Humbling parenting

America’s Funniest Home Videos has been a family favorite around here. I know it’s wrong, but there is something about watching other people mess up, fall over, and make fools out of themselves that brings this weird kind of satisfaction, making me feel not so alone in this world. The videos I enjoy the most are the ones with kids and their parents. There is nothing like a child to humble and humiliate an adult. They keep us honest by telling our secrets. They keep us on our toes as they change things up all the time. And they can make us laugh like nothing else.

We have had our fair share of stories. In fact, I am sure you all do too.

Whether you have a child, know a child, or even have seen  a child,  more than likely, you have a tale or two that brings a mixture of terror, laughter, and a nod from all the other parents out there.

I was sitting on the couch talking about this very subject with my husband the other night. We have our favorite one liners and adventures that we love to share and then there are those few stories that no one will ever know about because we are certain the children would be taken away from us!

I could write a book of quotes that I have said to my kids that I never knew would even escape my mouth at any point in my life.

Stop licking the wall.

No, I don’t know why men have nipples.

Why do you think your butt feels “spicy” again?

And you thought it was a good idea to crawl in the drainage pipe because…?

Please don’t tell people that you Mom is “fixed”. 

There are better places to stick that than in your nose, underwear, wedged in the couch cushions, under my pillow..

Stop sniffing your sister.

No, daughter. The cat doesn’t have a health issue. They can’t breathe because you are laying on them!

Why did you think flushing a vase down the toilet was a good idea?

When were you planning on telling me that you had no more clean underwear?

No, I will not cut your hand off so that you can have a hook.

One of my all-time proud (and also most horrific) parenting moments happened in a public bathroom years ago when Molly was young. She came out of the stall and said, “Mom, I saw something on the floor that looked like chocolate, but I didn’t lick it.”

It is hard to know if I should have been happy with the fact that she made that right choice or if I should have been upset that she even thought for a millisecond to stick her tongue on ANYTHING in the bathroom.

I guess we choose our battles and pick our victories. 

Then there was that time that the girls decided to use permanent marker on the little one’s face… THE NIGHT OF AWARDS CEREMONY AT CHURCH!!!

I know that I already shared this story on my Facebook page, but it needs to be revisited considering that I am sharing moments in parenting that helped me realize my kids didn’t really have it all together yet.

We had our Awana ceremony at church that night. For those that don’t know, Awana is a Bible program the kids do throughout the year. They work on memorizing scripture and learning Biblical truths. So the girls were going to be in front of the church receiving awards. The Awana program even sent out a note that said we should make sure the kids dress nice since they will be before the congregation.

Sunday afternoon, our neighbor friend came to play with the girls. They were outside while I was preparing something to eat before I left for church.

Sam comes in and says, “Mom! Come see what I did to Clara!”

This didn’t alarm me because it’s not uncommon to see them in funny clothes or weird hairstyles. I walk in the room and there before me was Clara with a black, curly mustache drawn on her face.

Sam: “Mom, I used permanent marker and drew a mustache.”

My very first thought was, “Julie, don’t lose it in front of the sweet neighbor girl. Don’t lose it…”

Me:“Sam, why on earth did you use permanent marker?! I have told you a million times that it doesn’t come off!”

Sam:“No Mom!! You said that it DOES come off.”

Now is not the time to work on listening skills.

I run for the baby wipes.

I begin scrubbing Clara’s face, hard. I mean put-your-back-into-it SCRUBBING. Poor kid had a cold so her upper lip was already raw from a runny nose, but my pride came first. I did not want to be THAT mom with the kid on stage that looked like Groucho Marx.

In the end, we had a faint gray mark that looked like she was having a very strong Italian girl day. We made it. They smiled on staged, people clapped, and no one knew that she just had that marker on her face. They only assumed she was hairy like her mom.

I pulled out a few lessons from this treasure of a story. But the biggest one is that the moment you think you are starting to get inside their heads and things are working out as far as your kids “getting it”, they decide to draw on one another’s faces… with a black, permanent marker.

The ultimate story of parenting that will forever live in Little history was the time our daughter jumped on us while were were in bed… having sex. 

Let me set the scene.

During Peter’s deployment this past year, we were able to visit him in Germany. The apartment we stayed in had three bedrooms and two baths.

He had a very gracious roommate that didn’t mind at all that we practically took the place over. But we were very adamant about the girls using the bathroom that was in the master bedroom where Peter and I were sleeping. Their room was across the hall, so it was easy for them to slip in to go potty if needs be in the middle of the night.

Even if we wanted to lock the door, which I highly suggest to all folks planning on being involved in adult activities in their bedrooms, we couldn’t. The door had a ginormous key hole and no lock. Fun.

To be honest, sex was high on the to-do list with this visit. You try going months without it while the man or woman you love is thousands of miles away. It is very difficult. So of course, we were participating in this marital bliss.

So here is where things get delicate. I talk in code with my kids, but I just can’t here, so if you know where I am about to go and you don’t want to go there, skip ahead.

The room is dark and we are under the covers. Things are just starting to get going when we hear a knock at the door. Daughter wants to go potty.


She can’t see us because the room is pitch black and the bathroom and the bed are separated by a little hallway.

We are waiting.

It seems like Daughter is taking her sweet time.

We of course do what any logical couple who is in the middle of getting it on and then are interrupted by their offspring would do… we started laughing. I mean, this was funny. From the moment she shut the door to go the bathroom to the flush of the toilet, we just lost it.

This is life, folks. And we were surely living it. 

Dear Daughter, being a curious gal, hears us giggling and comes out of the bathroom. She proceeds to slowly step forward and ask what we were laughing about.

Husband begins to shake uncontrollably with laughter. He is literally no help.

I mean, he could not speak or keep his laughter quiet and so Daughter thought this was a game. She starts laughing and walking closer to us.

Panic begins to set in for me.

I do NOT have the money for therapy and if she gets any closer, this girl will need years of it. 

But for the life of me, I couldn’t get out the words, “Leave!”

Husband is making me laugh harder. The whole scenario is unbelievable.

Then, with the power, height, and strength of a dozen Olympian gymnasts, my daughter jumps on the back of my husband.

Have you ever watched something play out as if it is in slow motion and you can take in every single detail of the 2.5 seconds that is happening? Ya, me too.

As daughter landed on top of my husband, as he is ON TOP OF ME, I watched him slam the back of his elbow into her (don’t worry, she wasn’t hurt) and launch her across the room. She flew high and far. Right next to the light switch.

At this point, we both can’t breathe. I don’t know if it was exhaustion, embarrassment, or pure insanity, but nothing could snap us out of it. It was like a scene from a movie.
Nothing, I said, could snap us out of it until daughter says, “What is so funny? I am going to turn on the light.”
The volume in which we both screamed, “No!” was enough to be heard miles away. I never asked his roommate, but who knows what he was thinking when he heard us yell.
The light flickered on and off, not long enough to let your eyes adjust to the change in lighting.
Crisis averted.
Daughter left the room, crawled into bed, and never asked a single question.
Just a few things we learned from this joy of an event. One, always invest in a door lock. Two, be thankful for the day AND the night. Three, it was time to have the sex talk with daughter so that she would have somewhat of a clue about privacy and well, life.

I write all this for laughs and the reminder that we are all just doing this thing called life. Parenting is hard, demanding, and exhausting. But it also brings joy, laughter, and yes, humility.
So here is to all you parents out there doing your best in the chaos. Keep it up. Lighten up. And lock it up!

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