All parents suffer through moments of feeling they’ve failed their children, sometimes on a daily basis. Here are some of my worst, and by that I mean best (because they’ll make you feel better and that’s what I’m here for), examples:
1) Poisoned my kids
My children are highly suspicious of my cooking, with good reason. A few roast chickens have required extra cooking time (via the microwave) after my kid bit into a bloody drumstick. On occasion, my husband has caught me sniffing a bag of deli meat with a suspicious look on my face. His reaction is usually along the lines of, “Jeezuz – just throw it out before someone pukes!”
2) Torched the Serb
This probably falls under “marriage fail,” but it was definitely an omen of things to come. We were renting a house with a small backyard. After living in an apartment for years, we were eager to do some outdoor grilling. Our barbecue was a cheap piece of crap that was prone to flare-ups (cue ominous music).
One day, my husband lit the grill and a massive whoosh of fire leapt a few feet in the air. I was standing in the doorway talking to him when it happened. Was my first impulse to yank him safely inside? Shield his body from the flames with my own? Nope – I slammed the door in his face. And locked it. Between this and the butter overload, the Serb is convinced I’m trying to not-so-subtly end him.
3) Stole kids’ toys from under them (aka Grinched ‘Em)
I went to a ‘Simplifying for Your Kids’ workshop last year and came away inspired to donate, sell or throw out 90% of their toy inventory behind their backs. In truth, a stormtrooper helmet was the only item missed – and they have more fun playing with a shoebox, deck of cards and duct tape than anything else – so I don’t feel too badly. To the outside observer, however, I’m battling Joan Crawford for Mother of the Year.
4) Used threat of manners school with fake Skype
My seven-year-old son eats like a psychotic baboon. Food goes flying, fingers get slurped and utensils are just for show. During one particularly memorable pasta dinner, I threatened to send him to manners school (a boarding school version, no less) if he didn’t get his act together. I even grabbed the laptop and Googled “manners school” to show him they existed. My asinine threat was followed up with me pretending to dial his teacher up on Skype (one-way viewing, obviously) so she could monitor his eating habits during mealtime. The week that it lasted was a buffet of well-mannered bliss.
So c’mon, spill it – what’s your best fail?
Thirty seconds after being born, my son latched onto my boob and stayed there for the next year. He was ten pounds at birth and is still in the 150th percentile. Obviously, my poor jugs assumed I’d birthed triplets and reacted accordingly: I became what is known as an over-producer (and, judging by this post, a bit of an over-sharer).
It got to the point that the only position in which I could nurse was lying flat on my back with my son flopped across me, like some macabre UFC vignette.
Even then, my poor kid could only take so much and large quantities of my milk went to waste. I often wished there was a milk bank where I could donate my extra supply, but nothing existed at the time. My bionic boobies have been out of commission for years; yet if they were still flowing freely, I’d definitely try to help out mothers like Camara. Her gorgeous baby, Anaya, is fighting for her life and breast milk is helping to keep her in the battle.
You can read Camara’s blog here and see her Facebook page here. Both sites have information on how milk (or money) can be donated to Camara and Anaya. You can even see a news story on her here (trust me, it’s all legit). For those in the United States, a lovely lady named Dana is going to accept milk donations at her American address (contact her here) and drive it across the border to Camara in early May.
If you aren’t in a position to help, please send loving vibes Camara and Anaya’s way. Now go give a hug to someone you love and give thanks to the power of boobs.
When I was in grade two, I distinctly remember a girl in my class telling me that I was “dead meat” afterschool. I spent the rest of that day with my stomach in knots – I’d never been in a fight and wanted to keep that record (not to mention myself) alive.
I made it home without incident because I sprinted out the door without my jacket or backpack. Thankfully, when I returned to school the following day, my nemesis had forgotten about her pledge to kill me. She was, in addition to being a bully, quite stupid.*
Thirty(ish) years later, I’ve been around the bully block a couple of times and have no problem standing up to jack-offs who try and push me around, but that didn’t make it any easier to handle my kid being bullied.
At seven-years-old, my son weighs 85-pounds and is five-feet tall. Although he looks like Goliath on the outside, he’s all David on the inside. I liken him to Ferdinand the Bull – he’d much rather be lolling under a tree than roughhousing with the other boys.
He has no problem pummelling his dad during a wrestling match, but would never flex his fighting mojo in the playground. Last year we were offering our son anything he wanted – toys, DVDs, a pet snake – if he’d only fight back (verbally or physically).
At one point, I even contemplated going all Hand That Rocks the Cradle on one bully’s ass, a consideration that was bolstered after reading that The Bloggess had been very successful with a similar tactic.
