Life in the parent club
Have you ever experienced anything as a parent that was just so silly or embarrassing you look back and can't believe it happened? Well, you aren’t alone. Here are a few stories to make you laugh

Have you ever experienced anything as a parent that was just so silly or embarrassing you look back, shake your head ruefully, and say “I can’t believe that happened to me?” Well, you certainly aren’t alone.

Take heed of a few things you should probably try not to repeat, and have a good laugh!

The milky way

Sasha and I had just been released from hospital and we were now at home lying in bed. I was quite stressed, but trying hard to relax in order to breastfeed Sasha. Then Sasha’s father entered the room to see how we were doing.

When he was about a metre away from me, a river suddenly started pouring. I just wasn’t getting Sasha to latch properly and had a lot of milk. So much so that this fountain suddenly gushed out and spurted all the way over into his face! It was almost as though I’d doused him with a milky hose pipe.

I apologised profusely and tearfully. He didn’t say anything, just calmly turned around and went off to clean his face.

I was still struggling to get Sasha to drink when he walked back into the room with his snorkelling mask on, and said to Sasha, “There we go my baby, this is much better and safer around mommy!”

Of course that totally broke the ice. We both laughed so much that I started to relax and the next thing breastfeeding was going as smoothly as I’d wished.

- Natasha Taljaard

All gummed up

When my brother kept crying one night as a baby, my mother once dipped his dummy in condensed milk, searched for his mouth in the dark and popped the dummy in to shut him up. Only to find the next morning that due to her bad aim the condensed milk was stuck on his eyelashes and he couldn’t open his eyes. The condensed milk had dried up and made his eyelashes stick together!

- Zoe Smith

Urban legend: male breastfeeding

And then of course there is the urban legend about the dad who was babysitting his newborn, who was still breastfeeding. Mom was out and about having some “me-time” away from home, and all the expressed milk in the fridge was finished. The baby was gearing up to scream, so the dad took off his top, smeared his nipples with condensed milk and tried to put his baby to the “breast”... The mind boggles!

Picking the lock

I relished spending time with my godchild, Pia, when she was little. One day while I was babysitting her, we went to visit friends. At the time I drove a car with no central locking. Being a vigilant Joburger, I always lock all the car doors when driving around.

When I arrived at my friend’s house, I got out and locked the driver door - with the keys inside!

After my heart had started again, my friends and I realised that the only thing to do was to dance around the car, singing nursery rhymes and entertaining Pia so she wouldn’t panic, while a male friend got busy picking the lock with a wire coat hanger.

I was so relieved when he finally got the door open that I burst into tears!

- Ziska Baumgarten

Chilli troubles

My son, Christian, now 4, has a habit of licking his mouth, and sometimes it gets so bad that the skin on his cheek gets raw. I’d tried everything to stop him from doing this.

One day my mom suggested I put something bitter or burny on it, like you’d put on the fingers of someone who bites their nails. Christian overheard this and said, very helpfully, that I should put some chilli on his mouth so that he could stop licking it. And so I did.

Had I thought it through, I would’ve realised that the chilli would really burn his already raw and broken skin. Which it did. My poor little boy screamed for an hour. No amount of ice helped, and it wasn’t until I gave him an ice lolly to suck on that he found some relief.

I felt awful. I’m currently pregnant again so I’d like to blame it on the porridge brain!

- Retha van der Watt

Heads in the clouds, babies somewhere else...

(Both moms anonymous in the interests of family relations)

Mom #1:
My mother-in-law went to fetch her 3-year-old son (my future spouse) from nursery school, which was a few blocks from her house.

She pushed his newborn sister to the school in a pram, collected her son, and then walked all the way home, at which point the domestic worker apparently said to her “Where’s the baby?”

And to her horror she realised that she’d actually left her daughter behind.

Mom #2:
About five days after my baby was born, I went to register his birth at the Home Affairs office. He was all wrapped up and snug, and I put him safely on the counter.

I filled out all the forms, did everything I had to do and then went back to the car. Something was missing though... so I hunted around thinking what it was. Handbag? Check. Keys? Check. Baby bag? Check. Baby? Baby!!!

I ran back inside and there he was, still sleeping peacefully in his carry cot on top of the counter.

Sleeping beauties

Shortly after my son Seth started sleeping in a "big bed" (when he was about 20 months old) I heard him crying one night. Before I could get myself out of my drowsy sleep state, I registered that the crying had stopped.

I mentally congratulated myself for not rushing to his side and was pretty impressed that my son was so good at self-soothing in the middle of the night.

But the next morning, I was shocked to find my poor little mite sleeping on the floor, entangled in his mosquito net and with no blanket or pillow! He’d been crying because he fell out of bed, and I had just left him there! I felt awful.

- Ziska Baumgarten

Doggie-doos and don'ts

One day when my baby was a few months old, my husband had gone to work one winter morning early and left our dog in the house until I woke up. But unbeknown to him, the dog was about to have an extremely bad bout of diarrhoea.

