What Were You Thinking? Face-palm Moments With Kids

There is a rule in my home that seems to be broken quite often. I do not think I am an overbearing mother and firmly stand on the idea that rules and structure are good for kids, yet I am still a believer in being flexible and letting kids explore.

With one rule, however, I do not budge:

“Do not leave the house without asking permission!”

It was a bright Wednesday morning last week and I was feeding baby Gertrude. I could hear Raymond and Anne chattering away, playing with their Legos and debating who liked school the most.

Rocking little Gertrude, she guzzled her formula and smiled from time to time, pleased in knowing she was in her mama’s arms being fed.

I breathed a sigh of early morning relief that no one was arguing or having a meltdown, which is usually when something unexpected happens.

The sound of the front door opening shook me out of my content daydream. I thought Peter (my husband) was in the shower...

Straining my ears, I indeed heard the splashing sound of someone washing up and rising from the rocking chair, I bolted from Gertrude’s room and down the stairs.

Walking through our finger-smudged glass door, I squinted as the morning sun beams blinded me through the trees in our front yard.

“Raymond?” I shouted, knowing full well my neighbors would hear me through the spring breeze of their open windows.

Baby Gertrude burped and giggled almost at the same time, letting me know she knew what her mischievous brother was up to.

“I’m here, Mama!” Raymond said, carefully tip-toeing through the morning dew, clothed in nothing but his Spider Man boxer briefs.

I could feel my blood starting to pump faster through my veins as thousands of thoughts about safety plowed through my head.

"What on earth are you doing? Get in this house!" I said, waiting for the bizarre explanation typical of my 5-year-old son.

"Okay, okay, but I went to get a CD out of the car and I saw this mama and daddy duck and I had to chase them through the yard!"

There are at least 2 or 3 times each day when my children leave me speechless. I have no snappy comebacks or clever lessons I can muster in an instant, so I stare at them in confusion.

I switched Gertrude to my right hip so I could squat down to look Raymond in the eye. The squishing of her milk filled tummy forced her to spit up all over herself and soil my clean jeans.

"Raymond, what is our rule?"

(Blank stare from Raymond.)

Three-year-old Anne, the observer and hearer of everything, answered from the family room:

“Always ask before you go outside!”

“Always ask before you go outside.” I repeated.

“Okay, mama.” Raymond replied, smiling and kissing me on the cheek. The look in his eye was that of sympathy saying to me, “Oh you poor woman and your silly rules. I will listen to you one day. But not today.”

Have you had any “What are you doing/thinking” moments with your children?

I am sure this is the first of many moments I will want to face-palm myself in disbelief...


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  • This is worth writing about? Are you kidding me? I can't wait for the next one, where your kid forgets a library book at home.

  • In reply to dinska:

    Good afternoon to you! At Parenting Without A Parachute, we write about everything from the mundane to thought-provoking topics! Thank you so much for reading and feeling compelled enough to comment!


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    For the record, Ms. Rago, you could write about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I'd read it. Probably twice.

  • Oh, Mandi. Thank you so much for the lovely compliments. I am passionate about writing and as long as my stories resonate with one person, I have succeeded! :) I will work on the PB & J post! ;)

  • I love this article! It is so relevant in terms of how we all have our own rules ( this being a rule I have in my house as well). What a great illustration of how quickly things happen and the innocence of our sweet babies! Keep it coming Elizabeth! I can't wait to read your next post!!!!!

  • In reply to Momof3:

    Yes, things do happen quickly when you have small children. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I am sure I will be wishing for these innocent situations the older the kids get! Have a super day!

  • Thank you for sharing this story! Sometimes I let jr. play in the driveway alone while I run inside. I feel like it's becoming a bad habit. Something can catch a child's attention, and before you know it they will be down the block!

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