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Mommy’s ears

It was one of those hectic Saturday mornings when I had to juggle between cleaning, laundry, and cooking. And every 3 minutes came the shout “Mommy!” said in different tones, from whiny, to petulant, to outright demanding. It was one of those times when I wish I could have shut out all the noise around me – especially the “Mommy!”

All moms go through this kind of situation, I suppose. But every time I am tempted to throw in the towel and say “I’ve had it, I’m out of here”, I would recall 2 stories which make me realize that having a mother’s pair of ears, one that is especially tuned in to her child’s cries can be very important in cases of emergency.

Story 1 is not so dramatic. It happened to me one Sunday afternoon in a playground halfway up Mt Pilatus. It was such a nice sunny day so the playground was packed with laughing and shouting children. I was talking to a friend when over the din, my ears filtered out one of my son’s “Mommy” cries – mingled with pain and fear. I immediately shouted my son’s name and ran towards where the sound came from. I found my boy F on the concrete steps going up to the long slide, eyes full of tears and lower lip bleeding profusely. Apparently he fell down on his way up the stairs. Upon close inspection, the injury proved to be minor but my pulse rate and blood pressure took a bad beating that afternoon. My friend, who wasn’t a mom, asked me “How did you know it was him? How could you hear him in all this noise?” Mommy’s ears, I guess.

Story 2 is more dramatic. My colleague Marrianne and her two daughters were sleeping soundly one night but somehow her husband couldn’t sleep. He got out of bed and went to the den to watch TV. It was there that he suddenly felt a strong stabbing pain in his chest. Above the noise of the TV set, he called to his wife for help. He called out to Marrianne 5 times but she didn’t wake up. Finally, with an incredible presence of mind, and with all the strength he could muster he shouted “Mommy!” imitating a child’s voice. Marrianne woke up immediately and checked her daughters who were both sleeping peacefully. Then she went to check the den, found her husband, and immediately called for emergency help. Marrianne’s husband had a heart attack but the paramedics managed to save his life. However, he actually owed his life to Marrianne’s “mommy ears.”

We, women, have been given the power to hear our children anytime, anywhere. I’d like to believe it’s an evolutionary feature that helped our species come this far. No offense meant to Daddies out there but Mommies’ sense of hearing is simply unbeatable. Even my husband agrees. He knows that when it comes to distinguishing between our identical sons’ cries and voices, Mommy can do it perfectly – blindfolded.


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