By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Oh sure you think you're just living your life, but when you have kids, they're living it right along with you and they remember things differently. Sometimes very differently. So the other day when I asked my children what they thought were the worst parenting mistakes I had made, these were definitely not the answers I expected. (But that's probably a good thing as I don't think I'm strong enough to write that post yet.)
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My Worst Parenting Mistakes (According to my kids ages 8, 7, 4 and 1.)
1. I accidentally switched the dates on my calendar for my son's preschool choir concert and his field trip-something any mom has done-which caused me to miss the former. Despite the fact this happened four years ago he still likes to remind me, "Remember when you missed my concert because you were just sitting at home? I cried and cried. Remember how the teacher had to hug me and give me gummy bears to make me feel better?" Actually I don't remember that part. Because I wasn't there.
2. I'll admit it: in a fit of supreme frustration with my balky toddler I once commanded him to "Get your shoes on, you little cretin!" I said it once and forgot about it... until the day my older son introduced our family to his class on Family Day by saying, "This is Charlotte, we call her Mom. This is Jason, we call him Dad. And this is my brother... we call him Cretin."
3. It was a classic "I thought you had him!" "Wait, I thought YOU had him!" mistake. That would have been bad enough but not only did we get all the way home,we were there for a full 20 minutes without realizing we'd left our second son at the gym. We didn't notice he was missing until they called to tell us, putting our teary boy on the phone to squeak out, "I always knew you didn't love me!"
4. Seat belts are family rule number one at our house so when we pulled into our garage after driving all the way home from church to discover our toddler milling aimlessly around the back, it was bound to be etched into all our kids' minds. (For the record, it also stopped my heart.) Now every time I ask my kids if their seat belts are on they answer, "Yes but did you buckle in the baby? It's the law!"
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5. With three out of my four kids in prime tooth-shedding phase, the Tooth Fairy gets a lot of action around here. It was bound to happen that she fell asleep (hah!) on the job once. While the forgotten son sobbed into his Wheaties, I crept downstairs with 50 cents and a hastily scrawled apology letter to tuck under his pillow. It might have ended there except that they caught me and so now anytime someone loses a tooth, I am woken up in the middle of the night to "Make sure the Toof Faiwy wemembers me."
6. "Remember when you took me to Chuck E. Cheese for my birthday and made me eat carrot sticks with my pizza?" . This is said every time we come within 5 miles of that horrid establishment. And by golly, yes I did make him eat carrots on his birthday.
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7. You would think a fake birthday party is better than no birthday party right? When my son hit the major 1-year milestone he happened to have the worst stomach flu known to mankind. I took him to the ER twice in one week because he couldn't stop spewing bodily fluids. We called off his party and in the aftermath (during which the rest of us got the same miserable flu) we kinda forgot to reschedule it. Some months later we realized he would have no pictures of his first birthday so we staged a party by putting some empty gift bags around him and frosting a muffin with a candle. It was... unconvincing and now the pictures are proof of our duplicity. (He has had many wonderful real birthday parties since then, no worries.)
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8. I ate his art project. It was in the car, I was starving and I happen to love Froot Loops. And paste. But now every time the 4-year-old hands me his latest creation it comes with the stern directive, "And DON'T EAT IT." Fair enough-unless they use mini marshmallows and toothpicks to make sculptures again in which case I make no promises.
What parenting mistake have you made that your kids love to remind you about?
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.