A Bouncing Bundle of Kidnappable Joy

Hi Readers! Feeling a little sane and optimistic today? Shame on you! It is your DUTY, as an AMERICAN to live in a state of CONSTANT FEAR for your children starting the minute they pop out! To that end,  here CNN explains how to avoid the scourge of baby snatchings.

Well, maybe scourge is not exactly the right word. Eventually the network admits that baby snatchings happened all of once last year, and three times the year before (in a country where about 4 million children are born annually). But, hey! That’s no reason to EVER let down your guard. Because “HALF” of all these snatchings — i.e., I guess, half of the baby last year — occur in the mom’s own room! So please, new mom, for God’s sake never go to the bathroom “EVEN FOR A SECOND” (thanks, CNN!) without bringing your baby with you, or summoning someone to GUARD the little snatchable.  Because your distrust of EVERYONE at ALL TIMES must NEVER LET UP!

What happens when you DON’T pay close enough attention? Well, if it isn’t immediately clear to you, you silly sap, here’s a note from a reader that should open your all-too-trusting eyes:

Dear Free-Range Kids: Speaking of doctor craziness. 3 weeks ago I gave birth to my 3rd child. I thought I had seen it all, until they gave me a card with several blood dots on it. They gave me a sealed sample of my newborns blood “in case he gets taken, you have a DNA sample for identification.” Um… So congratulations on your baby, here’s a DNA sample for the foregone assumption that one day he’ll be kidnapped and killed. WTH? Why are we so freaked out that we’re providing DNA samples at birth now? It wasn’t done 5 years ago when I had my last baby. Culture of fear. — A Reader in Oregon

So, new  moms, here’s the drill: GUARD your baby at all times. SUSPECT EVERYONE of nefarious motives. ASSUME your baby is the focus of the world’s evil intentions. And remember: Your darling could STILL end up in a ditch.

But don’t forget to coo at their tiny little toes! — L.

91 Responses

  1. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Maternity wings in hospitals are extremely careful with security protocols to help avoid baby snatching. My husband and I both had to have special bracelets that matched our girls’ ones when they were born. I assume all hospitals have these protocols?

  2. so…what happens when the person we ask to guard the screaming bundle of kidnappable goodness is the one to snatch the baby?

  3. What!!! People are waiting till birth to protect their babies! Haven’t they heard the horrible stories of mothers murdered and babies cut out of their stomachs? You have to be protecting that little one at least 2 months before they are due to be born! Sorry, I get a bit sarcastic sometimes, I don’t really mean to make light of something that truly is horrific. But again, is so very rare.

  4. That’s a bit freaky… I would have freaked out if I was given a DNA sample after Monkey was born… It’s kind of like the push for storing umbilical cord blood (is it called cord banking?) because obviously your child is going to get some horrific illness and die unless you spend a fortune on it… (There are cases where it is invaluable but I’m guessing it’s pretty rare.)

    My freerange moment last week was my friend telling me that she is teaching her two year old to sit with her knees together as she doesn’t want pedophiles to see her underpants. WTH? I laughed and told her to have a read here…

  5. NPR isn’t doing much better. http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133182895/The-Media-And-The-Missing-Does-Race-Influence-Coverage?sc=fb&cc=fp Love how they say how many people are reported missing, but not how many weren’t missing for LONG. It reads like these poeple never, ever come home, or own up to running away, or are taken by non-custodial parents. Irresponsible reporting.

  6. when my (perfectly healthy) DS was in the NICU at a local (babymill) hospital 6 years ago they had bracelets on his hand and foot that actually had alarms on them in case someone tried to take him out of the NICU. seriously. i’m pretty sure that was mostly so no parents could remove their perfectly healthy babies before the hospital could milk the insurance for all it was worth, but this isn’t the blog for that, lol. my mother, who let us run wild in the woods from the time we were 5 or so, only coming home for meals or medical care, has a cow because i let my 6 year old walk to the neighbor’s house alone. literally, next door neighbor. and i’m apparently putting him in danger every time i let him go into dollar general alone to get a candy bar while i wait in the car in our town of 2000 people where i also happen to work for the freakin police department. i refuse to be a helicopter parent. ugh. give the children some space! and for the love of pete, when you’re in the hospital, pee alone, you won’t get to do that again for years!

  7. My pediatrician told me that I could never leave my baby unattended for even a moment while on our bed because there could be an earthquake and she could be shaken off.

    We do live in California, but earthquakes that size are exceptionally rare. Living here 12 years I’ve yet to feel one capable of making anything fall over, let alone bounce off the bed. She’s far far more likely to squirm her way off. But no, that isn’t scary enough.

  8. @Cyndi – the bar has truly been lowered; I didn’t think it was possible. Two year old’s underpants… wow. Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing any commercials anymore with cute babies in diapers. Related?

    Don’t forget folks, one chance in 4 million, still equals one chance!

  9. When my first was born 26 years ago, I made the mistake of looking at her medical chart. She had jaundice and I am nosy that way.

    I looked and it said, “Mother left baby unattended–attachment?”

    Well, I nearly lost my post-partum, terrified new mother mind. I asked the nurse when I left my baby and she said, “Oh when you went to the bathroom.”

    I said, “And you had to put it in her permanent record? Why didn’t you just talk to me?”

    She snipped, “We have to record any sign that a mother is not fit. You can’t be too careful.”

    I thought to myself, “Sure, when I am home, I am going to wheel this little darling into the bathroom with me, even if she is napping.” Sheesh.

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  11. I love that the CNN video is filed under “breaking news”. Slow news day much?

  12. My personal favorite was our pediatrician saying “we pediatricians don’t advise taking children outside in the heat of the day (at the time it was July and 90-100 a day in NYC). Before 10 or after 3 is ok.” Really Doc? 600 square foot apartment in NYC with a 1.5 year old. You think that will be healthier?

    Oh, and cut raisins in half because they are a choking hazard. what exactly do you think he is going to do with that mouth full of teeth doc? I’ll roll the dice. (and yes, he survived!)

    To clarify, the hospital tags and alarms are actually a response to family members stealing children including one or the other parent. This does happen more then stranger abduction. it is still silly to spend thousands to set up alarm systems even just as a disincentive but at least its directed towards the more likely perpetrator–the family members.

