The Mommy Effect

Today while at yet another birthday party, Lily slipped on the corner of a set of brick porch steps and somehow made a dramatic twirling flight down them. It would have been awesome, if not for the fact that it was horrible. Mark scooped her up and ran into the house with her before I could see how bad it was and since I had my hands full with Anya I went with the fact that Mark is highly capable and he’d call for me if I was needed. I could hear her cries coming from the living room and so when I could, I slipped away from Anya and went to check on the big kid. I saw her before she saw me and noted that she was sitting quietly in her Daddy’s lap, holding her legs up close to her and sucking her thumb. She had calmed down, there was no blood, it was OK.

Then she saw me.

She burst back into tears, sobbing and wailing as I came closer. I crouched down next to her, stroking her hair, trying to comfort. Finally I asked, “Do you want me to go away?” To which she replied with a tearful yes. As soon as I left the room she calmed down. I was heart broken by this. How could I possibly make her feel worse? How could my presence be so awful that it would make her cry instead of feeling comfort?

That’s when I ran into our host, who was coming to see if Lily was OK. “She started crying when she saw me.” I told her.

“It’s the Mommy Effect. Everything is OK until they see Mommy.”

I smiled at this explanation, but to be honest, I don’t get it. Naturally, I thought of you people, happily living in my computer so you can dispense wisdom at the drop of a hat. Have you all noticed the Mommy Effect? Do you understand it? Am I crazy for not totally getting it?