Five Times My Kids Made Me Cry…Incident #5

This incident involves all five children in a craven act of destruction and sibling solidarity.  It also involves me and the telephone – a bad combination when paired with parenting.

It was an ordinary day.  I sent the children to the basement to play while I cleaned up lunch. Sometimes it’s lonely in Mommy Land so I decided to call my friend for a few minutes of adult conversation.  I guess I lost track of time.  It was getting along towards nap time and I hadn’t seen or heard a kid for a while. Better check on them.  With my friend still on the line, I went down the basement stairs and landed in three inches of standing water.  I’m not sure, but I think my friend heard my scream without the aid of the telephone.

The children, squealing with glee, didn’t even see me. Two were having a water fight with bathroom cups. One lay with her arms and legs in the water doing the elementary back stroke.  One ran in from the other room, flying feet first through the air and landing with a splash on his butt.  And the final insult … one was sailing a boat.

The bathroom faucet was running full throttle with a sock plugging the drain.  Water spilled over the counter and into the hall.  Splash and play time! Who needs a water park when you can make one in your own in your basement?

Thankfully, their beds were above the water mark and they spent the afternoon on high ground.

Motherhood is filled with life lessons.  That day, I learned to use a shop-vac.


Five Times My Kids Made Me Cry…Incident #4

While on vacation this past week, my mother-in-law reminded me of this repressed memory.

One of the kids outgrew his shoes and needed a new pair. Grandma was out for a visit so we loaded up the kids in our 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon for a trip to the mall.  (The Vanagon alone is sufficient material for a future post. Stay tuned.)

I wheeled the baby and the two year-old in the double stroller and the other three kids, seven and under, held on the to sides of the stroller as we made our conspicuous way up the mall. The nice lady at the shoe store fit my six-year-old with a gleaming new pair of tennis shoes.

This intolerable turn of events was unacceptable to his four-year-old brother.  He took one look at his brother’s fantastic new sneakers and let out a howl that stopped the mall traffic in their tracks.  He proceeded to throw a screaming tantrum of epic proportions.

“ME get new shoes.  Me no WANT him’s old shoes  ME WANT NEW SHOES!!!!”

With the exit door in my sights, I continued my slow and steady procession towards the Vanagon.  I could see the glares, the shaking heads, the tsk-tsking in my peripheral vision.  I pressed on.  Finally, we made it to the parking lot.  As I strapped and buckled the kids into their assorted seats, I noticed the perp wearing one shoe.

“Where is your other shoe?”  I asked

“Me thwew it away” he said with pride

I refused to be defeated by this brilliant yet diabolical move.  I squealed the Vanagon around and sat rattling at the curb while Grandma entered the mall on a search and recovery mission.   She successfully secured the sneaker from the third canister.

This child is now 6’6″ and a college track athlete. He receives an endless supply of new athletic shoes which he frequently gives to his older brother, further proving that God has a sense of humor.

Five Times My Kids Made Me Cry…Incident #3

For those dear souls in the throes of potty training, or for those who are still traumatized by it.

It was the perfect storm – lack of brain cells due to child-birth, talking on the phone to my mother and attempting to home school the children –  all coming together in one fateful morning to create a playroom disaster of epic proportions.

After breakfast, I brought my little guy downstairs to watch Sesame Street .  He was proudly sporting a pair of “big boy pants.”  I pulled out the potty chair and placed it in front of the TV.  I instructed him on what to do if he had to go potty.  We even practiced a few times for good measure.  With a (false) sense of security, I went back upstairs to feed the baby and get the older two kids started on their lessons.

With the baby fed and down for a nap and older kids working quietly, I decided (recklessly) it was a good time to call my mother.  I (responsibly) forgot about the time and didn’t notice the older kids abandoning their school books and wandering downstairs.  Then the words no mother ever wants to hear:


Phone still in hand, I rushed down the stairs.  Horror.

The two older ones were standing there pinching their noses.  There stood the little guy –  naked.  He’d had an accident – #2 variety, not solid.  He had taken off his big boy pants (trying to be helpful?) and had tossed them on the carpet beside his potty seat. His subsequent activities were clearly marked.

He had slid down the plastic slide and scooted in and out of all the little plastic holes on the play structure.  He had built a beautiful Lego house, while sitting in the Lego box. He had somersaulted across the carpet and ridden the spring horse. Ride ’em cowboy!

I think I blacked out.  I don’t remember hanging up on my mother.  I vaguely remember spending the day with a bucket of bleach water but I’m not sure about that.

I do know we took an afternoon trip to the store to buy a truckload of diapers.