Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anyone Seen My Marbles?

MarblesI was fixing breakfast this morning when the wailing sound started upstairs and began moving toward me. Louder and higher and more shrill--living proof of the Doppler Effect--until it was right behind me, echoing around the kitchen.

"What's wrong Lily?"

"I can't find my sweater!" (sob, hiccup, sob).

"Well go look for it, it's probably where you last left it."

"But I can't find it anywhere!"

"Yes, well as I haven't moved it and I am one of the few in the house who consider a sweater to be out of place on the floor I can pretty much guarantee you that it hasn't moved from the last spot where you dumped it. No one else would have bothered to pick it up and it has, in fact, probably sprouted roots by now. Go look."

One minute later--exactly enough time for her to turn around, walk up the stairs, down the hall, step six inches over the threshold of her bedroom and take one full breath of bedroom air--and she's back in the kitchen crying.

"It's lost! I can't find it!"

I've heard this so many times lately I'm ready to crack. The kids lose something and they can't find it and they come after me like I'm Columbo, able to solve all the mysterious disappearances plaguing our home and let me tell you it's like the Bermuda Triangle over here the way things are vanishing. David's watch, Spencer's coat, Lillian's hat . . .

Lunch boxes, wallets, mittens, hats, shoes, library books, if it's smaller than an RV it'll get misplaced sooner or later. Or both. I've been over the procedure for putting things away properly till I'm writhing on the floor in agony but it's just not sinking in because several times a week I'm getting hit with "I can't find [fill in the blank]!"

Oh I've tried the system of throwing their gear outside whenever they've left it sitting around but that only means that they know where it will be when they go looking for it. "Missing backpack? Not to worry, Mom's picked it up and it's out on the front porch. " I've used the Mad Bag where if I find things sitting around they are collected for a period of time but Grace's hat has been there for two months and she's never noticed that it's gone. Somehow that's taking the punch out of the punishment.

More frustrating than the actual misplacement is the fact that my children seem incapable of finding something on their own. It's just a given that if they've lost something they'll not be able to find it and equally as true that if I go looking for it I'll find it within five minutes. Yes, I'm amazing. They think that if they step into the room and do a sweeping motion with their eyes, testing the atmosphere for tremors in the Force, they've done their job.

When I say, "Have you looked for it?" all they hear is "Do you think you'd maybe like to have it back?" to which the answer is of course "YES!" If I ask where they've looked for it they'll say, "EVERYWHERE!" Because they're that thorough. I'll give them a checklist of places to look: under the seat in the car, under their bed, in the dress-up box, under the couch, behind the black bench in the garage, behind the couch . . . but they'll swear they've checked all those places in vain.

I've become completely calloused and nasty over the whole issue which has become large enough to make me rather desperate and twitchy. I'm ready to start mixing my colors and whites. On purpose. I'm starting to believe that if a child loses something through laying it down irresponsibly he or she must have too many things to keep track of and therefore should have to pay an Excess Tax. As in, "Go look for it yourself, because if I find it . . . it's MINE."

When David lost his wallet this month with his entire life savings of $2.35 (plus a library card) and was ready to call in the FBI I merely shrugged my shoulders and said, "It'll turn up." Thinking that even if it didn't my life would be easier if I pretended I hadn't heard his trauma. And it worked. Two weeks later it magically reappeared and the Free World breathed easier--you may have missed the story in the paper, it was buried on page two.

Lillian did eventually find her sweater, though after "looking" for it behind the couch, claiming it wasn't there then taking the time to knock over my orchids in the process. Turns out it was there, though heaven knows why, it's as if my children think that a sweater touching a hanger will set off a nuclear reaction capable of destroying Life As We Know It.

Tell me this is just a phase and that they'll someday be able to keep track of and find their own things. If not, I'm expecting that in twenty years I'll be getting a lot of phone calls from my children while they're wandering parking lots, asking if I can come and find their car for them. Sigh. It could happen.

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Congratulations to Andrea from Yorktown, Saskatchewan for winning this week's Saturday Giveaway. She's won the camper tee from Mountain Aven Baby. Woo hoo!

***

And if you haven't already seen this, here's a link that's pretty funny, rather Deep Thoughts-ish. The one about being in the Army cracks me up.

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39 comments:

childlife said...

Sorry... haven't seen your marbles 'cause I can't seem to find mine either.

If you discover the cure for this malady of selective blindness, let me know. (You could probably bottle it and sell it for that matter!)

I love your idea of an excise tax... that one deserves some R&D : )

Amanda said...

I'm with you in hoping that it's a phase to be outgrown. Mine "looks" for something by entering a room, playing with some random toy, then reporting back to me that yes, it really is lost.

