I have had a few phenomenally bad parenting moments in the last couple of days. And I don't just mean reacting less than patiently when someone dumps and nearly full cup of juice all over the lunch table. As much as I cringe to think about them (one way worse than the other, but neither winning me any awards) I am going to share here with the hope that you will make me feel a little better by sharing your own semi-horrifying parenting moments or that someday someone else will be feeling badly and read this thinking, "Well at least I'm not the only one!"
The lesser of the offenses was brought to my attention this morning. I had paperwork from Michael's school because his "physician report" was outdated. We live right around the corner from our pediatrician so I assumed this would be no problem - after dropping the kids off this morning I hustled over there and was handing the paper off to the receptionist who thought she'd just check on the date of his three-year well visit. The only trouble being that he didn't have one. After all our winter illnesses and trips to the doctor I apparently overlooked the fact that he should have had another visit in there. I just completely and totally forgot. I think I also forgot his eighteen month appointment. Sorry, second child of mine. What is wrong with me? It isn't like we just had a busy month and I didn't get around to scheduling it - the thought of scheduling it never entered my mind.
So now it is scheduled, for Friday morning, and our paperwork will be straightened out by next week, but that was certainly an embarrassing couple of moments with the receptionist.
But now comes the really bad parenting moment - the one that could have had significantly tragic consequences and, I'll tell you right now, thankfully didn't end up badly. (Well unless you count my sobbing into a bowl of carrot peelings during dinner prep, which I don't.) Yesterday, late afternoon, I made a perfectly reasonable attempt to use the bathroom with a little privacy. A couple of minutes after I sat down, Matt returned home from work, walking into the house and yelling, "Where are you? Do you know that your children are outside?" Um, no, I did not know that they children were outside (they couldn't have been out there for more than thirty seconds as I was moments before listening to the never-ending chorus of their arguing), I did not hear any doors open or shut, nor did I grant anyone permission to leave the house.
Even if we didn't live on a busy street (we do) and it wasn't about five p.m. and thereby an extra busy traffic time (it was) I would not let the children out into the front yard by themselves. Now I have, in the past, allowed Harper to walk to our curbside mailbox, which opens from the back, to place or retrieve some mail. BUT only during less busy traffic times and with my watching her every step from a front window.
What happened yesterday, apparently, was that Harper decided to take Michael outside to get the mail. And Matt pulled up as they were out in the yard. The chances of one of them getting abducted right out of our front yard are pretty slim, but, the way people on our street are prone to ignoring the 25mph speed limit, getting hit by a car is not so unlikely. By the time we, not so gently, hurried the kids back inside Matt was angry, I was angry and relieved and embarrassed and frustrated, and the kids were totally oblivious that they'd done anything upsetting. This is about when I burst into tears over the carrots because, really, is it so much to ask that I should be able to go to the bathroom without fear that my children are placing themselves in mortal danger and I am completely unaware of it? Should I still be bringing them into the bathroom with me? Ugh.
I mean, miraculously, we're all still here and safe, missed doctor's appointments and random front yard wandering aside, but I'm still feeling a little inept.
Okay, your turn, feel free to go anonymous in the comments as you share your parenting mishaps - extra points if the children were technically in danger but not actually injured.