I've had more than a few minor parenting fails so far. I've put a diaper on backwards. I've stuck his foot in his own er, waste. I've poured milk into bottles with no bottoms, twice. I've set our sleep training schedule back a few times because of either my need to hold him RIGHT NOW, or because I am not watching the clock. I've fed him too much, too little. I've dropped many a pacifier in the worst of places. I've accidentally scratched him. Two of our three dogs have leapt over the baby, giving me a heart attack of massive proportions. I got water in his eyes, Desitin on his lips, mascara on his face (that came from my face, lest you think I am drag-queening out my baby). He peed on our kitchen knives. All of them. I've gotten frustrated, I've gotten stressed, I've fallen asleep when I shouldn't have. All of this in two and a half months.
And actually, I'm doing okay! Maybe even good! Even with all these fails, I actually think Ryan and I are doing okay. When you wait this long for a child and you cry every place imaginable waiting for one (church, restaurants, shops, shower, baby shower, weddings, friends houses, friends pools, beaches, and Alaska...), you truly don't sweat the small stuff. We are enjoying every moment, and I think we're doing well, okay. We're smiling idiots, happy and foolish, probably.
Until today. Today was a major parenting fail. See, I went to the mall. THE MALL. Of all the places in the world to go, I went to the flipping mall. In my mind, I saw the mall as a peaceful, cool, air conditioned sanctuary of elegant piano music, shiny floors and fun lights for LittleM to stare in wonder at.
It was so crowded we literally took the last parking space, which was approximately eight miles from the entrance. I was not wearing great shoes (shocker). I had dragged my son down to the south end of town already, and he hates being in the car. (mistake #1). I had not given him adequate time to relax at my sisters.(mistake #2). I had thought that the mall would be fun (mistake #3).
Everyone and their mother was at the mall, and indeed all the mothers were there because they were all dropping their delinquent middle schoolers off, who were sprinting through the mall with their low slung pants and ironic baseball caps. Why were there so many people there??
Navigating the food court was madness with a stroller. A sadly mentally unstable woman was wandering up and down the food court, taking all the samples. I thought "Oh, I'm glad she's getting food" until she suddenly stopped, reached for my baby and said "Oh, he's a big fat boy". I physically stepped in front of her and said "We don't let strangers hold our child. Thanks for understanding." My words were nice. My tone was not." She waved her hands in the air like I was crazy and then stalked away to clean out the Falafel place. That really shook me up, along with the realization that it would be SO EASY to steal a baby in a mall. From then on, I was nervous about having him in the stroller while I was distracted in any way by all the fun mall things around me.
I went to JCPenney (one end of the mall) because Ryan had to have 501 jeans. I did not find what he wanted, because the only 501 jeans were in that lame bright blue jean that would make him look like someone from Miami Vice. We walked back to the other end of the mall. Then there was an incident with an escalator that I don't really want to talk about because I could still cry about it. Let's just say that we are all safe and no one was hurt and it wasn't a deadly circumstance and LittleM didn't even notice, but I wasn't calmed down about it for like 30 minutes afterwards. NO MORE escalators with strollers, even if you've found a way to hold the stroller so that it works fine and you did it like 7 times already and it was great and then that one time the wheel doesn't quite make it over the border and you have to wrench the stroller sideways to get it over and in the meantime, your friend is behind you on the escalator and so are 1,000 other people and you just freak out and cry and then proceed to think you are a horrible mother and unworthy of the beautiful child in your possession.
Elevators ONLY from now on.
We walked past the puppy store and then had a really depressing conversation about puppy mills. Then it was time to feed LittleM in a sea of people and sounds and really loud music pumping out from the Abercrombie and I just had this realization that I am, at the moment, a sad, train-wreck Mom who has crazy hair and bad shoes and pushing a stroller and just can't take anymore.
Emily must have realized my distress, because she gently said "We can just go. It's okay if you don't want to shop anymore." Here's the thing though - we hadn't even shopped. We had gone to one place! Still, I almost wept with relief. LittleM seemed chill, but I just felt this incredible guilt for dragging him out to this Hades. Every time I looked at him, all I could think was "this child should be at home, somewhere calm, not in a car, not in a mall, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HIM?"
The truth was, LittleM was fine. He didn't cry at the mall. Only Mom wanted to cry at the mall. It was all too much: the poor baby, the noise, the stroller, the weird lady, the escalator, the shoes, the youths...
It was my first major parenting fail, and poor Emily was there to see it all meltdown in front of her. It felt horrible. I felt like I was selfish for dragging my child out, selfish for going to the mall, selfish for packing him a car seat just so I can visit people I want to see, selfish for waiting in line for a pretzel when he's fussy, just selfish all around.
Mommy guilt, it turns out, is not awesome.
The good news is that the rest of the day was fine. We came home and put on our pj's. I cleaned up the nursery, and LittleM stared at his Twilight Turtle and cooed, a happy baby, unscarred from the mall, which was a relief. We rocked and ate, and he went down without a fight.
I guess we're good. He survived my epic fail all day today. I'm not sure I'll fare as well.
Parents, I'm DYING to know: what is your major parenting fail?