My broken arm is making me a bad mommy. Really it is. Let’s review a few of the things that I fumbled in one week after I had my arm shortened. (That’s not a joke; I’ll explain later.)
It would seem my brain has turned to mush. First, I forgot to bring my daughter to the eye doctor. Second, I forgot to give her important weekly meds. Third—and here’s where things got really pathetic—I forgot my son’s 10th birthday. An egregious slip up.
And as if that lapse weren’t bad enough, fourth: the tooth fairy didn’t show up for my daughter (the one with the bad medical care).
Technically I can blame that last oversight on an implausible mythical creature. In any case, the net sum of epic fails that week will not earn me any parenting awards.
The birthday fail
What saved me from getting fired on the spot over the birthday snafu was that the entire family forgot–including the birthday boy. To be fair, it was a busy week and we were at an all-day swim meet on the monumental day. It was 10 days since my arm surgery and I’d only recently weaned off Vicodin.
At about 8 p.m. I noticed the date on my phone, and it clicked. Doh! We decided to wrap up his presents (I had bought presents, at least) and set them on the table for the next day. He’d be none the wiser!
When my son saw the presents, he was instantly suspicious and checked the date on a nearby I-pad. He was on to me. His first words that morning were (accusatory): “I was ten yesterday!”
“Right. About that…”
The anniversary fail
As we were belatedly celebrating the birthday and telling the now-kind-of-funny story to my parents over cake, my husband turned to me and said, “And by the way, Happy Anniversary!” I had forgotten that, too.
Our 17th anniversary had slipped by in the night, 12 days previous. To be fair, I was sneaking in a pre-surgery backpacking trip with the boys at the time. (A trip during which I forgot to bring toilet paper.)
I’d like to point out that my husband and I routinely both forget our wedding anniversary. I have been known to completely forget my own birthday. And we once moved Christmas altogether to accommodate the ski schedule. (The kids still don’t know about that one, so hush up, y’all.)
Another birthday snafu
So that birthday-doctor-medicine-tooth-fairy week was a memorably bad week. But wait, it gets worse. Some ten days later, my other son had his 13th birthday. First year as a teenager. A milestone occasion. I told my husband the birthday was on Monday. We celebrated on Monday. Presents and cake on Monday. On Tuesday, we went for his 13-year checkup with the pediatrician.
“So, your birthday was Saturday, huh?” said the nurse.
“No, it was yesterday,” my son corrected.
“Isn’t your birthday on the 27th?” asked the nurse, who was staring at his chart. (Damn chart.)
“Of course, the 27th …yesterday,” insisted my son.
“Then your birthday was on Saturday,” said the nurse. (Damn nurse.)
“Mooooom!!!,” moaned my son, accusingly.
Oatmeal brain strikes again.
So here’s my big excuse, which I promised I’d explain. I had been suffering from something called ulnar abutment syndrome. Basically I was born with an ulna a titch too long. The bone had been banging into my carpal bones for more than 20 years, giving me chronic pain. Here’s the radical fix: an ulnar osteotomy.
In other words, an orthopedic hand surgeon saws through the bone, removes a small hunk, then puts it together again with a big metal plate and a handful of screws. And possibly some super glue.
I’ll be in a cast for 12 weeks, which makes it hard to type, unscrew jars, and apparently hard to be a good mom. Supposedly using my non-dominant hand should be cementing new brain pathways, but I’m pretty convinced the cast is squeezing my gray matter and making me forgetful.
Fortunately my kids have stepped up with the jars (and the compost and the dishes). For the typing dilemma, I’ve tried using my computer’s speech recognition software, but it’s a little like playing “telephone” with Steve Jobs. I end up with sentences that sound like this:
“I have something cold ulmer of weapons syndrome. The sturgeon so us through the bomb she’s a little bit of the boat launch.” You can see the problem.
So I slowly pecked out this blog—it took nearly a year—bringing you this confessional of a bad mommy. Not my first such blog, by the way. See “Bad Mommy Moments,” in which I admit to cracking an egg on my daughter’s head, among other dubious parenting moments.
Probably not the last word on the subject, either.