Worst 10 Minutes Ever

t’s my birthday today, which means I should be just one little year closer to the big 4-0, but I think I aged about 20 years yesterday thanks to my youngest child.

I was getting Clara and Daisy May ready to go watch Calvin’s ballgame. The boys had already left. I was rushing around, getting things in the car, and noticed Daisy sneaking into her room and reaching her little arm into her crib to grab a forbidden pacifier (“binkie!” she calls it). I decided to let that go and ran into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Then I went to gather up the girls, and Daisy was NOWHERE. I started searching all her favorite little spots – behind the guest room bed, in the kids’ shower, near the toy box, even behind the couch. I called and called for her, but there was no response.

Then I checked the family room, and made an awful realization. I opened the door leading into the garage – a door which doesn’t always latch properly and can be pushed open without turning the handle. I found the garage door OPEN. I am usually obsessive about shutting all the doors to “Daisy-proof” the house. But this time, I realized she could very well be outside.

“Clara!!! Help me look for Daisy!” I felt my heart start to race. I dashed through the house for a third time, checking every spot I could think of – even the basement.

Then I headed outside, searching by favorite neighbors’ houses, the place where Daisy likes to go looking for the stray kitty who hangs out nearby, and at the kids’ bus stop where she loves to watch for the “BUSSSS!!!”. Neighbors who were outside playing saw my frantic running and joined the search.

“I am freaking out a little,” I told my neighbor, Elizabeth, as my head filled with awful images from stories I used to report on the news, of toddlers who wandered away and were found in ponds, creeks, or back yard pools. Finally, I dialed 9-1-1 with my voice shaking. Trust me – you never want to be giving your child’s description to a way-too-calm dispatcher on the phone. “Is she white, black, or hispanic, ma’am? What color is she wearing?”

“Clara, go back and check inside while I keep looking!” I called to my 6-year-old as I hung up the phone and ran to check another neighbor’s house. Seconds later, I heard the best words ever coming from my own front door. “WE FOUND HER!”

Daisy May had been inside the whole time. It was Clara who found her baby sister crouched in a corner of the master bathroom. She was hiding out next to the toilet, ignoring all of our calls while secretly savoring her forbidden binkie. I picked her up, and the sobs began. My neigbors hugged and comforted me as I called the police back and told them all was well.

The adrenaline finally drained, and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My brain is still fuzzy and bruised. Clara noted that she was the hero of the day, who “saved” her baby sister. “Yes, you sure are,” I granted.

Last night I spent the night in Daisy’s room. I don’t want to let that kid out of my sight for quite some time.

For my birthday, all I really want is some peaceful moments with my eyes on all three of my kids.

And if anyone finds a binkie that beeps or comes with a GPS, let me know.

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