Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The worst ever?

Yesterday afternoon I listened to the Momversation about "worst parenting moments." Lets face it, anyone who has offspring has had sub par parenting moments. There is no escaping stupidity, thoughtlessness, and sometimes downright cruelty in parenting. I have had my fair share of horrific moments as a mom and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it would be important to write these silly stories down. I mean they seem a lot funnier now than they did in the moment and some things are just too good to forget...

Two years ago, I was running a series of errands around the neighborhood with Finn in tow; I was too busy, massively stressed, and obviously distracted. After exiting the third or fourth house we had stopped at, I was jogging toward the car and told Finn to hop in. I jumped into the front seat, started the car, and drove away. After I was a couple of blocks down the street, I asked Finn what he wanted for dinner. No response. I looked in the back seat. No Finn.
I checked the rear view mirror and saw Finn standing on the side of the road with his arms thrown up in the air as if to say,
"What the hell are you doing woman?"
Dood, I left my kid on the side of the road.
Needless to say I whipped the car around in a flash and rescued my abandoned son. He just looked at me, shook his head and said, "Sheesh Mom, I didn't even have a chance to open the car door before you were gone. At least I know the people in the house we just visited;I am pretty sure they would have helped me."
Ouch.

Was that my worst parenting moment?
Not even close.

Every single time I picked Emma up from preschool that @#*%ing ice cream truck would be there. I hated that predatory truck and the horrible post school discussions and crying fits it's mere existence provoked. I sat firmly in the camp that completing two hours of play based pre-school need not be rewarded with a partiotic bomb pop and frankly, my daughter found my position on the matter irrational and often disagreed with me quite loudly.
On one particular day, while blaring some psycho pied piper version of The Entertainer, that ice cream truck actually parked right along side of my van while Emma and I were in the car and prevented us from leaving. The usual "Can I have some ice cream? No, I don't have any money" conversation ensued. Our predicable chat was followed by a massive temper tantrum on the part of Miss Emma Grace that resulted in one lunatic mother screaming at the ice cream man to move his GD truck. I got back in the car and while Emma's screams kept getting louder I logically kept turning up the volume on the radio. We went tit for tat in this manner until that van was thump thumping down Filmore with both Emma and the radio screeching at about 120 decibels. Nerves frayed, I pulled into the garage, turned off the engine, got out of the car, shut the door, and left Emma there. I closed the garage door, but stayed in the garage...I just needed a minute. At that point Emma became even more hysterical and commenced with banging on the windows and hiccoughing, "Mama, Mama, Mama"...something had changed; these were no longer give me some ice cream tears. I opened the car door and there was my girl, distraught beyond recognition. She looked at me and squealed, "How could you just leave me alone in here. You are my mom and Moms don't do that." For the next three months every single time we pulled into the garage Emma would say, "Just don't leave me in here, okay? I'm just a kid."
Sweet.

The worst ever?
Close, but sadly no.

Once I accidentally clotheslined a three year old Finn as he jumped out of our minivan...in front of Emma's first grade teacher...and all the other school moms...he landed under the car...in a puddle.

How about that one?
Nope.

So...here it goes...

Mel's Official Worst Parenting Moment Ever (...so far)

To say Emma was a challenging toddler is quite an understatement.
She was a tantrum prone spirited young lady who had her own ideas about the world. She could throw herself into a wall for 45 minutes because there was grass in her swimming pool, she would act out creatively with things like violent red paint leaving Leif and me in a momentary panic she was hemorrhaging somewhere in the house, and she once put her 9 month old brother out on the front porch because she was simply over his existence.
She once vanished for an hour while "napping." Seriously I almost called the police.
And she committed most of these acts in the nude.
People who know the sweet Emma of today will find these things hard to believe, but I am here to tell you they are all true.

On that fateful WORST PARENTING day Emma was 2 1/2 and I was seconds away from delivering Finn. It was her nap time and I had tucked her in hoping for the best. Emma had been fighting her naps and our afternoons were often spent engaged in an unpleasant battle of wills. I closed her bedroom door and waddled to the kitchen. Going against all my chef instincts, I heated up some of Emma's leftover Spaghettios and poured myself an iced tea. As I carried the bowl into the living room, I stopped to listen at Emma's door and all was quiet. I sat down with my lunch and flipped on the television; I was soaking in my peaceful moment with my feet up and everything. I realized I had forgotten my iced tea and got up to fetch it, but as I passed through the back hall I was overwhelmed by an odor. What was it? While the scent was not at all pleasant, it was not unfamiliar. It was cod liver oil...it was...
...and that was odd.
I walked in the nursery and there under the changing table was a brand new tube of Desitin just waiting for a new baby's bottom. I thought, "Could that smell becoming from Emma's room?" I stood facing the closed door to her quiet room. I did not want to open that door and risk waking her when she was apparently asleep without a fight for like the first time ever. So nine months pregnant, I got down on my hands and knees to sniff under the crack in her bedroom door; that's how much Emma scared me. One inhale and oh yeah baby, it was Desitin central.
I regretfully opened the door and scanned the room.
There was Desitin everywhere...thick greasy cream coated her furniture, her stuffed animals, the floor, it filled the pots in her play kitchen, and it was even in her sheets. The stench was overwhelming. My gaze fell on the center of the room and there was Emma...sitting cross legged, torso pancaked over her legs, dead asleep, stark naked, holding the tube of diaper cream in her out-stretched hand.
"Emma Grace!" I screamed.
The woozy little thing shot up and looked at me like the Bride of Frankenstein.
The thick white white cream was streaked through her hair so it stuck straight up.
Emma had applied the cream liberally over her entire body like lotion; it was in her ears, gunked in her eyebrows, and all over her lips.
Little did I know I was moments away from a total parenting malfunction.

