Parenting Gone Awry

Antique Schmuck

There are two things as a parent that I don’t tolerate very well.  Well actually there are many more than two, but in the interest of my short attention span, let’s just go with two for now.

The first thing is disobedience of the willful variety and the other is disrespect of any variety.  There is just something about a smart-mouthed rude child that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me and I must make it stop before my head explodes and boy what a mess of confetti that would be.

So far, Sean has been a pretty good boy in that regard, but as he approaches his fourth birthday, he is daily testing the boundaries, to see if they are the same as yesterday. And every day I am required to prove to him that indeed I have not given up, although about once a day it does cross my mind. Giving up and going out for happy hour instead.

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At any rate, now that Sean is potty trained — yes, that’s right, completely potty trained — we have been shopping for the bunk beds and the Corvette that I had promised him.   So just recently we found ourselves at the local furniture store where there was an antique truck parked in the lobby. He asked if he could go look at it and I agreed.  As he was standing on the running board and looking in the window, I called to him to turn around so I could take his picture.  He is in the anti-picture taking phase and what I thought I heard him say was “Oh be quiet!”

So I marched over to the truck and gave him a swat on his itty bitty behind and said in my stern don’t-mess-with-me mommy voice, “What did you say to me?”  And oh, the look of surprise on his face.  And hurt. With big round blue eyes, tears puddling up to the brim, he whispered, “I said can we buy it.”


Antique Schmuck.

I got down on one knee and I hugged him and told him that I had made a terrible mistake and that I was very very VERY sorry.  And then I asked him to please forgive me. He squeezed me tight around the neck and said, “That’s okay Mommy. I forgive you. You didn’t know what you were doing.”

Oh he has no idea how true that is.

62 thoughts on “Antique Schmuck

  1. This is a post about a mother who sometimes messes up and needs grace and finds it the least likely place – her son. This is not a post about spanking vs. not spanking. Please do not go there. I have a delete button and I know how to use it.

  2. I can’t believe you spank your child! (I’m totally messin’ with you….)

    I hear you, though–I had a heart-in-the-throat moment just like that yesterday. Nearly kills me.

  3. Well, if you had said you whacked him on his great! big! huge! behind! – well, that’s unacceptable. hehe

    Those moments keep us in line, I gotta tell ya.

    Oh, and if you’re getting a decent rate on the Vette insurance for the four year old, send me the name of your agent.

  4. I commend you… for admitting your wrong doing to your child and asking for forgiveness. We all as parents have come to a time when we have needed to do that. What makes this right is that you saw that you did wrong and in return did something about it! So, way to go and thank you for sharing.

    This is one of the best stories you’ve told… in my opinion! They are all great though… but this is just so truthful.

  5. Ouch!

    Reminds me of a few months ago when I thought my son was just doing his occasional, very brief, but sometimes hearty, pre-nap crying in his crib. After a minute I decided his fussing sounded unusual and checked on him. There he was with his foot all screwy, sticking out of the fridge.

    I felt so bad that I left him in there to suffer, all alone, while he tried to tell me in the only way he could that something was awry.

    Parental guilt is the worst feeling I’ve ever felt. And unfortunately I experience it at least weekly.

    Your son’s memory of this event, if he has one, will include how you gave him a big hug and sincerely asked him if you would forgive him. So that’s not so bad at all…

  6. AM, Sean is a sweetheart. And I know that look. Sonny boy goes in for some bigtime disregard for Mommy’s words, and gets more than a swat on his itty bitty behind, and then he gives me that look, which makes me feel like the meanest worm that ever crawled, but I just know that given the same situation, I’d again swat…! 🙁 Sigh! Parenting is not easy!

  7. Amanda said most of what I wanted to say… I am still trying to get pregnant (and trying, and trying), but am reading a lot about raising kids and I think you handled that wonderfully. I agree with you about bratty kids and boundaries… and can only imagine that it must be really hard to be consistent day in and day out. We have to let them see that we too make mistakes, but that we admit it and apologize.

