Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crowning Moments in Questionable Parenting: Episode 1

After reading Braja's post on her mom saying "I will annihilate you!" and a Twitter Moms group that I recently joined called "Bad Mommies" that prompted us to share the worst thing we've ever said to our children. I am prompted to reflect on some of the more questionable parenting choices I've made. Unfortunately, I have flown off the handle and said more terrible things than I could remember or recount. I remember being keenly aware, when my oldest was turning from three to four years old, that he would start remembering things, like permanent memories that he could recount to his friends in college! Things like mommy swearing like a sailor, or mommy saying, "Stop crying like a little girl" or "If you say 'NO' one more time, I'm going to stab myself in the ears with pencils. I can't take it anymore!!!" So, I've stopped the swearing and I never threaten to commit suicide or bodily harm to myself anymore. I do, on occasion, still tell the boys to stop acting like babies or little girls when they are being particulary whiny and fragile, though. I can't help myself! Even when I know it is degrading to little girls and to myself, in a way. It just makes me crazy and I continue the cycle of socializing men to "buck up" and "be little soldiers."

Hold up, this is going in a direction I never intended. I have neither the time nor the inclination to get all deep and philosophical about how I am turning my boys into little macho misogynists who are afraid to show emotion. It is just that we have so much emotion constantly flying around our high-strung house already; I am just trying to get them to cut back on it (by any means necessary). :) I am sure that my boys will grow into confident, responsible men... that will know first-hand that you treat your significant other like a queen, with love and respect and gratitude. Um, ....I'll let you know how that goes. ;-)

So, back to the point:

Back when CC was a wretched 3-year-old, shaming the memory of his merely terrible two's, the then Furious Four took a trip to Iowa to visit family. We were given a lovely room in the house that was large enough to contain all of us and was located in a quiet area that would afford our little boys a nice place to nap. Our second day there, CC was imploding because he was so tired and I was determined to get his little hiney to sleep. Our darling baby Destructo was an angel back then, so happy to be held or to sit in his carseat, always a smile and a snuggle or a cheery wave from the floor. CC seriously turned the dial to 11 when he turned three, so I never should have trusted him alone, but after lying down with him for half an hour only to have him giggle and try and tickle me and do other supposedly "cute" things, I gave up and told him to go to sleep "or else" and went to sit on the other side of the door. I thought if I could still hear him I could keep him from trouble without necessarily having to see him and vice versa - he knew I was right there.

I thought wrong. I didn't hear anything. I eventually went downstairs. Then he started to yell again "MAMA!! MAMA!! DADDY!! MAAAAAMAAAAA!" Not distressed, just LOUD. I went back upstairs, opened the door and was dismayed, no, aghast, no, DUMB STRUCK by what I found...

CC had taken a recently opened extra-large canister of baby formula, opened it, and dumped its entire contents on the carpeted floor. And then he rubbed his little feet into the carpet on top of it as he walked back and forth over it; smashing it into the shag. It is a good thing we were visiting family and not at home because if we had been, I cannot vouch for what might have happened to him. ;( As it was, I grabbed him by the arms, carried him at arm's length to the bed and put him in it. I snatched away his bottle (that he still slept with, filled with water) and murderously hissed at him, "If you do not stay in this bed I will take your bottle away forever." Thinking this was not enough of a threat, I added, "Not only will I take it away, I will put it in the road and run over it with Daddy's truck. And then I will run over it again and I won't stop running over it until it is smashed into little, tiny pieces."

In all the days previous and years since, I have never seen a child look as terrified or compliant. He actually was asleep in less than 10 minutes and Daddy-007 and I spent half an hour getting the formula out of the carpet after he got up.

It's not a proud moment, but it happened. I think he's forgotten about it.... I hope he has. I know I'll never forget it!

What embarrassing thing have you done or said to your child that you hope they forget? Post anonymously, if you like, I don't care. :)


  1. I told my son to "walk it off" after he fell, twisted his ankle and was crying. A MONTH later, we found out it was broken.

