#thatawkwardmomentwhen you realize you’re “not great” at this parenting thing

I typically measure my rating as a momma by whether or not my child is safe in his bed at the end of the day. Every night I go to bed thinking, “OK, I didn’t mess up today by inadvertently leaving him at the park or letting him play with knives. Today was a good day.”

Then Friday night happened.

I hadn’t seen Monster in four days. I spent most of the week in Washington, D.C., for a work conference, Skyping occasionally with the little man who blew me kisses and said “mama.”

Come Friday night, I was ready to hold him in my arms and give him a kiss. However, I got home A.B. (after bedtime).

“Well,” I thought, “I’ll just pop into his room and give him a quick hug and kiss and put him back in his crib.”

Oh, Kate, you pretty little fool.

Of course, the hug turned into me sitting with him in the rocking chair, singing to him as he slept. When I tried to put him back in his crib, he cried. Ordinarily I can do the “walk away” and he’ll go to sleep.

But ordinarily, I haven’t spent four days away from my baby, and his cries became like kryptonite all over again.

So back in my arms he went, only by that point he’s wide awake and wants to play.

“Why not?” I thought. “So what if it’s 8:30? We’ll go watch basketball and he’ll fall back asleep downstairs.”

Oh, Kate, you silly, road-weary momma.

That turned into him running around the living room, showing off all the words he learned in my absence: “cra-ca?” and “go!” were my favorites.

At one point, he got fussy, and we decided he was overtired and should go to sleep.

“No problem!” I thought. “I’ll just sing him a song or two and put him in his crib and walk away.”

Oh, Kate, you don’t deserve the brain you have.

I put Monster in his crib and snuck out the door as he began screaming. I was a few steps down the stairs when I heard David yell frantically, “KATE! He’s trying to climb out of his crib!”

I turned to run back up the stairs and then heard, “Nevermind, he’s lying down.”

“Phew,” I said, still listening to Monster’s cries, “you just scared the-”

Then we heard the THUD – and even more frightening, the ensuing silence.

I bolted upstairs to find a very confused child sitting on the floor in his room. Dazed? Yes. Proud to have learned a new skill? Yes. Injured? Thank God, no.

I snatched him up and ran my hands over his head and body to make sure I didn’t feel any bumps or protruding bones. Then I held him tight as my heart pounded, saying, “I’m so sorry, angel, that was momma’s fault. That was my fault.”

How could I have let that happen? Why did I wake a sleeping baby? And when in the hell did he learn ninja tricks like hopping over the side of his crib?

Lesson learned – will not wake the baby, and must change crib out for big-boy bed.

When the baby was finally asleep in his ninja-proof pack-n-play, I lay in bed to mull my day as a parent.

“Well,” I thought, “He’s sleeping soundly and he’s unharmed. I guess I just learn from my mistakes and nothing like this will ever happen again.”

Oh, Kate, you are such a pretty little fool.

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