    I think you’re a wonderful mom and am learning a great deal from you. Sean will grow up to be a well-mannered and emotionally intelligent child.

  8. Oh, have I had moments like this. And you know what? If that’s the worst mistake you ever make, you’ll be a darn good mom.

  9. Oh, you made me laugh and cry at the same time! I think that story will resonate with a lot of us flawed (but trying hard!) mommies.

  10. And…I know that almost-four-year-old speak is something hard to understand, even for that almost-four-year-old’s mommy; just know that 15 year olds are not always easy to understand either, and that I often am shouting/saying “What did you say?” because of the teenage mumble factor and my son’s bass level voice. I have tried very hard not to jump to conclusions based on my first auditory clues. But, I also know that sometimes when I do question what he says, he switches it up on the come-back. And to me, that’s ok. He is self-correcting and teaching himself a lesson. And that is 15-year-old kind of good.

    It never ends, A.M!!!!

  11. We’ve been there! Right there! IN that very spot! Where our child says something that sounded, to our worn out ears, like utter disrespect and turns out to be something innocent and then we felt EXACTLY like dying. But they forgave us.

  12. Yep, just happened to me too. And you know what, the silver lining of the cloud was when later she did something (she’s 2, so she does many things daily but not on purpose) that hurt me. Then she gave me the biggest hug and held me all close and tight and said, “Oh Mama I’n so sowwy! Can you pwease fer-da-give me? I wuv you so much I never meana huwt you, Mama.” At least I know she internalized THAT part, too. Sigh.

  13. Bless his sweet heart. And yours. At times like that — and, oh, there are too many to count — I like to think that learning to extend grace and forgiveness (which they do SO quickly) is important, as well as learning boundaries!

  14. Oh my, we’ve all been there in one way or another. Thank you for posting and reminding us the need for forgiveness – on our part as parents to our children, and the fact that our little ones are so willing to forgive right back! They can push buttons like none other – but honestly, it’s when they push the buttons of my heart that I remember the most 🙂

  15. I can so relate. When my oldest daughter was about three we were in a department store and my husband was almost certain he heard Becca say more than once, “There’s a b****.” Well, he commenced with the “That’s not a word we use and where did you hear that” speech and there might have been a few swats administered to the little cushy backside. I don’t remember. Anyway, after all of this and much crying on Becca’s part, we figured out that what she was really saying was “There’s a bench.” Needless to say my husband felt like a real schmuck after that.

  16. Grown Ups make mistakes, too . . . and what a great lesson we teach our children when we admit our mistakes, admit that we are not perfect, and show them that sometimes the best you can do is apologize and ask for forgiveness. Now I wouldn’t suggest we all go around making mistakes on purpose to teach a lesson 😉 But we all know it happens and sometimes we mommies just have to suck it up and admit to our kids that we do not possess superhuman powers of special hearing, laser vision, human flight, and the ability to cook a tasty dinner. However, I do currently and will always maintain that I have eyes in the back of my head.

  17. Whoa! I’m stuck back on the part where Sean is completely potty trained! Last I heard anything about it you were thinking you might have to sink into a deep depression, and that wasn’t very long ago. Good job on you both! 🙂

  18. Oh yes. I’ve been there. I have perfected the art of apologizing to someone who has great big tears rolling down their face and whose lip is quivering ferociously.

    He won’t remember. I promise.

  19. Thank goodness kids are so resilant. One of my daughters told me yesterday “I love you, even when you are being really grumpy.” I didn’t think I WAS being grumpy.

  20. Ugh! That’s a heart breaker! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve prayed that God will protect my kids memories of my goofups!

  21. I’m still proud of you. I watched a son (almost as tall as his little mother) mouth off to his mother the other day in Wal Mart. The look on his mother’s face… it just made me remind myself that I can also err on the side of being too soft-hearted while the boys are still little. Parenting isn’t for cowards!

  22. Heh. I still recall a similar situation. I was telling a story about the time some lemonade “shot out” my nose.

    A friend of my Mom’s, who was supervising us, decided I had told her to “shut up,” never believed me when I repeated myself.