  2. And MOST importantly, IT WORKED!! My worst parenting memory involves trying to physically force A5 to take medication. I was too much of a wuss to do it, and I've never seen him look so terrified. I'll try to think of something more humorous later. Motherhood...sheesh

  3. OH my god.. that is hilarious how you had to throw in the end bit just to really get your point across!! I have threatened to give favorite stuffed animals to the dogs. And also to cancel christmas... which all parents have the power to do, ya know.

  4. Wow Amy. I can't believe you said that. I have never ever come even close to saying anything even close to something like that to my kids. Because I am known to be a very calm mother who never ever loses her cool and never ever yells. And never threatens. And never ever mutters under my breath how much my kids are bugging the living crap out of me. It's all roses and compliments and and hugs and patience over here. So I really can't contribute on your chosen topic today. Sorry.

  5. Kristina: The feeling is mutual! :)

    Csquared+3: Ouch! I did basically the same thing to CC when he broke his wrist: (Eyeroll) "It can't be THAT bad..." And then had a neighbor make him a pretend splint out of duct tape and a tongue-depressor (true story!) to work like a placebo. Unfortunately when he woke up crying from the pain in the middle of the night I had to acknowledge that maybe he wasn't exaggerating.... :) I like your style, though, THREE months! Wow!

    Rants: Oh, I think we've all been there: one parent sitting on their chest, while the other pries open their mouth and tries to shove some needed medication down it. I agree, it is AWFUL. There's no pain like the one we think we NEED to inflict.

    Kel: I may have suggested using a stuffed animal as target practice.... my memory is getting fuzzy... ;-) I haven't tried canceling Christmas yet- that's evil!!

    YOU GUYS ROCK--- I KNEW YOU WOULDN'T DISAPPOINT! ;-) True Bitchin' Mommies!

  6. That is HILARIOUS!! I could just picture walking into that mess... it reminds me of a friend who had put her 2 year old to bed only to realize that it had suddenly become too quiet- and not the sleepy kind of quiet. She went to check on her... her little sweetheart had pooped in her night time diaper, taken it off, and was happily finger painting the entire room with poop.

    She's never divulged the words spewed forth from her lips that night...

    I'm sure I've said horrible things to my 3 year old... but my mind is like swiss cheese and I retin no information. So I can make up the story to be whatever I want to be. Yeah. That works.

  7. Oops. I don't retin information. I retain it. Except spelling. I can't remember how to spehl anything rite.

  8. I just died with laughter. RUN IT OVER? Priceless.


  9. Oh, Liz: I shouldn't of opened this big ole can of worms... CC did that, too!!! Fortunately, I was out and Daddy-007 had to deal with cleaning up the "paintings." OMG!!! What hasn't that kid done?!?

    Haasiegirl: I can say with absolute sincerity that I 100% meant it when I said it, too. I was going to do it, so help me God, if that kid didn't stay put. :)

  10. I really liked the "And then I'll run it over again and I won't stop running it over until it's in little tiny pieces!"

    Didn't leave much to his imagination, now did you????

  11. I told a child once, whose mother wasn't around, that I'd "twist his ears off and mail them to his mother." His look was actually a mixture of fear and awe, and he said, "You'd do that? How did you think of that?" It totally broke the moment and I smiled and said, "You liked that, huh?" and he said, "yeah!"

  12. How come a child won't listen to a thing you're saying...but say the F-word one time...

  13. Liz: There are an inordinate amount of Liz' in the kitchen. I am getting confused!

    I had to elaborate with details b/c he did NOT look convinced with the first threat. Evil little ... !

    Liz: At first I thought you were grading my parenting efforts. Fair, but TOUGH! Now that I realize it is for the meme... I will need a Few days to Formulate a Fair answer. :)

    Braja: You have a wicked "scary old lady" inside that you are not afraid to unleash. I love that you never take yourself too seriously, though. It's why I love you!

    KMcJoseph: Ain't that the truth, bro. My kids' can hear swears through walls and from one floor to the next, but I have to ask them to put their coats on six, seven times. Little bastards.