  13. Realizing that the doctor was going to release me and the newborn twins after only 36 hours, with three waiting at home, and a husband in Iraq, I am ashamed to admit that for a brief moment I thought “please let a baby snatcher come”…but OH NO!!! Three hours after giving birth (with no drugs and a breech delivery of one twin) I got to experience the joy of “rooming in”. I was begging the nurses to take them to the nursery so I could get some sleep, knowing I would be going home to care for 5 children under the age of 8 by myself. Instead of letting me rest and recover, I got a visit from the social worker with concern about post partum depression and failure to bond. I hadn’t even had time to become post partum, and I had 18 years in which to bond with the little monkeys! All I needed was a solid 24 hours of sleep, and they were treating me like I was Susan Smith!

  14. I think it should be a law that every newborn has an RFID chip implanted in the left ear.
    Blood samples are so passe.
    What a trip that would be getting them out of Walmarts without setting off the alarms!
    Hey, it’s Monday, what can I say?

  15. When my DS was born I was not allowed to carry him from room to room for visits with the pediatrician, etc because “If I was carrying him in my arms, I look like a kidnapper”. SERIOUSLY!!! Never mind I wanted to hold him while getting my feet back under me. Pacing the 9×9 room is so much more enjoyable. erg! It made me scream.

  16. Wow, crazyo_O

    Now that I think about it, the protocols at the hospital where I had DD were a little wacky, too, but being a paranoid new mom I didn’t really notice. Baby got a little bead bracelet thingy with mom’s last name on it (and number of mom’s hospital ID bracelet? can’t recall), and if baby had to be taken anywhere (heel stick, etc.), one parent had to go with. Since we weren’t keen on letting DD out of our sight😉, that was OK with us. What I did find obnoxious was (a) that I was not allowed to walk around the halls carrying DD, because I might drop her (!!!), and instead had to push her around in the giant stupid plastic-bassinet-on-metal-stand thing; and (b) some of the nurses would come into our room and remove DD from my bed (where she was perfectly happy, and which had rails on both sides), swaddle her tightly (which she hated), and put her back in the plastic bassinet (where she would promptly start to shriek and I’d have to take her out again and bring her back into bed).

    Also, we had to take her down to the car in her bucket carseat. What were we supposed to do if we didn’t have a car? What if we had another baby now, in our current car-free state, and were going to take it home on the subway? I suspect we’d get a lecture on how Dangerous it is to expose a new baby to all those germs, like its older sister wouldn’t be bringing home every possible germ from elementary school anyway😛

  17. Sadly, I declined having the births of my children, the oldest 13 now, announced in the newspapers because I was told that was the #1 way baby snatchers found newborns. Apparently a wanna-be, pretending to be, psycho crazy woman would come knocking at my door , kill me and grab my child just because our names were in the paper.

    It is so hard to know what is right or not when mothers are fed so much bull 24/7 – by both the media and other “I’m better than you are” mothers.

  18. My two daughters are a little over two years apart. In that small span of time, the same hospital I gave birth to my first child in changed their policy that the baby could not be left in the room with anyone other than a parent. If my then-husband and I wanted to take a stroll or go outside for a bit of sunshine together, too bad. We weren’t even allowed to leave our baby with their own grandparents!

    Well, we weren’t supposed to. We did it anyway. Fight the system!!🙂

  19. Our hospital had alarm bracelets on every baby’s ankle. I kid you not. If you went through a door off of the maternity ward with the sensors the alarm went off. My husband and I joked about baby lo-jack, but that’s exactly what it is.

    In other news, my son came home with a brochure for Ident-a-kid today because they’re coming to the school to issue $10 cards for each and every child in the event they get taken or killed. There’s also an iPhone app, so you really never leave home without that special stamp of paranoia disguised as preparation.

  20. Another argument for homebirth. No strangers in the house to snatch the baby. I will say that even with my three homebirths, I did do blood samples for newborn screening. I was going to refuse just because I didn’t want the state to have the DNA of my kids the day they were born, but decided that the benefits of the screening were worth. To take extra blood from a screaming newborn just to give it to mom and dad? Another case of cruel and unusual hospital abuse…particularly if they stuck the baby again just for this purpose….

  21. Wow, that is truly paranoid. When I had my two boys(3 years apart), they did indeed having identity bracelets that matched the mother’s. They were only checked when medication was being administered to the baby – and at those times there would be two nurses, each required to check the bracelets matched the charts and matched mine. Fair enough, too.

    I remember getting cabin fever at one stage and being desperate to get out of room for a while. I asked the nurse if it was OK to go for a little walk down the halls and perhaps down to the cafeteria and leave my baby in the room sleeping. No problem, she said. And there was no problem.

    I also remember two nights after the first one was born and I still hadn’t slept. In the middle of the night the nurse came and told me she had to take my boy to the nurses station to weigh him or give him his medication or something . . . she ‘accidentally’ neglected to return him for hours. I woke up rested, ready to face motherhood, and immensely grateful to the nurse for her sensitivity and compassion.

    Having a new baby is overwhelming and challenging enough without setting a tone of fear. Hospital staff should be doing all they can to allay unreasonable fears not whip them up.

  22. worth *it*

  23. Er, honestly, I fail to see the fail here. The mother has a way to identify the child IF he goes missing. The mother does not have to do anything further unless such an event occurs.

    This has nothing to do with having to worry about the child constantly, or being warned that he WILL get kidnapped, or the mother being advised constant vigilance. The mother can simply put this card away and forget about it unless it is needed.

    There is absolutely no sense in not having simple little things like this prepared in case such an event does occur. Children DO go missing and die (and not even through kidnapping – they can wander off and be lost for days, or caught in a natural disaster, etc), even if it is very rare. Being prepared for such an eventuality is, while a bit macarbe, probably a sensible thing to do. Worrying about it 24/7 is not.

    I’m 20 and I have a written will. Do I expect to die anytime soon? No. Do I worry that I will die soon? No. Do I want a certain set of instructions available in the event of my early death? Yes.

  24. “Being prepared for such an eventuality is, while a bit macarbe, probably a sensible thing to do.”

    Usually the phrase “being prepared” refers to doing things that might actually accomplish something in an emergency.

    What does saving your kid’s DNA accomplish? If, God forbid, something happens to your child that *requires DNA to be used for identification,* it won’t really do anybody any good to have it.

  25. You don’t need a hospital to give you a card with your child’s DNA on it. For God’s sake, THEIR DNA is YOURS. If, God forbid, something should happen to where you’d need it, either parent can give a blood sample at that time.

