Imagine the world’s largest litter box.

Imagine that your children are home from school. Everyone you know is making plans to go pet wool covered animals that they will later shear and use that same organic wool to make hats and scarves, or they’re headed out to pick fruit directly from trees or, they’ve carved their family portrait into the face of the prize winning pumpkin from the Harvest festival and then made pies to deliver to orphans.

Now imagine that you are in pajamas. So are the children. The sun is shining, but, you’re barely interested. Then, a knock at the door. You’ve made plans to have friends over. And, you’ve completely forgotten. Nothing says, I’m so happy you’re here like actually saying, “Wait…were we supposed to get together? Come on in, I’ll be right back. I have to put a bra on. And some pants.”

Imagine this happened this morning. Because, it did.

Also imagine if you will the rest of these events. Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try…

After reading this, it will be even easier.

This weekend, my husband walked outside to discover one of our cats taking their daily constitutional in the sand box. As he slow-motion ran to the aid of the sandbox, he was hit with a wall of urine stench so powerful that he was blown backwards in time to the day several weeks ago when I forgot to cover the sandbox.

He spent the afternoon emptying the contents of the box and cursing my name under his breath. I spent the day saying helpful things like, “I wonder how long the kids were playing inside a giant litter box?”

Also making the list this week, my daughter brought home a piece of paper from her 2nd grade classroom asking us to draw the entire floor plan of our home for Fire Safety Awareness Month. We were supposed to illustrate all of the possible emergency exits in our home that could be used during a fire. I suggested she write, “DOORS!” in black sharpie on the center of the paper. When she complained about my under-zealous reaction to a homework assignment as annoying as a last minute frantic call from a school committee for baked goods, she wrote on the paper, “Sorry, too late in the night!” and turned it in to her teacher. I wonder if her teacher thought we meant a) By the time we got around to this assignment, it was too late at night.” or b) “If a fire hits, it will be too late in the night for an escape.”. Either way, it’s fun to keep people guessing.

Also this week, trying to channel the mother I want to be instead of the mother I am, I signed up to read a story to my son’s Kindergarten class. The “Secret Reader” program is a huge success unless you are hopelessly me. Then, the 20 children will clamor away from your general direction as you attempt to read a story everyone hates as much as you hate Fire Safety homework assignments. I talked loudly and then louder and then, ever louder as the children expressed their gratitude by saying, “I CAN’T SEE THE PICTURES!” and then crying for recess.

After the story, I made my way out to the playground with the class and placed my smallest child on a large, playground swing. As I made the very first push, I yelled “Hold on, little one!” in order to impress the teachers monitoring afternoon recess with my loud and compassionate care for my offspring. However, I said it so loudly that I startled the baby, she let go in mid-air and tumbled backwards to the ground. She lay in the swing ditch, crying covered in wood chips.

Then, the piece de resistance. This week’s parenting Sistine Chapel. We had a friend over in the afternoon for a quick play before heading to school to pick up the kids. It was idyllic, really. Until I saw the baby cradling something in her arms. She was holding it so tenderly saying, “It soft. I hold it. Pet, pet, pet.” I walked closer, each step bringing more and more dread. It was fluffy. It was an animal. Oh God, what is that? There she was, holding the tail of a squirrel. Just its tail. As I said, “Nooooooooooooooooo! NO! NO! NO!” she ran off knowing I was clearly after her prize. “NO, it mine! MINE! It soft! I HOLD IT!” I then had to have a tug of war with a squirrel tail…in my neighbor’s front lawn. While a friend watched in horror. When I finally wrestled the tail out of her aggrieved hands, I threw the tail as far as I could. Because, what else do you do with a severed squirrel tail? If you point me to some severed squirrel tail Pinterest board, I will burn down the internet.

This is just a snapshot of last week. Out of the minutes that turned into hours and then days, these were moments in time that started as calamity, but, later melted into comedy. I’m welcoming you to these moments so you can say either, a) Oh thank GOD, me too. or b) Holy shit, it could be worse. I could be this lady. or c) What does this woman have against Fire Safety Month? or d) Can one catch full blown rabies from a squirrel’s tail?

Whatever adventures you chose to celebrate this week, rest well knowing you did not have to wrestle a squirrel tail out of your baby’s hands. And, really, isn’t that enough?

Until next week, this is Bad Parenting Moments and her bleach burned, bleeding hands, over and out.


  1. Christy Cruz says:

    While I can really relate to this, and I laughed so suddenly out loud my boss looked sideways at me, the answer to one of your questions regarding the squirrels tail (eewwww gross and WAY COOL all in one breath) is I don’t know about rabies, but you can get plague. If the squirrel were a carrier and there were infected fleas on the tail and the fleas bit your baby. As far as the “Fire Escape Plan” not one of my three children ever turned this assignment in. really? Do they think we all are architectural hobbyists and can draw that stuff? Really?

    • Oh my GERD, the plague? The Black Death? I don’t know why I’m laughing. It’s too terrible to even consider so, laugh I must. Yeah, and the fire escape plan? Birch, please.

