Monday, April 24, 2006

Mommy Fear

Hubby and I have been furiously packing for The Big Move for the past few weeks. We’re quite overwhelmed with the amount of crap we have accumulated, which has always been ridiculous and is now obscene since the addition of Sam. It’s hard to pack with an infant on the loose, and we’re spending every minute taking care of something. We have 3 weeks left in which to do this as well as take care of the preparations for the move itself such as getting airline tickets for Sam and myself, arranging the movers, visiting all doctors while we still have insurance, Hubby preparing for finals in law school, etc. We’re frazzled, but that is in no way an excuse for what I am about to relay.

Sunday afternoon I was packing a huge kitchen box (I hate packing the kitchen. Me personal hell is packing a kitchen full of unused breakables. Having to drive a U-Haul on city streets is way up there too) while Hubby was playing with Sam. I called Hubby in to ask something inane about coffee mugs and whether he felt we really needed all 28 of them. This led to him helping to cut sheets of bubble wrap in which to wrap said mugs. Meanwhile Sam is sitting under us exploring what, in my mind, can be nothing more than the regular debris on our kitchen floor. Anything he might find certainly couldn’t be worse than the time he successfully retrieved a Cheerio from under the refrigerator as I leapt in slow motion to block its entrance into his mouth. Or the time he had the worst wrinkled up face I’d ever seen, confirming for me that the white crystal pried from his chops was indeed a hunk of road salt earlier tracked in on a shoe. I put it in my mouth anyway just to be sure and made the same face. Certainly there was nothing down there more than some crumbs and perhaps a few more dropped finger foods.

Hubby and I were in a heated discussion involving the bubble wrap, the appropriate size of the sheets as well as whether or not the valuable bubble wrap was being wasted on these old mugs, when I looked down and saw Sam frowning at me and moving his mouth around. I asked him, “Hey, what do you have in your mouth?” and reached in to find...a zipper. In. His. Mouth. It had fallen off of Hubby’s pants and that is what was on my kitchen floor. I am telling you now that my Casper like self had not known pale until I reached into my baby’s mouth and felt a jagged, metal, chokeable-sized object residing there.

Sam has no idea why he got my undivided attention for the rest of the afternoon, or why I held him for the next 20 minutes stroking his head and rocking myself back and forth, refusing to let him go despite his squirmy attempts at getting back on the floor. I have been insane since this happened. Every noise he makes sounds to me like he’s choking. Things will be normal and all of a sudden I will picture his face while eating a zipper and I’ll be paralyzed with what can only be called “Mommy Fear.” I felt it from the time Sam was a week old and somehow as Hubby passed him to me to nurse in the bed we almost dropped him. I felt it when he was taken out of me and I didn’t hear him cry and couldn’t move to see him. I felt it when his heart beat went ballistic when I rolled over while in labor. I felt it when we thought there might be a complication with the pregnancy that would result in an early induction and the word “stillborn” entered our vocabulary. I felt it when too many hours had gone by that I hadn’t felt him kick. I felt it every time I had a cramp in the first trimester. I felt it...from the beginning I guess, meaning after the fourth pregnancy test when I really believed it. And just like you don’t know love until you’ve found it, you don’t know Fear until you’re a Mommy.

I hate that I had to have a head to head run-in with Mommy Fear in order to relax and deal with this move in a calm and mature manner, but that’s what it took. So now we don’t pack simultaneously, but take turns. And every so often we check our flies.


Anonymous jaybee4000 said...

Yep, that "Mommy Fear" is a real tough emotion. I can remember some of mine as if they were yesterday. Like the time my daughter fell from her booster chair and hit her head on a concrete floor (fear of brain damage) or the time she and her cousin got lost at a botanical garden (fear of a perv). That was a long 45 minutes in my life. Seems like most "Mommy Fear" is seated in feeling like we are not doing a good enough job. But we are. You just can't anticipate everything that can happen.

I don't know if "Daddy Fear" is the same, but I don't think so. At least, men would never admit it if it is.

2:53 PM  
Blogger ABC Momma said...

I remember having that fear with the first kid, but I relaxed considerably with the second and third.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your style & will be linking your blog so I can remember to visit again.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I have Mommy Fear a ton too. The other day, after turning my back on him for just a second, I turned to find Cam trying to go down the stairs face first. I grabbed him and didn't want to let go! I'm hoping it will ease up with the next child!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

I can completely relate to this. It seems that at every stage, mothers have a new fear to deal with. My son is currently 14mos so my #1 fear is that he will choke on something. The other day I found him with a coin in his mouth. We try to be really careful not to leave change lying around but somehow he found this. It's so scary.

And the REALLY scary part is that I know this mommy fear won't end anytime soon. I can only imagine how scared I'll be when he gets his driver's license.

5:08 PM  

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