    This country is a mess, the people living in it are living on high anxiety and fear perpetrated by the media and our politicians who LOVE that we believe we need them to keep out children safe.

    I refuse, I refused a long time ago to get sucked up in this state of High Anxiety.

    Let your children be children. Cutting raisins in half, oh good grief, THAT’S not going to make them any safer to eat, they’d still be small and slippery.

    Our children are in more danger of a household accident than anything else. Common sense told me to take some first aid classes, and I even took child CPR, and definitely learned how to help my child should they choke, something that happens thousands of time in thousands of houses across the country.

    Much better to spend my time doing that than cutting raisins in half.

  26. I mean think about. Put “Our government” and “safe children” together in one sentence and tell me that you believe it. That you REALLY believe our government can keep your children safe with all of this B.S.

    Our government can’t even tie it’s own shoelaces.

    Good Lord.

  27. My favoritte is that the hospital where our baby was born had alarms if you carried your baby too close to a stairwell or elevator without alerting 2 people.. For something that was so unlikely that statistically, it doesn’t exist..

    This same hospital was very, very upset about having to comply with a law that they had to check patients ID before admitting them.. Where I am from, it was very common for someone to walk in and say they were their friend, who had insurance, and be covered. Its gotten very bad in California with the bad economy, I have heard.. But of course, since that one is actually statistically likely, they don’t want to do it.. Its a waste of the Nurses time, hospitals money, etc.

  28. In a great essay on airport security in Salon, the writer of Ask the Pilot closes with this great quote:

    “If only there were a way of preempting the hysteria. Instead of building walls and barricades, we need to build a stronger national character — one that resolves to thwart such atrocities, indeed, but also one that is able to come to terms with a certain, inevitable vulnerability.”

    Here’s to Lenore for aiming to build a stronger national character.

    David Robert Hogg,
    Publisher of My Little Nomads

  29. Oh, god! I left my newborn alone in my room to go to the attached bathroom! I could hear everything that happened in the main room, but still! A ninja could have stolen my baby!

  30. I had the nurses at the nurses’ station freak out at me when I showed up at their station hungry. “OMG! Where’s your baby! Go back to your room!” That was their reaction. Not one of them treated me like I was an adult who knew what I was doing and they sicced the social worker on me for the same “bonding issues.”

    The wee babe in question was snuggled in my sling the entire time. Not bonding my @$$.

    And tonight, on Lie To Me, they are doing “the baby stolen from the van cause mom went to the store and left the baby in the van” bit. *pulls hair out*

  31. When my girl was born after two days of labour and an emergency C, the nurses here in Canada kept her in the nursery every night, and only brought her to me for feedings.

    More reasons I’m glad I moved!

  32. I never had any of those crazy hospital experiences, my labor, birth and sons NICU stay was actually very pleasant. Boy was I shocked at how nice it was- but I did choose a famous mother and baby only hospital😉

    My son was in the NICU for 6 weeks, so I got lots of sleep after my Cs. I was allowed to walk wherever I wanted, but I couldn’t take him out of NICU, obviously. They checked his bracelet and mine when I got there, when they took my pumped milk or fed it to him, and whenevere theree was medication given. Upon his check out they checked one more time to make sure we matched, and looked to see if I had a carseat in the car.

    I have heard other places make you have a carseat even if you dont drive. This isn’t the case where I went, but it does happen. *sigh*

    The fear is out of control, I was just lucky to have missed it this one time!

  33. These people would have a heart attack if they saw how kids lived here! EVERYONE leaves kids in cars, at home, let’s total strangers hold them, etc. I think it’s great!!!
    The climate is so mild, it’s always between 60-75 during the day and 50-65 at night, so it’s not like anyones going to freezer or fry if left in a car.

    Does anyone REALLY take their baby in the bathroom/shower with them? Does anyone really keep a baby glued to them at all times? I feel like this is something everyone SAYS they’d, but no one does it. Am I just naive? I only know other parents like myself where I live, the carzies all live far away thankfully.

  34. Wow, need to check the spelling next time….sorry!

  35. um…. but if we can’t trust anyone- then who will guard the baby???!!!!

    Won’t someone think of the CHILDREN!!!

    *hand wringing and angsty looking*

    Seriously- DNA samples??? That kind of makes me glad I live in the sticks and had never even heard of that kind of thing… I think I’d have gone stabby on someone handing me a card of my baby’s blood!!

  36. @North of 49. I saw that preview too! I immeadiantly groaned, muttered a few choice swear words and left the room. Ugh.
    I remember being 7 or so and asking my parents to leave me in the car. They would just shrug, give me the keys (for radio and window control), and leave me there for a hour plus. I was perfectly happy with my books and music and they were happy to not have a bored adhd 7yr old underfoot.

  37. Boy, would these fruitcakes dislike the way we roll around here.

    With ours, when they were infants, we kept them on a schedule–feeding, playing, naptime. Feeding, playing, naptime. When it was naptime, I didn’t even rock them to sleep–I put them down, gave them a kiss, and left. If they cried and the noise bothered me, I’d plug my ears with an MP3 player and go to the other side of the house until it was time to wake them up. At times I would even go outdoors and play basketball–again, with my MP3 player going.

    Heck, I even got in the routine of, at our bedtime, switching the baby monitor off while we slept, and setting the alarm to get us up for the midnight feedings. Once they started sleeping through the night around 3 months of age, I’d just get them up at 8 a.m. or so. The baby monitor hasn’t been used since.

    When preparing meals, if they fussed because they were hungry & I wasn’t making it fast enough, I’d put them in their room–with them wide-awake–and leave them there while I prepared the food, again, with my ears plugged with my MP3 player. They now patiently wait for me to prepare the food, no fussing, and so they now stay in the room with me while I do so.

    We will be moving in the next month & have been checking out places. Last Saturday, while checking out a place, we left them in the van, some 100 yards away from where we were (though no one else was around & there was a clear line of vision), while checking the property out.

    Heck, perhaps most of all–last summer, I’d swim in the lake while having them run along the shoreline alone while I was out in the water about 100 yards away. We had the lake to ourselves, so no others blocked my view from being able to see. They were only 1½ and 3½, but did fine–and in fact enjoyed the sandy shoreline immensely, and even did well tip-toeing out into the water but backing up when it got, say, over their waist. (I did play with them on the shoreline some as well, though.)

