Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stone Fox's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This post is a complete downer, so if you are looking for my usual witty repartee, skip this.

This is not a 'look at me blog about how un-perfect I am, but with a happy ending' post, either. I almost don't want to Publish, but if I'm going to call this a "journal" it should have the ugly parts, too.

This is me as a parent today: EPIC FAIL.

Why? How could this happen? Where did it go so, so wrong?

I got up this morning after a solid 8 hours of sleep, which hasn't happened for a while, usually one of the kids, or my bladder, is waking me up at least once a night.

About an hour after my 8 hours of sleep, I was dozing on the couch. Big kids were playing on the deck; Little Dude was rolling around on the floor. Since I was only resting my eyes, I was able to get up every few minutes and check on the big kids to make sure they weren't trying to kill each other or burn down the house.

Then I fell asleep.

Then I woke up to a faceful of Spray 'N Wash.

My son had somehow reached the top shelf of our bathroom towel rack (I am mystified as to how he did this. The shelf is almost 6 feet tall and there was no chair or stool in the bathroom. The shelving unit would never support his weight and isn't bolted to the wall) and handed his sister a bottle of Comet bathroom spray and got himself a bottle of Spray 'N Wash. Princess, I think, just carried her bottle around. The Hurricane proceeded to spray numerous different things, including the front of the dryer, and some walls, the baby's high chair tray, and my laptop. Once he started spraying the dog, she came and sat next to where I was asleep.

Asleep. No, I didn't wake up while my son went willy-nilly through three different rooms in the house randomly spraying stuff.

I knew instantly, instantly, what that smell was. I did what any parent would do when being woken up by a faceful of laundry cleaner: I freaked out. I had a complete and total meltdown. I ran from child to child to check their breath and their eyes and see who was crying and then I was crying. And I was yelling. As ashamed as I am to admit this, I scared my Hurricane. I made him fear me. I sent him to his room while I checked and double checked little kids and (thank God!!!) everyone was okay. I gave the dog a bath, and checked her eyes, and she was okay, too. I went to my oldest son's room and sat on his bed and cried while I explained how dangerous chemicals are, how they could make little kids blind, or sick, or dead. I went over, again and again, how important it is to stay out of stuff that he knows is only for grown-ups .

I want to throw up when I think about what could have happened. I'm still scared when I think about how close I came to rushing my daughter to emerg because she swallowed some Comet, or my baby losing his sight because he got stain remover in his eyes. I am swallowed up in the guilt, because I never, ever, should have allowed myself to fall asleep.

After our chat, the Hurricane and I came downstairs, and I began to clean up the random sprays of stain remover and check kids again and again for signs of poisoning. As I come around the corner into the kitchen, I see:

my Hurricane standing

on the counter

digging in the medicine cupboard.

Words cannot explain. Words. Cannot. Explain. There is no word to describe the sensation of my patience and sanity snapping. I did not yell. I screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Again, I am ashamed to admit, I scared a little kid. My little boy.

But I did not hit. I almost did. I almost went to a dark place, but I didn't. I sat down on the floor and cried really, really hard. My boy ran off to his room.

What does everyone with a vagina do when lying on the floor of her kitchen sobbing? I called my best friend, Doreen. I babbled incoherently about being at the end of my rope, not knowing what to do, how did a 4 year old break me, I can't do this, what am I doing wrong, I did things the way you're supposed to and put chemicals and medicines up really high and how did he get into them, I am a terrible mother and a lousy human being, etc.. She let me run out of steam, and then said, "Call Social Services. They are not going to take your kids away. They will tell you where to get help."

So I did. I told the social worker that my child seems to have some kind of internal message that tells him he is allowed to give himself permission to do whatever he wants; that he does not have to follow rules at home. The social worker gave me some resources. I will do whatever they want, I will try whatever they have. I thought the Hurricane and I were figuring things out, but we are not.

Right now, I look back at today and I'm still beating myself up. I am so eternally grateful that today did not have a tragic result. I will go to bed and when I wake up tomorrow, today will be all over. I will not forget, but I will move on.

Fates, I know that was my one free one.


  1. Gosh, I'm so sorry. You had a really, really hard day. But do not punish yourself to much for falling asleep. We have all fallen asleep on the couch while our children are awake. Everyone is OK, and just focus on that.

