Mommy brains totally work different. They add 2+200 and get, “212 degrees – omigod that’s boiling, she burnt, call 911, ahhhhhhh!” (no, that’s not supposed to make sense…)
I lost my child this weekend. My 9 month old, wonderfully precious child, was not anywhere I could find her for about 15 minutes. Someone had ‘borrowed her’ for the afternoon and did not return at the appointed time. And couldn’t be reached by cell phone. Or texting. And wasn’t at the place they said they would be (I drove there and checked).
My brain, usually so reliable in a crisis, decided freaking out was worth about 25% of its time. (The other 75% was doing the deal-with-crisis thing pretty well – given the assumption that there actually was a crisis at all). This bizzarre new mommy brain remembered every single child abduction story I had ever heard or read and seriously considered that Auntie (yes, the lady who held my hand during my cesarean) had totally flipped her lid and absconded off to somewhere raise my child as her own. As I was driving to check for them at the park, I was actually spending some portion of my brain time trying to determine how one started an Amber alert – just in case.
Interestingly, I never considered the fact that she/they might be injured – at the hospital, lying by the side of the road, etc. Nope – brain went straight to “she’s been stolen” – at least the freaking out mommy brain part. The sane, calm, functional, human part of my brain assumed that there was a reasonable explanation, and WCB was just fine, having a good time with Auntie somewhere…and when I found them I was going to give Auntie WHAT-FOR!
WCB was fine. Is fine. She had gotten fussy at the picnic and Auntie had taken her to her nearby home (as someplace quiet) in order to nap and have a bottle. She had put her cell phone on vibrate during a movie the evening before and forgot. Then she had passed out with WCB on the couch and so missed the “Oh, bring her back about 3:30-4ish,” check-in/return time. I didn’t even think of checking at Auntie’s home. Evidently I needed the other 25% of my brain to think of looking for her at her own house. (Why no – why would I check at her home? She’s off to the wilds of Mexico somewhere with my baby – ahhhhhHHHHhhhhh!)
Auntie called me as soon as she woke up. She heartily apologized. I cried while driving to her house ( I had very carefully stayed calm until that point) and had mostly pulled myself together by the time I knocked on her door. When I got there and saw WCB – she looked at me like I was mommy. Just ordinary everyday mommy, as in: “No big deal – just napping, mom – what?” Auntie took one look at my tear-streaked face and apologized some more.
MAN, will this stick in my memory. Previously, I’ve nervously, but successfully left her at home with babysitters, left her at daycare, and left her at her grandparents. This was the first time someone other than a dad “took my child to an event.” (and I did fret about Daddy N taking her to visit his mom’s church). One of the first things I said to Auntie after the apologies and explanations were over was, “Next time, we will both double-check your phone and make a very specific check-in time.” ’cause yes, there will be a next time. Yes I overreacted. My child was with someone trustworthy and safe, and she was sleeping for goodness sake. Geez – mommy brain! (rolls eyes)
Then again, I suspect my reaction was also appropriate. As a loving mom, I’m supposed to freak out when I can’t find my child. It shows my brain is programmed right. (Think Rose is Rose as Momma Bear.)
So anyway – I saw Wall-E this weekend with both dads while my child was, ahem, sleeping, ahem, with Auntie. (Oh yeah, that’s right – the guilt of going off to have a good time while someone STOLE my child also managed to cram itself in during the freaking out.) Pretty good movie. I cried. (Watch out for SUBTLE underlying messages ‘tho.)
Things to do today: Kiss your child(ren) and give them a hug – despite their protests. Thank them for not being lost.