    Take it easy, people–with a little reasonable caution, and no hysteria at all, your children will be fine.

    LRH

  38. When my first was born he had a braclet with an alarm on it that would go off if he was taken out of the maternity ward. When we checked out the nurse cut it off with sicissors. I had to laugh at how easy it was to remove. What was the point?

  39. When I had DS (8.5 months) at BC Women’s I had to hold him in my shaking arms because nobody else was allowed to carry him. I was terrified that I was going to drop him because I just could not shaking. I also had to wait for 30 minutes for a porter to take me up.

    I was ready to kill the nurses who wouldn’t let me leave the baby with my parents so that I could go for a walk. 6 days in one room and I was going crazy! Ugh, stupid policy.

    I left him in the bassinnet to pee plenty of times. I did not have enough bladder control to wait for a nurse to respond to my buzz and then toddle myself to the adjoined bathroom. What else would anyone do?

    We had to bring in a carseat even though we don’t drive too. It’s the law here, except if you go home in a taxi!! It’s so ridiculous!

    Although, to give them credit they never mentioned baby snatching.

  40. @pentamom

    “Usually the phrase “being prepared” refers to doing things that might actually accomplish something in an emergency.

    What does saving your kid’s DNA accomplish? If, God forbid, something happens to your child that *requires DNA to be used for identification,* it won’t really do anybody any good to have it.”

    I live in Australia. Usually, some part of this country is on fire, underwater, or as of recently, both at the same time (flood on this side, fire on the other).

    In those disasters, people die, some of them children. The remains may sometimes be too badly damaged for identification and hence need DNA to identify them.

    I’ve never had anyone important to me go missing forever, but apparently “closure” is very important to families who have suffered the loss of a member without a definite “s/he has been found dead”. I guess they tend to keep suffering because some part of their mind keeps the hope that they may still be alive, forever.

    In a case like this, having that little card tucked away with the birth records would be really nice to have. It certainly wouldn’t cause you any problem to own it, and in 99.999% of cases, your kid will grow to adulthood without you ever needing to even think about it.

    In the 0.001 percentile, it may bring your family the releif of closure and the ability to move on.

    For me, this object would make sense.

  41. Staceyjw – I find it amusing that you follow this site, almost as unusual as me following it. You, because your situation in Mexico is as free range as it gets. Me, because I don’t have kids yet.

    Part of the reason I postponed having kids till later in life is that I didn’t want to have them unless I felt I could raise them in an environment at least similar to my own childhood. I bought land in a small town and have been working on a way to make my skills portable, because its tough to make money in this town. But, I don’t think a small town is going to cut it anymore for me. We’ve gone off the deep end in this country. Like Karen above, I was very free range as a child – I like her words “come home for meals or medical care” (or bedtime). Now, in that same town that hasn’t changed a bit, my dad would never let his granddaughters do the same things. Why? “The world is a much more dangerous place”. I’m afraid even the small towns are outside my sanity zone at this point. After traveling the world for over a year recently and experiencing the wonderful kids all over the place in “less developed” countries, I think I’ve got to target somewhere outside the U.S. I would enjoy living abroad, but more practical obstacles are there. That pesky money thing again, and my horrible ability with languages. I’ve planted the seed in my wife’s mind (worked before with the whole world trip idea) Now, I’ve probably got 5 years to figure the logistics (takes a while for the seed to grow).

    I’m jealous – keep enjoying it.

  42. @Sera – yes, but…. You are already a walking, talking, DNA matching machine in the case you described. You don’t need the baby’s DNA unless its adopted.

  43. “Because “HALF” of all these snatchings — i.e., I guess, half of the baby last year — occur in the mom’s own room!”

    Perhaps I’m just silly, but how about moving the baby in another room? Anything’s better than yours, right? That would cut the kidnappings in half according to the article…

  44. Oh, how I loathe the maternity wards of hospitals. I’ve had 5 kids (all c-sections so I had no choice but to go to the hospital and have an extended stay). My first was born 10 1/2 years ago at a small, rural hospital. I was the only person on the floor for most of my stay and my mil worked at the hospital so we were pretty popular. There were no alarms (probably are now, though) but they still had to check and make sure the numbers on our bracelets matched which cracked me up.
    I LITERALLY was the ONLY person in maternity for 1 1/2 days while I was there. Just me and my daughter. Who else did the baby belong to?

    She didn’t get taken to the nursery at night or when I needed a shower (which was down the hall). She sat in her little bassinet at the nurses station while they chatted and played solitaire on the computer (again I was the only person there and I had like 4 nurses to myself). After my one shower and a little walk up and down the hall I went to get her and they FREAKED out because they didn’t check our bracelets. I was just baffled. Who else could she possibly belong to?

  45. @ Anonymousmagic, your last comment reminds me of the old joke, “Did you hear about the man who heard that most accidents occur within 10 miles of home? He moved.”

    In Germany, where I live, things are a lot looser. I never had an ID bracelet, and my son’s slipped off and was never replaced. Because I gave birth in a small hospital, the nursing staff got to know the parents (especially those who stayed for a week due to having a C-section) and their babies. Everyone on the staff knew which baby belonged to which parents. Mine was especially easy because he was the only boy. The German hospital staff didn’t care if I left my son in his rolling plastic bed in my room to use the toilet or take a shower. They knew that new moms need to do those things. I was also free to bring my son to the nursery when I needed some rest and nobody said anything to me about my son developing a permanent attachment disorder or threatening to turn me in to the German equivalent of CPS. People who work in German maternity/neonatal wards know that new moms sometimes need a break in the hospital because they won’t get one when they return home.

    My husband wasn’t worried about our son being kidnapped by a stranger or a psychotic nurse who was unable to have children. His fear was that our son would be switched with another baby. He watched too many US news shows about baby switching while I was pregnant. That fear was unfounded when I told him that we’d realize we had the wrong baby as soon as we did a diaper change. The parents who could have “accidentally” switched our son with their baby would have also quickly realized that they had the wrong baby. That was the advantage of having the only boy on the maternity ward.🙂

  46. I guess this means kidnappers would have a field day where I live: not only do people leave their babies ( in strollers) outside for short periods of time, they actually *GASP* send their children to play outside ALONE.

    (and no, no one’s been kidnapped or molested yet)

  47. Oh my God! I didn’t hold my baby until he was SIX MONTHS OLD!!! I must have attachment and bonding issues! I’m a bad parent! CPS take him away right now!