Thankfully it didn’t come to that, because things are much better this year: we’ve done role-playing with our son; the teacher is involved; and, by focusing on his many strengths, my son’s confidence is soaring. He knows he can simply walk away most of the time and he’s even taken to sticking up for other kids targeted by a bully.
Instead of pulling a Rebecca De Mornay on the boy who was bullying my son, I’ve spoken with his mother about the situation. Her son was on the receiving end of some bullying in the past; which doesn’t justify his actions, but it does explain them a little bit.
I’m proud and happy that we’ve been able to resolve – or at least improve – this situation like mature, capable adults. But until my kid leaves for college, the snake offer still stands.
*p.s. Sharlynn Summers, if you’re reading this: suck it.
Dear Dr. Lori,*
I know we made some compromises before my trip about things like no dairy/sugar for Tequila/corn chips, but I have to confess – I haven’t exactly lived up to my end of the bargain. Like, at all.
It started off great: I took rice cakes on the plane and put Splenda in my Mojito. I consumed gallons of water and did serious cardio every day. But here’s the thing: I’ve brought my family to Mexico to hang with my best pal from high school, Lori,* and her family. She lives thousands of miles from me and we’ve recently reconnected after a 15-year estrangement.
So basically, we think of each other (and ourselves, when we’re together) as 25-years-old. We asked ourselves, do we want to look back on this trip in 30 years and congratulate ourselves for eating gluten-free? Or do we want to remember getting so plastered on a homemade vat of Sangria that even my three-year-old was giving me the side-eye?
You’re a cool, young (compared to me, anyway) gal, Dr. Lori. I figure you’ll understand. Plus, my kids are still on Eastern Standard Time, which means that they want dinner at 3 pm and breakfast at 4 am. Not many things would drive a woman to drink faster than that schedule (honestly, it’s a miracle that I’m not hoovering gelato by the gallon).
I’ll be home soon enough so you’ll be able to resume your masochistic ways with me. Until then, I have to go and eat my weight in guacamole.
p.s. To answer the question I know you’re dying to ask: Not really, but I suspect one street taco will get me back on track.
*Yes, her name is Lori, too
Wednesday a.m. (T minus five days):
Wake up to worst snowstorm of winter (two days into spring). Shovel snow, feeling extremely smug knowing I’ll be in Mexico in a few days.
Twenty minutes later:
Karma kicks my smug ass in the form of three-year-old daughter: “Mommy – it hurts to peeeeee!” Feck.
Go to doctor, where daughter waltzes in and announces to full waiting room: “I gotta pee in a cup cuz my bagina is broken.” UTI is confirmed and meds are procured. Label on bottle warns to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Double feck.
Thursday a.m. (T minus four days):
Seven-year-old son wakes up with excruciating headache, lethargy and nausea. Having been to this rodeo before, I immediately cover his room in towels with barf buckets on either side of bed and double up on mattress protectors.
Five minutes later:
Son pukes on carpeted stairs after using the toilet.
Friday a.m. (T minus three days):
Find son lying in bed complaining that it hurts his head too much to stand up. Also afraid of barfing all over the place if he got out of bed, which explains barf bucket being turned into bedpan. At least I know he isn’t dehydrated.
Both kids appear to be on the mend as they are annoying the crap out of each other and me. I leave for writing group confident that a few hours away from family won’t matter.
One hour later:
Text from the Serb informs me that son has raging headache and daughter is complaining of “itchy head,” likely in an effort to purloin attention from daddy. The thought of potential cooties haunts me on drive home. Spend hours on webmd.com looking up various tumours that may be overtaking my son’s brain. Sleep for approximately ten minutes all night.
Saturday a.m. (T minus two days):
Take son to doctor who finds evidence of strep throat, which sucks, but is better than migraine or worse. Because seven-year-old is the size of a twelve-year-old, adult dosage of antibiotics (in pill form) is required. Son feels very mature.
Son refuses to take pill. The Serb and I cajole, plead, hide pill in marshmallow, and threaten brute force – to no avail. Call doctor and get new prescription in liquid form. Mature son requests banana flavour.
Sunday a.m. (T minus one day):
Receive word from friend we’ll be meeting in Mexico that spray tan is a must. I explain Spray Tan Debacle of ’09, but she insists. I am Lemming. Decide to splurge on fancy new tanning place, reasoning that having nail lady spray me with tanning gun in the bathroom of strip mall hair salon may have contributed to poor results in ’09.
Fifteen minutes later:
I am a chocolate goddess.
