My Nomination Bid For ‘World’s Worst Mother’

On any given, normal day I would confess that I’m not a half-bad Mum. I spend plenty of time with my kids, I play boardgames with them, I read to them everyday. I feed them, dress them, and cuddle them when they’re crying. Unfortunately, yesterday wasn’t a normal day.

Perhaps I jinxed it when I decided to scam a few extra minutes in bed to finish off that chapter of the book I was reading?

It was first thing in the morning and daughter was hungry! No suprises there, she always seems to be hungry (except for at dinner time of course because I serve up horrible food like chicken, or carrots, or mash potato). But everything was good, hubby volunteered to get up and feed the munchkins breakfast. Awesome!!! I switched on the light and grabbed a book and managed to get through that chapter (plus perhaps one or two more ;)). Then with some regret I put down the book and made my way to the shower.

Apparently while I was in the shower hubby and the kids decided that they really needed to get a brand new drawing game for Daughters new iPod Touch. In order to get the new game onto all our many Apple devices without wasting our meagre internet allowance I wanted to download the game onto my laptop first and then transfer it. So with my stomach still protesting its emptiness I plugged in the laptop and fired it up.

Picture this if you can. The laptop is sitting on the coffee table in my lounge room. My 3 yr-old son is beside me on the lounge, bouncing around excitedly because soon he will be playing a new Dora the Explorer art game on my iPhone. In order to pick up the laptop I have to stand up, but of course I’m lazy so I just rock forward onto my feet and then drop back down onto the lounge with the computer now held firmly in my hand. Only one problem in the 2 seconds it takes me to rock forward, grab the laptop and then rock back, my son throws himself across the lounge exactly where I had been sitting so when I collapse back down I land on him.

I don’t know if I noticed he was there at the last second or not, it all happened too quickly. But I think I might have and automatically tucked myself further forward, the problem being that instead of his whole body taking my weight, I ended up landing on just his right shoulder. I felt the ‘pop’. Then I heard the scream.

Of course it wouldn’t be much of a story if my poor parenting ended there would it. For about twenty minutes I sat with him trying to determine if he was really, truly hurt before I decided that I better head for the hospital. He was upset, but was he that upset? He was able to lift his arm and wiggle his fingers etc so I was fairly certain nothing was broken but perhaps it was dislocated? In the end I decided better safe than sorry so to the hospital we went. Daughter stayed home with Hubby.

The local emergency department, unbelievably enough, didn’t have any doctors on call on a Saturday morning so the nurses suggested I go to a Medical Centre about a 20 minute drive away because they have an X-ray machine there and the wait times wouldn’t be as long. The girls there were lovely and we managed to bypass all the poor souls in the waiting room.

The doctor looked down her nose at me with those judgemental eyes that say ‘you must be an attention seeker because there seems to be absolutely nothing wrong with your child’. Note that by this point Son was no longer crying, he was demading cookies (which of course I didn’t have but some other mother in the waiting room had been feeding them to her child and he wanted some too). The doctor asked him to raise his arm, which he managed to do without a murmur, then she poked and prodded along his shoulder and collarbone, naturally Son didn’t even flinch. I got the ‘why are you even here look’ again. Or course, better safe than sorry, so she sent us for an X-ray anyway.

While waiting for the X-ray Son perked up even further, he wasn’t quite up for singing and dancing but the kid clearly wasn’t acting like someone with any kind of major injury. I downgraded my prediction from dislocation to maybe just a pulled muscle.

Or course, then we had the X-ray.

 

Even my inexperienced eyes had no difficulty spotting the break. I immediately burst into a bout of guilt-ridden tears. The radiographer didn’t really know what to do.

When we went back to see the doctor her eyes were no longer full of judgement, to be honest, she looked quite embarassed.

With nothing more than a few doses of nurofen and sling Son is doing fine and excluding a brief altercation with a t-shirt while we were getting dressed this morning, there have been no more tears. There is no denying that I have one brave little boy.

 

 

 

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Show me, Don’t tell me – My new parenting mantra

Since I began writing there has been one phrase I’ve heard  more times than any other – Show Don’t Tell! Don’t tell the reader that the girl isn’t interested in taking on another case, show them how she hangs up the phone and casually goes back to playing sudoku on her computer. Don’t tell the reader that the man thinks the woman before him is sexy as all hell, show them how he can’t take his eyes off her cleavage.

It’s only recently, however, that I realised this phrase could be applied to more than just my writing. Show Don’t Tell is my new parenting mantra.

Did you know that children of parents that smoke are more than twice as likely to take up the habit themselves? Not that I smoke, of course, but it makes you think about what other habits we might have that we might be unconsiously rubbing off on our children. It goes hand-in-hand with smacking your children and then telling them in the next breath that it’s not okay to hit. Sometimes I think we have our heads screwed on backwards.

So why am I telling you this? Well, last week I took my kids to the dentist for the first time. I was a fountain of useful information about how important it was for them to go to the dentist every 6 months, about how the dentist needs to make sure their teeth are growing correctly and that they are doing a good job brushing their teeth. I was the queen supreme of Telling. But despite all my Telling, Daughter was scared, near on terrified, and Son who takes most of his cues from his sister, was heading down the same pathway.

I couldn’t understand it, I’d told them it would be fine, why didn’t they believe me? The fact is that if you’re going to talk the talk you have to be willing to walk the walk. How could I possibly expect them to walk happily into the dentist’s office when I wasn’t willing to do the same?

Dentophobia – it’s real and I have it. I don’t like spiders and I don’t like enclosed spaces but for me they aren’t phobias. The dentist, that’s a phobia. Just sitting here writing about it has my heart pounding in my chest. 12 years, give or take a few months. That’s how long it’s been since I last went to the dentist.

As everyone does with a phobia I can explain the reasons behind my fear, it seemed like virtually everytime I went to the dentist as a kid the guy was pulling teeth out of my mouth (I’d had 5 baby teeth and 4 permanent teeth extracted before my 11th birthday), then braces for 3 years, then fillings, then my wisdom teeth extracted. Ahh!!! I think I’m having heart palpitations.

But if I want to Show my children that the dentist isn’t scary and that it really IS important to go for regular check-ups then I need to face my fears and sit in that terrifying chair that goes up and down. So I am! Tomorrow, I’m going to the dentist! Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

What about you? Are you a believer in showing rather than telling your kids how to behave? Do you have any fears, irrational or otherwise? As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller