My children have been blessed with a mother who would allow herself to enter a seedy motel room, be put under with an anesthetic from Mexico, and have her kidney put on ice in the bathtub to be sold on the black market if it meant they could eat. However, they also have a mother who makes countless mistakes. I try really hard to be Super Mom, but I continue, daily, to fail miserably. I think with each child we get better, but unless you plan on having 100 kids, you will never be perfect. First born children aren't born Type A, they're made to be that way because we as parents fall short so deplorably they end up having to fend for themselves. My list of inadequacies far outweighs my list of attributes. That isn't to say I don't learn and grow as I go, but the debacles that have ensued due to my blunders are embarrassing, sometimes terrifying, and always humbling.
When my son was two months old, I was invited to a water park with another mom with a child several months older than mine. I was told repeatedly that he was far to young to drag to an amusement park, and that, of course, further fueled my stubborn streak, and I dug in my heels and proceeded to pack my bags. We spent the entire day there, and several things happened. My bathing suit didn't fit (shocker! Your body is weird after only two months post-partum...OK, it's weird 24 months post-partum), I had nip-slip after nip-slip, and lastly, and most horribly, I forgot to re-apply my son's sunscreen and at the tender age of 8 weeks old I had given him a sunburn that left his poor little nose shiny and red and grotesquely bacon-like. I tried to play it off on his Italian dark-skin heritage, but I don't know any Italian's who resemble Rudolph.
Another time, too recent for comfort, I rubbed his baby lotion in all over right before bed, and didn't pay the slightest bit of attention to what I was doing. My favorite show was playing downstairs and I wanted to hustle through bedtime routine to see what happened next. Well, without realizing it, I had created my own little drama. I had mistakenly rubbed BenGay all over his skin, and it turned purple and splotchy, and he screamed like a vampire in the sun. I threw him in the bathtub and spun the nozzle to turn on the shower and rinse it as quickly as possible. Apparently children under the age of 12 are not to use BenGay without the advice and direction of their pediatrician and yet I had slathered it all over the poor darling.
Sadly my myriad of mistakes doesn't end there. One time I fed him too large of a bite on which he choked, gagged and projectile vomited onto the dog's head. At another point, my son was playing in the sandbox and shoveled a whopping handful of the stuff into his mouth and swallowed. I turned my back for all of six seconds! Granted, it was to re-apply my tanning oil, but still... For three weeks after I had to diligently dig through his poop on the look-out for pinworms. It possibly was one of the worst mistakes to date.
I try to follow the book, the advice columns and the motherly wisdom of family matriarchs, but sometimes I diverge from the norm and create my own rules. When my son was at an age where he could be fed pureed food, I couldn't for the life of my get him to use a spoon, and I hate messes. So what did I do? I put the baby food in his bottle, cut the nipple tip off and fed him that way. Seems so clever, doesn't it? Well, it isn't. It was a wretched idea. It took that much longer to teach him to use utensils, and to this day at two years old, he still has trouble with silverware.
The point I'm making in revealing all these mortifying motherly blunders is this: not a single person is perfect. We as parents grow and learn right along beside our children. I was so hard on myself for so long, and now with my daughter, I allow her to suck on her binkie, and if that isn't available, sometimes matches and knives. I'm totally kidding CPS! I really am though much more lenient on myself. My kids are alive, they're healthy and most importantly they're happy. They'll never remember you dropping them in the bathtub, or forgetting them outside the changing room at Target. What they'll remember is a mom who loved them more than herself. Try and forget the mistakes, and remind yourself of the things you would do for them. That's what matters. And I promise, in as little as a few weeks time, it will be a hilarious tale, and not a shameful error. If you can't laugh at yourself, you're in for a long haul. Smile, and think about that motel room. You (WE!) are good parents. :)