Saturday, October 25, 2008
The Bad Mommy, part 2
You know those moms that make the nightly news because they leave their kids in the car and forget about them? Yeah, count me in their company. Well, not quite, but close enough. Frankie loves to play in the car (just writing it sounds dangerous but even my exceedingly paranoid husband allows it) and climb over the seats and turn on the windshield wipers and unload all the CDs and eat the gum and beep the horn and turn on the hazards, you get the picture. It is one of her favorite activities and she likes to play for ten minutes or so after we get home from an outing, usually while I bring Molly in and nurse her. I sit on the couch in the living room and keep the front door open (and of course, the keys with me) so I can keep and eye on the van and make sure she doesn't come sneaking out and start running out into the road. We had just gotten back from the mall this morning because I had actually ventured forth with both children by choice and not necessity. I should have known that after the Auntie Anne's Cinnamon Sugar pretzels were eaten and the charm of th E. coli-laden play equipment wore thin, that things would go downhill fast. And indeed they did. I had one poopy overtired baby in one arm and a three-year-old in giant galoshes being schlepped along in the other. Frankie refused to walk, complaining it was "More than just a little far, Mom. Momsie, PLEASE can you carry me?". I finally made it to the car, awash in a full body sweat, and strapped everyone in. Since Molly was wailing, I pulled out the Gerber Puffs, an air-popped "fruit" confection that is like little feather-light balls of heroin in her eyes. Unfortunately, though the culinary world is wide open to her, Frankie loves them, too, but she can down them at an alarming rate, since their price per pound probably rivals most precious gemstones. By the time we pulled in the driveway, the Puffs were gone and Molly was at the end of her rope. I got her out and came around to Frankie's side to get Frankie. I was juggling Molly when Frankie said "Mom, can I play in the car a while?". I absentmindedly said yes, and went into the house to change Molly's diaper and nurse her on the couch. I watched the van, ever vigilant for an open door, but the windows are slightly tinted so I couldn't see inside. When I was done nursing Molly, I came out to get Frankie, opened the door, and discovered I had never unstrapped her from the car seat. She was, of course, crying, and I had to stop myself from grabbing the nearest pen and gouging my own eyes out before heading to the street to hurl myself into oncoming traffic. I immediately scooped her up and brought her inside and spent the next two hours trying to make it up to her with my own tears, chocolate chip cookies, lots of books, and a glass of root beer. In that order. She really didn't seem all that traumatized, and said she was mad rather than scared. She said she thought Daddy would be home soon and would unstrap her. DADDY. Not Mommy. Because clearly Mommy forgets to take care of her. I am trying to comfort myself with the notion that I didn't actually FORGET her in the car, I just FORGOT TO UNSTRAP her in the car. Does that make it any better? Do you need me to look up the number for Child Protective Services for you? Just to expedite things?