We’ve been having a bit of an issue lately (Um, okay, for a while. Okay, for a few months. OKAY!! Since Paige could walk! Get off my back!!!!). Phew – where was I? We’ve been having some troubles with Paige listening. Let’s not put a time frame on it, and leave it at that.

Things came to a head at The Children’s Museum this week. It was packed, even within 20 minutes of it opening (which any decent stay-at-home-mom knows is the only time to be there, unless it’s an hour before closing). Paige was, as the “good” moms call it, “pushing her limits.” She kept running out of my field of vision, causing momentary panic sessions for her ever-worried mama. I kept telling her how awful it would be if she got lost, all the while knowing I was WAY too diligent for that to ever really happen.

Until she really was lost. Somewhere near the Carousel. Where that stupid/awesome Funhouse maze has all those little openings perfect for a toddler to climb in and out of. All the other moms had their perfect kids strapped into their strollers (Compared to Paige, that is. Let’s not kid ourselves – that bar is pretty low.) Paige was right behind me, then she was gone. We’d had NUMEROUS talks that day about how important it is to stay close … to no avail. She kept running off. And this time I really couldn’t find her. And my mom friends couldn’t find her. And I started to have what I can only imagine a heart attack must feel like.

And then – poof. She was found. My friend asked her if she knew where her Mommy was. “Nope,” she answered, without a care in the world. So … huh. She’s clearly afraid of being lost.

After a very stern talking to that may or may not have included a swat to the behind (preceded by a huge squeeze expressing how glad I was to see her), we moved on to ScienceWorks. Where I decided I needed to pee and also change Blair’s diaper. So I asked my friend to watch Paige while I ran (literally, sadly enough) to the bathroom.

I returned to a scene I would like to soon forget. My friend Kelly is probably one of the calmest people I know. Pretty tough to rattle. And she had Paige in her arms. And Paige was crying. And so was Kelly’s daughter, Audrey. And, I can’t be sure … but Kelly could have been pretty close to tears, too.

In the short time I was gone, Paige had done a Houdini. Ran away from Kelly, blatantly disregarding my rules and Kelly’s shouts to come back. So, I did what any self-respecting (and secretly-okay-really-not-so-secretly-crying-inside) mom would do. I swatted her bottom again and told her “Game Over, Do Not Return To Go.” We were leaving. Enough is enough.

She screamed the entire way to the car. Blair screamed the entire way to the car. I was sweating and trying to pretend like small tears that were escaping were also sweat … all the way to the car.

I ended up meeting Botsie and Nani for lunch after this, because both girls passed out during the ride and Nani and I needed to go get fabric for a magic pooping cape (subject of another post – stay tuned).

I was feeling REALLY sorry for myself and telling them the story of our morning when my dad interrupted and said, “I’m sorry. Where did you say you were? King’s Island?”

And it all came flooding back. A story of legendary status in the Whitacre family. I was not much older than Paige, and had simply wandered away from them. AT KING’S ISLAND. DURING THE SUMMER. And I was missing for more than 30 MINUTES.

They found me (ironically enough) shopping in a gift shop. And the only thing I had to say, as I ceremoniously pointed to a puppet was “I really like that one, Daddy.” Without a care in the world.

Holy shit … Karma really is a bitch.

Well played, Botsie. Well played.

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