In my own defense, I did call Poison Control at that point. Since Emma had brushed her teeth with Icy Hot and popped a few Nightshade berries previously, I was pretty sure a little Desitin wouldn't do too much damage, but better safe than sorry. The Poison Control guy told me it would be harder for me to clean up the mess than that ointment would be on Emma's system if she had swallowed any and man, was he right.

I picked Emma up (she was as slippery as a greased pig) and plunked her in an empty bathtub. Like a mad woman, I started hauling things out of her room. I was in a hormonal rage...throwing stuffed animals in garbage bags, yanking sheets off the bed, futilely scrubbing down furniture.
This was the clean-up equivalent of throwing bacon grease over an entire room and I was blindly attacking the problem. And then I smelled this smell...what was it? Was it fruit? It smelled like berries...and then it hit me...
I peeked my head into the bathroom...Emma had strewn thick pink Strawberry Smoothie shampoo all over the walls, all over the tile floor, all over my white subway tile, in the sink, in the toilet, and of course in her hair and all over her naked body. By this point I was hysterical and totally illogical. I abandoned the Desitin room and turned my attention to the shampoo room.
I picked Emma up (she was even more slippery) and deposited her in the back hallway. I grabbed a towel, wet it, and started manically scrubbing the bathroom floor. What happens next is BUBBLES...lots and lots of bubbles. They started piling up and oozing all over the tiny bathroom. I was overwhelmed by bubbles and Desitin and I started to cry.
I gave up and left the bathroom.
Oh, but I ask you, what has been forgotten in this little story.
Yep, you guessed it.
When I walked into the dining room, I saw Emma had taken that lone bowl of Spaghettios and painted her naked Destin and Shampoo covered body with that tin can tasting tomato sauce. She had dumped the bowl on the floor and was busy making red foot prints around the dining room table.
I HAD BEEN DEFEATED.
By this...
I picked up the phone and called Leif at work. I was inconsolable and he came straight home to rescue me. As he tucked me and my huge pregnant belly into bed, I looked at him and sobbed, "I just think we've made a terrible mistake. I don't think I can have her and another kid."
Leif just kissed me on the forehead and said, "I think it's just a little too late for that conversation."
And then he went downstairs and cleaned up the entire mess.
The End.

Well...its either this or the time Finn broke his nose while he was sitting on my lap during story time...

8 comments:

Angela said...

Wow, you suck!

Just kidding. You still are, and always will be, tops on my list of mommy mentors. I watched that Momversation too. I don't really have any funny stories like yours though. Mine consist more of losing it in front of the kids. Not cool.

Mary said...

OM, I remember the Desitin story like it was yesterday, I remember the eating of the berries and the grass in the pool. I am sitting here chuckling...memories.I think during that time I was constantly in tears because my second child was SATAN...Remember me bringing him to the back fence crying "There's something wrong with him" As he was rigid and screaming bloody murder for the 1st year of his life. Swaddled, face down, in dark room with air conditioner on not at all worrying about SIDS? Thats some good parenting

Nubia Chaidez said...

Oh, Mel! I am crying over here. Not having my own little ones, but having spent much time with growing little people....I can honestly sympathize.

I can recall bursting into tears because the adorable little munchkin I was babysitting wouldn't eat the broccoli her parents insisted I try feeding her. And oh my favorite....when a different beautiful little girl bit the tag off a new beanie baby and started to choke on it. You can imagine my panic as I tried to fish it out of her mouth....I thought I had failed as super babysitter!

To say the least, these two little babies are now amazing, fun, bright and loving little girls who continue to shower me with funny moments (just not so many heart stopping ones) and lots of love. My many, minor mistakes didn't ruin them as I'm sure none of yours have ruined the incredible children that Emma and Finn have turned into.

You are a great mom.....and to assume that you would be perfect would be a little too arrogant for your amazing spirit :) You're a normal, fantastic, loving mom!

Thanks for sharing!

Matt Cote said...

Hilarious...not at the time, I know. I am not a mature enough parent to put my worst parenting moments up for the public to see yet. Some day.....

Mb said...

As usual you had me laughing out loud. And you are right, I can't imagine Emma acting that way.

Elanor said...

I just had a really great laugh.

Anonymous said...

"holy cow, Melissa... I'm up at 4 am w/ Maggie and I'm stifling my laughter so as not to wake this kid- and it hurts b/c controlling that amount of laughter isn't natural. In all seriousness, I've had some really low moments the last 2-3 months and knowing how wonderful your kids have turned out gives me hope that we will not only survive, but thrive... one day :) Thank you for sharing. I can't wait to share this David!-mona

Anonymous said...

Ah i am not alone

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