  2. Christy Cruz says:

    The very one! Check with the health department to see if it’s an issue in your area. Keep in mind, I grew up in the southwest and it happens there every couple of years. Dog gets the fleas from critters outside, fleas bite owner, owner gets sick.

  3. Barbara Roscoe-Graff says:

    And you were concerned you might run out of blogging material… 😉

  4. BWWWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA COULD NOT RESIST!!!!!!! YES, Yes I am evil. No, no I don’t have a clue why this exists!

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. There must have been something in the air last week because both my SIL and I had the WORST week ever last week. So bad, that I couldn’t even tell you what happened because completely blocked it out. I do know that there were no dead animals involved so I would like to humbly declare you the winner of the worst week ever and present you with the grand prize of a box of wine from Target that you will have to pick up and pay for yourself. Congratulations!!!

  6. Fantastic as always…but at least it was only part of the squirrel. When I was pregnant as hell our cat dragged a squirrel corpse through the house from bedroom to kitchen before I realized that’s not a toy

  7. Oh. Oh my. I’m only laughing this hard because I know you wouldn’t mind. I keep trying to stop, but then the image of you in a panic, hurling a severed squirrel tail across the neighborhood, comes back to me and I start again.

  8. If you decide to burn down the Internet, will you invite me over? I think I’d like a little piece of that action.

  9. *stifling giggles over here* I’m so sorry you had such a horrific week…surely this one will be better?

  10. Oh, dear sweet jebus, THANK YOU, Bethany. Thank you for sharing the horror & the humor of your week with us! It simultaneously entertains me & makes me feel better about some of the shittastic things that happened at my house. Ha! 😉
    You rock!

  11. OMG, thank you for the post!! I’m in the a) Oh, Thank God, me too group!! I can TOTALLY relate to majority of what has happened in your last week. Though I have a squirrel in my story also, thankfully it didn’t involve my friend or kids seeing it!
    I had put up bird netting over my tomatoes and blueberries to keep the crows from eating them and when I went outside a squirrel had gotten stuck and all wrapped up in the netting and COMPLETELY severed its whole leg off, leaving it about 3 feet away from its body – eewww!!! I made my husband come out and put the poor thing out of its misery! What a terrible day. Damn squirrels!!

  12. Yikes! Disgustingly funny. I will never get over the image of your little one possessively stroking part of a dead animal like a pint-sized Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Not enough bleach in the world.

    • I totally pictured the pint-sized Lenny, too! Laughing so hard there are tears! Just when you think life is getting boring, there is a squirrel-tail to pet and hold. I hope the baby wasn’t too scarred after the new friend was hurled into the stratosphere.

  13. The squirrel tail. OMG. I can see the whole ordeal. I am so happy that this happened to you. Wait, that sounded meaner than I meant it. Would it be best if there was no squirrel tail incident? Yes. Absolutely. But it is so fabulous that this is your story and not my story. So, thank you.

    And that fire safety homework is awesome.

  14. No, don’t burn down the internet! I do all my stuff there!

  15. You had me at severed squirrel tail, okay you had me long before that. I’m literally laughing out loud and my family is confirming that I’m insane.

  16. Just discovered your blog and I laughed so hard about the squirrel tail. Kids always have to find the grossest thing, don’t they?

  17. Bethany Mitchell says:

    LMFAO!!!! I am so glad Facebook suggested your page… While I feel your pain, I must say I have never had to deal with severed squirrel tails. And Thank God for that!!! Take heart, surely it can only go up from here:)

  18. You aren’t a real mom until you’ve pushed your child off the swing. With all the kids under your belt, I’m surprised it took so long. You squirrel story is going to haunt my dreams, and I hope I think it’s as funny as I do now when I wake up, terrified and sweating. I feel like you need a hug, but until you’ve showered the plague off you about 47 more times, I can’t be the person to give you that hug.

  19. hysterical!! laughing at (um, with — yeah, WITH) you for all your special moments this past week!

  20. My five year old daughter found a dead (and very diseased looking) mouse this summer. She had the first tantrum she’s had in years because I wouldn’t let her keep it. I explained to her that as it was dead it would rot and get really smelly. But she just kept hugging it to her cheek saying ‘but I love it so much Mummy’. I literally had to wrestle it out of her hands!

  21. This was just the post I needed to read after my volunteer fail at our school’s Halloween party dance today! I’m so relieved I am not alone with the craziness:-P.

  22. I’m in tears laughing so hard at this–seriously streaming down my face. For some reason I keep imagining trying to throw a squirrel tail…I mean, how far can it go? It’s got to be all fluff, right? The vision of the pathetic throw I would have made keeps coming to mind and sending me back into fits. Can’t even recall how I found my way here, but you certainly are a gifted writer.


  1. […] generated all of those responses, and also made me want to vomit a little bit. Go read “Imagine the world’s largest litter box.” to see what I’m talking about. It will make you feel better about your messy week. […]

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