I thought I had hit an all-time parenting low the first time I accidentally slammed my baby's head into the unyielding wood of a doorway frame. The thwock! of his tiny, still-forming skull haunts me to this day.
Of course, that was before I dumped a pile of baby powder on him, which he instantly inhaled; or the time I managed to bang my arms on the crib rail and drop him unceremoniously to the mattress; or the day I discovered—after he drank the contents—that I'd accidentally handed him a sippy cup with mold coating the inside of the lid.
As bad as those moments were, I have to say, nothing has really topped the time I burned chemical capsicum into his soft, dewy face.
Okay, here's how it happened. One day a few years ago, I was feeling sort of extra fancy, thanks to the payoff of some major postpartum weight loss efforts. After spending so many weeks living in sweatpants with unwashed hair, I had the desire for a little cosmetic indulgence. So even though I was only getting ready to go to the grocery store or somewhere equally unexciting, I paused to take the unusual-for-me step of applying a lip plumper.
A full 20 minutes or so after putting on what I swear was a tiny amount of this ridiculous lip-irritating goo, I absentmindedly kissed my son on the cheek. And ... uh ... well.
Remember that scene in Fight Club when Brad Pitt licks his lips and coats them with lye, before burning his lip print into the back of Edward Norton’s hand? That’s soooooort of what I did to my own child:
Now, despite his woebegone expression in this photo, he actually didn’t seem to notice it at all, but I watched in sheer horror as two red lip-shaped marks instantly appeared on his cheek. Despite my careful swabbing with cold water and a soft cloth, the marks soon turned into raised WELTS.
I BURNED A KISS INTO MY BABY'S FACE. Yeah, I'd say that beats a dose of sippy cup mold, wouldn't you?
The good news is that the marks disappeared entirely about a half hour later, the bad news is that I stupidly told my husband about it, who acted as though I had purposefully crammed toothpicks in the boy’s eyesockets. “Why,” he asked dramatically, “would you even WEAR something that BURNS?”
Frankly, I didn't have a good answer for that. I still don't, really. Did this painful product give me Angelina Jolie's mouth? No it did not. Did it sear a skin irritant into the delicate flesh of my firstborn child? It sure did.
I threw away my "Lip Venom" after that, which made a nice spot on my cosmetics shelf for that coveted award I'd apparently been angling for: MOTHER OF THE YEAR.
Can you top this story, when it comes to accidental parenting screw-ups? (Not that you'd want to, but ... come on, tell me I'm not the only one who's done something this stupid.)
Image via Linda Sharps
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