    Oh wait, he’s adopted. And somehow, he managed to bond to me despite the fact that I didn’t glue him to the inside of my leg on the way out of the birth canal.

    My other son didn’t get held by me until 5 months. Clearly, I am a terrible mother, raising future serial killers. I think I went to the bathroom a few times too. And oh horrors! I don’t have 10 samples of their DNA and they are not biologically mine! They are clearly doomed.

  48. I’m just noticing how many of you stayed in the hospital for a week after a c-section. Wow! I, too, had a c-section, but I was only in the hospital for 2 days, and 6 days after the surgery I drove 700 miles so my son’s grandparents could see him. 6 weeks after the surgery I started running again. I guess I’m a bit nuts. 😉

  49. @Amanda–are you in South Texas, by chance? My fourth grader came home with the same thing yesterday. And an exhortation to BUY BUY BUY because the class with the highest participation in buying the stupid Identa-Kid cards gets a pizza party.

    *headdesk*

    I’m going to send her teacher a nice note letting her know that I did receive the form and we are declining to participate, and to please don’t give my girl a black mark in her “preparedness” grade for failing to procure my signature and $10.

    I know the school makes money on this stuff, and I don’t mean to begrudge them that, but seriously???

  50. When I was a teenager my mom told me how stupid she thought it was that people put those “baby on board” stickers on their car because it was like a flashing red light “HEY! Steal my baby!”
    I never really thought it until I had my own kid. I saw another friend with one of those signs and immediately heard my mom’s voice in my head. And then reality sunk in and I though “DUH! All they have to do is look in and see the CAR SEAT or the CHEERIOS or the DIAPER BAG”. Sigh. The things we convince ourselves and our loved ones to worry about.

  51. ANYTHING can happen! LOL.

  52. The rise and fall of the “Baby on Board” signs is a fascinating case study for our topic of Free Range Kids. The signs became popular as a plea for caution from other drivers. They fell when paranoid rumors regarding kidnapping spread.

    I am not sad the silly signs are gone but think about the cultural ramifications. Thinking shifted from “if the other drivers just knew there was a child in this car, they would exercise caution to help keep us safe,” to “if those other people know there is a child in this car they will do bad things to my family.”

    (I cant believe I just defended Baby on Board signs which were one of the most obnoxious and silly inventions of all time. But, they should have been banished for tackiness not paranoia.)

  53. My son had “baby lo-jack” attached to his belly button stump. The little clamp that they clamp on the umbillical stump “locked down” the ward if you walked too close to an open elevator with the baby.

    Now…since the nursery was on the other side of the elevator from the rooms and my son was in there under lights for jaundice, I walked that route with him quite a bit.

    I was in the hopsital for 5 days (minor complications for both of us) and set off the Baby Snatching Alarm probalbly twice a day. It was my little amusement in an otherwise crappy situation.

  54. @Kim — that’s cause the kick you out of the hospital after 2 days in the US, even if you had a C-section. In Germany, they keep you for up to a week if you want. Like Sue said, the idea here is you’ll get more rest in the hospital with nurses there to help, etc., then you would at home (although they send midwives here to new parents at home, too).

  55. I don’t have the same reaction about the security measures while still in the hospital.

    Hospital baby snatchings DO happen. They’re not common, but they’re not unheard of or even vanishingly rare. If a disturbed person wants to get hold of a newborn baby, and apparently it is a fixation that certain disturbed people actually have, then a maternity unit is a natural target. A reasonable level of security such as electronic bracelets, bracelet-matching, and so forth is neither terribly intrusive nor inconvenient. Hospitals have to protect themselves as well as you and your baby.

    The “bonding” stuff if you leave the baby 20 feet away is ridiculous, but while I was surprised and found it irritating when I had my first and got yelled at for trying to carry her down the hall to get myself some exercise, I can also understand the “no carrying” restriction. Within the first day after delivery, it’s not really unusual for women to be suddenly weakened, or dizzy, or something that could actually result in a fall or dropping a baby, without being able to anticipate it. Certainly it’s not everyone, but it’s also not something that can be diagnosed and ruled out as a possibility just by deciding someone “looks” healthy or you telling them that you “feel fine.” So while it’s a bit irritating to be told you can’t walk around with your baby, I honestly can’t fault the hospital for wanting to ensure that no newly post-partum mom is fainting and dropping her baby within 24 hours after delivery.

    But as has been pointed out, you’re a walking DNA source, so saving DNA even to provide “closure” is needless.

  56. So you’re saying that handing my baby over to a fellow congregant at synagogue and saying “when you get tired of holding him, pass him off to someone else who wants a turn” was a bad idea?

    Funny… I thought that was how my children learned to bond with other members of the community and feel at home in their own house of worship.

  57. I learned when I had my babies that this is also a very effective way to get new moms to do whatever you want them to do.

    I had all three of my babies at the same hospital. With my first two (2001 and 2003), the policy was that all of the babies slept in the nursery at night. They told you over and over to call the nurses whenever you took a nap or showered or went to the bathroom. They said it was dangerous to ever have your baby out of your eyesight for even a minute.

    When I had my third baby in 2005, the hospital had changed their policy to where the babies stayed in rooms with the moms throughout the entire stay. No more sending the babies to the nursery at night or whenever you took a nap (or went to the bathroom!). I suspect they did this to compete with other hospitals who were letting babies stay with their moms the entire time they were in the hospital.

    Suddenly it was no longer extremely dangerous to have your baby in your room with you when you were sleeping or showering. Instead, it was dangerous to break the mother-child bond so soon after birth.

    I believe there is no one as easily manipulated as a new mom.

  58. “I believe there is no one as easily manipulated as a new mom”

    Must be all our hormones raging at once 🙂

    Just like health claims, one day it’s really bad for you and the next it’s okay in moderation. Yesterday it was okay to leave your baby to go to the bathroom, today it’s not. Tommorrow it’ll be okay in moderation.

