My son’s second birthday was last weekend. We (and by we, I mean my husband) invited the whole neighborhood. Friends, family, people we barely knew gathered around our living room to watch our child’s toddler antics. It was getting close to nap time when my husband decided to spring some excitement on the little guy.
“Look who’s here to see you!” he opened the door and there, in full furry red regalia, stood a life-sized Elmo. My son was coming face-to-face with a costumed version of his favorite TV puppet! The crowd pressed in, looking from him to Elmo and back again. It was one of those moments when he could do something utterly cute or he could come up with a totally weird response that we would wind up taunting him over all the way through his high school years.
He chose the latter.
A spark of recognition glinted in his little eye, followed immediately by panic. Nerves. Too many unfamiliar faces were pointed in his direction and the little guy froze up. Slowly, he lifted a single index finger and popped it right up into his teensy toddler nostril.
“Oh my God. Is he…?” my husband whispered as I saw amused grins spread over our friends’ faces.
“Yup. He’s totally picking his nose right now.”
It was the most bizarre stress response I’d ever seen. The poor dude seemed to be imagining that he was that little finger, hiding away in his secret nose cave. He dug and wiggled it with a vengeance while everyone just stared and stared. My husband and I stood slack-jawed. The kid has picked his nose one time ever, over a year ago. This was completely new to us.
Elmo awkwardly stepped forward as the finger went deeper and my toddler’s big eyes stared up tentatively. Another step. A wave. And then Elmo opened his arms for a hug. That did it.
Pop! The finger sprung free from my toddler’s nose and plunked into his mouth as the crowd collectively cringed. “That did NOT just happen!” I heard our best friend laugh behind us. I snapped out of my mommy daze and swooped the little guy up before he could start exploring any other orifices.
“Okay, Elmo, I think that’ll be it for today!”
We’ve had our share of humiliating mom moments – grocery store meltdowns, that time he sprayed spit all over the pediatrician’s face – but this one definitely topped the charts. The best part? Grandpa got the whole thing on video.
What have been your most humiliating mom moments?