Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh Wide Lawns

I have been reading how WL feels so worried since she is essentially homeless and her baby is due in 7 weeks.  Being born into a house filled with grandparents doesn't even scratch the surface of the damage that parents will do to their children in their later years.  I'm not proud of my bad parenting moments, but I thought I would share them because you need to know...KIDS SURVIVE AND THRIVE even when their parents make mistakes.

So, mistake number one occured when E was a young toddler just barely sitting in a forward-facing car seat.  Hubby had asked me to stop by a church member's house to pick up a paper.  I didn't want to disturb the sleeping E and knew I wasn't going into the house, so I left the car running and went to knock on the door.  The church member wasn't home, but her legally-recognized psychopathic son was.  He didn't have the paper so I slowly backed away to get into my car.  Funny thing though, the car was locked.  I had left it running and LOCKED the car door.  My purse and my cell phone were both in the car, so I was left to face the psychopathic man.  He wouldn't let me in the house to use his phone and he wouldn't bring a phone out to me, so I had to walk backwards down a hill and through a treeline (to keep my daughter in sight at all times) to the house next door and ask complete strangers to use their phone.  Luckily Hubby was 5 minutes away and brought my spare key, but all I could think was that E was going to miraculously unstrap herself from her car seat, crawl into the front seat and attempt to drive herself away while I tried to hold off a mentally unstable man.

Then there was the time that I was in the kitchen cooking and E was playing in the laundry basket.  Yes, we were the kind of parents that didn't believe in buying a house full of toys and she had to entertain herself with tupperware, boxes and laundry baskets.  I had turned away for just a minute, just turned away, not even left the room, and when I looked back, she was gone.  I peeked into the living room, no E. I ran down the hallway, no E.  I tore open all of the closed doors and still could not find her.  Then I heard a giggle.  I ran back into the kitchen to find E sitting ON TOP of the refrigerator.  She had used the little space between our washer and fridge to shimmy up the wall and landed 6 feet off the ground.  Did I mention my child was climbing ladders at 10 months?

But the most horrifying moment of my parenting experience came when E was just 2 days old.  I had done tons of prenatal yoga and walked every day of my pregnancy, so after E was born I didn't suffer from soreness or pain as much as most women do.  I didn't want to just sit around the house but it was too cold to walk outside with her that day, so Hubby and I grabbed E, grabbed the brand-new sling someone had given us out of the box (without reading the directions, because slings have been used for as long as there are babies, right?) and headed of to Walmart.  We got there and I put the sling over my shoulder, grabbed E out of the car seat and placed her into the sling.  Simple, eh?  Yup, until she rolled right out of it and I caught her just before she hit the pavement.  Yes, I almost killed my 2 day old baby because I thought I knew everything to know about babies.  I didn't use the sling again for a month.  In fact I returned it because I felt like such an idiot.  But a friend lent me hers and showed me how to use it (always have someone show you) and E lived in it for the next 5 months.

But the woman who loaned me her sling gave me some great advice. She said, "1. Every mom is terrified of droppping her child, and almost everyone does at least once.  If it happens, don't panic, usually they're fine. 2.  You will cry out of frustration more than she will cry during her first year. Don't be a hero, lean on your Hubby.  He helped get you into this, you need to trust that he will be as good a parent as you want to be.  3. Take a shower, even if your child is crying for attention.  A 10 minute shower can save your sanity and won't traumatize your child even if you feel like it does."   I took that advice to heart and we all survived.

A child needs warmth and love and to be held.  I kept E in a Rolls-Royce pram for her first 5 months.  That's all she needed.  So WL, you're doing great.  You have a whole internet world giving you support and (unwanted) advice.  Mistakes are made but kids don't know that if you love them enough.  And you will love this girl more than you have ever loved anything before.  It's amazing how it works.  Just keep her off the fridge!

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