  59. I work in a hospital, and I hate the changes they have made to the mother-baby unit. Bracelets that set off alarms are not enough, the unit is now locked. (the only other locked units are psych wards). No one can visit, or come into the unit at any time without being checked in by the nurse – and even staff cannot come throughout without announcing or scanning – and there have been times when my badge does not allow me clearance. Since the mother-baby unit is between the staff elevator and the ICU, I find this extremely frustrating. It used to be fun, when my nieces and nephew were born, to visit the hospital and look at the babies in the window, along with your own families. Now they pull the curtains, as if even seeing another baby was dangerous. They still take photos of the babies, without last names, which are posted on the website and available for purchase by the parents. But for a time, they even blocked access to this portion of our own website to the employees! They finally reversed THAT decision. Takes all the joy out of having a baby if you ask me.

  60. Sera, if my kid drowns when the house washes away, the DNA sample will wash away too. And if the parents drown too, well, there are relatives in other states. This is not something that I actually want to have to pay for.

  61. @pentamom–I respectfully disagree with your opinion on policies regarding carrying around a new baby. I’m a grown woman and I can decide whether I feel up to something as simple and obvious as holding my child. In the (extremely rare) situation when a fit of dizziness might suddenly appear, it would be instinctive to fold your body around the baby and slide to the ground. I’m having a hard time imagining the likelihood of some kind of serious injury resulting from new moms walking around with their babies. It is insulting and infantalizing to tell mothers what they can and can’t do with their (THEIR!) child, and it’s intrusive and manipulative of hospitals to try to do so.

    If I was as self-confident and assured with my first couple of babies as I am now, after four, I would have politely declined to follow all their little rules and if they hassled me, signed myself out AMA and gone home.

  62. Oh, I was just talking about baby-napping! My best friend just had her first child Sunday, and we were talking about the good old days…when I had my second son, she came to visit (she lives three hours away), and was making some jokes about his security bracelet, and what would happen if she tried to take him home in her purse. There was a nurse in my room at the time, and she got SO MAD, and said to my friend “THE WHOLE HOSPITAL WOULD GO INTO LOCKDOWN!!!” And we both sat there cackling until we cried, and the nurse gave me a look that suggested she was disgusted with me for thinking a baby-napping, (at the hands of one of my oldest and dearest friends) was even remotely funny.

  63. Pentamom, not picking on you, but I find that it is pretty funny that a woman is “now” expected to not walk down the hall with a baby in the first couple days of life.

    My Sister-in-law had her second child 15 years ago. She checked in, was in labor for 20 hours, and she was sent home 4 hours after delivery because insurance would only pay for 24 hours in the hospital. They wheeled her to the door, but after that, she was on her own. She was probably told not to walk up any steps, but I am not sure about that. Thankfully neither she nor the child had any complications.

  64. “Pentamom, not picking on you, but I find that it is pretty funny that a woman is “now” expected to not walk down the hall with a baby in the first couple days of life. ”

    Cheryl, I know what you’re saying, but if they have more recently adopted a precaution because they’ve realized that medically it’s a good idea, is that ironic, or just good medicine?

    “@pentamom–I respectfully disagree with your opinion on policies regarding carrying around a new baby. I’m a grown woman and I can decide whether I feel up to something as simple and obvious as holding my child.”

    I know of no hospital anywhere that does not allow mothers to “hold” their child if the child is not in the NICU. This is about carrying while walking.

    Do you also decide to prescribe drugs for yourself? Do your own c-section? Write out the activity restrictions on the discharge papers? This is not just about how you “feel” — people can feel perfectly fine but find themselves suddenly light-headed or unsteady after an event like childbirth.

    If you are having a hospital birth, you are putting yourself in the hands of the hospital concerning medical issues. If you want to have a birth at home, or sign yourself and your child out AMA when you’re ready, then you get to make all the medical decisions. Otherwise, that you’re a “grown woman” does not entitle you to assess every aspect of your medical condition, particularly in a way that might put the child (who is also the hospital’s responsibility as long as admitted there) at risk.

    I believe in hospitals treating adult patients like adults, but “I’m a grown woman” is not sufficient response to a medical advisory in a medical situation. “I’m a grown woman and I’m qualified to conduct a full physical on myself and have determined that I am sound enough to carry my child” might cut it, though.😉

  65. What do you expect from the Constant Nonsense Network?

  66. Here’s an article that shows just what that paranoia is costing us.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2243732/?from=rss

  67. OK. First: as a maternal-child nurse and midwife: the “moms can’t carry their baby” rule is a CYA for the hospitals in case of the worst case scenario that a mom DOES faint and drop her baby. I have had moms faint unexpectedly but they weren’t carrying the baby. Logical or not (they are, of course, carrying their baby as soon as they leave the hospital), it’s the rule.

    Baby kidnappings: we had 1 happen at a hospital I worked at. It was devastating to the mom and awful for the staff (and the hospital’s reputation). Baby lo-jacks were instituted very shortly thereafter. Again, it’s insurance and CYA for the hospitals here in the USA.

    (pssst….hey, lady! Wanna a baby? I got one here.)

  68. @pentamom, normally I agree with your postings on this site, but not this time. I would characterize something that happened once last year, and three times the year before that, as practically unheard of and vanishingly rare. I’m reading these hospital policies in amazement….to protect against something that happened ONCE last year?

    I too want to hear from a parent who truthfully never once went to the bathroom in their home without taking the baby/toddler/child along. Sadly, most of them don’t read this site.

  69. By this way of thinking, you should be prepared for a natural disaster or a terrorist attach or for that matter an alien attack in the hospital after birth. After all – it *could* happen.

  70. http://oregon.gov/DHS/ph/nbs/index.shtml
    “The Northwest Regional Newborn Screening Program screens newborns for endocrine, hemoglobin, cystic fibrosis and metabolic disorders — identifying infants who need immediate treatment to prevent developmental problems, mental retardation or death. Identified infants are tracked to ensure they receive appropriate medical care.”
    DNA in case of kidnapping is not the reason. The person who told you that is a ditz. According to the brochure (which you should have been given, rather than the scary “information”), :
    Why?
    A special blood test can find rare disorders that can cause brain damage or death if they are not treated early.
    Who?
    State law requires hospitals and midwives to collect a screening specimen on every baby born in the state
    When?
    The first test must be collected before your baby leaves the hospital or birth center. The second test should be collected before your baby is 15 days old. Take the second screening card to your baby’s care provider at your first visit after birth.
    How?
    A few drops of blood from your baby’s heel are put onto a special test paper.
    Conditions identified by newborn screening

    Congenital Hypothyroidism
    Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    Cystic Fibrosis
    Galactosemia
    Biotinidase Deficiency
    Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
    Hemoglobinopathies
    Amino Acid Disorders
    Fatty Acid/Organic Acid Disorders

  71. “I have had moms faint unexpectedly but they weren’t carrying the baby. ”

    Hmmmmmm, this would actually indicate that the rule is, in fact, logical. If mothers do unexpectedly faint shortly after giving birth, then maybe carrying the baby around the hospital is not such a good idea.

