Admittedly, and to those who know me, surprisingly, I am not the best mother of all time. I don’t give my kid Benadryl, over sedating him so I can go to the club that night but I’m not winning any awards. I tend to think I would make Homer Simpson more proud of my child rearing than say… June Cleaver.
So now it is time to confess a mistake I made in parenting:
My son was probably two years old. He would not stop messing with the coffee table. It had slate tiles that could be pulled up and they were heavy. I could only imagine him either pinching his finger or dropping it on his foot resulting in a bloodbath of terror. Moms have this incredible knack for exaggerating every incident so as to result in grievous bodily injury. For example when I was little I was too scared to put my arm out of an open car window as the car was in motion. My mother had me convinced that we would somehow pass an object and by sheer velocity it would render me arm less. Wanting to participate with the rest of my kindergarten class in making hand print molds, puppets, and clapping I would take heed. Back to my son, for these reasons, I told him to stop messing with the table tiles.
He of course did not listen. I thought a moment of genius had struck me. I yelled “Lions, he’s not listening!” What ensued was negative reinforcement at it’s pinnacle. He immediately backed away from the table. He looked around and got nervous. Yeah, I thought, you didn’t know your mother was master of the lions huh? What now? I then said “Nevermind lions.” To this day I don’t know why I did it.
What served as a brief moment of total obedience was no doubt traumatic. To my defense, he didn’t cry, so I didn’t see the error of my ways immediately. I probably called to my lion minions a couple more times. It was so effective!
A few months later I take my son to Chik-fil-a. There is a play area and it has a soundtrack with a jungle theme. There is a roar that is no doubt feline. I don’t know if it’s a lion, since I don’t think they live in the jungle. Either way, when my son heard it he was terrified. We had to leave because he was so upset. Oops.
I felt like such an asshole. I didn’t use it again. Now, fastforward two years. We again go to Chik-fil-a. I didn’t even imagine he would remember being afraid of the play area two years ago. Well, I open the door and there is the same feline roar. He cowers, covering his ears and sits at the table. He actually eats his food but in a solemn manner. He doesn’t even turning around to stare at strangers so I can tell him to stop, sit down, eat.
Well, there you have it. That is my admittance to being a bad mom sometimes. I mean, I am sure it’s better than actually letting lions discipline him. I only hope that as he ages and becomes and adult he will not have a complete mental break going to the Nashville Zoo. I also hope he doesn’t do hypnosis regression therapy afterwards to find out it’s all my fault. The lesson: Do not lead your children to believe you have control over beasts that are hidden in your suburban home ready to eat your child at your request.