Hi, my name is Kate, and I'm a terrible mom.
It has been one hell of a week.
Do you ever feel like you’re doing great? Like free-flowing, mothering-comes-so-easily, can-do-it-all kind of great? I think I’ve achieved this status a few times, but I can’t remember what it feels like. Because this week... I’m hitting all sorts of new lows.
First of all, we woke up on Easter Sunday only to find that the Easter Bunny left my kids’ baskets in my car, so the kids woke up to a house full of Nothing Special. I played it off, making up some excuse that the bunny got confused or drunk or something, which worked - luckily. The kids still had fun. Semi-win.
That was nothing compared to what was about to go down.
An hour or so later, before the kids found the Easter Bunny’s egg droppings (which were upstairs in the playroom), Alexa was hiding the eggs she’d gotten from school, pretending she was the Easter Bunny with Parker and Shane. They were having a great time. I was sitting on the couch halfway paying attention, when… BOOM! [Insert a solid high-pitched scream followed by wailing.]
Alexa had fallen off the back of the couch. The scream set off an instinct in me – *screaming means broken* – but my common sense kicked in and squashed that nonsense. She fell on carpet, and only from a couple feet off the ground. I cuddled her and helped her feel better.
A few minutes later, Parker discovered the egg trail on the stairs leading up to the playroom. I should have known then there was something seriously wrong with Alexa – she didn’t even want to go find the Easter Bunny’s droppings.
We stayed and cuddled on the couch a little longer, until we had to start getting ready to go to Grams and Poppy’s house for a family get-together.
Awful mom that I am, I told Alexa that if she needed to go to the doctor, we wouldn’t be able to go to Easter dinner. She insisted that her arm didn't hurt anymore.
What a terrible way to handle that situation. I should have listened to my very first instinct. Instead, I tried to make Alexa gauge whether she needed to go to the doctor. She's five. Why would I do that?
She did need to go to the doctor, but I believed her when she said she didn't.
I wanted to believe her. Because a doctor's visit on Easter Sunday meant urgent care, which meant hours of waiting followed by insanely high bills.
Her arm was swollen, so we stopped by the store for an Ace bandage and an ice pack on the way to Easter dinner. My mom and I wrapped up her arm together, and she didn't wince or cry once. Such a strong little human.
Everyone kept asking me if she was okay, and I kept saying she was fine. She could make a fist and move all her fingers – she was fine.
She kept holding her arm, which I read as wanting attention vs. being very badly hurt. I should have seen it as a sign.
Alexa wasn’t fine... while I continued to pretend she was.
The next morning, the bad parenting continued. I had a very busy Monday ahead, and we’ve been saving to buy a house – we really didn’t need an expensive doctor bill so they could tell us nothing was wrong with her. So we brought Alexa to school... and she promptly got sent home.
That's when we finally got our shit together. Brian brought her to the doctor, who immediately chastised him, saying her arm was C-L-E-A-R-L-Y broken. His exact words were, “If it’s not broken, I’m not a doctor.”
Brian headed to another office to get X-rays, and I left work and met him there. For three hours, Alexa, my wonderful, amazing, strong, little trooper cooperated and remained calm like a total champ.
Sure enough her elbow was fractured. A supracondylar humerus fracture – which apparently is a very common break in kids her age.
I made my sweet, innocent five-year-old daughter walk around with a fractured elbow for a full 24 hours before we brought her to the doctor. I ignored all of the signs to do the right thing and just did what worked best for me. I feel pretty terrible about it.
Here’s the real kicker… she needed SURGERY.
Surgery. My poor little baby needed to go under and get pins inserted into her arm to help it heal properly.
There’s always a chance to recover from your mistakes, right? Well, no. But luckily for me, my daughter is as forgiving as she is innocent, and she was just happy to be with us.
Brian and I were by her side for the X-rays. We took her to the hospital for her surgery. We stayed by her for as long as we were allowed. When it was finished, we helped her recover, and didn’t leave her side once. We let her eat a giant bowl of vanilla ice cream (before her pizza!) at Mellow Mushroom. She had a great time, and we started feeling less terrible.
She has a beautiful pink and purple cast and is recovering nicely.
All is well.
I didn’t really want to share this, but I have this weird self-deprecation thing I do when I mess up. Like if I admit it to everyone, maybe people won't judge me as harshly.
And I share because I know I’m not the only one who’s messed up. We all do. So read this, fellow losers. We’re all in this together. We all mess up, from time to time. Some mess-ups are way worse than others.
Today, my kiddo is watching the iPad next to me as I write this. Apparently we didn't get the right kind of doctor's note to send her back to school, so even though they said she could go back, she gets to chill at home. I'm okay with that.
I'm okay with myself, too.
- Mama Kate