    The injustice still rankles.


  23. Aww… breaks my heart. I have a similiarly low tolerance for disrespect. I just don’t understand how parents let their kids get away with being smart mouthed and sassy. Especially young kids at toddlers!

  24. it’s a hard thing when a mom messes up and has to ask forgiveness…been there, done that many times! my kids have forgotten, i have not. sometimes though, it’s the mistakes we make that help us evolve into better parents!
    you did good girl! and you rock!

  25. There’s not a mama alive that hasn’t done that, so we know where you’re coming from. Of course, that doesn’t help with the guilt, but thankfully, he probably won’t remember that when he’s a grown man…until he does it himself. 🙂

  26. I don’t remember being apologised to when I was a child by any adult. Unfortunately, I frequently have to apologise to mine.
    BEst wishes

  27. How well do I know the horrible hot/cold feeling of guilt/remorse/terror/sadness that washes over a parent when a mistake like this is made. The kid is completely innocent and we are completely wrong. And the kid suffers for it. It’s the worst feeling in the world. You handled it in just the right way, though. To apologize and NOT try to minimize your mistake is the way to go. Too many parents try to dismiss what adults do (“I was only trying to do the right thing”) while making a kid’s mistake seem like a high crime. They do this because they mistake fear for respect. They think that if their child knows that adults are flawed then that knowledge gives the kid power over them and that absolute obedience cannot be gained. You lifted him up while you rightfully gave him the power to forgive…or not. And he did so because he loves you, he’s sure of your love for him…and because you treated him like a human being with feelings. I’m so proud of you.

  28. Those are the same two things I can’t tolerate as well and unfortunately my son has a whole lot of it. It ain’t for lack of spanking either. He’s a good boy with a nasty temper and very little self control, so he lets these nasties fly all the time. There are lots of time outs in my house, so if you ever see me in public with this ill mannered boy, be comforted by the fact that I’m constantly working on it.

    Sean is so sweet, and he wouldn’t of forgiven you so quickly if he didn’t love you a ton.

  29. Can I just say thank-you? Thank-You for doing your job as a parent and deciding to NOT put up with smart mouthy children???? Some of they things I hear kids say these days just drive me up a wall!! Hugs to you and Sean for the misunderstanding, it’s a mommy moment that will stay in your memory much longer than it will his. And congrats on the Potty training! yipee!!!!!!!!

  30. Yep, been there and done that. I am the same way too… I can’t stand disrespect or blatant disobedience. Like so many others have said, you will remember this much longer than Sean will. And, I just love how kids are so quick to forgive (and forget)! YIPPEE on the potty training. That is great news!

  31. He makes me smile.

    You’ve taught him a lot about being humble and admitting when you make a mistake. There’s a lesson in everything.

  32. I have to repeat the words that a few have said before me —

    Bless your heart, AM! You’re doing a great job!

    One less rude and disrespectful 4 year old today means one less rude and disrespectful teenager tomorrow.

  33. I soooooo hate it when that happens. And I ALWAYS apologize. . .and they probably won’t remember the misstep or the apology, but I won’t ever forget them.

  34. Been there, done that…got the t-shirt. I hate it when I misunderstand spoken words or actions and react the wrong way. But like you…I step up to the plate, admit I was wrong, apologize and ask for forgiveness. I think that is one of the best lessons we can teach our children is taking responsibility when we are wrong and how to make amends. Sounds to me like you’re doing a fine job.

    Now on to more important things…HOW did you accomplish the potty thing so fast???? I need some real tips for dealing with my oh so stubborn granddaughter!

    New font? What new font? I just see plain old printing…*pout*

  35. Oh my. Just wait until he’s five. My little darling went from singing “Spider Pig, Spider Pig…” from that oh so earwiggy Simpsons Movie tv trailer to announcing, in a very loud voice, over lunch, in a very public place, “Mommy? You’re a pig!”

