Happy Birthday to Ask Moxie

Ask Moxie is one year old today (the 26th)! Here's the post that started it all.

In honor of today's anniversary, I thought we could all share our most egregious parenting mistakes from the last year (or so). I'll leave this post up Sunday and Monday so everyone can play. I'll start:

Some of you already know that when my older son was just crawling (at around 9 months), I found him eating something brown one day, and panicked, thinking it was chocolate. When I pulled it out of his mouth I discovered that it was cat poop that he'd fished out of the litterbox while I wasn't looking.

[I'll wait while you all give a collective shudder at that image.]

This year's Unbelievably Bad Mommy Moment happened over the summer at the playground. My older son was running around playing with his friends, and the baby (15 months) was walking around the playground. I was following him to make sure he didn't brain himself on any play equipment or bite anyone. At a certain point I followed him to one side of a play structure and started talking to another mom there. He walked under the structure and rolled onto his tummy on the other side. I continued yakking, but could see his feet kicking on the ground on the other side of the play structure the whole time.

Suddenly a dad came running toward me, yelling, "Is that your baby on the ground?!?!?!" I freaked out and ran to my son, thinking he'd been run over by an errant scooter or clobbered by a soccer ball. All I saw when I got there was my son lying on his stomach, kicking happily, with a squirrel a foot or two away from him. One of the moms said, "That squirrel was trying to sniff him."

If you know anything about urban playground squirrels, you know that they're not docile, they're not afraid, and they're waaay smarter than we think squirrels are supposed to be. So I wasn't sure why a squirrel would be trying to sniff my kid, and was Not Happy At All about this. But I gathered up my son and he started chewing on his fingers. I looked at the squirrel and noticed that it wasn't moving, and seemed to be looking a little weak. Then the squirrel fell over onto its side and started kicking its leg helplessly. Like it was sick and dying.

Then it got worse. A middle-school girl ran up to me and told me that she'd seen my son grabbing the squirrel's tail and yanking it, pulling it from side to side repeatedly. For several minutes.

There are no words to express how I felt in this moment. Insert your own. Start with "dumbass," if you must.

Of course I couldn't tell my husband that I'd let our baby fondle a dying mammal's fur and then stick his hands in his mouth. I know squirrels don't carry rabies, but who knows what else made that squirrel sick? (It ran off, either to live another day or to die in dignity alone in the bushes instead of on the playground in front of everyone.) So I watched the baby like a hawk for two weeks, and when he was exactly the same I finally exhaled.

Anyone else? (If you want to post anonymously, put a fake URL in the "URL" field in the comments.)