I Never Thought of That

By Laura Simon

You know what would be nice? If my children woke up every morning with warning labels attached.

See, I can parent pretty effectively in the areas that I can anticipate being an issue. I know to teach my children not to run in the road. I know I have to show them how to get my attention without interrupting. I know we need to practice being nice to little sister.

But every day my children invent something that I never, ever thought I’d have to tell them not to do. Case in point: yesterday’s swim practice. My boys are six and eight, and with a lot of coaching, I’ve finally started letting them change in the boys’ locker room instead of the family bathroom. I’ve set parameters: they have to stay together. They have to check the area before they leave and make sure they’ve gotten everything. They know to come to me if anything makes them uncomfortable.

I’m not saying it’s gone completely smoothly. An 11-year-old teammate recently emerged from the locker room to tell me my six-year-old was running naked around the locker room. Sometimes I hear loud yelling and hysterical laughter. Sometimes I hear total silence, which is even more frightening. At one point, I think there was a child in a locker.

But yesterday, my six-year-old did something I never thought to tell him not to do. I was talking to friends, with my back to the locker room door. Suddenly, a look of horror flickered across my friends’ faces. I knew immediately that it was one of my kids. And I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to be happy.

Apparently, the zipper on the backpack had gotten stuck, and one child couldn’t get his shorts out. So he came out to ask for my help…in his Star Wars underwear. Now if he had a morning warning label, I would have known to say, “You shouldn’t come out of the locker room in your underwear.” But who in their right mind says something like that? Isn’t that obvious? I guess I should just be grateful he had underwear on. His older brother once answered the door completely naked. Bless my poor neighbor’s heart.

I’d be a lot more competent as a parent if I could just get some idea of what to expect, you know? Maybe we need to start a new Facebook page where we share all the things our kids get into. There’s power in knowledge, after all. I know I’m not the only person whose kid killed the minivan CD player by filling it up with pennies while I was strapping his baby brother into the car seat. And surely someone else’s kid has unloaded a bottle of baby power all over the room during his “quiet time.” I’m quite certain my parenting motto is, “I would have never thought of that!”

Help another mama out. What’s the worst thing you never thought to tell your kids not to do?

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4 thoughts on “I Never Thought of That

  1. Ingrid

    I never thought I need to explain to my child that despite the fact that we sometimes potty outside while camping, it is NOT okay to GO while in the CORN MAZE!!!
    Another funny one that I wasn’t prepared for was when my son lost his first tooth and excitedly ran to show the K&W waiter that now he had missing teeth too! 😬 I’m so grateful for that poor man’s sweet sense of humor.

  2. Ashley

    LOVE IT! My daughter and her cousin emptied jar of Vick’s Vapor Rub on themselves AND a comforter. All sinuses were cleared on ALL who entered the room. Surprised we could not smell it before the jar was empty, but never fails . . . . you get there at the end!!

  3. Katie

    Oh where do I start? Once when looking at houses with a realtor, my daughter, who was about 3 at the time, pulled down her pants and underwear in front of the realtor! Then when our house finally went on the market, my son took a marker to the walls – ahahah! We’ve had coins stuffed in our DVD player. Also, one time my nephew (at age 2) took glass beer bottles out of a cooler (my brother was setting up for a baptismal party for his youngest) and threw all of them onto the driveway right before we all had to leave for church. Fun times. LOL! Fun topic today 🙂


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