Category Archives: Mommy Mess-Up

The Tale of the Scissors

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I thought that I could leave my 1 1/2 year old and my 4 year old unattended for the 5 minutes it takes to shower (ok, 8 minutes; ok 10). I’ve done it before with no catastrophic results. Other parents must shower.

Alas, the scene I found when I emerged the other day would indicate otherwise.

My first indication something was amiss was the plaintive calls of the little one. She was stranded on top of a large basket of clothes where her sister had deposited her before abandoning her for more tasty and deviant diversions.

As next I found the big one traipsing out of my bedroom holding a pudding cup (retrieved from a high cupboard courtesy of a floor to chair to counter climbing expedition) that she had been in the process of opening with scissors which were now pudding-covered and IN HER MOUTH. (I have heard running with scissors is frowned upon. I suspect ‘walking with scissors in mouth’ is not really a grey area of this particular danger)

Turns out I can only shower when Daddy is home or the kids are in restraints. And the big one is still on probation for her multiple violations.

The Tale of Expectations

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We had friends over on Friday night. The kind that doesn’t have kids but is about to (as in she is pregnant). Our kid is still recovering from sugery, and we wanted to avoid a meltdown at all costs (that is either a rationalization, justification, or genuine explanation – I am not sure which). We now have the perfect storm – a young couple now thinking a lot about parenting, and a family who is about to display example after example of poor parenting.

I could practically hear “We’ll never do that with our kids” screaming in their heads.

I know this because I would have thought the same thing before I had kids.

You are always the best parent before you have kids.

Once you have them it is amazing what you’ll do out of exhaustion, love and sheer wimpiness. The children – they are a formidable foe. They come to you cute and precious and they get cuter, pudgy and more precious. And they cry. And they cry. And there are days when you will do anything to make the crying stop. And there are days when you or the kid or both will be so close to a complete breakdown that some of your hard and fast rules are bent, broken or obliterated. And some days the rules are bent or broken for other reasons – because they were made to be.

And, ultimately, you will find that most situations are not as cut and dry as you perceive before the little goobers appear on the scene. Before kids (BK) you will not conceive of a situation where you will allow (or even offer) cookies for breakfast, after kids (AK), it happens. BK you are sure that you will be nothing but consistent on bedtime, snacktime and all the other ‘times’; AK you’ll find your 3-year-old up after 10pm, and feed her popsicle after popsicle (i.e. our Friday night). BK your kid is going to be polite, clean, and quiet; AK you will constantly be on edge in public working to keep the kid from climbing on tables, keep her face, hands, hair, clothes and nose clean, and keep them from screaming and carrying on at a decibel that attracts the attention of anyone in a 5K radius.

We like discipline, structure and orderliness. Children bring in the opposite and challenge our every notion of parenting.

Or, maybe, it’s just us, and our friends will find parenting a breeze and do everything right  – just as they intended. Sigh. I should say, our “former friends”.

The Tale of the Butter Dish

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Let me explain.

I was on a break from work, peacefully eating my lunch at the family table. My husband was on the other side of the table, eating his lunch and supervising the baby’s meal. He left abruptly to run an errand. The 3-year-old had an emergency trip to the bathroom and needed my help. When I returned the above picture is what I found. Somehow the 8-month-old had pulled the butter dish off of the table and onto her tray, and obviously enjoyed both playing with and ingesting the butter it contained (she cried when I took it away).

Clearly, this is not my fault. Clearly, her father should not have left the butter dish within reach of her tiny grasp. I had no choice but to vacate the room with haste (when the preschooler has to go, the preschooler has to go). It was clearly the father’s responsibility to ensure safe environs for the baby before he took off (I didn’t even know the butter dish was there! I am always low-cal, low-fat…what? No really. Ok, I am lying). And clearly, I had a responsibility to run downstairs and retrieve my phone to snap a couple of pictures as evidence before taking it away from her (thus extending the amount of time she had to revel in her conquest). Right? I have no regrets. I make no apologies (of course, he does still have a few more: “she didn’t walk across campus on my watch” arrows in his quiver, so…).

My advice? Highchair cage.

The Tale of the Pantless Escape Artist

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One unseasonably warm afternoon last December I found my 3-year-old by the door working on her independence by putting her shoes on. She had no pants on (but the shoes she chose did look nice with her shirt). I heard the baby starting to cry so I, fearing that the little devil might attempt a step out to the yard, emphasized that we do not leave the house without pants (shoes and shirts for service, but pants for leaving the house). Thinking my point had been adaquately made I tended to the shrieking babe. Upon returning to the door I found my daughter was gone. Looking out the door and windows I could not see her. Parents worst nightmare. Panicked call to her Dad. I frantically looked outside until he arrived and then we frantically searched together. Finally we received a most welcome phone call.

At this juncture I should explain that we live on a private high school campus in a boys dormitory where my husband is the boys dorm supervisor. My toddler’s Grandma also lives on the campus – across the parking lot in the girls dormitory where she is the girls dorm suprvisor. The little goober had walked to Grandma’s apartment. Across the parking lot. Where there were men in vests parking cars that were arriving for a dinner being held at the school. Thankfully one of the boys emerged from the dorm as she was walking by and, noting her state of undress and lack of supervision, correctly assumed she was not where she should be and followed behind her to make sure she was okay.When the fugitive showed up on her door step, Grandma called – the call I answered happened to be the 2nd or 3rd call.

This was a frightening experience, to say the least. And embarrassing – I keep thinking of all the people that might have seen her and wondered about the parenting skills of her Dad and I. It was one of those things that puts it all in perspective and it took me awhile to feel anything other than fear and shame when I thought of my little girl escaping on my watch (it was good for her Dad though – think of how many times he can mess up and still say, “Hey, at least she didn’t walk across campus while I was in charge”).

She walked across the campus. Across a busy parking lot. Without pants on. Sigh.

My advice? Electric fence.