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You look like a monkey, and your mama does too

You look like a monkey, and your mama does too

March 5, 2007

Eleven

Blowing out the candles on the cake he made all by himself.

Moments before the two of us had a “discussion” about the size of the pieces of cake he was cutting. And I ruined the evening with my inability to keep my mouth shut.

Pieces that were the size of small continent, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? I am only pointing it out to make myself look better.

There may or may not have been yelling. Perhaps some vague threats of if you can’t do it properly I will have to do it myself.

He may or may not have stormed out of the room leaving us to enjoy his birthday cake without him. “Enjoy” being a relative term. As much as one can “enjoy” cake with the stares of gaped mouthed children surrounding you.

And I may or may not have had my heart torn from chest so great was my guilt.

I am comforted slightly by the fact that he had already made his birthday wish before The Incident, as it will henceforth be referred to, so I know he could not have wished me to drop dead on the spot.

I did it for him.

Posted by Chris @ 12:52 pm  

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Comments

  1. Carola says:

    oh Chris, don’t be so hard on yourself…I really don’t have anything to say to make you feel better, but just remember how much you love him and make sure he knows and feels it.

  2. Tal says:

    I remember many such Incidents with my own mother, and while it probably won’t help you feel better about it right this second, rest assured that I got over it. Besides, just think of how his future wife will thank you when he learns proper portion sizing to go along with his culinary skills!

  3. Kristie says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I yelled at my 7-yr old daughter as we were leaving for school today. She was crying because I wanted to leave our 16-yr old dog outside this morning. It’s going to be 70 degrees here and I figured the old boy would like to lay around and warm his bones in the sunshine. But my daughter was hysterical crying that he would be unhappy and we should leave him inside where he could lie on his pillow, the way he likes. And I *insisted* that I knew better and she needed to stop crying.

    Over a damn dog.

    Just like you said, it was really my need to prove that I know better than her. Then I realized she was right, and he’s be happier inside, so I caved. But I was still annoyed at myself for being so bull-headed to begin with.

    I’m not really sure how this turned into a comment all about me. I was trying to make you feel better … at least know you’re not alone. Did it help ….. at all?

    Yeah. I didn’t think so. Sorry about that.

  4. Suki says:

    I had a somewhat perfectionist mom, so there were lots of stuff I wasn’t allowed to do until I could do it “right”- wrap presents, do counted cross-stitch, address cards or seating placards. That might sound so mean and terrible and like my mom was a real demanding jerk, but that isn’t the case at all- she just had her quirks. I have no lingering trauma and we are super close, so have no fears about the long term “damage” to your son. Oh, I guess the one long term effect is that I am a hugely anal present wrapper, card addresser, etc. I don’t let my husband help and I probably won’t let my children either- I guess I am just mean that way too!:)

  5. Nicki says:

    Just remember that when he’s older it will be something to tease you about. “Hey guys, remember that year Mom freaked out about how big I was cutting the cake.”

    In other words, this too shall pass. There are worse things to beat yourself up about. Go have a martini, and relax!!! It is all of them against you,
    after all.

  6. Chris says:

    Aw, you are being too hard on yourself. It is so hard sometimes being a parent.
    Did he get any of the cake after all? I worry about silly things like that. For the wish to come true, you need to ingest some cake. That’s all I’m saying. ;)

  7. Lori says:

    We just can’t be perfect all the time. I’ve ruined plenty of special occasions too. But, it never stops breaking my heart when I ruin a special day for my kid. You’re a great mom Chris, and I’m sure he’s already forgiven you!

  8. Still Standing says:

    I am a perfectionist person in many ways. (some things I KNOW I can never keep on top of like laundry). But by nature I tend to withhold praise until it is done perfectly and worthy of praise. Knowing this, I now use the word all the time.
    Child vacuums the floor, but forgot to lower the head of the vacuum, therefore not “really” vacuuming. Perfect! Child makes a sloppy bed, Perfect! Maybe I’m overcompensating, but I too have ruined an event or two with my ideals.
    We all do it. You are sorry and you “learned” your lesson. Forgive yourself and ask for his, and teach him that adults aren’t perfect. That’s something that My Mom failed to show me. You are doing great!

