It hasn’t been long since the first Moments in Parenting Incompetence post, but I have so much raw material on this topic it’s already time for the second installment. Enjoy!
My two year-old is obsessed with trucks. Obsessed. So last week, when I happened to see this crane truck at Winners for half the price it would be at a regular toy store, I jumped on it. Christmas is right around the corner, I thought. Or it could be for his birthday in February.
I drove home, proud of my savvy shopping, thinking of the elation on his face on Christmas morning. A chronic last-minute shopper, this was also the earliest I had ever bought a Christmas present in my life. Then followed a series of truly incompetent moments.
Mistake #1, in which I forget
When I arrived home, I saw Bean at the window and so I left the truck in the back of the car, intending to come back out and get it after he’d gone to bed that night. I forgot.
Mistake #2, in which I am too slow
The next day all four of us were headed out of the house when I remembered the truck was still in the car. I frantically signalled to my husband, who was just about to put Bean into his carseat. He stalled while I ditched Monkey in his bucket seat on the driveway and went for the truck. But our timing was off. Before I could get to the big yellow box, Bean had climbed into the car by himself and was standing on his carseat, looking into the back of the car. I snatched the box away, but not before he caught a glimpse of the back of it, which has pictures of all the other trucks made by the same company.
“What is that?”
“I see trucks! I see pictures of trucks!!”
My husband turned Bean around and maneuvered him into his seat as I ran for the front door with the big yellow box in my hands. As I dashed away I could hear the wails:
“I see it? I see it!! Show me that thing! Truuuuuuucks!”
When I got back to the car, after I’d clicked the patiently waiting Monkey in, I lied through my teeth and told Bean it was garbage – an empty package from one of his old trucks. Then I turned the music up really loudly as we drove away.
Mistake #3, in which I forget… again
In the aftermath of Mistake #2, I had put the box in our laundry room/workshop and shut the door, planning on finding a better hiding spot later. The next day, Bean followed me into the laundry room and saw it again. I fed him the same lie about it being an old box from his old trucks and then distracted him by offering a cookie.
Mistake #4, in which I have been overcome by laziness and forgetfulness and end up ruining Christmas
A week later, the truck was still in the same place. That’s right – after two close calls, I still had not moved it. So I really do deserve what happened next. We were on day one of cold-turkey potty training, a method we were sure was going to work. (Run around the house in just underwear for a few days, with diapers only for naps and bed.) Bean was doing wonderfully, and was excited about the whole thing.
He followed my husband into the workshop. He saw the truck. Not just the box, the truck itself. Hubby told him he could not have the truck. And then his little truck-obsessed toddler heart broke. Loudly.
They came upstairs to me, Bean sobbing in confusion, my husband frantically looking for a way out.
“Who that truck for?”
“Well…” I searched my brain for an acceptable answer. How do you tell a two year-old that the most amazing toy he’s ever seen, that is in his own house, that he has seen not once, not twice, but THREE times now, is meant for him but supposed to be a surprise so he can’t have it now and if he could just forget about it entirely that would be great?
“Who we gonna give that truck to?”
“I play with it?” (Escalating intensity… face crumpling… tears flowing.) “I play with it just a couple? Just a couple?”
My husband and I looked at each other, recognizing defeat when we saw it. He was never going to forget, and we were never going to hear the end of it.
“That truck is for you!”
The elation on his face was exactly as I’d pictured it. (Only without the Christmas tree in the background, and also with more tears and less pants.)
He played with the truck, completely absorbed. He was so busy playing that he was no longer paying attention to his body and had an accident. And another. We’d inadvertently set him up for failure by giving him such an effective distraction.
Mistake #5, in which we try to make lemonade out of lemons, but end up with failure
So, we decided that for day two of potty training, we’d tell him that the truck was going away and would come out again as a prize for when he’d had a whole day accident-free. We could fix this! It would be motivation! Why didn’t we just do this from the beginning?
That led to an entire day of whining for the crane truck, pleading for the crane truck, and crying for the crane truck, followed by the entire potty training thing falling apart. The full detail of that particular failure is a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that the crane truck was the catalyst for an entirely incompetent series of events involving bribery, tears and frustration for more than one individual in this house.
I’ve shared my shame with you… now it’s your turn. What important things have you completely messed up?