  2. Wow. 4 year old boys are just pure danger some times. I am sorry about what happened. At least you did not hit them, and they were all okay. Have you ever read 1-2-3 Magic by Phelan? It has helped my family a lot; I just need to be consistent with it. {{hugs}}. You are a good mom - we all have our days, you know?

  3. Oh babe - this is one of those moments where you did the same thing many, many, many mothers do - only you had the misfortune to be "caught" at it.

    I fell asleep and let my then seven month old daughter crawl right off our king size bed and faceplant onto the floor.

    Buddy and I regularly doze in bed until 9:30 on weekends - we're simply fortunate that our girls are remarkably incurious about the more dangerous things in the house.

    That's the only difference between you and the rest of us - you got caught.

    And really? Hurricane is your child and he needs protection and care and maintenance. However, you are not responsible for every choice he makes. You told him it was wrong and dangerous and then he turned around and REPEATED it. That's not your fault. You managed as best you could, given the scare you'd just had. Frankly, I was itching to shake him from here, and I'm not even his parent. (Not that I'd come out and abuse your child, but you know what I mean, right?)

  4. Everyone is ok. No one died including you! All mommies have moments like this. Yes,even the ones who want us all to think their mommy skills are superior to ours. They aren't. Really, seriously, try not to beat yourself up any more over this. Odds are, there will be many more to come and you get through those too. Trust me. My girls are all grown up now and they got there in spite of their mother! :O)

  5. We've all been there. Trust me. I've been there, I've beaten myself bloody and then I've forgiven myself. It's okay.

  6. Luvs, there's likely no amount of solace you can get from any of us, except that it happens all the time and everyone dodges all kinds of bullets. It's like when you *just* brake in time for that semi that ran the red. All the "what-ifs" can drive you mad.

    I want to jam a pen in my ear to erase the memory/vision of my then 3 (now 9) yo daughter darting across the busy collector after she decided to run home from a friend's nearby (longer story about why I was distracted avoided). When I reached her at home, I gave her a time-out to prevent me from throwing her across the room. And the I went and sobbed uncontrollably in another room. I think she got a double or triple TO for maximum throwing prevention (and because I was still sobbing).

  7. you guys are the best ever.

    thanks :)

  8. thanks for sharing your story. i think we have all had days like that. i was on the computer once when my kiddo went into the kitchen, got an orange and a knife and attempted to open it himself. i had no clue what was going on and when i heard nothing, i went to find him. he was standing on his chair, knife in the orange, and started crying b/c he had given himself a little cut. i still blame myself for that, but he has never attempted anything with a knife since. lesson learned for both of us. take care.

  9. I hate days like that. Next time you wake up to a mist of Spray 'N Wash, I say you just put the covers on your face and refuse to get out of bed!!

  10. Honey, I so hear you. And you are not a bad mom. That was definitely a SCARY situation, but could easily happen to any of us. I was on the computer the other day when my two year old twins pushed the screen out of our third story window and threw about three buckets worth of toys, clothes, etc. to the ground. And I was in the same room, just on the computer! I said a prayer in thanks that it wasn't one of them down there on the ground. When it so easily could have been.

  11. Everyone who has had a rambunctious toddler has been right there alongside you at some point. And losing it? Heck, it's built-in when there are little kids in the house. As long as you don't go to that dark place you're OK; and if you scare the kid only when he gets into something potentially dangerous, that's OK too - he *should* be scared of the cleaning supplies and the medicine cabinet. wyliekat is right - the only difference between you and anyone else is, you got caught; and you fessed.

  12. Oh bless... I was there... I think all of us with kids over 4 have been there...
    Hang in there & believe me when I say... THIS TO SHALL PASS... My son was a little TURD... (only I, as his mother am allowed to say this..) & I wondered where I had gone wrong..(it is called "them being 4 or 2 or 3..."
    I have to say he has grown into a pretty great little man...(4) IT WILL PASS! : )

  13. Sorry... I meant to say...10... he is 10 now... & a really great (most of the time) kid! : )

  14. I agree with Scary Mommy! We have all fallen asleep or left our children unattended at one point or another, and all I have to say is THANK YOU GOD FOR NOT FALLING ASLEEP OR LEAVING US UNATTENDED WHEN WE NEEDED YOU!

  15. Yes, I have had days like that too. You are certainly not alone!


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