So, we aren't perfect parents. None of us are.
For the first time in my life, I'm not afraid of not being perfect. I have been my worst critic throughout my life (well, almost. My grandmother was pretty good at critiquing me. When someone gives you wrinkle cream for Christmas and you are only 20 years old, I think that person has critiquing down to an art form...).
But, for some reason, I'm not very hard on myself as a parent. I don't feel like I am failing. I don't care what anyone else thinks. My son and I stay in a bubble together in public. If he throws a temper tantrum because I took the bag of potato chips away from him that he grabbed off the market shelf like a quiet little ninja, for some reason, I'm not worried if other people hear him. My son and I are in a bubble. Step away if his tantrum bothers you. I'm dealing with it.
Perhaps I am not hard on myself because I know I am trying my best. And I know I will never give anything to my son but my best. I know that this is my world, my family, my lesson, my responsibility, and I know that whether or not I always do the right thing, I am still a great mother.
This is why when "incidents" occur, I don't punish myself. I am momentarily panicked, then I realize my son is fine, then I laugh and vow to be more careful next time. We are learning about parenthood everyday, just as our son is learning about his surroundings.
For instance, when my son was about three months old, my husband was watching him. Not having been a parent before or left alone with the baby too often, my husband put our son on the couch and walked into the kitchen. Baby alone on the couch. Baby. Alone. On. The. Couch. I'm sure you can all see what happened next. Baby rolled off the couch onto the floor. Thank goodness for carpet and low-to-the-ground couches. My husband returned to find our son lying on the carpet, cooing and perfectly fine. Nevertheless, he felt terrible! My husband may have even shed a tear or two.
Lesson learned. Baby can now roll over, so don't leave him unattended in high places.
Another lesson: Just a few days ago, I placed my son in his jumperoo to watch Baby Einstein while I made myself breakfast. I usually let him hold the DVD case because he likes to turn it back and forth in his hands and look at the pictures on the front and back. This time I thought, Hey, I think I will open the case so he can open and close it as well as look at the pictures. A couple of minutes later, I returned with my rice cereal and tapioca english muffin to find him eating the paper insert from the DVD. A quarter of it was gone. Nowhere in sight. He had swallowed it. I've been looking for paper in his poop ever since.
Note to self: will eat paper.
A couple of weeks ago, I took Max on one of our almost daily trips to the grocery store. My husband likes us to only buy what we are going to eat for dinner that night so we can avoid buying more than we need and wasting food. Makes sense to me, but that means I have to go to the grocery store ALL THE TIME. Ack.
Anyway, I always disinfect the grocery cart before I put Max in the seat. I carry alcohol wipes with me in the car. This particular day, I wiped down the cart, inserted Max, and turned away to shut the car door. When I looked back at Max, he was sucking on the grocery cart handle!!! Yuck a duck and gag me with a spoon!! Gross!! I panicked and pulled his mouth away from the handle. I didn't know if I was more concerned that he was sucking on all the chemicals I had just rubbed on the handle, or that he might be sucking on a section I had missed with my germ-freak-mommy rub down! I was mortified. What kind of diseases were on this cart anyway?
Then, a few days later, he did it again!! This time I was in line at the check-out and the girl behind the counter said, "You really shouldn't let him do that. Grocery cart handles is one of the dirtiest surfaces there is."
Ummm, ya think?
Yes, I make mistakes. My son fell off the couch. He ate a Disney advertisement. He licked God knows what off a grocery cart. Twice. But, it happens. And he is perfect. He is fine. He is healthy. He is amazing.
And tonight, I think he said, "Mama" for the first time. I heard it over the baby monitor. I went running as fast as I could, tripping over Meeko, into his room because I was so thrilled and excited! He was standing against the bars of his little prison crib saying, "Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma" over and over again. I'm starting to think he has known how to say it all along, but he saved it for tonight to lure me into his room because he didn't want to go night-night. What a baby genius!