This is a zero picture post, but I promise, it’s worth the read if you are a parent or are thinking of becoming a parent. No one trains us for this. There is no manual, no adequate prepping course. There are only the strange and unbelievable battle stories of other parents. Even then, every day brings new and exciting adventures to face. Face them well, fellow big people. Our little people need us.
I’m standing here in my bathroom, staring at the now overflowing laundry basket, and I can’t help but laugh.
Laugh or cry seems to be like a regularly occurring mom option.
I swear we did laundry two days ago.
That’s all it takes in a tiny space to get everything dirty.
Two events. Two reactions. Laugh or cry.
And how you react will overwhelmingly affect how your child reacts. Or at least how your child remembers the incident and how those emotions squirm or shine into their sense of self.
Incident Number 1: Flying Saucers
Or, in our case, soup bowls.
We have several seating and dining options in the camper. For some reason the little girls’ favorite spot is sitting on the floor and using the bench as a table. Normally this isn’t an issue.
Until a kid leaves a soup bowl unattended for just a minute and the dog simultaneously gets the zoomies.
You can see where this is going, right?
I want to give Shady a bit of credit though. Her zoomies didn’t cause the mess. It was my reaction that did the damage.
I lunged for the bowl. In the direction of the dog.
She thought I was playing, spun around, and tail-swiped the bowl into the air. Straight off the bench and towards Bishop’s bed.
His jacket and pajama bottoms saved the sheets, but the poor kid is sleeping in gym shorts until we can get to the laundromat.
Everyone laughed at the perfect series of events that led up to the noodle disaster. We cleaned it up, no muss no fuss, and implemented a new no soup unattended on the bench rule.
Incident Number 2: Vagina Spiders
You’ve never heard of vagina spiders?
So it went a little something like this.
My youngest came out of the bathroom and very sheepishly said, “Momma, I made a little bit of a mess. My pee kinda squirted a little.”
“No big deal. We all have…” I started to say as I headed to the bathroom. Unfortunately when I opened the door it very quickly changed to an astounded and loud,
She immediately burst into tears and I was left facing a hysterical child on one side and a pee soaked bathroom on the other.
This wasn’t squirted a little. This was pee everywhere! The toilet seat. The front of the toilet. The floor. The rug. The side of the bathtub. The wall.
Look, I was a boy mom for years before I had girls. I have seen some pee, okay. When they’re first learning how to control their hoses, it goes all over the place. But I had never seen a mess like this from a girl.
It had to be intentional. No way can girl parts do that unintentionally. Yet, I couldn’t reconcile the downright utter terribleness it would take to do something like this on purpose with the little girl in front of me. I certainly couldn’t reconcile her sheepish “I made a mess” with the smirk required to announce a mess of this caliber with such nonchalance.
I had overreacted. There was no question. Surprise is one thing, but her reaction alone told me mine was too far. So I left the bathroom and faced the bigger mess. I needed to apologize. I needed to hear her side of it and let her know, no matter what it was, it was okay.
And y’all. I can not make this shit up. Vagina Spiders.
Are you ready for this story?
Little Bit was in the bathroom. She, of course, had been holding it while she finished up what she was doing and had to go Super Bad.
She hastily sat on the toilet without really looking at it, and the light started flickering.
In the flicker she thought she saw a spider crawl out from under the seat.
Instinctively she pulled away from the suspected spider area. As the light continued to flicker, she lost sight of the spider.
It had to be on her. It had to be heading straight to her vagina!
The light stopped flickering and still no sign of the spider. She couldn’t find it.
Fearing the ultimate violation, she tried to stand up and got her foot caught under the flush pedal. Hysterical at this point, I’m sure, she continued trying to both free herself from the toilet holding her captive and escape the spider trying to make a nest inside of her while also literally having the pent up pee scared out of her.
Once I knew what had happened, my reaction turned out to have been even worse than I thought it had been. My little girl was already scared, frightened of being violated in the worst way possible…and I had made it worse by scaring her again with my own outburst.
Parenting is so hard. I apologized again. Explaining that I understood that I had scared her even more when she was already scared…when I should have been her safe place. I thanked her for telling me about the mess. For trusting me when she was scared.
And then I cleaned the bathroom without further comment.
We have choices every day. Choices how we’re going to react, to respond, to handle our own emotions. And we need to realize that those actions seem even bigger to little people. Little people who are watching us to learn how to handle their own big emotions.
It’s a responsibility. Some times I get it right. Some times I get it wrong. That’s human. But we as big people have a responsibility to our little people to apologize, to slow down our reactions, to explain when we’re wrong, and to ask forgiveness.
Especially if it involves vagina spiders.
Honestly, can you think of anything more terrifying?