Pack more meds than clothes. Put kids to bed at seven o’clock in anticipation of early flight the next day. Put kick-ass new suit in carry-on, just below passports (priorities).
The walls close in on me. Despite the liberally applied Dove stick, I’m drenched. Time is slipping away and I’m no closer to my goal. Squinting in the shadowy space, I can scarcely fathom the horror before me. In less than a week I leave for Mexico, and I still don’t have a bathing suit.
I’ve had two kids, live in central Canada and am officially closer to 50 than 30, so believe me when I tell you that I have no delusions about how I’m going to look on the beach next week.
However, I haven’t had so much as a strawberry in over a month and my workouts have had me sweating more than Charlie Sheen at an abstinence convention, so clothes are fitting me a little better these days.
Why I ever thought that contorting myself into tight-fitting spandex under harsh lighting was a reward for it, I’ll never know.
Yesterday I slunk into La Vie En Rose (like Victoria’s Secret, without Heidi Klum). Instinctively, I reached for some black bloomers-cum-one-piece-suits and muumuu cover-ups, then headed for the dressing room. Every item was discarded within seconds. I contemplated buying an actual tent and just cutting a hole in the top.
“Howzit goin’ in there?” A voice chirped.
I cracked open the dressing room door. “Not great,” I replied. “I think you can take these.” I thrust my pile of rejects at her.
“Why’re you in these old lady suits?” she demanded. “You need a two-piece with some colour.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m married with kids – my bikini days are over.” I resisted adding that they had yet to really begin.
“Whatever. You’re a hot mama and I know just the colour you need.” With that she flounced off, leaving me standing in a half-open doorway wearing a cover-up that might as well have been a turtleneck.
She returned with an array of tankinis that appeared to support themselves via built-in bras. “Try this one first,” she advised, handing me something with massive padding in a beautiful shade of royal purple. “I just know you’re gonna rock it.”
I was sceptical but sensed that my new BFF wouldn’t be leaving until she saw me in a suit. I pulled it on easily and stared, dumbfounded, at my reflection. I did kinda rock it. The suit obscured and augmented in all the right places – I had bazooms in this thing.
“OmiGOD!” she exclaimed when I opened the door. “I knew it! You are years away from granny suits.”
She gave me a sassy little sundress-style cover-up and the overall result was beyond anything I ever would have picked for myself (which is obviously why she works there and I don’t). Heidi Klum certainly won’t be sh*tting herself if we run into each other next week, but I’ll feel better on the beach than I have in a long time.
I paid for my purchases and actually hugged my new Absolute Favourite Person when I left. I also made her vow not to quit before next month, when I go back for some bras.
*Not to be mistaken with my Fairy Blog Mother, The Empress.
If you’ve read my blog for a few months, you know I’ve had an ear infection that just won’t quit. Since last October, I’ve had biweekly visits to my geriatric Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, where he sucks crap out with a vacuum and scrapes my eardrum with an ice pick while I refrain from kicking him in the crotch.
Last week he told me that I’d need to go to the hospital to be seen under a special magnifying machine; apparently an infection that doesn’t respond to five rounds of antibiotics in six months is abnormal. Since it will take over a month to get under this machine, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I called up Woo Woo* Headquarters, where in addition to telepathy workshops they perform massage and other services, and asked about ear candling. I was told it involves placing a 12-inch beeswax-coated cone in the ear canal and lighting the opposite end, which supposedly creates a low-level vacuum that draws earwax and other impurities into the hollow candle.
The next day I showed up for my session. I lay down on my side and a flame-retardant cloth was placed over my face and hair (I wasn’t sure if I should be reassured or alarmed by this precaution). The practitioner then inserted the candle in my ear and lit it on fire.
I felt a warm sizzling sensation radiating from my ear, which she assured me was normal. I saw the flame in my peripheral vision and it was more Olympic torch than birthday candle. To be on the safe side, a bowl of water was nearby (again, not sure if that made me more, or less, confident).
Ten minutes later, she removed the candle from my ear, dunked it in the water and cut it open with some scissors. Regardless of whether ear candles “work,” I totally get why people come back for more: the earwax show-and-tell was awesome.
My right ear, the one that’s totally buggered, had little lumps covered in black (that would be the fungus) while the other ear was relatively clean. By no means do I think my ear is “fixed,” but it certainly didn’t hurt. And on the plus side, at no point did I have an urge to kick the practitioner in the snapper.
*For the uninitiated (I’m looking at you, Mikalee), “woo woo” in my house refers to alternative therapies and the paranormal, as opposed to a woman’s lady bits. That’s called a snapper.