I’ve got one question:  Where is The Chip?



It was not mentioned in any of the discharge materials given at the hospital. And I don’t have hard evidence, but I’m certain they inserted a “mommy chip” when they were sewing me up. I know this because ever since giving birth I am a different person. I act like a parent all the time and I can’t seem to turn it off, even when I want to…even when I’m alone and there is no child anywhere in sight…ANYWHERE. So there must be something controlling me, there must be something calling the shots.

Like the other night, Sage was asleep and my husband and I were having a tense discussion in the kitchen and out of nowhere I put a pacifier in his mouth. I don’t even know where I got the pacifier. Suddenly it was in my hand and I was shoving it between his lips.

Or at the grocery store, I’ll be standing in line holding a gallon of milk and I’ll just start rocking it like it’s a baby. And I’m not the only one.  I see other people doing it too. Last week I spotted this woman in the express lane swaying back and forth with a bag of pretzels. I asked her “Do you have a kid at home?” and she said “Yeah” and I knew right then that she had the chip too. I wanted to say, “funny how the chip just wouldn’t let you stop. I’m guessing this trip to the grocery store is the only ten minutes that you’ve had alone all day. And here you are spending your break gently nurturing a sack of carbohydrates. Fucking chip! By the way have you seen it? Does it look like a mini smoke detector? Somehow I’ve always pictured it to be round.”

And it just keeps going.  No matter where I’m headed I put a diaper in my bag; work meeting-diaper, date with my husband-diaper. Sometimes I even pack little toys when my kid is nowhere in sight. Who are they for?? Why chip, why???

What I want to know is: does everyone get one or is it just some of us? Do the doctors conduct an evaluation right off the bat? Do they have a little conference?

Dr. #1: What about the lady in 3C?

Dr. #2: The one on the right or the one on the left?

Dr. #1: The one on the left.

Dr. #2:  Chip. She definitely needs a chip. No way is she going to pull this off without the extra help.

Dr. #3: I second that. I caught her reading Entertainment Weekly while her baby was sleeping.

Dr. #2: Well that just proves she might go off duty if given the chance.

Dr. #1: All in favor of the chip say “Aye”

Dr. #2: Aye

Dr. #3: Aye

Dr. #1: Aye

All: Done!

So now I’m destined to walk around saying little things like “Oopsy” and “Uh-Oh” even if I’m talking to someone who is forty-seven and has a PhD is neuroscience. It’s just humiliating.

And the worry… THE WORRY!  Oh how that chip makes me neurotic. I can’t stop the thoughts. I be driving and suddenly I’ll start to panic that maybe my car has a hidden airbag in the back seat and maybe it will malfunction suddenly and decapitate my child. And I’ll have to pull over and check. Then five minutes down the road it will occur to me that while I was checking for the airbag a small coin may have fallen out of my pocket and onto my daughter’s lap where it is just waiting to be inhaled. And I’ll have to pull over yet again to make sure that Sage is not about to choke. A sane person would not do this. I used to be chill. My internal monologue used to be all about cool names for  imaginary bands, not terrible mishaps that could befall my loved ones.

But worse than the worry is the guilt, that damn chip makes me feel so freakin’ guilty.  I feel guilty if I buy my daughter applesauce instead of making it from fresh apples that I picked myself. I feel guilty when I answer the phone while we’re at the playground. I feel guilty when I don’t take the time to let her bum fully air dry after a diaper change.

And I’d write more, I’d write about how the chip makes me cry when I see a pampers commercial or how it makes me stay up late into the night just looking at pictures of my daughter because I miss her while she sleeps, but I can’t.  I must put away the laptop. Even though my kid is out like a light I’m suddenly filled with the need to check on her.  After all what if her crib has silently collapsed and she is lying in a pile of rubble and can’t breathe? I better go in there… and I better bring a wrench just in case I need to reassemble the crib.