:: Written by Leigh Ripley ::
These days, I can laugh about my less-than-perfect parenting moments that have piled up over the last 16 years. We all have them; please – anyone who says they don’t is just a liar. As I look back on the things that made me cringe, cry and behave worse than a toddler, I realize that they are now all chapters in my book of parenting stories. Back then, I was horrified by the things that I describe below because I was sleep deprived, over-worked, stressed out and, honestly, just didn’t need another thing to deal with. But now I choose to laugh at things that were absolutely NOT funny when they happened:
- When my 2-year-old asked (very loudly) from outside the bathroom stall at Target if I was “making a poo-poo.”
- When my 18-month-old lifted up my skirt, exposing my granny panties, in an attempt to climb up my leg in a crowded airport security line.
- When my child injured her middle finger and insisted on showing everyone.
- When my toddler said her first swear word…in public…and used it correctly.
- When the same child, almost 10 years later, used a very offensive word in her book report. Again, correctly.
- When I threw a temper tantrum bigger than my kid’s while trying to reprimand her for acting out.
- When my 6-year-old bit her soccer coach’s finger because she was “pointing it in her face.”
- When my 8-year-old publicly humiliated an older boy who was bullying her by pushing him down. (Disclaimer: He was charging her – it was self-defense).
- When my child said, “I thought you didn’t like (Insert a Name)” and I was talking to Insert a Name at a middle school band concert.
- When my kid asked someone if they had “a baby in there.” And they didn’t. (Really not funny. Ever.)
- When my kid and her friend called 911 to see what would happen.
- When my child ate rubber cement like a lollypop…and I ended up on the Poison Control watch list.
- The naked phase.
- Vomit in my hair, on my clothes and – on one occasion – directly shot into my mouth.
- Being peed on.
- Explosive diarrhea. Crying (me) and cleaning a tsunami-like, up-the-back blowout from a now naked child AND a car seat on the side of 19th Avenue… at 5:15 p.m.
Like I said, it’s all pretty funny – if you give it enough time. And time is something we don’t have enough of with our kids. So cringe, cry, act like a toddler…and as soon as you are able to, have a good laugh about it. Even better, laugh about it with your kids. These are the memories that make us family.