mommy fail

The scene: Easter brunch at our favorite breakfast nook.

The cast: Luis, Me, Maya, Ben, and 50 other dining patrons plus about 10 wait staff.

The plot: Scalding hot coffee + chubby baby hand = DISASTER of epic proportions.

OK. OK. He was fine and it wasn’t really a huge crisis, but it sure felt that way in the moment and it was a definite parenting fail … worsened by the fact that my coworker and his very-pregnant-with-their-first wife was seated at the table next to us! Not at all newbies to the parenting scene, I was just really embarrassed. Not because parents don’t make mistakes — we all do! — but because I had yet to make one so publicly.

I hate making a spectacle and prefer to fly under the radar; prefer to have my foibles go unnoticed (aside from blogging about them on the interwebs and all).

If there’s one thing parenting has forced me to do, it’s to be more aware of my surroundings; more careful with my every move. But on Sunday, I wasn’t careful. I wasn’t thinking. The waitress asked if I wanted coffee; I said yes. I poured some French Vanilla creamer in and pushed the mug back on the table so it would cool down.

I took Ben out of the carrier and plopped him on my lap.

And then he did something that Maya had never done. He reached across me (much further than I figured he could reach!) … and stuck his chubby little hand into my scalding hot coffee. Of all things. THAT.

It happened so fast, we barely realized what was happening. But my poor baby’s blood-curdling screams made everyone turn to stare and the waitress came running over to clean up the spilled coffee while my face fell and I scooped him into my arms, trying to soothe him while he buried his little head in my shoulder. Luis made a cold compress with ice and put it on his little mitten and I just held him tight. I felt AWFUL.

He was OK — just very scared and obviously hurting and in shock — but it was one of those parenting fails when you just can’t believe what just happened, just happened.

It wasn’t my first  fail as a mom  … and it surely won’t be my last … but it was the most public of my fails teachable moments to date and, well, let’s just say I felt his pain, too.

Benny, Mommy is very sorry! Now that I know he’s so darn grabby, I’ll be extra-careful and extra-aware of my surroundings.

How about you? What are some of your biggest “teachable moments” as a parent?


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