I read a blog a while back which resonated with me in which a little girl got some scissors and gave herself a rather dramatic haircut on the dad’s watch. He felt awful about it and wanted beer. As parents, we F up. We F up a lot. I think most of us hope we don’t F up enough to be contacted by Social Services, require extensive amounts of therapy, or prevent our kid from getting into MIT, Harvard, Juilliard, or wherever your kid can go so that you can live vicariously through them. And obviously, we don’t want to F up in a way which causes lasting physical harm. Sure, people joke about being dropped on their head as a baby, but holy shit: what if that actually happened? The good news is that:
- Kids really are tremendously resilient.
- This shit is funny…..later.
I had a horrible day with Stella a while back (https://larva225.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/a-scald-day-in-hell/) that is not and will never be funny. Fortunately, there are no lasting scars on Stella of any kind; the only scars are on my psyche, but as this accident happened on my watch, that’s only appropriate. The good news is that since then she’s stayed the hell away from the stove and hot foods.
Will had a rotten day once, a long, long time ago now. He totally forbade me of speaking of it for the longest time, but I think it’s ok now. We’ve since told the story to most of the people we know well, so the cat is out of the proverbial bag. I retell it now to help some other parent out there who is maybe having a shitty day and feels like the worst parent in the world. It’s also somewhat cautionary, I suppose.
Once upon a time, Will and Stella were home along in the morning after I had gone to work. Stella had just become somewhat mobile, and was pretty good at getting around on 2.5 feet. The routine here was that Stella would crash around 9-9:30 and then Will would take her to her nanny’s before work. Ok so far.
Will has many little tics, as do we all. One of his is that he cannot just jump out of bed (or nap) and be fully cognizant and functional. For better or worse, he’s one of those “ease into the day” kind of people. It pisses me off. Then again, if I were that way, too, our kids would be in trouble. Anyway, they were snoozing on the couch. I was at work. More so, I had a big meeting that day. Will knows during meetings I don’t answer my phone or text. However, being a newer mommy at the time, my phone went with me on silent “just in case.”
As I’m in the meeting, my phone starts going haywire. I’m talking like 8+ missed calls in about 2 minutes. And it keeps going. Finally, I get seriously worried, excuse myself, and call my husband. I’m thinking Stella has a concussion or a broken arm. Something really horrible. I call home, saying “What happened?!” I hear “I’m the worst father in the world!” After a moment of calm-speech, ascertaining that Stella was not in any way physically harmed or dead, he blurted out “She ate cat puke!”
Turns out during their nap, one of the Three Stupid Cats barfed in the living room. Will was vaguely aware of it, and intended to clean it up when they woke up. Instead, Stella woke up first and Will was barely conscious. Stella made her way off the couch and across the living room carpet until she found The Pile. Will said all he heard was (insert wet lip-smacking sound) and he bolted upright. Sure enough, his darling daughter was noshing on regurgitated Meow Mix. He freaked and almost gagged. He grabbed the baby and ran to the sink. He swept her mouth with his fingers and gagged her. He then attempted to clean her mouth as well as you can without hard-core cleaning products. Bleach in a baby’s mouth is a definite faux pas.
He put her down and stood shaking, trying to get a hold of himself. She toddled/crawled back into the living room, and was making a beeline for The Pile, clearly wanting another taste. He intervened, and there was no more gurgitation of the matter on the floor. He felt awful. He was deathly afraid that Stella would come down with toxoplasmosis or something. I assured him it was ok, that while disgusting, sure, she was and would be fine.
We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny then. I’m sure it won’t be funny to Stella when she’s a teenager and we tell this story in front of her new boyfriend that we just hate. But that is when her father will really laugh. Think about that while you try to kiss our daughter, cretin!