  9. Keith says:

    You are being a little hard on yourself, but of course everything was out of love. It is hard to be a mother, and it is hard to be a son. Forgive and forget are the key words of advice here. Next birthday will be amazing and neither of you will remember this incident.

  10. meredith says:

    virtual hugs, don’t be too hard on yourself.

  11. Marci says:

    My first born daughter turned 11 in January and it is like she is a different person. I never know when I am going to set her off. Anyway, I think it goes with their age and not a whole lot with what we as parents do or what we say. I am sorry you felt so bad. Your post was very moving and I could feel how hurt you were. Hang in there.

  12. Beth F. says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Although your guilt is so understandable amongst mothers. Big hugs to you! What a wonderful boy you have! Beautiful cake, too!

  13. Meghan says:

    Oh, Man. Sorry about the angst. I am sure he will still turn out to be a well-adjusted adult. It’s hard to stay mum when you are the person in charge of seven sugar-addled children who consumed 4.5 servings of cake in one slice. Kids don’t get that cause-effect stuff until they’re 20 or so.
    I don’t know if you had a chance to talk to him about your feelings regarding the exchange, but I bet it would make him feel a lot better. And you too.

  14. Jennifer says:

    ((((HUGS)))) Been there, done that…wish I knew just what to say to make you feel better.

  15. bluepaintred says:

    awww.

    just apologise, hug and move on .

    we all have foot int he mout moments

  16. annalise says:

    Oh Chris. Btdt. Sometimes (often!) you could just film me in action and use me in an educational “what not to do” movie.

    (((hugs))). And I agree with Nicki. One day you will laugh about this with him.

  17. Melissa R. Garrett says:

    :-( I feel bad for both of you, I really do. I remember what it was like to be that age and be so darn angry about not getting my way and feeling that my mom was being unreasonable. And I feel bad for you because I know exactly what you are going through. You can’t get it right ALL the time, my friend. And even though I am a fairly new reader to your site, I can tell that you love your children A LOT. I think I would bake another cake and let him cut a really big piece for everyone.

    PS - I make my kids angry on a daily basis.

  18. N. says:

    Being a control freak sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? I feel your pain. When my kids were little and I did something stupid, I’d console myself with the thought that at least they wouldn’t remember! Doesn’t work so well when they are 11. Try to remember all the times he was a jerk who deserved punishment but you were extra patient with him (or ignoring him, whichever). It all balances out. Eventually, he’ll forgive you this and all the other awful things you do to him during his upcoming adolescence (real and imagined).

  19. Jennifer says:

    I’m so sorry! I hate how I feel when something like that happens and all I can do is where there were an Undo command with that little backwards arrow in real life.

    He will get over it. And so will you.

    Now go back and read the 132 reasons why I love you! And print out a copy for him.

  20. MyDuckies says:

    You prove that you are a good mom, just by being upset that you upset him.
    We are our own harshist critics. Even though we are Moms, we are still human. The best lessons come from our mistakes- And how we deal with them.

    Hang in there!!

  21. Woman with Kids says:

    Sometimes I watch myself do that… open my mouth and talk when I just, really shouldn’t. It happens. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

  22. qtpies7 says:

    Well, the picture is cute, anyways! Sorry, I know how it feels to royaly screw up in parenting. My ds got ISS last week for saying the “f” word about a gym teachers bad call, and when I went to discipline him I realized that I have several times lost my temper WITH HIM and said that word and pretty much blamed him for making me that mad. So, he said the word, and I had to apologize. I have to add, I NEVER swear except at him.

  23. jody2ms says:

    Breaking my “keep the computer off” rule to read your site, my friend.

    I have had moments like that…oh boy have I ever. Mostly with my oldest, and they feel like “Incidents”, or scars that will never heal, to me, too. It really hurts.

    Hugs to you and your son.

  24. CaliforniaGrammy says:

    As Nicki said—”This too shall pass!” but knowing that doesn’t always made it any easier. But it will be something you both will chuckle about later!

  25. ben says:

    Careful, he may grow up to dislike birthdays. Like 80% of the rest of us.

    (just kidding)

    Sorry that happened, perhaps it was a learning experience for y’all. That’s what I tell myself, daily. I’m still learning.

