I read all of your stories in one sitting, and the overall effect was remarkable. In the beginning I was sort of shaking my head (in sympathy, not in judgment—well, mostly), but by the fourth page I was cackling at even the worst parental slipups. It’s a good thing Henry isn't here, because if he were he would surely ask what I was laughing at, and I would be forced to answer, and then he'd be in therapy for an extra ten years. My mother found great joy in the stories of children in peril, he'd tell the court-appointed social worker, who would write BAD MOTHER on her notepad and hand him the jumbo box of Puffs Plus.
Hello, I got off track. As I was saying. The stories you've shared fell into a few categories, which I will outline below.
I'm glad to see most of my readers are not believers in corporal punishment, but it seems that many of us have our moments of weakness. There were stories of pinching or the occasional slap, always followed by hours of unremitting guilt. I was recently talking to a friend who mentioned pinching her child in a moment of pure rage, and I responded, "Oooh, the pinching! Sometimes you want to pinch 'em!" with maybe a little too much enthusiasm. Me, I often fall back on the holding-the-hand-real-hard technique. Of course this is usually in public, and Henry likes to scream "YOU’RE HURTING MY HAND" and then dissolve into the pavement. I don’t recommend it.
That being said, the I Don’t Care Who I Hit award goes to Kelsi, who issued quiet threats to one child while pinching the other in order to beat a hasty retreat from Target. Truly, I know that parents of twins everywhere are toasting Kelsi right now.
In other news, many of you parents are still suffering guilt over their children’s injuries. To which I say, pshaw! Those scars give them character! Whose child hasn’t rolled off a bed or off the couch or out of the…refrigerator?
You people are strange.
The Sickening Thud award goes to Em, who in a fit of pique pulled a blanket out from under her daughter. Says Em: "I can't remember if I knew she was on it or not, I was just being pissy and stompy and a huge asshole. All I remember is her little feet going out from under her." I love this image. I mean, I'm horrified by it. Tsk, tsk.
Honorable mention must go to Sarah's 14-month-old falling from the third shelf of the, yes, refrigerator. What was she doing in the fridge? You do know you’re not supposed to put them there, right?
Then there are those of you who are still shouldering the emotional burden of not realizing how sick and/or injured your children were. There were asthma attacks, stomach flus, and too many broken bones to count. And to heap guilt upon guilt, while your children were bravely enduring their misfortune, you criticized their behavior. Who said you could have kids?
The best of these stories was from lb, who wins the Quit Your Whining award. Her POOR DAUGHTER was having a hard time riding her bike:
"I remember one memorable time when she begged and begged to ride the bike to the park, only to crash into the curb every couple of yards. LOOK UP! I yelled. Watch where you are going! LOOK UP! Quit watching your feet! LOOK OUT FOR THE CURB! I was furious and I just couldn't understand why she couldn't do something so simple as steer the stupid bike!! By the time we got home I was so frustrated I totally yelled at her and actually threw her beloved bike into the garbage can right in front of her.
Turned out that she was blind in one eye! No depth perception! And poor vision in the other eye too! She couldn't see past her feet! Makes it hard to steer! Hahahahaha! Oops."
LB’s daughter is fine now, by the way. At least PHYSICALLY.
Many of you have provided your children the tools they needed to curse like sailors and/or behave like two-bit thugs. Who could forget Bikini's son slapping his ass to "Love in an Elevator" or Angie's 2-year-old cursing out slow drivers? Not me! But the Holy Shit award must go to Sharon, for giving her child an empty (small) liquor bottle, only to find out that he brought it to school and showed all his fellow kindergarteners how well he could drink. Congratulations!
Now, some parents feel guilt over parenting moments that I think are triumphs. The That'll Learn Him award goes to Aimee, whose son kept unbuckling himself while she was driving. "After several pleas and threats to get him to rebuckle, in a fit of Mommys-going-to-teach-you-a-lesson-about-keeping-your-seatbelt-buckled I slammed on the brakes. He went flying forward, hit the seat, and fell face first on the floor. And, in my Mommy Rage Moment, I said, 'See, that's what happens when you unbuckle your seatbelt before we get home.'" Brilliant!
Runner-up in this one goes to Lee, whose daughter, on the way to school, was taking her clothes off in the backseat. This was during a snowstorm. So she turned the air conditioning on. "When [we] arrived at school she was down to her underwear in her car seat, her lips were blue and she was covered with goosebumps. She said, through streaming tears 'I'm cold, I think I need some clothes on' so we got her clothes on and went into school." Lesson: learned!
A surprising number of you admit that your toddlers simply left the house and wandered the streets until strangers brought them back home. Invariably these children were naked, which makes it even awesomer. The He Was Here a Minute Ago, Officer award goes to "Embarrassed, and Rightly So," (I don't think that’s her real name) for admitting that she was on drugs when it happened. (Okay, antihistamines.)
One scenario I was sure I would hear more than once, but did not, was the following, as recounted by Dad Gone Mad. "I left a porno in the DVD player one night. The next morning my son pushed play, assuming his Power Rangers DVD was still in the machine." And so, Dad Gone Mad wins the He Was Brave Enough to Admit it Award. (Perv.)
Sadly, there can be only one true winner, and that is Kelley, or rather Kelley’s friend, who was lucky enough to have a friend like Kelley, to share her tale with the world. Congratulations, Kelley's friend: you win the OH NO YOU DIDN’T Award. And I love you for it. Here it is, in all its glory:
"She had been battling with her then 5 year old to get ready for kindergarten in a timely manner. He had even missed the bus several times. One morning he was plodding along at an exceptionally slow rate and she told him that if he missed the bus that day he would have to take a taxi to school. Well, sure enough, he missed his bus and my friend called a taxi. For a 5 year old. And made him pay for it with his own money. Anyway, she sends him off in the taxi (yes, alone!!) About an hour later (an HOUR!), the phone rings. It is one of the custodians at the school calling to inform her that her son needs her to come pick him up. There was no school that day (hence, no bus to miss) and she had just sent her 5 year old alone in a taxi to an empty school! She felt like such an asshole--but he was never late for the bus again!"
The delicious cruelty of it! The taxi! Paying for it himself! Then there's no school! This one is just breathtaking.
Thank you, one and all, for participating. I don't know about you, but I'm suddenly feeling like a very competent parent indeed. I suspect that this feeling won't last through the end of the day.
(Updated to add: did you know that if you devote an entire day to your blog, the rest of your life will descend into chaos? I kind of, um, didn't realize that. I'll be back on Friday, after the laundry is done, the family attended to, and the deadlines completed.)