Mommy Wants a Do-Over

– Posted in: Cleaning, Diaper Disaster, Foot in Mouth, Grosser than Gross, Guilt, Memories, Poop, Worst Mom Moments

Have you ever done something and then wondered, “Crap, when do kids actually start remembering things?” For Kristi Valentini, this would be one of those times. She chronicles life with back-to-back babies at  Mommy Crib Notes.

In a mad moment of parental anger, have you ever done or said something you regretted? You desperately wish to step out of the room, walk back in and do the scene over, different, better.

While I’ve had multiple “do-over” moments, the worst one rattles against my ribcage making all my innards ache. It was the beginning of the poop-capades era for my two-year-old Sophia. We had put our solid 12-hour sleeper to bed, innocently unaware of what her exploring mind would present us with 43 minutes from the last “night-nights” kiss.

Monitoring our babies, like good Gen X parents do, with video surveillance, we realized something was amiss when the screen revealed Sophia’s naked booty waving hello to the camera. Uh-oh, Operation Diaper Back On needed stat! I raced upstairs preparing to whip a diaper on, pull on her PJs, plop her back in bed and be done. I took three steps into her room and froze.

What the f@!$%?

Even with the lights dimmed I could see smears of poop on her face, caking the bars of the crib, and chunks had been thrown on the ground. I was in such shock I couldn’t utter a sound at the smirking face greeting me from “Casa de la Ca-Ca.” I fled the room and found my husband so we could tackle the situation together. (Why should I face such horror alone?)

Angered to find her still smiling amongst her poop art, and wanting to drive a point home, I stared her down and disgustedly spat, “Yuck!” Her face crumpled like a piece of foil and she began to wail in shame. Instantly, the mean grip of regret clutched my heart, and squeezed.

My composure regained, I calmly scrubbed the crib and changed the sheets while my husband gave Sophia a quiet bath. Before we had even tucked Sophia back in her fresh bed, a litany was running through my head:

“Don’t memories start at age two? What if her first memory is me being disgusted with her? Oh God, I hope that she doesn’t remember that. I just know she will. It’s human nature to remember the bad and forget the good. I tried so hard to make the first two years of her life loving, secure and fun and it doesn’t matter because her first memory is going to be that awful moment!”

Parental regret is the evil cousin of second guessing offering no do-overs, no matter how desperately you want them, only do-betters next time. There’s no happy ending to this story because I won’t know the outcome for years to come. Some day when’s she’s an adult, I’ll nervously ask her what her earliest childhood memory is, and hold my breath hoping for a layer of  mommy guilt to be wiped away.

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6 Comments… add one

Momma Jae January 12, 2011, 9:44 pm

(sigh…) I've been remembering things lately that at the time I thought I was handling well and realizing I was actually a complete arsehole. And so I come face to face with the sad knowledge there's just no way that either of us are getting out of her childhood unscathed – poor kid….

Anonymous January 13, 2011, 6:36 am

My earliest childhood memory is from when I was probably 3, and my mother “left” me at the swimming pool to find my own way home because I was taking too long putting my shoes on. My then-hero brother (nearly 6) stayed with me and was going to help me cross the very scary, very busy street (which was the only issue with walking there — it was a five minute walk, even on toddler legs). Lo and behold, we walked into the parking lot only to find that my mother HAD waited. As early as teendom, I realized that was a strategy and my mother would never have really left me. And I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I use techniques like that with my own daughter. But I don't think I'm as good at them — I return from the other side of the door (or wherever I'm “hiding”) within ten seconds or less. But I have do-over moments nearly daily, and I have already resigned myself to the idea that my daughter will be in therapy one day because of me. *sigh*

Wombat Central January 13, 2011, 8:32 am

The video loop of my bad moments runs in my head to remind me how *not* to handle the bad behavior next time around… Ugh.

sassynach January 13, 2011, 10:54 am

I have those moments too…the most recent was yesterday. :/

But honestly, I don't think it was THAT terrible what you did. Maybe she got the point right off the bat that you don't take your diaper off and smear it all over the place. You didn't spank her or continue to yell at her–I think you did fine. Don't beat yourself up over it. :)

Kristi January 13, 2011, 3:35 pm

Hah! It's so good to hear other moms relate. Momma Jae, I think you doth speak the truth about both parent and childhood not getting out of it unscathed. InMandyland.com had a great post (can't find it to link it) about how it's not a matter of if your child will need counseling, just how much. We all do something that will bother them. The point is make it minimal.

WitWitWoo January 14, 2011, 2:20 pm

Ah … the Dirty Protest … we've all been there (err, haven't we?) I too think you handled the situation well … far better than I would have done faced with a room full of poo. How come the OH always gets the easy job of cleaning the baby tho??

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