Oh, and about losing your car: at least at the airport you can get one of the security guys running around in golf carts to give you a drive around the parking lot to look for it. Don't ask me how I know that. Perhaps I've just proved that (at least for some) this blindness never goes away!

Corrie said...

How about when you ask your kids to 'find' something for you? I never could see what my mom had me lookin for, and then she'd come along and poof! there it was.

I still suffer from that syndrome and now, so do my kids.

(I had to read every one of those quotes. Who the heck is Mitch?)

Veronica said...

See my little one is too little for the losing of the stuff.

My Hubby though? As bad as any kid.

Robin said...

I don't want to scare you, but my husband is forty and he's still doing it to me. I generally send him back in exasperation to "look with his eyes open".

Jeana said...

I would comment but I'm light-headed from nodding throughout the entire post.

girlymama said...

Ugh. I can totally relate.

My daughter wakes me up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT because she can't find her blankey. So I get up, go all the way to her room and find it. IN HER BED.

Finding things is mom's superpower ;-)

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I've learned to handle Bean's "losing" things with a bit of gentle humility, because the older I get, the longer it takes ME to find my car in the parking lot. I know I'm gonna be the one calling HER in another 10 or 15 years and she's already proven she has a memory like an elephant for "injustices" done her. :) Hee hee.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

GASP! Site of the week! I'm hyperventilating! Thank you!

Melissa Garrett said...

We (meaning my son) frequently lose blankie. I should've named my son "Linus" because even at six years old, that holey blanket is usually attached to him like another appendage. Jacob refers to the blanket as "he," and has given it human characteristics. To say that the world ends with a catastophic bang when blankie goes missing would be an understatement. And of course it always happens at bedtime.

Janet said...

I have to agree with Veronica and Robin. It's probably genetic. Scott doesn't even bother looking for something before he asks me where it is. He's especially bad in the refrigerator. He opens the door and immediately asks if we have (fill in the blank). Lately I've taken to responding, "I don't know, try moving a jar or two around." And Mary Margaret has the same disease. She will stand in her doorway facing her room, which should be declared a disaster area and receive government funding, and announce that she can't find something. I can't wait for William to start. A friend of mine has taken to leaving things on the stairs as a gentle hint for her children (ages 7 and 9) and husband (age 40) to take up, but she's looking for new ideas since she tripped over Tom's shoes and fell down the stairs, tearing her ACL. Scott suggested a 32-gallon trash can by the door that gets emptied every Saturday (rather than staying indefinitely). I'll let you know how that works for her.

Janet said...

I have to agree with Veronica and Robin. It's probably genetic. Scott doesn't even bother looking for something before he asks me where it is. He's especially bad in the refrigerator. He opens the door and immediately asks if we have (fill in the blank). Lately I've taken to responding, "I don't know, try moving a jar or two around." And Mary Margaret has the same disease. She will stand in her doorway facing her room, which should be declared a disaster area and receive government funding, and announce that she can't find something. I can't wait for William to start. A friend of mine has taken to leaving things on the stairs as a gentle hint for her children (ages 7 and 9) and husband (age 40) to take up, but she's looking for new ideas since she tripped over Tom's shoes and fell down the stairs, tearing her ACL. Scott suggested a 32-gallon trash can by the door that gets emptied every Saturday (rather than staying indefinitely). I'll let you know how that works for her.

Janet said...

sorry about the double comment. had trouble with the password thingy

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I wish I could give you hope but I still have problems finding my keys, wallet, shoes, jacket... I'll just stop now.

Amber said...

I got my stinkbug yesterday! Thank you! It will be perfect for our little stinker Anna next year...

SabineM said...

I need to find my marbles before I can help you with yours! ;-)

The quotes from that link are TOO FUNNY!

Heather said...

I don't think it gets outgrown. My husband still can't find things when they're right in front of him.

When he was supposed to take me to the hospital for my son's c-section, he got back out of the car and went into the house. After a few minutes he returned, muttering under his breath.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"I can't find the keys!" he exclaimed, frustrated.

"You mean the ones you put in the ignition?"

Yeah. It's that bad.

Dedee said...

Oh the lost thing. I so hear you on this one. My thing is to walk in to the room where it is (cuz 95% of the time I do know where it is) and say "If it were an elephant, it would step on you." Either that or "If I find it, then you owe me a quarter." I could get rich that way.

Kristin said...

Are you raising my kids because this sounds awfully familiar...

My kids can't see the damn yogurt if it's behind the milk.

Remember that Poe story, The Puloined Letter? Well, there you go.

JAM said...

To quote the great philosopher, former President Bill Clinton: "I feel your pain."

Number Two Daughter has this genetic fault as well. We learned NEVER to ask her to go look for something. She'll walk around screaming that she can't find a certain pair of shoes and we'll watch her walk around "looking" and pass right by them. It becomes fascinating.

