The Poky Little Mae-Mae

When I was a kid my grandmother loved to read us the story of the Poky Little Puppy. In it, there are five little puppies who dig a hole under the fence and go out into the wide, wide world. Four of the puppies stay together, but there was always that fifth one who would lag behind. In the beginning his independence was rewarded because he would come in late after the other four puppies were in bed and ate up all the dessert that they weren’t allowed to have because of the fence digging incident.

By the end of the book his siblings get sick of it and when the puppies are sent to bed without dessert a third time, they wait until they think their mother is sleeping, then sneak out of bed and fill in the hole they’d dug under the fence, thus leaving the Poky Little Puppy without a way home. She sees them doing this and rewards them with strawberry shortcake.

Now imagine if you will waking up and getting dressed only to hear your husband ask if Mae is upstairs with you.

“No, she’s not,” you reply.

Then you hear the words no parent wants to hear.

“I can’t find her.”

Maelie is a very independent child. She hates to hold my hand when crossing the street, doesn’t like to come in when I say to and hates being told no. Her new favorite thing to do is repeat things I say. I’ll say, “Go to time out,” and she’ll say, “No YOU go time out!” Then crosses her arms across her chest and gives me her muss face.

See, I’m sure most of you smiled thinking that was so adorable.

It used to be. It used to be hilarious the things Mae would say and do. But in the past few months, since I was about 7 months pregnant with Audrey, she started pushing those boundaries and I feel like my head is just barely above water to keep up with her and her defiance.

She is the child that you have to physically stand over to make sure things get done. You have to squat down to her level and get your nose up against her nose just to get your point across. Because, if you don’t, she’ll flush down a full roll of toilet paper down the toilet and then try to plunge it herself.

This morning she showed Matt just how far she was willing to go to prove her independence. It started at 8:20 when Matt said the house got too quiet. Claire and Luca were upstairs getting dressed and bothering me and he did a quick search of the house to see if he could find her.

See, Mae doesn’t answer when called for, either. So we physically have to go room to room just to find her half the time. She’s just that sneaky.

When Matt said he couldn’t find her, Claire looked out the window and said she saw her going through the neighbor’s yard.

We both ran outside looking for her, but by then she was nowhere in sight. My neighbor has an above ground pool. She recently put on a new lock on the gate so that none of my kids could get in, but still, the first place I checked was in that pool. Matt shouted the gate was closed, but I didn’t care, I still looked.

He went to the front of my neighbor’s house and I took the back, thinking maybe she wanted to go to the field behind our house.

My mind was racing. What if someone picked her up? What if she fell down a hill? What if she was lost? What if she got near the back road where people drive too fast?

What if?

Barefoot, I started running. I looked all over. Frantic.

Where the hell was she?

Luca was behind me shouting, “Mae Mae! Come home!”

Right when we were about turn down the path to the field behind our house, I looked to my left and there she was – a block away wandering in the middle of the street by the trailer park. (It’s a nice trailer park, I assure you.)

What the map doesn’t show is the fact that it is very hilly here. The drop from behind my house to the field is about 10 feet.




She was looking around, almost as if she realized she was lost, but powered on, towards the busy road a block ahead.

I screamed her name at the top of my lungs and charged towards her.

She immediately burst into tears.

I’m not sure if it was the fact that she knew she was busted or thought she was lost, I don’t care. I scooped her up and she cried into my shoulder. I started walking back home all the while telling her I was so scared when Matt ran up to me, took Mae and marched her back the house faster than I could gather up Claire and Luca to go back home.

When I got home, the front door was opened and she was sitting on the kitchen counter getting quite the talking to.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Matt so scared. Ever.

While Mae cried and rubbed the tears over her face, Matt looked at me and plainly said, “I had no idea she was outside. I didn’t even know she had left.”

That, my friends, is Mae. There is no other way to describe her or explain her. That is just who she is.

Once everything calmed down and I stopped shaking (about an hour later) when I got to my mom’s house, where mom had a chat with Mae as well, I was reminded of the things I did as a child.

One involves me walking into the middle of the street by our house when I was Mae’s age. When my mom realized I was missing she found me there, talking to a guy on a motorcycle who was saying, “Where’s your mommy?”

