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Toni Nagy Headshot

Adventures in Awkward Parenting Moments

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Raising a human will lead to some embarrassing and awkward moments. The thing about kids is that their brains are all funky, and yes, that is a scientific term. You can read a variety of studies about the development of the frontal lobe in children and how they are classic cases of sociopaths -- all this in an effort to explain why kids behave the way they do. We can justify their conduct through experiments involving mice, a maze, maybe cheese and some liquid Elmo. But the truth of the matter is that no information explaining the idiosyncrasies of children will ever prepare you for the humiliation you will suffer when you appear with your own brood in public.

Here are some ubiquitous uncomfortable experiences that I guarantee every parent will endure at least once. So just know that next time you are in one of these mortifying moments, you are not alone.

When someone asks to hold your baby and they cry...
A newborn baby is much like a slug that has been genetically modified with a stuffed animal: slimy, wet and not a lot of personality, but cute. Regardless, people will want to hold your baby and have a moment cradling him or her in their arms; it is an emotional need that must be satiated. So you hand off your baby with the complicated supporting of the floppy head, only for your infant to wail in angst. Now the person holding your child probably wants to throw it against the wall because it is really stressful holding a crying baby. They are also most likely slightly insulted and think your kid is a snob. But they will smile like it is not a problem, and you will smile back like your baby doesn't hate them, then have to repeat the support-the-head hand-off, bumping elbows and arms while praying the screaming stops soon. In your desperation, you might as well try to cuddle in the lap of whoever wanted to hold your baby and take a nice nap. That way everybody wins, but remember to make some endearing cooing noises and act amazed by their fingers.

The perils of pooping...
A significantly large portion of your child's life is centered around pooping: If they have pooped, how much, what flavor and where. It's inevitable that your kid will have some pooping liabilities in public. This can manifest itself by a poo so large it leaks out the diaper, up their back, into their hair, on your pants and underneath your fingernails. Or you can experience the classic potty training blunder of not making it to the potty and pooping in the middle of a store. You may have to change a diaper in front of a friend, acting like the wafting scent of evil did not just eject from your child's body, or your kid may talk about how "mommy poops in the potty" to the guy fixing your car. You just have to act cool in these moments, as if all acts of nature were beautiful and normal, as when your dog is sniffing voraciously at your guest's crotch

When someone talks to your kid and they don't answer...
Oftentimes, people will want to be polite and ask your child a question. Not a complicated question like "is there free will?" or "will my dad ever be proud of me?" but a simple one like "how old are you?" or "what is your name?" Rather than answering the question you know your kid knows the answer to, they just stare. They just don't say anything. Maybe they even pull the insanely exasperating move of hiding behind your legs. The worst thing to do in this situation is answer for them. The questioner really doesn't care what dolly's name is or if that is your kid's favorite truck. Just let the quiet linger like a silent but deadly.

When your kid refuses to wear clothes...
When your child starts speaking and asserting their opinion they will often refuse to wear clothes. Of course there is nothing sweeter then a naked baby running through a field like an enchanted wood nymph, but this can get complicated when your kid insists on doing downward dog with their genitals facing your dinner party. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to distract people into paying attention to you instead. This is usually best accomplished by declaring you are thinking of killing yourself.

When your kid molests you in search of food...
Not everyone breastfeeds, and many try to stop before their child is a toddler. But if you do choose to continue breastfeeding, there will be some moments when your kid wants to hit the tap when you would rather not expose your nipple. They will think you are not getting the message and potentially bang their face against your breasts, reach down your shirt, point to your chest and then point to their mouth, or if you are really lucky they will start screaming how they want "boobie time." The best way to deal is to pretend you have no idea what it is they could want from you.