I hate to tell you this, but she's still this exact same way at 19. Lord please find her a patient husband.

Jen@BigBinder said...

I have no idea if this is a phase, but I am afraid that I have to side with your husband. Losing the wallet - no big deal; credit cards are easily replaced. But I get nervous thinking about losing a library card. The horror! I'd be lost without mine :)

Cocoa said...

Well, knowing that I also have to help my husband look for things I know that it is most definitely not a phase that some of my kids will grow out of. The girls might because they will be mommies some day and have to do the same thing for their kids but my son? He's too young to tell yet.

Babystepper said...

I remember my dad telling me that if he walked in my room and found "it", I would get a spanking. Now that I'm a parent, I understand his frustration. I'm sure I was pulling the same "I've looked everywhere" that they try.

Kelly said...

When I say, "Have you looked for it?" all they hear is "Do you think you'd maybe like to have it back?" to which the answer is of course "YES!"

Brilliant.

Julie Q. said...

We just went through this drill on Sunday. McKay couldn't find his other church shoe. He looked everywhere (or did the tremors in the Force check, love that!). Turns out Ethan, who is 2 sizes up, was wearing it and it was Ethan who was missing a shoe. So we did the big search all over again. I don't know why I thought to look in his pants drawer but that's exactly where it was. Do I get my Columbo card?

pussreboots said...

I could have written this post. My son and husband are absolutely blind to finding things... even when I can see them looking right at them. I don't know yet how my daughter will do at finding things. She's only 14 months...

Heffalump said...

I remember misplacing things as a kid and my Dad would always say (after I assured him I had looked EVERYWHERE). "Okay, I am going to look for it, and if I find it, you are getting a spanking..." This always caused me to say..."Wait, let me look one more time!" and I would look frantically and find it myself. Of course...spanking isn't much acceptable these days, maybe you could try..."If I find it, I get a dollar out of your piggy bank" or some such...you never know...it might work!
My kids never look UNDER things. They just do the sweep. Usually things that are lost are just covered up by something else.

Jenni said...

I agree that it's a mom-superpower-prerequisite. But it'll be payback time for the kids when we get older!

Thanks for the visit, btw!

charlotta-love said...

I don't have kids yet but I'm going to remember that "tax" idea for finding items. And I'm going to tell my mom...now that I won't be affected by it. :o)

Loved the quotes!

J. Lynne said...

I suppose now isn't the time to mention that I occasionally have to call my mother, who lives on the other side of the country, to ask her where things are. However, it's only because when she visits, she puts things where she thinks they would work better or where she would keep them rather than where they belong. I finally broke down and bought a whole new portable heater this year because I can't find the one I had in my apartment; I've searched the whole house, in the eaves, the basement, the garage, every closet and she doesn't remember where she put it, but she's sure she put it somewhere practical. :P

Thea said...

Jake is 4, generally has a clear bedroom floor (for this reason), and is already saying "I can't find it!" when it is LITERALLY sitting in the middle of his floor, and it is the ONLY thing on his floor....

The lazy don't fall far from the tree, though...

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

They'll grow out of it.

No, wait, I didn't grow out of it, I just moved out of my parents' house....

Leslie said...

This post was hilarious!

Luckily, Julia is still in the "I'm an excellent finder" stage. She finds the stuff I lose!

Laura said...

So... you're telling me that my 5yo isn't going to grow out of this really soon???

Elizabeth said...

My husband used to say, "I don't understand your organizational system." [The 'system' was have everything on the floor.] So, he couldn't help V. find_____.

Now, V. is 19 and she recently called me to get my 'Master Grocery List'. So, there is hope.

chelle said...

It only gets worse when they can all talk eh?

Melissa Markham said...

I hate to tell you this, but I am still finding stuff for my 42 year old husband! It never ends!

But, I have a treat for my readers! Come check it out!

The Lazy Organizer said...

Mothers everywhere are losing their minds over this issue! Today in fact we needed to return some videos to the library. My son said he couldn't find them. I said, "Look in the van and if they're not there then call your Dad and ask him where they are." Twenty minutes later he reported that he still hadn't found them. "Did you look in the van?" "No." "Did you call your Dad and ask him?" "No."

So he looks in the van and then calls his Dad. He still can't find them so I call his Dad who says that he told him they were on the table in the living room. Did he look there? Yes but he couldn't find them because there was a clear plastic bag sitting on top of them! Clear as in almost invisible!!!

Then later I was looking for something in a drawer and my son came up behind me and said, I am not kidding, "Take that thread out because sometimes you have to look under things Mom."

Geo said...

Then I won't tell you about certain adult in-laws who still exhibit this kind of helplessness . . . .