When I was 9 or so, a friend and I went to an elderly man’s house (a friend from the church) to play cards. He lived 5 blocks away and Mom had no idea where we went.

I’ve also been known to hide in clothes racks at the mall. I remember, clear as day, hearing her frantically calling for me and me crying to a sales rep because I lost my mom.

I understand that this is some sort of karma and what not, but seriously. I’ve had enough.

Matt apologized to me, but I simply looked at him and said, “I never once blamed you. It could have been me that happened to.”

People can judge me all they want. But when a two year old makes up their mind to do something, they’ll find a way to do it. And it always happens when you have to pee or are changing the laundry or making lunch. I can’t watch them 24/7 and still get things done. Matt wasn’t BSing on his iPhone. He wasn’t watching TV. He looked away for a minute and things got quiet. It could have happened to anyone.

So right now, the kids are sitting on the floor in front of me playing with Legos while I write my tale. We’re good parents, but we have a sneaky, determined two year old.

Though, judging by the fact that she’s been listening to me very well today, I think she may have learned her lesson.

About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on May 30, 2013, in Cassie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oh Cassie, I feel for you. I’m so glad it turned out OK. I do hope Mae learned from this ordeal. Of course you and Matt are wonderful parents. I suspect this story is going to be told and retold for many years to come, when it’s hopefully when the emotions of today have long since subsided. I suspect someone is going to take a good nap today, out of sheer exhaustion (I am sure you would too if you could)!

  2. My heart raced reading this. I panicked for you. I’m so relieved that you found Mae before any other potential situation, that you were fearing, happened. Hopefully her tears were fear and feeling relieved you found her and it might keep her from doing it again.

    And while reading examples of Mae’s defiance I noticed some similarities that Grayson has and it’s already worrying me for fear of finding myself in the same situation one day. The boy laughs when he’s told no. He’ll take getting his hand smacked, getting yelled at, repeatedly rather than to stop doing something he’s not allowed to do. No matter what I do, nothing will get between him and what he wants to do!

    Also, if she isn’t quite ready to learn from today’s event – my daycare lady has these things on her doorknobs (I’ve never seen them before so I’m sorry if I’m telling you something you already know) so the little ones can’t open the door. I’m sure you didn’t need that with Claire and Luca and it may seem silly to need it now.. but they’re out there in case you need them. They look like this (#1):

  3. First of all, I remember The Pokey Little Puppy. That was a favorite at our house too.

    Wow, that was some journey lil Mae took. Those little legs can really ramble. I’m glad nothing truly bad happened. Frayed nerves will unfray.

    No judgement at all, here. A determined kid can pull off all kinds of Houdini-esque feats.

  4. As they say in my “neck of the woods” : Bless your heart!!

    This is some scary, hard stuff to go through. My (now 22 year old) daughter was at times similarly inclined. It was made worse by the fact that we have an in-ground pool. We used surface pool alarms, along with door knob alarms – they’ve been around for a while.

    Anyone is a fool to judge a parent of a child with stubborn, independent tendencies. We all do the best we can every moment.

  5. That is one of the most terrifying things I can think of. I told Mark this story over lunch and we both agreed to check deadbolts on all our doors now. Like you we had a scary situation where, in a blink, Sarah was nearly in front of a car cruising down the street. I don’t think Mark and I have ever been more scared in our lives.

    Glad that pokey little puppy found her way back home!

  6. Gah!
    I’m glad everyone is all right. I have had those heart stopping moments (and I’m sure I will have more). **hugs** So right about not being able to be everywhere at once. She’s fine, and you’ll recover your nerves. So, unfortunately, will Mae! 😉

  7. Oh my, so scary! In general, being determined and stubborn aren’t necessarily bad traits in a child in my opinion, although exhausting for the parents, but running away outside is just too much. I really hope she doesn’t repeat that and that you all recover quickly from the incident. No judging at all from here, I did a lot of babysitting and even though my job was looking after the children and nothing more, you can’t watch them every minute, especially when there are more than one who can move on their own… You and Matt are great parents!

  8. This is where you say, “We will laugh about this someday.” Because I am sure you will. But wow. Glad she is home safe and sound.

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