Friday, June 7, 2013

Saving Private Bert

Some days are rough. Teeth are cutting, naps are interrupted, and Genevieve is growing at a rate that boggles the mind. Growing pains are a real thing. So, we rock the routine and roll with the punches.

And roll literally, in the stroller. The fresh air does us both good, and it gives her a chance to decompress while she has her snack. We take a toy along for the ride, and the toy gets to model good behavior.

We had One of Those Days last week- parenting fail, after parenting fail, after parenting fail. I decided to try a walk to reboot our afternoon, and that day, she picked Bert as her ride-along buddy.

Bert loves to go for walks.
To add to my challenging day, I had made the mistake of reading a thread on Facebook in which an acquaintance's friends were opining as to what is the *best* way to raise children. Then the opinions turned into an argument that has no winner, with both sides digging their heels in and shouting "I AM RIGHT, AND YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE A HORRIBLE, SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE MOTHER!"

There is really nothing as incendiary as discussing parenting choices.

I stayed out of the discussion, but my stomach was churning over the whole mess, and taking a quiet walk helped soothe my troubles, too.

As we wrapped up the walk and came home, I went to pull Genevieve out of the stroller to find Genevieve... but not Bert. I had stopped partway during the walk to tuck my jacket into the basket underneath, gave Genevieve a kiss, and Bert had been there. And now he was noticeably absent.

In my mind, I saw Genevieve's heart break over the loss of a favorite toy. The tears. Not understanding WHY Bert was gone. Worst of all- how would we tell Ernie?

Obviously, at some point, Bert had gone overboard, unnoticed. I turned the stroller around, intending to retrace our steps, and I realized that (based on the timing of the last diaper) Genevieve - likely - needed to be changed. We went inside, I asked Mom to change her and keep an eye on her for five minutes while I took the car on a recon mission.

I knew, intellectually, that if I couldn't find him, it would be simple to replace Bert. But it wasn't about that. It had been a horrible day, and if I could save Bert, I could have gotten at least that part of the day right. No toy left behind.
Dramatic re-enactment.
As I drove the route, I found Bert on the sidewalk, undisturbed. He was 1/3 of a mile from home, and I could see him from the street. I (safely) pulled the van over, leapt out, scooped him up and returned home VICTORIOUS. I had SAVED Bert!

When I came home, I didn't quite get the hero's welcome I had expected. Genevieve didn't really seem to care much, or notice.  It didn't matter. I brought Bert home.

You can add "Special Ops Mom" to my resume. Officially.


  1. Re: parenting choices online - TELL ME ABOUT IT. I posted my Magic Water "recipe" in a Lifehacker comment and I got a bunch of replies about how I am a terrible and lazy mom, lying to my kid and (I am not kidding) "training her to be an alcoholic."

    Yeah, preeetty sure those people don't have kids. (The people who do have kids? Thought it was hilarious.)

    1. My mother used magic pills they were nerd candies and had been left by fairies. Of course my sister is an addict but one has nothing to do with the other. Motherhood, you do your absolute best and someone always swears you are doing it wrong

  2. How great that you are recording these moments. You can take them out later and remind yourself that you *are* a good parent. Or remind your kids that you are a superhero in disguise!

    My best moment, which I still talk about, was getting my son to pee in a toilet that automatically flushes. He was very noise sensitive at the time. Too long a story to relate here, but suffice to say there was a crying child, one bathroom, and a long line outside. You can imagine the pressure, but I got the job done with grace and imagination.

  3. Congratulations on the latest successful mission!!
    {Love the "dramatic reenactment" caption!} two cents worth:
    You know that thing where people say you're actually not crazy if you wonder if you are? ;-)
    I submit that you are NOT a bad parent if you wonder... Well, you typed "parenting fail after parenting fail". I submit that you are not failing.

    Yes, things may not go as we'd like and we don't always behave in the perfect "adult" fashion that we'd like {I certainly don't. {sigh}}.
    However - you keep trying. And revising and learning. And most importantly - laughing and loving.
    Kudos, Ms. Jasmine. I believe you are excelling at your newest career.

  4. Go Jasmin. You're one of the best parents I know.

  5. You have to get a copy of the picture book Knuffle Bunny!

  6. When I feellike I'm have a bad day as a parent, I love to pop in "meet the Robinsons"and take a few pages from their book. "From failing you learn. From success, not so much" and "keep moving forward" we learn what doesn't work from our mistakes and flat faceing, and if we keep moving forward we canmove past the bad and aim for the better that the morning will bring. Keep your head up and yourcqpe flapping, even when you manage to trip on it!!

    with love and a "good work soldier" thumbs up
    ~Tara Wurster.

  7. There are plenty of bad parents in the world. These are the ones you read about in horrible stories in the news. There are, by God's grace, many more wonderful parents all over the world. The wonder of it is, none of them does things the same way as another. There are a myriad ways to demonstrate love to your child. There are many ways to successfully discipline. We need to see eachother's endeavors as learning opportunities, not a chance to "win." I've raised two boys (still am. You never stop.) and have been through the fire. You did the right thing not entering the debate.


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