  14. We were bringing my oldest home from the park one night when he was... 3? He started whining about wanting to be carried, but since we were almost home and I was hoping it would tire him out I refused. Turned out he had pooed his diaper and it gave him a rash. Just one more thing to add to my mountain of guilt.

  15. I really can't remember saying anything too bad, other than telling my 17 year old I can't wait for her to go away to college and get out of my house.
    I did take my older daughter's blankie away as punishment for an entire day when she was 5 and didn't return it until she was in college and I hid it in between some of her laundry.

  16. Awesome!
    I'm not a parent so I'll sit back and admire your parenting.

  17. I totally believe Lee. Oh, and that f-bomb thing? That's not just kids: I can speak to my [idiot] husband ... wait, did i say that? for ten minutes and repeat myself twenty three times and he doesn't hear me before i give up and walk away, but I can be 30 ft away and whispering and he'll be all frikkin' holier than thou and like "did you swear? stop cursing Braja..." yeah yeah yeah...jesus h.

  18. Love the story. My DD turns 3 on Sunday so I reserve this space to leave my comment a year from now. :P

  19. I have another award for you, as soon as I get my act together. I even fought for you over at Adlibby's and when Braja finds out she'll probably kick my ass.

  20. I feel really really bad for this, but...

    When Punkette was still wetting her pants after two years of "potty training", in the middle of one of those weeks where she would pee her self like twice a day, I told her I was so sick of cleaning pee off the floor that I was going to glue her butt to the toilet seat.

    And I know, that's really really horrible and you should never ever discipline bodily accidents. I know because I read all the potty training sections of every parenting book we have about a dozen times each. And I still said it.

  21. OOOH... can I tell a second hand horrible kid story? Yea? Ok...

    My cousin was a kindergarten teacher and she used to slam the door to get the kids to shut up and pay attention. Well, one day, the glass window in the door broke and one of the kids said to her, "Oooooh, you're going to get in TROUBLE!"
    And she replied, "No I'm not, because I'm going to tell them YOU did it!"

  22. Oh Lord. He's only four but one time when he was being really really bratty and I just couldn't take it anymore I said. "I really don't like you." He burst into tears. I felt horrible. And followed it up with "But I always love you." how about that for confusion and mixed messages?

    And the other week we were all riding in the car and my husband told me to go see a movie by myself the next day. And I said "Oh yeah. I totally need a break." And a little voice piped up "From me, Mommy?" I felt like a shit.

  23. Pilgram: Potty training is SO frustrating! If that is the worst you did or said, then you are amazing. I remember heaving terrible sighs of frustration, rolling my eyes and making derisive sounds, grinding my teeth and grumbling over yet another cleanup of bathroom pee puddles. And lets not forget the stern "Stand OVER THERE!"s in the middle of the night as you change the sheets at 2 am for the third bleary-eyed night in a row....

  24. Oh Jenners - I feel for you! When I went to a spa - for the day - recently, my husband told the kids it was to get away from them. They cried for weeks. Actually, all I wanted was some me time and a bit of peace.

  25. I have an ADHD son who had a fascination with the electrical socket. Every time I turned around, he was trying to stick something into one of the holes. I even put those plastic plugs in there and I'd catch him trying to dig around the plastic to get his key/paperclip/fork/block/ you name it, into the hole.

    One day I marched over to him and said, "If you stick anything into that hole, electricity will shoot up your arm. Your heart will explode and you will die. Not the playing kind of dead, the dig-a-hole-in-the-ground-and-bury-you-in-the-graveyard kind of dead. No more seeing Mommy, no more seeing Daddy. All gone, dead!!"

    His eyes got huge and I instantly felt bad, but lo and behold, he never tried to put anything in the sockets again.

    Since it worked so well for the sockets, I did actually use this concept again with him when he wouldn't stop running out into the street. Just insert "The car will squish you dead" and repeat. Again, never ran into the street again, although I don't recommend this method of brutal honesty to anyone!! Lol


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.