put all the ingredients, except for the 2 cups of water, into a stainless steel mixing bowl that fits loosely in your pressure cooker. Put the 2 cups of water in the bottom of your pressure cooker and insert the cooking rack, then place bowl in center. Close cooker and place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Turn heat on high until sealed and regulator rocks slowly, then reduce heat to continue the slow rock. Cook for 10 minutes and turn burner off to let pressure reduce of own accord. Allow rice to steam uncovered for 5 minutes.

Talk with a Volunteer or Find a Group in New Jersey:

Family Helpline
1-800-843-5437 or 1-800-THE-KIDS

Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc.
Phone: (609) 585-7666
Fax: (609) 585-7686
E-mail: PANJInfo@PAofNJ.org
Website: www.PA-of-NJ.org

Join the Online Support Group

Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Thursdays 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Jackie writes these ‘Reminders’ for parents who attend the online support groups. If you would like to receive Jackie’s Reminder send her a message below.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered extensively for more than twenty years in children's and families' issues with Parents Anonymous. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and the Soup to Nuts blog and "Parent Rap - Soup to Nuts" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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2 Responses to At The End Of My Rope

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