Do I know you?

Are you my mommy?

These days we worry incessantly about our children being taken by strangers, and for good reason. But I have a less sinister, if still disconcerting, worry.

My children don't know what I look like.

It started when we were at the library. Apparently, when you're just under four foot tall, any woman in the sweater with dark hair pulled into a pony tail is a dead ringer for me.

I heard Mireya, four years old and well versed in where all the best videos are in the library, talking in her earnest negotiation mode -- with someone else.

"If I get the Beauty and the Beast video can I get the Dora one too? I want to get that one too."

I looked up from the table in the children's area and saw my daughter walking behind a woman, holding the video box in her little hand. The woman, trying to catch up to her own children, looked down at my curly haired daughter with a smile and said, "Um, well…"

And then the look of horror swept across Mireya's face like a flash flood. I could just see the words appear in a thought bubble over her head.

You are NOT my mommy!

She whirled around and spotted me a few feet away. She ran over to the table, slightly pale.

"I want to sit on your lap," she said, still stunned. I understood what she was going through.
When I was four, I didn't know what my mom looked like either. Really any relatively similar sized woman seemed to fit the bill.

We'd be out shopping and before you'd know it I'd be hanging out with a woman who had probably negotiated a couple of hours away from her kids, only to have me following her around the clearance racks, thinking she was my mom.

Sometimes I never even realized I had the wrong mom until I heard myself being paged over the store speakers. Even then I had to do a double take.

This is precisely why you never test kids with those family reunion photos. The only one they'll get right is the dog.

As we finally checked out our books and videos at the library desk, my eldest daughter, Sierra saw the woman who Mireya had been talking to.

"Wow. That lady looks just like you."

The other mom and I smiled at each other. She looked about as much like me as Conan O'Brien looks like David Letterman.

But then again, it's been a while since I was under ten. According to my kids, she may have been my long lost identical twin. I'll have to check with mom about that.

If I can find her.