A Boy’s Right to Draw Arms


Courtesy of my son. Pay no attention to the rather frightening “penis with legs” far right.

Just recently, I experienced what I’m pretty sure will go down in history as my most validating parental moment immediately followed by my most horrifying.

Not surprisingly, both happened at the pediatrician’s office; one of my least favorite places and the site of so many of my parental missteps.  There for my son’s yearly check up, Dr. Nancy began the barrage of standardized questions designed to track his development which I was certain was normal if not slightly above average.

She asked him to reach down and touch his toes, stand on one foot and jump, write his first and last name, all tasks he did without fail.  She then prompted him to draw a picture of his family, something I knew he would excel at. Without even the slightest hint of protest, he quickly began to sketch each of us in great detail; buttons on our clothes, smiles on our faces with sunshine and love surrounding us all. To Dr. Nancy’s surprise, he continued to create this tapestry of family bliss for another 15 minutes, something she assured me was exceptional for a boy his age. She noted that his details reflected what a securely attached, fully loved individual he is and gave me a little wink, the kind of wink that says, yes Erin you are indeed a superior mother.

As we began to wrap up our discussion about his education options, she asked if he was finished with his piece? She was going to tuck it away in his chart for later.  She told me that I would cry when she showed it to me in 10 years. The two of us chuckled and as I took deep and satisfying breath my little angel responded to her by saying that he was not, in fact, done because he still needed to “add the guns”.

Holy f@$k.

Dr. Nancy looked over at me for explanation, but let’s be honest, there are no words that could make what he just said go away. At that point, all I could do was pack up my kids, keep my eyes on the ground and try to sneak out of the office before word got out that I was, in fact, a crap mother raising a pair of crappy kids.

I realized in that moment that parenting is really just a series of occasional highs followed by a continuous parade of devastating lows.  If we’re lucky, we will get to enjoy the highs for a moment or two but more often than not, our kids will make their beds only to immediately, and without warning, shit in them.


  1. Wendy Ramallo says

    From one fellow crap mom to another- good job and stay low. My first son (now almost 7) did not know what a gun was until he was about 5 and only because of his little brother , now 4. It would appear that despite my peaceful teachings and nature my second child was spit out of my womb with blasters and light sabers in hand. “Pewers” (hear the sound pew, pew, pew, pew from Star Wars). As I have tried to redirect “gun” talk to blasters- nothing says crap mom like your 3 year old telling a random stranger that he his going to lop his head off like Darth Vader. Keep up the good work, from fellow crap mom Wendy

    • ErinMyles says

      Wendy, your words are like beautiful music to my ears. Thank you for your validation and your unsaid invitation into your club. I accept! Thank you so much for reading and for the hilarious comment.

  2. Shelley says

    And a superior mother you are Erin..and a funny one!!!! When our kids were little, their Doctor asked us to write down any questions we had for their next visit, so You know who wrote various things like…why is the sky blue, at what age can they start cutting the lawn etc etc. The Dr was quite a serious man but he smiled when we presented him with our questions and then tucked the paper into their chart.When they turned 13 he showed us our list and said that when he was having a bad day, he would often look back at the list and giggle!
    Your boy is quite the pistol!

    • ErinMyles says

      That’s so adorable! The big question is did either of them ever actually want cut the lawn once they reached that magic age?

  3. Joanna Sanford says

    erin how old was he at this appointment where he was writing his full name? That sounds pretty damn good, guns or no guns :)

    • ErinMyles says

      It’s was at his 4 year old check up that he didn’t have until he was about 4 and 3/4’s because I forgot to the make the appointment when he turned 4. Mom of the year!

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