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Challenge: Parent Fails

Oh, the Boy Came Tumbling Down

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After five kids and 20+ years of parenting experience, it's tough to tag one of my many parent fails as the most epic. What can I say? I'm an overachiever.

Parent fails. Aahh. . . the stuff childhood memories are made of. I couldn't write a book on fails or anything. . . okay, maybe a short anthology, but remember these stories have occurred over the course of a 20-year period. But, without them, what would childhood be?

I love my kids and generally take good care of them, but I'll admit, I'm prone to error.

I'm not sure which one of my parent fail highlights takes first prize. Was it the time my kid repeatedly collapsed when we were in the mountains in Colorado? At 12,000 you really need to suck wind to breath. I thought he needed to adjust to the altitude so I kept standing him back up, patting him on the back, and telling him to tough it out. In response, he'd promptly fall over again. Hmm. . . should have been a clue.

Well, when he continued to faint ALL DAY (to the point of annoyance), we finally took him down the mountain and to a doctor and found out he had pneumonia. (In my defense, he had no symptoms before we went up the mountain.) Major fail!

Or was it the time I inadvertently left my 18-month-old outside on the driveway while I went inside and had lunch after a trip to the grocery story? That was epic. My neighbor who rang my doorbell with my screaming kid in her arms was never friendly with me after that. Another major fail!

If I had to pick an award winning fail, I'd go with the time my kid tripped and fell down a very, very short flight of stairs--maybe three steps --and broke his arm. He'd probably fallen thousands of times and had never broken anything. And, he wasn't like a little kid--15 years old, 6'3," 170 pounds. Solid.

The fall seemed harmless, but, I suppose when you're falling from 6 feet and you factor in momentum, you can come down pretty hard.

Honestly, I didn't think he was really hurt. He was kind of whimpering, but I thought it was for effect. It's embarrassing to fall when you're over 6 feet tall. So, I didn't overreact.

After five kids, I've learned the most important step after injury is triage.

Can you move it? He could.

Can you wiggle your fingers? He could.

No visible swelling.

After assessing hundreds of injuries and illnesses spread out among five kids, I figured I had about as much experience as at least a first year med student. So, in my expert medical opinion, I handed him some ice and told him to suck it up.

And, really, what were the chances of his arm being broken? I had the CDC on my side. Only 20 percent of childhood falls result in fractures. I guess I should have taken it a bit more seriously because if one in 5 childhood falls results in fractures, I hadn't reached my quota.

About two hours later, his elbow had swollen to the size of a softball, and he was in pain (and telling anyone who'd listen that I'd let him sit in the corner for two hours with a broken arm). I really, really felt bad (after the x-ray).

Fails they were, and, I could list a bunch of others.

In all honesty, I mess up. A lot. And it's never funny at the time.

The key to getting through raising children is learning to say "I'm sorry" and to laugh---at yourself. You're not perfect. No one is.

And look at it this way, if moms were perfect, how would childhood memories be made?Courtsey of Jessica Lee Photography

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