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 Map Quest This

For women, the day our internal GPS activates is when we enter into a committed relationship. That is the day the chores and duties of the household are divvied up and the GPS turns on. Suddenly, your partner is asking you where stuff is; their stuff, house stuff, and all stuff is now your responsibility.

When you have kids, 90% of your day is spent finding other people's stuff. The other 10% is finding the stuff that the kids took from you.

"Mom", Twin "R" comes to me, waving her hands around, doing her princess dance," I can't... find... my...Tinkerbell doll." Me, actually knowing where something is for a change, responds, "it is in your bed. Go get it." She responds, "it's... not... there."(agitated dancing). Meanwhile, she has not moved. She is still looking at me with her sweet little face expecting me to pull it out of thin air.  "But you didn't look", I say. "I did" she says quite emphatically stomping her feet as though that would help the argument.  I look at her wondering if she had an out of body experience in which she mentally teleported upstairs and could confirm her first statement. I say,"it's in your room, if you want it, go get it." and then she says, "you get it." Oh, no, not playing that with a 3 year old. "Excuse me?" (my older kids know that question is an invitation to "time out";the first sign in the road that they don't want to go down). "Come with me, please", she says. Impressed with her ability to negotiate a compromise, I agree and much to her surprise, it was in her bed.  And that, was an easy fight.

Not all quests for lost treasure end so well. Sometimes the girls come to me, and in their sweet little voices, ask me for stuff I can't comprehend. I ask them to repeat and all I get it "I can't...find...blahblahblah." (must envision that they are waving their hands to enunciate and dancing around like a drunk butterfly).  And then, I feel like I am a contestant on Jeopardy, the music is playing the audience is watching, the opponents are hoping that I fail, and I still have no clue what the coveted item of the moment is. "I'm sorry.", I say,(the audience groans), "mommy can't understand what you want."(cause all moms speak in third person). "Can you show me?" and then  child throws self on the floor with the whine that I'm sure all my neighbors can here. (Glad it's not summer. Window are open in summer. Sound travels in Summer. Hopefully my neighbor is already drunk.) I think to myself. "Vodka is in the cabinet", I hear the little voice in my head. Must ignore. Eye on prize. And then, I start guessing random toys they own that I have in my mental inventory. If I get to the point that I actually guess which toy, they look at me like, "it's about time moron. I am speaking English here."(said in NJ accent).  If I am no where close to finding the lost ark, I then dig deep and try redirection. I offer other toys, just to be shot down and given the "I'm so offended" face. In a sea of desperation, I offer the Strawberry Shortcake movies on Netflix. This is like crack to most 3/4 year old girls and even though the theme song makes me wish the liquor store sold vodka IV drips, I still offer it.

My favorite location requests come from the child who is seeking the object they just had in their hands. Really?!? "You just had it. Where did you put it?" And magically, poof, it just became my problem. They feel that once they told me the problem, their part was done. "Excuse me?" I tell them all the time, "it is not my job to find your stuff." But, they're not buying that at all. Somehow, they know what the mommy manual says and I am mistaken.  They just have the expectation that I will magically tell them where their possessions are; like it is part of my DNA. 

I am convinced the dryer troll who eats all the single socks, has an extended family that includes the "action figure appendage eater", "doll shoe troll," "anything Dora eater", "Fairy troll", and "Video game/DVD snacker". We have had to teach the children how to properly address our action figures wounded in action. "He is amputee Captian America. Make him play nice with Decapitated Wolverine." "Dora is happier barefoot. "The fairies are busy making things beautiful." (That one failed big time) Must remember that toddlers want things NOW!!!!!!). And now that the boys have Legos, those pieces are so tiny, the vacuum is the likely cause of their disappearance. When things cannot be located when they are wanted, it is an invitation for any child to melt. Although I have organized their crap in an orderly way, nothing can compete with a whirl wind of tornadoes leaving massive chaos.

Eventually, most things pop up, sometimes right in front of you and sometimes among the dust bunnies under someone's bed. Now that the boys are older, I send them on "search parties" armed with flashlights to venture under their beds in search of the lost DS cartridges, cars, action figures and whatever else they own and maybe hadn't realized was missing yet. Those expeditions are usually quite fruitful. But yet, there are the assorted items that slip into the twilight zone. Disappeared, never to be found again. As long as it is not my stuff, I'm really ok with that. Even my GPS has it's limits.


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