Things have been relatively calm around here on the parenting front, and when you write a “mommy blog”, your kids being boring leaves you often bereft of good material. So, instead of using my poor children as fodder for my hilarious witticisms, I have decided that I will use my own mistakes instead. Some of these have required a great deal of thought because A. they aren’t all recent and B. I am quite sure I lost 20 IQ points for each kid and C. I have consumed an inordinate amount of alcohol along the way, thereby making my recollection somewhat hazy.
Let’s begin, shall we? Here are my top parenting fails…
1. Where I Sling My Baby Daughter Around the Yard in the Circle of Doom. It was the winter of 2002 and we were having a lovely afternoon at my in-laws house. Cecilia was a little over a year old and wanted to use the newly installed toddler swing in her grandparent’s back yard. My FIL had hung the swing from this gorgeous old oak tree and had used very long ropes to get the swing down to person height. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth we went. Suddenly, I had the bright idea to push the swing in a circular motion, kind of like a tire swing. The baby was strapped in and I didn’t push it super hard, so you can imagine my surprise when it fell over on its side and began swinging in a circle with my baby girl sort of dangling out of it and screaming in sheer terror. Of course my first (and albeit stupid reaction) was to begin screaming “Daddy, Daddy catch her, catch her!!!” and start chasing the swing/baby along its crazy circular path through the backyard. It never occurred to me to stop and catch her when she came around – that sensible response was the route my FIL and husband went, thank goodness. She was totally fine and in hindsight, the scene was hysterical – in the moment, not so much.
2. The Time I Almost Fed My Son to a Quarter Horse. About six years ago, we had gone to a friend’s house in the country. The house is not terribly child-proof, but we did what we could and then proceeded to stay up half the night socializing. Next morning I wake up to find that Will has vanished. We searched the house and the yard – nothing. Got in the truck in my pj’s and drove around – still nothing. I walked out into the front yard trying not to freak out and saw the slightest glint of sun off in the direction of the horse barn. Raced over and found Will standing between the two front legs of a rather sizable quarter horse aptly named Superman, who was nibbling on his hair. Barefooted, in pajamas and a diaper, Will was standing there with Supe, grinning ear to ear while I threw myself around the paddock in hysterics. In my zeal to keep everyone away from the pool, I apparently forgot to lock the front door.
3. The Great Birthday Mud Bath of 2011. More recently we had again gone to the country, and as all good rednecks do, invented a new kind of activity that involved an ancient plastic hydro slide, a souped up gas powered golf cart and a tow rope. Honestly, it went well at first – the kids had a blast, the grownups enjoyed watching them and everything was cool. Things went south when my husband and the driver of said golf cart thought it would be funny to drive the two girls through what they allegedly thought was a shallow puddle. In case there is one or two of you who cannot see the writing on the wall here, I’ll break it down. First, the puddle was practically a lake. Second, said plastic slide weighs a ton, so it basically submarined to the bottom when it hit the puddle. Third, apparently little girls do not appreciate it when a tidal wave of muddy water pours down over them whilst being pulled around behind a golf cart around a tree farm in rural Bamberg County. Oh, and did I mention it was one of their birthdays? EPIC fail.
There are the usual fails that we all experience, of course. You know, the ones where kids get in trouble for being bad and then spike a 104 degree fever five seconds later, not putting on enough sunscreen while at the pool, or playing a well intended joke that actually scares the crap out of them, etc., but the stories above are some of my personal high points in the fail department..
What’s awesome about these and other experiences is that they help me remember that even when something seems like a catastrophe in the moment, very often these are the memories that we can all look back on and laugh. All I have to say is “This is the WORST birthday EVER!” and my kids fall out in convulsions of hilarity. The truth is that we all screw up sometime, and I honestly believe that being able to laugh at yourself is the only salvation from the complete insanity of parenting. I look forward to more moments that will leave me sputtering in fury, indignity or humiliation and laughing out loud mere seconds later, because it makes it all okay.