You know how some people call themselves "trusted parenting experts"? Sure, they're usually trying to sell a book that features "practical and proven advice" telling you how to be a better parent, but still, I can't even imagine. I think I could birth about twenty more children and dedicate the rest of my life to the study of pediatrics and I'd still never have the confidence to describe myself as a trusted parenting expert.
That's because no matter what sort of savvy parenting decisions I make from here on out, I can't erase my track record. And man, let me tell you, I've made some boneheaded moves to date, mostly when my kids were babies/toddlers. For instance:
I let my baby fall out of his carseat. Okay, here goes: years ago, I put the carseat, baby in it but not yet buckled down, on the coffee table, and turned my back for -- I swear to god -- one second to get my purse. That's when my theoretically non-mobile infant somehow slithered out of his confines and went crashing to the hardwood floor. Yes. I know. I know. (He was fine.) (But oh my god.)
I put a Q-tip in my baby's butt. He was a newborn, he hadn't pooped, I was terrified of Deadly Constipation (?), so I tried a trick that I'd read about online: I put the end of a lubricated Q-tip into his rear end. The results? Well, have you ever seen what happens when you step on a tube of toothpaste? Anyway, it WORKED, but in retrospect I'm not entirely sure it was necessary to take such drastic measures.
I fed my toddler toxic mold. All I'm going to say about this one is that you should always check the underneath of a sippy cup lid. Take it from me.
I scarred my toddler's psyche with fighter jets. When my oldest was around 18 months old, I took him to a Blue Angels air show, thinking that earplugs would make the brain-splitting noise level okay for him. Ha ha ha ha WRONG. Not only was he terrified to the point of hysterical tears after he woke up from a brief nap to the sound of jets screaming overhead, he spent the entire summer afraid of any and all planes that passed by.
I treated my preschooler's fear by making it worse. Several months ago, my 4-year-old decided he was suddenly scared of skeletons. In an attempt to comfort him, I said, "But honey, skeletons aren't scary. Why, you have a skeleton inside your body right now." Oh dear. You … you should have seen his face.
In conclusion, I'm frankly a little surprised my children are not only alive, but healthy and thriving. Hopefully it's true that love conquers all, because I'm certainly not winning any points for intelligence.
What wince-worthy parenting blunders have you made? It's okay, you're among friends here.
Image via Linda Sharps