As I stood at the baseball field this week while watching Ben’s game and trying (unsuccessfully) to watch my younger two kids, I asked three other parents what I should write about for this week’s column. Just as I said this, I bent down to pick up Georgia’s fleece from the ground and as I grabbed it, my friends all barreled over laughing. Apparently, while not watching my toddler, I had inadvertently pulled the jacket out from underneath him just as he was about to sit down on it and he subsequently fell onto the dirt.
“I think that’s your column right there – great parenting moves, ‘from the expert!’” laughed my friend Matt.
And so, my fellow parents, this week is brought to you from the archives of Stupid Parenting Moves. “From the expert.”
2001: While slathering my 4-month old baby in sunscreen, another mom at the daycare gasps, “You NEVER put sunscreen on a baby younger than 6 months! Don’t you know that?” “But I don’t want him to get sunburned!” I explained. “THEN PUT A HAT ON HIM AND KEEP HIM OUT OF THE SUN.” Good to know.
2002: Young first-time parents watch a toddling Ben find a book of matches in the drawer in the coffee table (back when we were just realizing that those pretty Yankee Candles really shouldn’t sit on a low piece of furniture anymore). As he turned them over in his pudgy little hands, I remarked to my husband, “You realize that we are literally watching our child play with matches, don’t you?” He replied, “Yeah, but he’ll never figure out how to rip one off and strike it quickly on the flint. I think we’re ok.”
2005: After priding myself on my frugality by picking up a Snap-and-Go infant car seat stroller base that some fool was donating to Goodwill, Andy and I were using it while going through the Atlanta airport with our son and 2-month old baby girl. As we jammed that thing on the escalator, it started to fold up – with baby Georgia attached to it – and we realized that maybe the reason it was being donated was because it was, in fact, broken.
2006: I took my kindergarten-age son to wait for the bus one day and while patting myself on the back for being the FIRST ONES there, I couldn’t understand why, after 10 minutes, we were still alone. A fellow parent drove by, leaned out the window and hollered, “You know there’s no school today, right? Teacher development day!” “I did NOT know that,” I yelled, quite matter-of-factly. “Hey, Ben, wanna come to work with Mommy today?!” Lesson learned.
2008: Seven-year old Ben stops to watch the Sox game on TV with Mom and Dad. “This game is from last night.” “No it wasn’t, buddy, this is live.” “No, I watched it on SportsCenter this morning.” “Ben, stop making things up, this is live.” “Mom, Youkilis is going to get hit by a pitch right here.” BAM! Youk takes a ball to the ribcage. Mom and Dad received a well-earned child eye-roll.
And so, my fellow parents, whenever you forget to pack a lunch on a field trip day or send a peanut butter sandwich (the most cardinal of all kindergarten sins) or just yank something out from underneath a harmless toddler and send them careening onto their behind, know that you are not alone. If you really feel down, please email me; The Stupid Parenting Archive is always accepting deposits. Luckily, my kids seem no worse for the wear and I’m sure yours are the same way too.
And if not, there’s a future therapist out there who will thank us.