For a better understanding of how we started using the word “awesome” to mean not-so-awesome here at Casa Elder, refer to part one.
While I was contemplating this post, I stopped myself. Is this really important to remember, Caitlin? Isn’t this blog about documenting all the good and wonderful things that happen to your family?
Yes, myself said.
Then why write about things that have gone wrong? I asked.
Because it’s all a part of our lives. Happy or sad, it’s all a part of our tale.
We can’t possibly have all this good without having some bad, some embarrassing, some downright scary. And those moments are what make me grateful for all the good. A memory of what can go wrong makes me thankful, in this very moment, for all that is going right.
Besides, someday when I’m old and senile, and insist that I was a perfect parent in every way, the kids will have published proof…
Maybe that’s not a good thing.
Well, too late now. As promised, here are several of our awesome parenting moments followed by the lessons learned. I guess that’s the silver lining. At least we learned something… I hope.
I believe awesome moments fall into three categories:
The first is honestly scary. Gut-wrenching even.
The second is funny only after the fact. Looking back I can shake my head, maybe even chortle a little. But in the moment? Not so much.
The last is silly. Right then and there I can see the comedy in the situation.
There are also some awesome photos scattered throughout this post. I take a lot of pictures. Not all of them are good. In fact, most of them are bad. Enjoy the outtakes.
I’ll start with the awesome moments I like the least, the scary/sad moments:
We purchased a high-chair for our Mo-Bug. She was probably 6-8 months old, just starting to sit up well on her own. I placed her in the chair and she beamed at me, loving her new height. She started banging on the tray, very pleased with herself. I turned around to start supper on the stove only to quickly whip back around when Mo starting yelling. You know the one, the I’m in pain and you need to fix it kind. Well, with her new-found height came new-found reach. On the table next to her I stored the fingernail clippers. She had found them and started sucking on them, cutting the inside of her lips. Ouch, and oops.
A related story:
(This anecdote may remind people in my family of a certain Auntie whose name starts with Cor- and ends with -ey). Mo was about 18 months old and came toddling out of the kitchen, carrying a steak knife. Someone had left the dishwasher open, and who wouldn’t want to grab that sharp, shiny red thing? Thank God her curiously is tempered by her desire to please. She just couldn’t wait to show us what she found. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped up from the couch so fast nor settled into an immediate calm more quickly. Calm in necessary in situations such as these…
“Wow Mo! Thank you for finding that, and thank you for bringing it to me. May I have it please?” I asked gently. She happily handed it over. She’s such a good girl.
*Shiver* My gut still churns thinking about the what-ifs of those situations…
Lesson learned: keep sharp objects away from kids. Duh, right? It is way more difficult than sounds. Her reach is always extending just beyond what I am prepared for.
OK, moving on to number two: funny, after the fact. This may be one of my favorite stories about Andy. As my mom has told him, when you’re fantastic 99% of the time, it’s that other 1% that people tend to remember.
Our friends had recently bought a brand spanking new house and invited us to come see. The only weekend that worked for us just also happened to be their son’s birthday weekend. Party! When we arrived I asked for a tour of the house (which I always do because I LOVE looking at other people’s pictures and secretly hope they have a whole wall of photos somewhere to pour over and invent stories about…it’s an obsession, I know.)
“Hey Love, _____ is going to give me a tour, k?” I said to my husband, implying You have our 20 month old to watch for a couple minutes.
“Go for it!” he said.
So we walked up their lovely stairs, the kind that go up a bit to a landing, make a 90 degree turn and continue up to the second floor. There were loads of boisterous kids running up and down, playing some imaginary pirate game. The second floor was filled with an adorable teaching area and several bedrooms. Everything was impeccably decorated and furnished. At this point we were living in an apartment and I was certainly turning green with envy.
Suddenly I heard my husband’s voice just behind me. The man of the house had decided to give Andy a tour too. I peeked around the corner to smile at the man I love, and I realized Mo was not with him.
“Love, where’s our daughter?” I asked.
“Oh, she’s downstairs. There are plenty of people down there. She’ll be fine,” he replied.
Boing went my eyes, and drop went my stomach. I made a hurried excuse and ran to the stairs to find my baby. And there she was. Standing on that little landing. Watching, a little worriedly, as bigger children ran up and down the stairs past her.
“Mo bug! Stay right there please,” I pleaded as I swam my way down the stairs through child-size appendages.
As I scooped her up in my arms a little boy looked up at me, “So cool! She did a flip on the stairs!”
Boing went my eyes and drop went my stomach. “What?!” I squeaked.
“She flipped down the stairs!” he said with awe.
Deep breath, I told myself as I frantically checked over every square inch of her little body. She’s obviously not hurt. And I walked down the stairs.
As soon as I arrived in the kitchen another mom approached me. Time to be social, I told myself, putting on my most congenial smile.
“Oh, is she yours?” the mom asked.
“Yes,” I replied with pride.
“She stuck her finger in some hot candle wax earlier. She showed me, and I ran it under some cold water. I think she’s fine though.”
Boing went my eyes, yet again. I stammered out some sort of thank you to this woman who comforted my child and then promptly marched back up the stairs to find my husband.
Lesson learned: don’t leave your kids with your husband.
Communication is very, very important. Neither of us take for granted that the other is watching our babies. We’re very explicit, sometimes literally tagging in and out (with the high-five and everything).
Third category of awesomeness: Funny even in the moment. Well, sometimes.
At Mo’s very first pediatric appointment, Andy and I totally failed. We arrived at the office 15 minutes late, without a diaper bag and without a binki. And just in case you weren’t aware, newborns poop and scream a lot. A lot. Like all the time. Our nurse very kindly offered us a diaper after they weighed her naked little body, and Mo proceeded to scream through the entire appointment. Thank goodness Andy was listening because my brain could not possibly process a single word the doctor was saying. Lesson: leave early and bring your diaper bag everywhere.
That’s not the funny part. Here’s the funny part. We did not learn our lesson. At Lu’s first postpartum appointment, we forgot not only the diaper bag and the binki, I left my entire wallet at home (and of course we were running late). As I fumbled in my purse for some form of identification, the receptionist took one look at my tired eyes and my jiggly postpartum body, “You must be Caitlin Elder?” she asked. “Don’t worry hun, I’ve got you all checked in.”
As I gratefully made my way back to the office door, sans diaper bag, binki and ID, I turned to Andy. “Well, we’re awesome,” I said.
He watched our beautiful, blonde two year old run ahead and looked down at our perfect, sleeping newborn.
“Yeah,” he replied softly. “We are.”
So, we also use awesome in the classical sense. How could we not? However, don’t be confused if, after I’ve burnt the toast, or cut Mo’s bangs crooked, or forgotten my phone charger at home, you hear me mutter, “Well, I’m awesome.”
Laughing and stomach clenching with you. Yup – all the memories are part of our story as a parent. They don’t stop. Just sayin’.
Mom, Grandma and I read this together and laughed. A lot.
Grandma, “I left the children with your father once. Once. I had you with me Gracie. Well, it wasn’t safe. We got home rather late and your father came up to me and said, ‘Where have you been? We’d have starved to death if Frank hadn’t made us peanut butter sandwiches.’ He was four at the time, you know.”
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