  26. elismsue says:

    Been there, done that…just like my mom and her mom and her mom. That one time that it hits us, like it hit you, is unforgettable. We learn as we go. I don’t remember the child rearing manual mentioning that, did you? Why didn’t they come with instructions? ;)

  27. Amy Girl says:

    Awww, that makes me so sad. Maybe because I can feel your pain. When they are little those comments just don’t sink in, but as they grow and become a miniature thinking and feeling adult they do. Bitter sweet.

    They continue to teach us each and everyday don’t they. We all need to be kinder and sweeter no matter what.

  28. Antique Mommy says:

    Ow. Ow. Ouch. We’ve all done it. Maybe a good time to learn about forgiveness?

  29. kit says:

    Oh,I can feel your pain. I have done this same thing. The tongue has such power to build up and to tear down.
    One thing I try to do that is different from what my mom did, is admit that I was wrong and ask for forgiveness. My heart is with you!

  30. Linds says:

    Just be grateful that no-one taped the cake cutting. I watched one Christmas video from years ago and was MORTIFIED about how I spoke to my young son. I still cringe now. I apologised to him then, which was years too late, and he said…what on earth are you talking about? So no deep psychological damage was done. Relax. He knows you love him!

  31. Jen3 @ amazing trips says:

    Here’s my input … for what it’s worth. If you really feel sorry about your actions and bumming him out on his birthday, bake him another cake, as a surprise, and let HIM cut it up for everyone after dinner. If you’re feeling generous enough - you can even let him squash one of the pieces in your face. Or, maybe not. :)

    I always appreciated it when my mother did things to show me that she was human and made mistakes. I think I can count … uh … one time that happened.

  32. Lily Calla's Mama says:

    Chris, please don’t beat yourself up. Us moms, we have our moments. Unfortunately, sometimes we have our moments at the most inopportune times. Like birthdays. Stuff happens. He’ll get over it. And so will you. Happy 11th birthday to your son! :)

    P.S. May I suggest that he get to have his “continent sized” piece of cake for dessert tonight? ;)

  33. Kelly says:

    Amazing, isnt it? Moms are human also. I too have been out of step with my kids. It is hard sometimes because as a mom we are always “on duty”. You are a wonderful mom, give hugs and move on with something fun and new.

  34. Kerry says:

    I like what Jen3 said. Especially about the squashing. And Amen to Linds comment…thank your lucky stars there isn’t video proof.

    But honestly, it’s nice to hear that other people screw up too and I’m not the only imperfect parent. Thank you for your honesty.

  35. Callie R. says:

    I am so glad that my husband has the ability to go with the flow. I have messed up many moments because things weren’t being done the way I thought they should be. Something I have been working on… your post encouraged me to keep working on it. Its hard being a mom and balancing not enough with too much!
    {{{HUGS}}}}

  36. Sherrie says:

    OH MY GOSH! Your poor son, whats better to have than a stupid mother yelling at her son on his 12th birthday (his own freakin birthday). All of you people are screw ups.

  37. jody2ms says:

    Sherrie, we are having drinks at my house tonight. I think you need to forget the ice and limeaide and just do a big fat shot of the gin. 4 oz might be a start, or 8oz….your choice. It will get you all…Zen, because OH MY GOSH!, your poor family.

  38. Chris says:

    Sherrie,

    I guess you missed the HUGE photo up top with the big 11 candle. But thank you for the comment.

  39. deb says:

    I’ve been a mom for 20 years and accumulated my share of INCIDENTS. In addition to the usual ‘my heart just broke’ feelings and definitely apologizing to the offended child, once they reached a certain age we’d watch Mommy Dearest together and discuss how to write a good book/film. And then discuss my share of the profits, being the inspiration and reason for their success.

    Be kind to yourself.

  40. judi casey says:

    well chris, you have to provide your son with some material to talk to his therapist about when he is older.

  41. Stacy says:

    Oh Chris, I have done this more times than I care to admit honestly! It kills me inside afterwards and I feel your pain.
    {{hugs}}

  42. nabbalicious says:

    If I ever have kids, I don’t think I’ll have this problem, because I prefer my cake slices to be the size of small continents! If anything, my kids will hate me because I hog all the food.

    Anyway, don’t feel so bad, Chris. I know your son will give you a chance to make amends!

