Dear Confessional,

Sometimes hindsight is as much of a curse as it is a blessing. After we, as parents, screw up in our senseless action or inaction to teach certain pivotal lessons, hindsight is always there to give us a good kick in the ass of, “I told you so!” and “What were you thinking!” After traveling on holiday with my family that includes 4 littles, I was pounded over the head with the sheer urgency of this topic.

1. Q-tips: Why in the world do I keep buying those little cotton sticks of doom and shoving them in my kids’ ear? There is some sick gratification in cleaning out the yellow muck, I admit, but why do I do it? It’s like fishing for little gems of nastiness! The doctors warn against it and plead for parents to stop. The costs more than outweigh its benefits, and the actual box has a huge warning label, informing parents that they are NOT for ear poking! The result from this erroneous traditional practice is creating an ear infection by irritating the skin and damaging the eardrum. The body was meant to mostly heal itself, and the wax serves some sort of protective coating purpose, so why dabble with the dark side? I still have no clue what compels me, although I do try and fight off the urge to clean those little ear buds.

2. Nasal Objects: Shouldn’t there be an entire curriculum dedicated to educating children on the prevention of shoving small objects in the nose? Green Skittles look like little boogers, got it. Red ones look like a bloody nose, super. Peas, M&Ms, blueberries, game pieces, so many to choose from. Perfect size, funny little kid gags, check. But seriously, this should be an actual home and pre-school lesson. As a kid myself, my best friend loved to shove little candies in there and pretend galore. My sister once got a pea stuck up in there and my mom didn’t know why she couldn’t breathe well and had pain, until an ENT specialist stuck long metal tweezers in there to find that little hard sucker shoved all the way up to her eyeballs! When my daughter was an infant, I remember letting her self-feed and accidentally snorting up a few pieces of brown rice that was stuck all over her face and panicking over the inability to get it out. Deep congestion ensued, followed by a visit to the ENT; lots of long flashlights in that dark hole, and I was encouraged to simply try flushing it out. You know that this situation could also involve serious anesthesia-inducing procedures on your little one?

3. Anxious Saves/Screw-ups: I know I’m not the only one admitting this, but how many times does your conscious “careful” repeating nagging voice reach out to save a daring toddler trying the latest feat? Believe me, I’ve been there many, many times. Either your excited and over-protective alter-ego kicks in to “save” your child from a circumstance, and instead of a milestone, you unintentionally distract or bump into him causing the exact situation you were trying to prevent. Maybe if I kept my big mouth shut and calm, my little munchkin would have earned a new milestone instead of a new ouch.

4. YouTube Psychos: So your little one found a new babysitter for those fussy moments, called YouTube. Your little genius even knows how to search in the history and find some favorite cartoons, before he/she even learns how to read! Bravo. Well, let me tell you, if you haven’t already learned the hard way, as you may be listening to background music with nice nursery rhymes while cooking dinner, your child may actually be watching something less than appropriate. People can be sick, my friends! One time, I innocently thought my son was watching a cartoon racecar video with nursery songs, and then quickly realized the cute little vehicle of death was horribly running over people, animals, and road signs. OMG! Another time, that cute Barbie electric car was being “serviced” by a dad-like mechanic, when all of a sudden the screen shifts to the car having run dad over and his head was splattered with “ketchup.” These are videos mixed in with your favorite cartoons, and look seemingly innocent!

5. Escalator Chomps: Oh, those escalators—so inviting and exciting for little ones. They’re such cool moving stairs. Just hold his/her hand onto the moving platform and advise when to take “a big step” off. Simple, right? No way. This moving platform of torture almost ripped off my toes when I was 9, I kid you not. I even Googled it, and turns out it’s even more common than I thought! Thanks to my mom buying me shoes a size too big, I still have all 10 piggies, but many children lose toes each year. Why, you ask? How is it possible? Simple and so scary. When a child steps onto that rectangular step, all it takes is a shoe too close to the front of the step or leaning the shoe up against the next step, like I once did. That’s it. Notice that the next step leans out? That little torture device will swallow toes in a big chomp as it reaches the top and the step slides down flat. I will never forget fighting to get my shoe out as it was stuck inside of the escalator, as people bumped into me, one after another. I thank my mother and her thrifty buying prowess for having fully adorned feet.

6. Share a Laugh: I thought sharing my and my husbands’ most embarrassing stories with my eldest daughter was a good idea, during her emotional dramatic moment to elicit an innocent laugh and make my life a little more relatable. So I thought. Yes, I got the well-intended laugh by my daughter. Ice was broken, happy mood returned, voila voila. BUT, even while I mentioned that these stories were personal, apparently, they served a greater purpose as icebreakers for her friends and teachers too. Yes, everyone got a great laugh at our expense, her friend issues did fade, and so did my ego deflate. Sayonara!

7. Camp Carols: Feeling cool to your kids can be fun and make you feel young again. Like the first time they hear you tell them a funny story or do something gross. Sometimes it’s even fun to teach them a twisted camp song, right? Yeah, not so much! Let’s just put that summer song on repeat like one thousand times and teach it to the entire class after a few funny rounds at home. Yep, you’ll be class mom for that one for sure! Not.

8. Coffee Matters: So this isn’t really kid-related, but let me throw it in because it works too. So typically, moms clutch to morning coffee like nobody’s business—most of us need some good fuel to start the day. By about kid pickup time, fuel is out, I could sleep standing up, and that next cup looks mighty tempting. Maybe I’m the only one, but those are the days that I kick myself at bedtime, when I am physically and mentally exhausted, and my eyes stubbornly stay wide opened and obviously stuck on social media for a few too many hours. Not worth it at all.

I hope these parenting fails serve you some sort of purpose in emphasizing some practical points with your kiddos, if not, a dummy mommy laugh will do.

with Love,

Ruthi

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