When I came through from the bedroom to make up my baby’s first bottle, there was dog poo everywhere: lounge, dining room, kitchen... it was a trail of devastation.

Prioritising my baby’s tummy, I stepped carefully over the dog poo, made up the bottle and took it to my baby. I then cleaned up the dog poo. Then I ate a large bar of fudge that technically belonged to my husband.

Not wanting to keep this situation all to myself, I smsed my husband the following message: “Baby very hungry this morning. Forced to make up baby’s bottle while stepping over huge amounts of dog poo everywhere. PS Have also been forced to finish all your fudge.”

The poor man leaped out of his meeting like a scalded cat to phone me, but fortunately I had by then seen the funny side and was able to laugh about it.

- Vivienne Fouché

The joys of colic: sharing is caring

My daughter was a colicky baby for many months. One day she was particularly bad and and someone had recently told me about a particular brand of colic medication and so, in my desperation, I decided to try it.

I bundled my baby into the car and drove across Joburg to get some of this magic stuff.

My child screamed all the way there. And all the way back. Something inside me snapped and I decided to share the joyous moment with my husband.

I was annoyed that he was having an easier time of it than me and was at work while I was stressing.

So I phoned him on my cell and said, “Your daughter has something to say to you” and drove all the way back with the phone held to my screaming baby’s mouth...I knew he wouldn’t dare to put the phone down.

It didn’t stop my baby’s screams but it made me feel better!

- Anonymous (in the interests of family relations)

Nothing quite like a nappy story...

Once, when Christian was just under 2 years old, we had an especially busy day around the house. Late afternoon we decided to take a walk to the park.

Christian got on his black plastic motorbike and zoomed off and, much to our surprise, we saw a trail of white stuff running behind him in his wake. The white stuff was also on his bike so, quite perplexed, we had a closer look. It looked yucky, was clingy but did not smell.

Then I realised that we hadn’t changed his nappy for hours and hours, and it had started disintegrating - and it was the absorption stuff inside that was literally falling out and leaving a trail behind him! Very embarrassing.

- Retha van der Watt

You'll hose yourself at this one

My youngest child was about 18 months old and I went out to do some shopping one day, leaving him in the care of his father.

I gave dad all his instructions, including, of course, to remember to feed baby and change his nappy at regular intervals.

I was horrified to come home and find father and son on the lawn, with my baby naked from the waist down, being hosed down by his father because he’d had a seriously bad nappy and my husband just didn’t feel like getting ‘down and dirty’.

To make things worse it was the middle of winter and my 5-year-old was also running around half naked thinking that this was just fantastic, playing with the hosepipe in the middle of winter! Men! I wanted to hose my husband down too!

- Tanya

No freebies please – we tell the truth!

We once went on holiday to a hotel where children under 3 stayed for free. Well, we told the clerk that Lelani, who just turned 3, was only 2. She very indignantly and very loudly said, “No, I am 3 years old already!”

- Christine Robberts

Whining and wining

When Clarissa was about 4, I had to use the TV as a babysitter one night while I was cooking dinner.

Suddenly I realised that she was a little upset. It was a documentary about alcoholics and I quickly turned it off, because it showed a child ostensibly being hit by an abusive parent who had been drinking.

Clarissa asked me, “Mommy, why is that lady hitting that child?”
I replied, “Well, er, that lady has drunk too much wine, but don’t worry we won’t watch any more.”

Soon afterwards, I fetched Clarissa from her daycare and thought I’d stop off at a bottle store to get wine for a braai that I’d been invited to over the weekend.

Suddenly, and taking me completely off guard, these words reverberated very loudly through the bottle store while my child clung to my knees, weeping, and everyone turned around and stared at me: “No no no mommy, please don’t buy any wine because otherwise you’ll get drunk and you’ll beat me!”

- Tracy Burrows

Just a little unbalanced...

When Sophia was about 3 and a half and Emily was about 5 months old, I came home from work one afternoon to relieve the nanny.

Sophia was already in the bath. Emily, who was still breastfeeding, was shouting for a feed and my breasts felt that they were about to explode. So, er, did my bladder.

I let the nanny out and rushed off to the bathroom, where I sat on the toilet and put my baby to the breast, thereby managing to watch Sofia in the bath.

While I was still on the loo, Sophia dropped her beloved, yellow bath duck onto the bathroom floor. While holding Emily with one hand I leaned down to try to retrieve the duck. And promptly lost my balance.

My hand skidded on the wet bathroom floor and my cheekbone crunched down onto the bath. My legs (panties down around my feet) headed for the ceiling. Miraculously I managed to hold onto Emily who carried on feeding.

And in the middle of this embarrassing moment, my husband arrived home, heard the commotion, rushed into the bathroom and stood there shouting: “What must I do? What must I do?”

Through gritted teeth, I indicated that he should please take Emily and leave the room, so I could get up with the last remnants of my dignity intact.

- Absolutely anonymous

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