    He thought he was being funny. He is so lucky we were out in public and it took a while to get home (so I had time to cool off). :-/

    He got the “think about what you say and how it might make someone feel BEFORE you say it” speech. Again.

    I wonder at what age the self-censor part of the brain will kick in. I wonder if my child will live that long. Just kidding. LOL!

    Meanwhile, my second reaction to this post was to mentally calculate the difficulty of getting that adorable truck into my son’s bedroom and turning the flat bed into a bed bed. How cool would that be? Ha!

  36. Yay for you being able to apologize. Of all the things I remember about my dad growing up it was the times he’d come up to my room after a big fight and apologize for overreacting/getting angry without reason/etc that stand out in my mind. That is so important.

  37. Oh I so have been in that position-more times than I would like to admit (or than you’ll see on my blog!) But in trying to raise respectful boys you’ve got to be quick to nip the sass.

  38. Oh what a familiar story. I love your description of yourself… “antique mommy”. I’m a 45 year, single mom to a little girl who will be 4 in a few weeks. I am constantly in a state of despair over her sassy mouth and can’t for the life of me figure out what I’ve done or said to show her that kind of behavior. Glad I’m not alone.

  39. Well, as the single mom of a 15 year old boy and a 13 year old girl, I say “WHAT did you say??!!” or “ExCUSE me??” quite a lot. But as a previous poster said, they usually correct it on the repeat if it needs correction, which means they know not to do it again. It gets harder to keep them from being smart-mouthed when they are taller than you are, so it helps if they have learned to respect you while they’re still little! You’re doing a good job, AM.

  40. heh. I love your preemptive comment.

    I have SO been where you are, but it seems like my children are not nearly as forgiving… and are really doing the milking it for all it’s worth thing. “Well, ok mom… but now can you get me those Pokemon cards…?”

  41. YAY! Potty training! Isn’t it great? And it sounds like you and Sean had a great learning experience there, better than if you had never slipped up.

  42. Antique Mommy, never question your parenting ability, you are a great Mom and only human after all. We have ALL done that very same thing at one time or another.

  43. With tears in my eyes, I just have to say you taught Sean well, lady!

    Out of the mouth of babes…!

  44. Bless your heart and Sean’s bottom! Just a little reminder that we’re not perfect but that our littles love us anyway! The best thing you’ve given him so far is his ability to forgive and show grace!

  45. Are you guys in AR? That’s where I grew up…I read your post about Pickles Gap and Toad Suck and immediately got a little homesick! 🙁 BTW: I too have mis-understood my 3 year old son and disciplined him when I shouldn’t have – and yes, I too felt horrible for it! Just this morning I thought to myself “There are moments when I have NO clue what I’m doing…” When I read your post, I felt a little better. Thanks for that! 🙂

  46. OUCH! Man I wish we could all be perfect parents! But no, kids get these flawed paents who tend to mess up from time to time even when they are trying to be good. Of cousre the kids aren’t perfect either. On second thought, I think God knows what he is doing putting us non-perfect people together.

  47. We’ve all done this…I think I am doing it more as I get…cough…older and I don’t hear as well! On the plus side, children learn how to apologize when they hear us apologize. Let’s just say, my son should be an expert at it!

  48. Hey,

    It always breaks my heart when I correct the Pickle and I was the idiot! I can’t stand that look on his face.

    I’ve been a lurker for a long time. We’re both Antique Mommy’s with 4 year olds.

    Love the pics, too!

  49. Oh, we all have done this, and yes, doesn’t it STING?!

    Of course he forgives you! You are an amazing mama who’s human and simply heard wrong.

    You’re both just precious.

    And the disrespectful rude kids these days? Totally right there with you. Sometimes I feel so old-fashioned compared to many moms, but I can’t help it. It’s just in my blood or somethin’. I miss the Leave it to Beaver kind of days…

  50. i’m afraid 4’s are hard for me. so are 8’s. i’m only assuming 12 and 16 will be too. I have three boys and these ages are my least favorite. actually, only the first half of said years but those 6 months every 4 years feel like slow motion!

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