  43. Kerry says:

    Yes Sherrie, all of us mothers are screw ups. That was kind of the point. Thanks for noticing, but boy, what a harsh, sweeping statement.

    It is encouraging to see that there are some perfect parents out there too. Sherrie, do you have a blog somewhere where we could all read about how perfect you are, because I for one would like to take some notes.

  44. Crisanne says:

    Thanks for being willing to admit your faults-something we don’t all seem to be able to do! We’ve ALL said things we wish we could take back. In my experience, I remember my own screw-ups far more vividly than others’.

  45. Callie says:

    YEEEE Gads wouldn’t want to be in Your Trench tonight. Gads.

  46. Lani from The Wooden Porch says:

    I think every Mom has been there. Usually on a daily basis, often several times a day.

  47. Angela says:

    Well, I must be some kind of a heel because my response to this post was, “man, she’s funny.” Forget that your poor “12 year old” had to save enough cake for the rest of the family. But then I met Sherrie and I don’t feel so bad about laughing at this post. Because you’re still funny and well, I’m not Sherrie.

    p.s. in ten years, he’ll LOVE this post

  48. carrien says:

    I do that kind of thing way too often to my kids, and I feel guilty every time and hope I’ll get it right the next time and not freakout over stupid things.

    I feel like I use the “angry mommy” voice way to often, over things that don’t matter. I bet you’re doing way better than me in that regard.

  49. MommyHAM says:

    Must have been something in the signs for moms to err worldwide today. I told my dd all weekend long, “Not right now,” re: the book orders that were due today. And now never came, b/c I am so on top of it like that. And my dear sweet babu reminded me that it was my own self-centeredness that made me mess up. It happens sometimes. Even to the best of us screw-ups :)

    It will become a story of pre-teen angst to retell for many years, with a humor that isn’t present in the “Dad was drunk at my wedding” kinds of stories - it’s all relative m’dear :)

  50. Maeana says:

    Part of why we think you’re so great is that you don’t do the usual, “I’m a perfect mom” blog. You let us know when you’ve made mistakes, which, quite honestly, you don’t have to do. It is your blog, after all. Meanwhile, it just makes you all the more perfect.
    If your son is anything like my six year old, and it sounds like he is, this is probably not the first time there has been a fight about who’s in control. There tends to be a constant battle of wills between my son and his father, both of whom are very much alike, and both who can’t stand doing things any way but his.
    You are such a terrific mom. Knowing you, you’ll find some way to make it up to him that will make the birthday extravaganza pale by comparison. Have fun tonight, and let us know what you did to make it all better. I’m sure there are hundreds of us who will be taking your ideas. :)
    Maeana

  51. Lorena says:

    I’m sure you’re far to busy to read this 50+ comment, but hang in there. Forgive yourself. He might be a bit miffed, but he will move on. Now, if only I could take my own advice.

  52. Sherri says:

    Being a parent is the hardest job. We’ve all been there at one time, usually more than once. Thank you for having the strength to share some of your moments. Hugs to you both.

  53. maria says:

    Is it bad of me to comforted to know that you do that kind of thing too? Many’s the night when I’ve hugged my son and apologized for being grumpy that evening and over reacting. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the noise and chaos of my “mere” 3 - that I think - how does Chris handle this? Maybe you could bake him an unbirthday cake and let him cut it any way he pleases. Just a thought - HUGS

  54. Robyn says:

    Well, how about just Happy Birthday!! Eleven is a weird age, they think they are all grown up but yet they have a looonnngg way to go! (I have an eleven year old and I know of what I speak!)

    And kudos to him for making his own birthday cake, that is awesome!! Let him have his cake and eat it too ;-)

    You’re a great mom!

    Sherri, you can go now.

  55. Robyn says:

    oops, I hope you know I was referring to the Sherri post at 9:24 pm March 5.

  56. Belinda says:

    Awww. I think we all have that “must bite tongue” syndrome about “doing things right.” Sometimes it’s hard tokeep the line between what’s important to say and what’s not. Hugs to you and him both.

  57. Her Bad Mother says:

    ((((hug))))

    I can well imagine the ache in your heart. I’ve felt a little of it myself, too, too soon.

  58. link says:

    hello…

    great post…