Great Moments in Parenting
Well, today is YOUR lucky day. Today, I’m giving you the opportunity—without having to go to Walmart or leave the privacy of your laptop—to deem yourself the Superior Parent. All at my expense, of course.
I’m convinced one of the reasons God gave me children was to keep me humble. Just when I proclaim to the world that I will NEVER do thus and so, life provides me a perfect opportunity to do something ten times worse. If these things don’t make you feel better about your own parenting flubs, then at least I know they will provide great therapy fodder for my kids when they’re thirty.
Great Moment in Parenting, Act One: One time when Rebekah was about two, I took her to Michaels craft store to pick up some supplies to make Daddy an adorable painted shirt for Father’s Day.
Rebekah never did like to shop much as a small child, but this day she was just impossible. As I browsed the paints, she cried and whined. As I searched for a t-shirt, she threw herself on the floor and screamed. As her tantrum escalated, so did my heart rate. The more I pleaded, begged and threatened, the bigger her fit grew. That’s it, I’m done. With both of us in complete hysteria, I abandoned my cart, yanked her up from the floor, marched out to the car, and angrily buckled her in her car seat. For the entire ten-minute ride home, I proceeded to yell at my disobedient and defiant two-year-old, telling her how upset I was that she would not let me shop for Daddy’s present. I was crying. She was crying. I was screaming, she was screaming. I was livid. And she was…sick. When I got home, I removed her from the seat and noticed she felt very warm. Her temperature was 103.5. She was ill and in bed for several days.
Lesson Learned: Before you punish your kid, check for signs of illness.
Great Moment in Parenting, Act Two: Crying children bother me less and less with each passing year. Kids cry. That’s a fact of life. If you cater to them every time they cry, they’ll think they can manipulate you with tears, right? So, I’ve learned to completely ignore crying most of the time. In fact, when Rebekah was three-years-old and Elijah was about one-and-a half, they were playing in our dining room while Jon and I stood in the kitchen—about twenty feet away—trying to have a conversation. At that age, Elijah screamed and cried every time Rebekah looked at him the wrong way—which was pretty much all the time. So, we just learned to talk over the crying—pretty much all the time. On this particular day, the crying went on and on and on. It wasn’t the “I’m hurt” cry, so we just kept talking. And talking. And talking. Until finally after about ten minutes or so, we decided we better walk into the next room and separate the two of them. Rebekah was nowhere to be found. Elijah, however, had pushed through the screen of the first story dining room window. He was hanging draped over the windowsill with his face on the concrete outside. He was stuck and couldn’t get up. And he had a big abrasion on his forehead and black eye.
Oh, and it was the day before Easter.
Lesson Learned: Before you ignore a cry, be certain your child isn’t hanging out a window.
Great Moment in Parenting, Act Three: One time after a Wednesday night service at church, Jon and I went up to our pastor’s office to chat. Elijah was about three and Rebekah was five. Our pastor has four kids of his own, so with the pastor’s blessing, we just let the six of them run around in the halls while we talked. The kids happily played, running in and out of the offices and up and down the halls. After about thirty minutes, we realized in all the running in and out, we hadn’t seen Elijah in quite some time. We asked the other kids where Elijah was. *Blink.* *Blink.* “I dunno….” We immediately started searching the dark building, which was now empty and locked down for the night. In the distance, we heard a faint little cry. “Mommmmmyyyyy!” but couldn’t figure out from what room it was coming. After several minutes, we finally found Elijah outside in the dark, barefoot, frightened to death and pounding on the door, saying, “Mommy! Daddy! Save me!!! Where are you?????? Why are you doing this to me?” For some reason, he thought we went outside, so he went out to find us. And the door locked behind him.
Lesson Learned: If you accidentally lock your child out of church at night with no shoes on, the least you can do is take him to Target on the way home and let him pick out whatever he wants from the toy aisle to alleviate your Mommy Guilt.
Great Moment in Parenting, Act Four: Elijah eventually learned that crying gets him nowhere, because somewhere along the line, he pretty much stopped. So much so, that he wouldn’t even tell me if he was hungry or wet. In fact, one particularly busy morning, I was extremely overwhelmed with housework. I had spent the entire day cleaning, doing laundry and laundry and laundry. And cleaning. As I was driving to pick up Rebekah from kindergarten at 2:30 pm, I was thinking about how I had been so busy, that I had not even stopped to eat or shower. GASP!!!!! Because I had not eaten or showered, I had also not fed or changed Elijah! Aaahhhhhhhh! Yes, it was 2:30 pm and he was still in his pj’s and pull-up from the night before, and had consumed nothing but juice all day.
Lesson Learned: Kids need to eat, even if you don’t.
Great Moment in Parenting, Act Five: I potty trained Rebekah successfully in one week. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I thought I was the potty-training queen. What’s the big deal? Why do parents dread this? Just put up a potty chart, buy a few dollar store toys, and you’re golden. And then I tried to potty train Elijah. A full year. That’s right. Age three to age four. Twelve full months, baby. When people used to say to me, “Don’t worry, he won’t go to college in diapers.” I’d think, “I’m not so sure about that.” He simply didn’t care if he was soiled. And if I stripped him naked, he’d just go on the floor, and continue playing. (Maybe it was the trauma of getting locked out of the church at night.) In that year, I broke every single potty training rule. All the things the experts tell you not to do? I did them. Every last one of them. I was so frustrated. One time, in complete and total desperation, I took away all his most beloved and prized possessions. The only things he played with every single day. I took away his trains! I told him he could earn them back one at a time if he went on the potty. Smooth move, Ex-lax. I will never forget the look of despair, horror and confusion on his face as I carried the boxes of trains out of his bedroom. He cried and begged…anything but the trains. I went in my room and bawled like a baby. I felt I had no choice but to pull out the big guns. And after all the drama, Operation Potty-Train didn’t even work!
