Thursday Thirteen, Edition Seventeen:
Thirteen Stellar Moments in Parenting
1. The time I locked the keys and the children in the car. With the engine running. On a very public street. The 911 operator asked if one of the children could simply open the door from the inside and then sounded absolutely fluxomed when I explained that, while my daughter was three and probably could open the car door from inside, she was strapped into her car seat and could not release herself. Because that is what good parents do, they put their children in government-approved car seats. You know, when they aren’t locking them in cars with the engine running.
2. That time I accidentally thumped the Man-Cub’s wee little head into doorjamb simply because I misjudged the distance between the doorjamb and the child’s head. I blame sleep-deprivation (kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was a year old); other than the odd twitching, there doesn’t appear to be any residual damage.
3. The night the Tooth Fairy forgot to retrieve the Man-Cub’s tooth and he awoke to find no money. I will remember the look of disappointment on his face until they put me in my grave. Of course, it wasn’t my first screw-up as the Tooth Fairy and, as fate would have it, it wouldn’t be my last, which takes us to two days ago…
4. …The Girl texted from school, letting me know that she had one less tooth to have the dentist pull. I asked if that meant she had lost one and got a “Well, duh” for my trouble (ingrate). Later that day, she texted me again, requesting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich prior to her volleyball game. I made the sandwich, bagged it and handed it off to her when I arrived at the game. A few minutes later she came to me, pressed a crumpled sandwich bag in my hand and took to the court. I handed the baggie to the Man-Cub to throw away. After her game (they won, again!), she came to sit next to me and I asked her if she had saved the tooth for the Tooth Fairy (she’s a non-believer but is keeping the Faith for her brother) and she looked at me like I had just sprouted a second head before saying “Duh, I gave it to you”. Dumpster diving followed, tooth was recovered. Not my proudest moment.
5. At an appointment with the pediatrician, The Teenager, then about four years old, matter-of-factly informed the doctor that she liked milk in her coffee at breakfast. It took me five minutes to assure the doctor that the “coffee” was, in fact, hot cocoa, heavy on the milk and light on the cocoa. I swear.
6. There was that whole The Teenager Got Suspended From the Last Volleyball Game of the Season for Flipping the Competing Team the Bird incident last year. That was a special moment in parenting; her first obscene gesture! I think I might cry.
7. The day I was called into the Daycare Director’s office and asked to speak to the Man-Cub about not peeing on the playground, it’s just not appropriate for a four year old to do that, I mean, really; did he pee outside at home? (Yes, yes he did. In our defense, he totally learned that behavior from my nephew, who lived on a farm and, after a number of hours on a tractor with a giant Slurpee and no bathroom in sight, learned to improvise).
8. The last time we were called into the Principal’s office to discuss The Teenager’s behavior. That time was less ha, ha We Suck at the Parenting and more OH MY GOD, We Suck at the Parenting.
9. That time my kid ate a whole bottle of Flinstone chewable vitamins and the family doctor said to scare the kid into puking, so she was told-in no uncertain terms-that she was going to DIE, thus freaking her out enough to vomit copious amounts of day-glo orange vomit. Oh, wait, that wasn’t me, that was my mother. I was the vomiting kid. Eh, either way-stellar moment in parenting, I’m sure (sorry, Mom).
10. When the Man-Cub fell off the slide and we didn’t take him to the emergency room for two days because we thought it was just bruised. Yep, broken. Which, wouldn’t be so bad but, um, yeah, that happened twice. We rock.
11. When The Teenager was about four and having a Really Bad Day and I locked myself in the bathroom with the phone, called Hugh and tearfully explained to him that our daughter had been possessed by Satan and that he needed to get to St. Mary’s ASAP; I needed a priest for an exorcism and a rosary with which to bind the demon. Turned out the child had an ear infection. Same difference.
12. When one of the children’s’ hermit crabs died, I hosted the most touching funeral ever. Not long after, the other hermit crab died while I was on a business trip. I told Hugh to leave it in the cage and that I would handle the funeral arrangements when I got home in a couple of days. When I arrived home, I trudged up the stairs to The Teenager’s room to prepare the body for burial and the little fucker was standing on a rock, waving at me, next to his own corpse. A quick Google search confirmed that the crab hadn’t died but had molted and, the process takes a few days so, yeah, the other “dead” crab? Probably not so much dead as buried alive.
13. Of course, these are all stellar parenting moments in the sense that, hey, we really do suck at parenting. On the other hand, there are waaayy more than thirteen instances of us being sort of decent at the job so, you know, we’ll take the good with the bad. Because that is what parents do.