My toddler stabbed my vagina with a medicine dispenser in the shower the other night. Maybe he thought it was sick? I think he was aiming for my belly button but hit my pubic bone instead. Or maybe, the little guy is smarter than I think and he was trying to get some retribution for something I had done to him in the past. I don’t know why he did it, all I know is that I screamed loud enough to scare us both, whipped it out of his hand and threw it over the curtain and out of the shower. It’s exhausting trying to keep an eye on your kids to make sure that they don’t turn a normal household item into a weapon, choke on a toy, or accidentally give their sibling a concussion.
When Ben had just started crawling, I vividly remember one morning that I glanced over to find him on the floor, seconds away from shoving a penny into his mouth. I ran half way across my house and slid the rest of the way, as if I was sliding into home base and I was about to win the big game, screaming “Noooooo! ” in slow motion. I was six months pregnant with Jack and looked like a sea lion floating on a piece of ice across the ocean. I landed right next to him and ripped the penny out of his tiny little hand, startling him enough to make him start to cry. I looked down to find a small brown piece of a leaf that had probably wandered in with someone’s shoes. There was no penny. I exhaled a sigh of relief as I made my way over to the garbage can to throw it out.
For as many times as I have “saved” my child’s life, I’ve probably accidentally hurt him as well. There was the time that he was learning to stand, and I was trying to show my husband, while he was washing the dishes. “Look at our cute little boy!” as I propped Ben up on the counter next to him, holding his hands for balance. Before I knew it, the kid slipped from my fingers and landed face down on the top of a medicine cap (wow, I just realized we have some bad luck with medicine containers in my house). The poor guy had a semi-circle imprinted in his cheek for the rest of the week and that was the first time I submitted my name for the Mother of the Year Award.
Not too long after dropping my child on his face, we decided to take him on an outing… we live on a rural street and don’t use our stroller too often. He was still little and not moving around much and for some reason, we didn’t think it was necessary to strap him into the stroller… where was he going to go?? Within five minutes, we tried to maneuver the stroller over a curb and poor Ben took a digger, flying out of the stroller. We vowed to strap him in from that moment on. We are idiots.
When I’m not inadvertently harming my child, he’s doing a pretty good job of testing the laws of physics himself. Whether it’s trying to surf on a rolling scooter, taste testing some disgusting item off the sidewalk, diving off the couch or climbing onto a bookcase, I’m constantly “saving” him from one disaster after the next.
I was recently talking to a friend who had just settled in at home with her first squishy baby and when I asked her how things were going she admitted that it was a struggle to adjust to her new life and was still trying to figure out how to “do it all”. I gave her one piece of unsolicited advice.
Your one job is to keep this kid alive…it sounds simple but as long as he or she is alive at the end of the day, you’ve done an awesome job… it doesn’t matter if they wore their pajamas all day and didn’t take a bath… or that you haven’t showered in 3 days and your house looks like a bomb went off… as long as you both are alive at the end of the day, you succeeded.
Luckily, my husband and I have managed to keep both kids alive; safe from outside forces and our own doings. Sometimes when I am feeling like a failure as a mother, I need to remind myself to take a step back and heed some of my own advice. When the kids dump an entire box of cheerio’s on the floor, the dishes pile up in the sink and I feel like I’ve reached my maximum point of patience for the day, I need to remember: are the kids fed, happy and alive? Yes? Okay, I’m doing it… I’ve made it through another day. We may be battered and bruised, but we’ve come out on the other side in one piece.