    I’m not on board with the DNA cards, taking babies to the bathroom and the other things mentioned but dissuading women who have just gone through the shock of giving birth (no matter how natural the process is, it is still a shock for the body) from walking around extensively while carrying a newborn doesn’t really seem overprotective to me. I remember insisting on taking a shower several hours after my DD was born. I was good for the first few minutes but had to sit on the toilet in the middle of the shower because I felt so light-headed and weak. (I left my DD in the room ALONE while taking this shower). We are just talking about the first 24-48 hours or so after giving birth, not the child’s entire infancy. By the time you leave the hospital, your body should have recovered enough to make fainting, falling, weakness less of a threat (or they should keep you in the hospital).

  72. I haven’t read all 70 comments – but I did search on “pater” – short for paternity.

    So, give blood sample to Dad – so he can find out if it’s “his” or a traveling salesman’s.

    The comment(s) about testing reminds me of our infant son (born 1996) – whose blood test showed thyroid a little out of range. Brought him to see local GP and she was good.

    (damn good)

    She did a scalp stick. Rubbed/prepped the vein for, it seemed, 5 minutes, did the stick, drew the blood, the puncture didn’t even bleed.

    No infant bawling.

    Mellowest blood draw in my experience.

    RFID chip

    Has it happened that parents inplant thier teenagers yet – my own personal prediction.

    I haven;t thought it through, but think that if I travelled more, I’d get an implant along with a rigorous background check – that’s is if it allow me to pass through an “express lane” at airports.

  73. […] A Bouncing Bundle of Kidnappable Joy Hi Readers! Feeling a little sane and optimistic today? Shame on you! It is your DUTY, as an AMERICAN to live in a […] […]

  74. Ughhh don’t get me started on baby kidnapping hysteria. I had my baby 8 weeks ago and was in the hospital for 7days after a csection and then a little jaundice. My husband and I had to wear magnetic bands and my son had this band with a big plastic piece that corresponded with out bands. The problem was that if the band fell off, was adjusted, or sometimes for no apparent reason Id have a frantic nurse in my room rifling through blankets, waking my infant and I up to find that stupid ankle bracelet. You could hear the corresponding alarm going off at the front desk down the hall. It was so ridiculous. In the 7 days I was there I think I had to deal with them searching for the stupid bracelet about 9 times. (newborns lose weight normally… Thus, bracelet falls off… Duh.) I asked if I could opt out of the bracelet after the third time and they looked at me like the most negligent mother in the world. “you don’t want someone running off with your baby, do you?”.

    Really lady? You need to get buzzed in through two sets of metal doors just to get in to the maternity ward… Not to mention the baby is sleeping in my room. Hysteria, man.

  75. Joel- I follow this site because I live close to the US, work there, and may end up having to move back at some point. It IS nice here, but its not for everyone though.

    If you are looking for a free range place free from crazy rules, but close enough to work for USD$, look at Baja California, I am just South of Tijuana. Don’t let the news scare you, it’s only dangerous if you are a gang member, drug dealer, or police officer or politician fighting them.

    My neighborhood is a mere 12 miles from the CA border, San Diego, but its another world. Practically, its like living in the burbs, but with power outages, bad roads, and cheap rents, lol. seriously though, I have an amazing Ocean front house for half of what I paid in CA, and all the household help I need. everything I don’t like about the US and raising kids isn’t an issue here. PLUS, the weather is PERFECT. 55-75 And SUNNY all year🙂

  76. Tuppance- I stayed for almost 5 full days AFTER my CS, without complications. They don’t always kick you out in 2 days.

  77. There was one baby snatching in all of last year?

    OMG! It’s worse than I thought! Hide everybody! The snatchers are coming! It’s an epidemic!!

  78. Scott – I think it was actually only one ATTEMPTED baby snatching. The one in Fort Hood didn’t even make it out of the hospital (because of baby lo-jack type security)

    Thanks Jillo for that link. I loved her statistical comparison, the chance of having your baby kidnapped and harmed is about 1 in 3,000,000 vs the chances of being crushed to death by a nonvenomous reptile at 1 in 3,800,000.

    Also found her link to “odds of dying by…” http://tinyurl.com/ybv2kpn

  79. The funny thing is, I remember thinking as a young child that if I ever got kidnapped I should have some sort of DNA around my house so they could find me. I never actually did anything about it, but I have to say it was the direct result of me watching shows like CSI, Law & Order, and ER that put me into that mindset (yes, I did watch those shows as a fairly young child). Looking back I think it’s silly just because of the statistics.

    Although I did find my 3 year old finger prints in my mom’s hope chest not long ago. They were on a child protection type card.

  80. @Staceyjw aka escaped to mexico — and I left after 3 days after CS (and know another woman here who left after 2 days), rather than stay a week. Of course there’s always exceptions to the rule. I thought it’d be interesting to explain the different mentality here to the “folks back home”. I had the impression the original poster assumed something was odd about Sue staying a full week.

  81. Stacey – so you commute across the border to work? That’s fascinating. My parents live on the Canadian border (literally 3 miles from customs). They used to go to Canada almost weekly for various reasons from shopping to singing groups (bigger city). Now they can’t stand it. Post 911 changes to the U.S. border are outrageous. You can get stuck for over an hour easily on a given day. They just stopped going. Sad.

    With my travel and living abroad several times, I would have a pretty good idea of what its like living in a less developed country. That doesn’t scare me off, just the logistics of how to do it and my language challenged brain. Plus the lack of extended family that makes such places so “rich” for the locals. We could do Canada as my wife is a citizen, but they are not far behind us in lunacy. Wish me luck, maybe I’ll figure it out.

    I’ve read your posts about how children and adults interact, the freedom of kids, etc and it all rings true with my experiences from Panama to Africa to India to China. We, in the U.S., are an anomaly (even Europe is much more relaxed).

  82. This story reminds me of one of the craziest examples of this of paranoid hysteria I’ve ever heard…another mom told me, completely straight-faced, that she would never put one of those “It’s a Boy/Girl” storks on her front lawn, because wouldn’t that be an attraction for all the crazy women who steal newborns?