Lesson Learned: Kids will go on the potty when they are good and ready, and not a moment before.
Great Moments in Parenting, Act Six: Can you stand one more Elijah story? Last year at the beginning of the summer, Rebekah and Elijah decided to have a swing-jumping contest. I’m all for swing jumping. I have great memories of such contests as a child, and I was quite good at it. So when the kids started jumping, I got excited. In my best cheerleader enthusiasm, I encouraged the kids to swing high and jump long. They did. Elijah jumped so high and long that he broke his wrist. Eight weeks in the summer with a cast.
Great Moments in Parenting: Act Seven: And just so you know that Elijah and Rebekah aren’t the only kids to fall victim to my faulty parenting skills, a few months ago I discovered the skin on Elliana’s scalp flaking. It was sort of crusty and peeling, and kind of gross. Every day I when I scratched her scalp, I’d flake some more skin off.
Uh oh, a skin condition. Cradle cap at age two? I’ve never heard of that. Maybe eczema? Hmmm…what could it be? Better make a doctor’s appointment. It stayed there for almost a week…until I bathed her and washed her hair. It was food.
Lesson Learned: Before you go Googling skin diseases, try using soap.
Oh my goodness..LOL…this made my evening…you really know how to tell a story…and make people glad they are not the only ones that have moments such as these….
Thanks Sandy!!! Do you think that Alberto can join Rebekkah, Elijah and Elianna in group therapy with Dan? I'm figuring that or at least a month long special on Dr. Phil.
"His mercies are new every morning!" There are many a nights when I pray: "Dear Lord, please don't let any of my parenting flops stick. Grace Lord Grace Lord Grace Lord and a little amnesia too!"
Oh Sandy, I've missed you! I needed a dose of your humor right now. I love your transparency and honesty. Too many mommies try to pretend they have it all together. You know you don't and …you freely admit it. 🙂 Keep up the stories. You entertain me. Love you, Debbie
P.S. My mom would have loved you!
ohh this was hilarious Sandy! 🙂 I really needed this today. I am expecting baby # 2 and have been sooo sick and the mommy guilt about Raymond watching so much tv this past 2 months as I've been sick has been horrible. It's always soo great to know we ALL make mistakes. Parenting is sooo tough! Especially because every baby and every single situation is different. You truly can't have anything down to a science/routine – it always has to be using your instinct and your BRAIN (which is so hard when you're a tired mommy) about each new obstacle.
THANK YOU for being willing to share. This truly was a blessing. 🙂
p.s. I have really missed your blog – I look forward to getting back to it eventually. pregnancy # 2 has been so much harder than # 1 I can't believe it! 🙂
OH MY GOODNESS! If this wasn't your funniest post yet! I am cackling so loud that Mark is probably wondering who I'm hanging out with down here.
That first pic of Rebekah totally brought back memories. *sniff*
You are a great mom. All of us have done things like that – you're just honest enough to share them. One reason people love reading your blog is because you're so transparent and real.
This is the best laugh I can remember having in a long time. With two kids age three and under and being pregnant I am SO full of these kind of stories. Thanks for reminding me its only by God's grace our children get through!
LOL! LOL! LOL!
I love you for writing this!!!!
I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one.
You crack me up,
I'm sorry but I'm trying very hard not to laugh.
Elijah through the screen – did Rebekkah flee the scene or he did it on his own?
I'm trying to recall my bad parenting episodes.
Mostly involving my older son.
*Like the time I bought girl's pants for him to wear to school. (I am not allowed to shop without him anymore. Even to this day.)
*Or the time in 3rd grade where I thought I was being helpful and bought him a rolling backpack because his books were heavy. Only it wasn't a backpack, it was a luggage. And people were teasing him, "Hey did you miss your flight?" And these were the 6-to-6 teachers.
*Or the time I didn't pick him up on the last day of school before Christmas break because I didn't know there was no childcare. He spent the whole afternoon with the principal – who missed the staff Christmas party off site because she had to stay with my son.
(Disclaimer: He survived and is in college now. As for therapy bills in the future, well, he'll have to earn that himself. Everything we have now is going towards his tuition.)
Over the top great post. I love when people are honest and make the rest of us feel 'normal'. ~
You are definitely my kind of mom. I am still laughing at the food in the hair!!!!
Been there, done that, oh, so many times! In addition, I had one so happy and oblivious to pain that we had to teach him to cry. We realized that when his older sister came running in and said, "Come quick, Doah is playing on the swing set with blood running down his face." He had apparently taken a tumble and got right back up on the swings. Fifteen stitches in his scalp later, we began the crying lessons: "Now, when you see red stuff anywhere on your body, you go WAAAHHHHHH!" Took some effort, but he did learn to cry at appropriate times.
Absolutely hilarious! I especially relate to your potty-training experience. Learned the same lesson myself almost the exact same way, just with a girl instead.
Thanks for the laugh. Don't think you've got the market cornered though! I've had plenty Great Parenting moments myself! 🙂
U have literally made my day!! I laughed so hard..Mommies are human and we make mistakes..Your honesty was refreshing..Thank You!