So every mom has a collection of moments that they carry with them as solemn reminders not to be "that-sort-of-mom." I have dubbed them Bad Mom Moments. Moments when your guard goes down, when you have a lapse of judgement, a blip of insanity, and you do or allow things that you would never otherwise do or allow. Moments that make you spin on an axis and swear up and down to never be so stupid again.
All of my Bad Mom Moments have happened while I was talking to other people, basically socializing. I have this inability to listen to a person talk while also managing Noelle. I pride myself on being a multi-tasker, but all of my secretarial skills fail me when it comes to conversing. I get engrossed. I like to look at people while their talking to me. I like to give them affirmations like "uh-huhs" and "I see's" to let them know that I am fully engaged, fully with them. But as a consequence I'm not fully engaged with Noelle.
I'll open my sack and share with you a few of my Bad Mom Moments.
Classic - I was eating lunch at a friends house just after a mom's Bible Study. Noelle was probably about 10 months old. A few of the moms and their babies were hanging around. We were all eating, feeding our little ones, and chatting. I was chowing down on a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich while Noelle sat happily eating bread chunks at the Baby table. She couldn't yet walk, but she was big enough to sit at the table and munch. I was gabbing away with my friend Erika, when I heard the all-time classic line, "You're baby's playing with a knife."
I turned around to see baby Noelle waving the butter knife I'd left behind after cutting up her bread.
So Sorry - I was sitting at my friend Rosie's house for a morning cup of tea and chat. The kids were romping around the living room and Rosie's rock star brother-in-law was in town. We were drinking our chais talking and I, like a good responsible mother, set my tea down on the floor next to the chair.
I remember that I was mid-sentence, talking to Rosie's brother-in-law when I heard either him or Rosie say, "Oh, the cup!" While I was busy chatting, Noelle had picked up the cup and with perfect precision, proceeded to pour it beside my lap all over Rosie's white canvas cushions.
Heart in Your Throat - Yesterday, I took Noelle to our new favorite park. It's quite and nestled into the foothills and perfectly peaceful. We rolled up late yesterday afternoon to kill some time and energy before bed. While we were there a family of aunts, uncles, and cousins joined us. There were two other pre-toddlers, Noelle's age, and before long I was standing in a cluster with the parents chatting.
Noelle and the other kids were running back and forth along the jungle gym. I have let Noelle do this by herself because it's a very safe jungle gym. There is a bridge and a tunnel that she loves to run between, and there are only two openings in the gym where she could possibly fall. I have found it easy just to stand on the ground and pace her back and forth, spotting her whenever she gets close to the openings.
The father of one of the two-year olds laughed and said to me, "I like this park because there are only two openings to fall through!" He motioned and gestured as if he were stopping his son from slipping through the gap in the rails. I nodded and agreed, watching Noelle totter off over the bridge.
Normally, I would have walked with her, but I was talking to these nice people and she had done this a million times. So I stayed where I was a moment longer.
"At the other park," the father continued, "They have four openings on opposite sides and I can never get to all of them in time."
Just at that moment there was an outburst of screams from the other mothers at the park. I looked over just in time to see Noelle falling from the jungle gym, four feet to the wood chips. My heart leapt into my throat and I dashed over to her. One of the other mom's who was closer to her had gotten there first.
"She was just running and fell through it!" the mom said, pointing to the one opening in the gym where I hadn't been.
Noelle pushed herself up onto her hands, looked at me and then started crying. Luckily she had fallen in such a way that she didn't hit any of the railing and she landed on her feet tumbling over onto her stomach. I could tell that she wasn't hurt, but we were both frightened. The only scar was a bunch of scratches from the wood chips on her cheek.
I was so upset with myself. Certainly no other mom has ever been so careless!