  83. The comments about the c-sections got me. I’ve had 5 (in 2000, 01, 02, 06 and last July). The longest I stayed was 3 days (all my insurance would cover). Not that I wanted to stay. They forced me saying I had PPD and wouldn’t let me leave until I was seen by a shrink. All because I refused to take my meds (seemed pointless because when I was in pain and asked for them they always told me I couldn’t have any so I quit asking and taking them) and was in tears because I wanted to leave.
    The idea that you get more rest in the hospital cracks me up immensely. The least amount of sleep I had after having my kids was in the hospital. Besides having the baby wake me up every couple of hours I also had the nurses coming in to take my vitals every couple of hours so I never got more than 1 hour of sleep at a time. When my son was born in 01 I had to share a room so I also got woke up whenever she needed help or her baby needed to be fed. That was the time they wouldn’t let me leave. I was so freaking exhausted because I never slept for more than 20 minutes before someone woke me up. They also refused to feed me for almost 2 days (just broth). I was so weak I couldn’t get out of bed and felt dizzy constantly.
    I HATE hospitals. Glad I’m done having kids so I can avoid them at all costs now.

  84. Just to add, since Lenore emailed me to ask: yes, the baby was finally found, about 2 weeks later (IIRC). It’s been over 20 years, so I don’t recall the exact time length.

  85. I never worried my baby would be snatched. I wanted my kids to not be afraid of everything. I encouraged them to make friends with adults in our trusted circle and I was always happy to let a waitress hold my babies, or encouraged my kids to say polite things to strangers. I never thought anything of it when I my doctor took my daughter to pick our a toy and a popsicle while I dressed her baby brother and made a new appointment. Turns out, he was molesting her and many others in the “just a minute” they were out of my sight.

    Statistically speaking, the scope of my town’s story is incredibly rare, but children being molested is not rare.

    I get that we shouldn’t be over dramatizing and over protecting and over fretting about stuff like this baby snatching, but please, I wish someone could give us some numbers, some statistics on the real risks and some real, smart, level headed, non helicopter ways to give ourselves and our kids the tools to prevent and lessen the impact of such potential incidents.

    Lenore’s appendix to Free Range Kids the book was a bare taste of what the real risks are- her section on real ways to prevent abuction and common sense drowning prevention were headed the right direction.

    Someone please give us more.

    We need to understand the real risks and statistics. I wish someone would collect them and give us some sound advice. Perhaps this resource exists. I would love it if you could tell me. In the meantime, I have to judge things by the risk may be small but the consequences unbearable. I am living with unbearable.

  86. beth, I guess all I’m saying is that bracelets and alarm systems seem like sensible measures to guard against something does happen, albeit rarely, not like a really huge, intrusive deal. If they were locking people down in their rooms, not allowing visitors, and similar really extreme measures in the name of safety, I’d have an objection, too. But bracelets and alarms? Why not?

  87. Keep in mind that a hospital setting is a place where people unknown to the staff and each other are coming and going constantly, and yes, handling the babies (if they’re legitimate visitors). It’s not like a typical workplace, or a school, or a home, where there are mostly people with a generally good sense of who’s supposed to be there with whom and why. So it just doesn’t seem that odd to make sure that nobody walks out with a baby that isn’t theirs, by means of ID’s and alarms. You could do it by a more “common sense” method by having staff watch — but hospital staff are usually too busy to notice everyone coming and going, and nowadays there usually isn’t a single nurse who does all the care on a shift for the same patient, so I don’t think that it’s reasonable to expect that kind of simple visual tracking.

  88. In the hospital where I once worked, a chime sounded each time the doors to the maternity ward were opened, as an alert to the nurses that someone had entered or left. Each time I opened those doors and heard that chime, I had an absurd urge to shout, “I’m here to snatch the babies!” When I had my own child there, I wanted to take a Louisville Slugger to that d@mn chime for keeping me awake at night. A denent night’s sleep on the maternity ward? Not in my experience.

  89. I’m about 4 weeks away from my due date with #1 (holy crap! Only 4 weeks?! ACK!). Here in Ontario, that means we get to go for a tour of the hospital where we’re registered to give birth.

    It’s an awesome practice. I don’t know if you guys do it in the US, but it was so comforting for me, as someone who doesn’t generally frequent hospitals, to see where the entrance is, how to get to the maternity ward, etc. We also got to fill out all our forms so that we don’t have to worry about it when we’re having contractions.

    In any case, part of the visit included a little presentation about hospital policy and what we could expect during our stay in the maternity ward. Apparently, this hospital (Ottawa’s Montfort, in case anyone is interested) recently instituted a new policy – newborns are equipped with an ankle bracelet that sounds an alarm if anyone tries to take them out of the ward (this is in addition to the wrist bracelet with all of the baby’s info on it).

    The nurse giving the presentation explained that this was to ensure that no baby-nappings could occur – “Not that it’s ever happened here, of course,” she reassured us. So they’ve instituted this policy that undoubtedly costs a pretty penny without so much as a single incident. Talk about “what if” thinking!

    But there’s more. Only the parents of the baby (who get their own identifying wrist bands) are allowed outside of the rooms with the baby. So if grandma steps into the hall with Junior while mom gets changed, she is assumed to be a kidnapper.

    We were also warned that we shouldn’t allow our newborns out of our sight at any moment. If we have to go potty, explained the nurse, we should roll our baby bassinet into the bathroom with us.

    And finally, we were instructed to ask for the badge of anyone claiming to be a nurse who interacts with the baby or needs to take the baby out of the room for any reason. I wonder if there are any exceptions. Should I stand my ground and demand that the nurse provide me with ID while my baby is in respiratory distress? After all, I wouldn’t want my baby kidnapped!

    I’m being very harsh. The hospital was fantastic, and this whole schtick only took about five minutes out of a two hour tour. The rest of their policies seemed very sensible and I’m really looking forward to my stay there (you know, except that whole “being in labour” bit).

  90. Oops, forgot to mention one detail about the ankle bracelets. If we do decide to take a walk around the halls with our baby, we have to be careful not to step too close to the doors lest we trip the alarm. Talk about a rude welcome into the world!

  91. I’m horrible…my 10yo dtr runs to the store for me a block and a half away….in the dark…at 7pm. I’m just asking for her to be kidnapped, aren’t I…sigh…

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