Bad parenting 101

The morning following the Chickenfoot concert, Wonder Woman and I, after being all cool and fun and lovey-dovey during our big night out, woke up feeling like a couple of rabid porcupines.
Porcupine Scratches

This is how the 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. hours went at Casa de Scratches:

Me: “Morning bad. BAD! GRRRR!”

Her: “Work! Kids! Much stress! Need help!”

Me: “Skip work. Less stress. GRRRR!”


Me: “GRRRR! MORNING! BLARRRRRGGHHHH!! [obscene gesture]”


Sorta like that.

She was planning to take Zan to school, Jayna to gymnastics and daycare, and then head to work for a few hours. Under this little scenario, I was responsible for picking Zan up from school at 11 o’clock.

But then she decided that she would skip work, because she still had to pack for her trip to Philly with the kids.

Her: “Skipping work.”

Me: “… [resisting urge to reference previous dialogue] …”

Her: “Something something Zan school something.”

Me: “OK.”

So she leaves with the kids, and I stumble to the computer, prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, and attempt to string together two coherent thoughts—a challenge under the best of circumstances.

Fast forward to 11:10. The phone is ringing. The caller ID identifies the caller as “Town of [Where We Live].” I’ve already answered the phone once this calendar year, which is my limit, so I ignore it.

At 11:12, my BlackBerry starts ringing. I do not recognize this number. Ignore-o-rama.

At 11:15, I hear Wonder Woman enter the house.

Jon?” she says in such a way that I know something is wrong. “You were supposed to get Zan!”


“I thought you said you were getting him!” I yell over the din of the Parental Guilt Bomb that has just exploded in my chest cavity.

As I leap up from my chair, I can see in my mind’s eye my son standing with his teacher in the doorway of his classroom, watching all of his friends run happily into an umbrella-wielding army of parents. (Did I mention it was pouring out? Well, it was … and you know what that means, right? It means BONUS “SHITTY PARENT” POINTS, SERVED WITH A SIDE ORDER OF “EXTRA-SPICY PARENTAL GUILT!”) While his destined-to-be-well-adjusted friends depart with their loving, caring, responsible parents, he stands there dumbfounded, trying to wrap his head around the fact that his awful “parents” apparently have abandoned him.

While I’m busy flogging myself, Wonder Woman is already back in her car and pulling out of the driveway. It is at this point that the house phone again begins to ring. “Town of [Where We Live].” Now I understand.


“Hi, Mr. Scratches? This is The Person Who Has Your Abandoned Child.”

“Yes, I’m SO SORRY. My wife and I got our wires crossed about who was supposed to pick him up. She’ll be there in, like, less than two minutes. Is he OK?”

“Yes, he’s fine,” she says, but what I hear is, “No, you meth-addicted moron, your poor child is not OK! How on earth could he be OK? He has two shitty parents who don’t love him enough to remember to pick him up!

When he returns home, I give him a huge hug while telling him how sorry I am that Mommy and I messed up. He is entirely unfazed, and nonchalantly tells me “It’s fine” as he tries to wriggle free so that he can go play.

Surprisingly, he hasn’t mentioned it since. Of course, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to talk about it … you know, when I’m visiting him in prison.

Zan the convict

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  1. Posted June 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    My dearest and I talk like that sometimes to each other, except we call it the caveman talk. He usually grunts something incoherent, so I will respond accordingly, initiating the caveman sequence. Something like this:

    Him: “Back scratchy. Female scratchy backy.”

    Me: “You want your back scratched?”

    Him: “Grub like back scratched. Grr. Grub wants food.”

    Me; “GRRRR….Grub no get food or back scratchy unless Grub fix dinner tonight.”

    Him: “Ooo, Grub no likey.”

    Him sounding like a massive ape is only made funnier by the fact that we are both educated scientists and speak in technical language all day long. Caveman speak, or porcupine in your case, really is funny. :o)
    Nice story!

  2. Posted June 5, 2009 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    OMG – I could smile through your story…because I’ve done the same thing. I think every parent goes through it. Wires crossed, mind elsewhere, autopilot in car on after work and head straight home before remembering. As long as we get it right the other 99% of the time, I think we’re good!

  3. Posted June 5, 2009 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I have done the same thing! Once. She still tells the story “the day mommy forgot me…” (did I mention that she is now 20 years old?).

    Despite her whining/teasing, as long as it doesn’t become a habit, stop flogging yourself!!

    We are all human after all.

  4. Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I bet WW was pissed! Mostly because you never listen to her, oh wait that is my hubby that never listens to me sorry !

  5. Posted June 5, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Just found your blog — looking forward to adding it to the morning coffee queue

  6. Attilla the Mum
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Extremely glad that YOU did this first. So that when my time comes to forget to pick up my child (and I’m positive that it will), I’ll know that I am not alone. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything as hilarious as this blog entry. And the photo? Awesome.

  7. Cindy
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    CHICKENFOOT cd release today!!! Freakin awesome – listening to it right now!!! Don’t forget to watch them tonight on Conan…

  8. Tracey
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    *huge grins* I followed you over from PW. Love your blog.

  9. Posted June 7, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I’ve just sent a link to your blog to my step-daughter (best friend) & her husband. They have 3 kids, 2 dogs, & 2 cats. One of them works across the bridge in another town; the other works ever-rotating shifts. All 3 kids go to different schools.

    I’ve told them your blog is “must read” stress reduction. (Reading about YOUR stress and laughing will, I believe, reduce theirs. . .)

  10. Posted June 8, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Found your site through Ree’s. And of course, after reading a couple of entries, I had to forward your URL to The Man Beast.

  11. Posted June 9, 2009 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Did you get my email? If you did, why haven’t you answered?

  12. Posted June 9, 2009 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    OMG – you are too funny!!! Found you through PW’s site. Love your blogs! I bet WW was pissed…but…I’m sure she’s over it by now and was over it the next day… I haven’t left my kiddo anywhere…YET…but I’m sure it will happen!! Have a great day!

  13. AmberfromVA
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    OMG..that was the funniest blog story I’ve read all week! Don’t aren’t a bad ….I love your take on it though!

  14. Ann
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I just stumbled onto your blog from Pioneer Woman and I have to say, you have me squirting Dr. Pepper out of my nose! I am definitely adding you to my favorites! You bad meth daddy.

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