Monday, September 30, 2013

Today My Son Ate a Pancake Out of the Trashcan (and other parenting fails)

Sometimes there are a few leftover pancakes from the batch. It's hard to make the right amount, isn't it? I used to put them in a ziplock bag on the counter for the next day. Nobody wanted to eat them the next day. I tried freezing them. They gathered frostbite and took up valuable space in our smallish freezer for a few months. Until I would discover them one day in a rare moment of deep cleaning and decide it was time for them to go.

I mean really, what can you do about leftover pancakes? They're sort of like the problem of overdue library books. You secretly hope they'll go away on their own, but the problem just becomes bigger.
(Okay, I totally know that overdue library books don't go away on their own... but one can wish, right?)

I don't like to waste food. But this time I decided to just throw them away and be done.

Well, my youngest, Drew, is in the middle of the Loving-to-Throw-Away-Trash stage, a milestone I neglected to mention in my post on stages they don't tell you about last week. While throwing away some random speck of something he found on the floor in some random part of the house, he discovered a pancake. I know what he was thinking: "Hurray! A pancake snack! How serendipitous!"

He was halfway through eating it when I discovered his discovery. I opened the trash to see how bad the situation was. It was mostly paper trash on top surrounding the pancake castaways, various things Jacob had brought home from preschool, so I guess it could have been worse.

But there you have the truth. I am a failure as a parent. I accidentally let my son eat a chocolate-chip pancake out of the trash.

I took my eyes off him long enough for him to eat half of one without my even knowing.

I also secretly throw away my 4 year-old's artwork when he's not looking. Because although I'm his mother, and I love every unidentifiable picture he makes with bingo dots and a fistful of crayons, I recognize that not every piece is posterity-worthy. I am a failure. But there is a silver lining because discarded art projects become partial germ barriers in the trashcan for my pancake-trash-eating 21-month-old.

Speaking of overdue library books... here's another fail.

We don't just keep library books too long. Sometimes we lose them. We lost the Bearenstain Bears audiobook for a few months. We paid the $30 replacement fee, found the audiobook, and then returned it for a $25 refund. But you know, it's still cheaper than buying it, right? (And at least we pay our bills on time.)

We lost a museum pass we checked out from the library. We found it after accruing $10 in late fees. We found it while looking for my missing wallet.

We lost a boardbook from the library. We found it in a bag at church.

All of these late fees have accrued on Jacob's card. Because I lost my own. All three of them. Fail.

I am a failure as a parent because sometimes when Drew picks his nose I can see that he's going to eat it, and I know if I make an MLB-worthy dive across the room that I might be able to prevent it. I don't usually do that.

I have bribed my kids with candy before.

I sometimes whine more at my kids than they do at me.

My moments of deep-cleaning are rare. And they are moments.

I still can't find where the pee smell is coming from in the bathroom.

I've caught Drew drinking water out of the sandbox too late.

Under my watch, the boys have drawn on the walls, tracked poop down the hallway, colored on the cabinets, emptied sand onto the carpet, and scattered a bag of dog food across three rooms of the house. Sometimes you can't be everywhere. Even when "everywhere" is just two different rooms of your house, which is decent sized but by no means huge.

Sometimes I think to myself, I used to be a responsible person. I used to not lose so many things. I used to return library books on time. One out of three, at least.

But having kids is messy, unpredictable, and prone to mishap. Sometimes you just have to embrace the chaos. Embrace the fails. And, more often then you would like, embrace
the poop that comes with it.


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