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To Serve and Protect

As a mom it is my duty to serve and protect- my child, that is. Even before she was born I was planning for every possible disaster and threat that could hurt Caroline. I bought all of the safety gadgets like plug covers, locks for the cabinets. I padded the stone hearth, made a fortress out of plastic bins and baby gates, in order to block the cat door and stair well. I always have wipes handy for washing dirty little hands that touch dirty little things. I put the frying pan on the back burner, I test the water before putting her in the bathtub. I make sure she has enough layers on to prevent frostbite but not too many so that she doesn't over heat. When I don't anticipate disaster or I just plain slip up, I reprimand myself, call myself a bad mom and mentally note to never let something so stupid happen again.

Normally, I pride myself on being the perfect, protective mother hen but I do have my off days. I went to make some toast, this summer, and after about 1 minute realized I did not hear a peep from Caroline. I found her and the cat playing in the driveway, yes, heart in throat. I instantly called Andy to confess my sin. When she was about six months old, I put too much water in the bathtub and it kicked her little body forward. She went under the water and slammed her head on the bottom of the tub. I saw it, swooped her up, comforted her and then nearly vomited. We are not perfect and can't expect ourselves to be. Yet when it comes to our children's' well being, we have no choice but to strive for the impossible.

Andy and I have argued about safety from the time Caroline was in the womb. He did not understand why I was baby-proofing the house and laughed at me the wintry night I woke up to discover him in the basement painting the foundation with TOXIC paint. The kind of paint that says, "Only use in a highly ventilated area and wear a mask."

We also disagreed about using toxic fabric cleaner to clean baby pee of off the couch. Caroline, naked, with pee all over her, would stare aimlessly into space as Andy sprayed the chemicals less than an inch from her head. Ever hear of soap and water, Andy?

I never know, when I leave her with him, what condition she's going to be in when I return. He doesn't seem to think she needs a bath, or a solid meal in her stomach or a glass of milk instead of Gatorade. He certainly doesn't seem to think bed time matters, "What? What do you mean, why's she still awake, eating chocolate and watching TV? She said she didn't want to go to bed, yet." But, she's always happy with him. And here begins the good-cop/bad-cop syndrome.

I know what's coming. Daddy will be her go-to guy to get what she wants when Mommy says no. I just hope, when she's driving the car Daddy bought for her, that she remembers Mommy was not the one who sprayed the chemicals on her head.

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