My children are born losers. This is not my assessment of their character – it’s merely a comment on their total inability to hang onto their personal possessions.
That’s why, whenever I buy anything for them, I try to picture how it will look after being left out all night in a snowstorm, or whether it will go with all the other stuff in the lost and found box at school. The last thing I worry about is whether it will suit the kid for whom I bought it, since it’s bound to disappear within twenty-four hours anyway.
I know there are name tapes created to prevent this, and I sew them on everything not actually physically attached to the child. However, no one around here seems to be able to read, and all I succeed in doing is losing the tapes along with everything they’re sewn on.
Some things were made to be lost. Jackets, sweaters, boots and scarves disappear by the truckload. I have the largest collection of mismatched mitts in the country, all bought to go with hats and coats which have now disappeared. If they’d only lose the complete outfit with all its matching accessories at the same time, I could write it off as a tax loss and start all over again.
There’s no use trying to track any of it down. My children have absolutely no idea where they’ve been for the past twenty-four hours, and even if they do finally remember where they left it, they wouldn’t recognize it if someone waved it under their noses. However, it’s never a total loss: I get a lot of exercise running around the neighborhood looking for their things, and I’ve met some very interesting people.
On the other hand, if something is lost somewhere in the house, I have a fighting chance. After all, it’s got to be in one of the rooms, unless the baby’s swallowed it or flushed it down the toilet, in which case I call either the doctor or the plumber, whichever is cheaper.
If it’s in a cupboard or drawer I’m sure to find it, along with a dozen other things I didn’t know I’d lost, like last year’s Christmas cards my husband swore he mailed. The down side is that I get to clean out my cupboards far more frequently than I want to. The trouble is, I can never find anyplace to put all the stuff I cleaned out, which is probably why my cupboards are a joy to behold, while my house is a filthy mess.
My husband is no help at all. His idea of looking for something is to open a kitchen cupboard and stand staring into it asking plaintively, “Do we have any salt?” until someone (usually me) takes pity on him and goes to get it for him. At least he’s pretty good about not losing things. I think he feels that he has to stem the outgoing tide, so he’s constantly bringing home coats, hats, rubbers and umbrellas that I’ve never set eyes on in my life. I keep telling him it’s a losing proposition. The children outnumber him four to one and they try harder. He never brings home anything that fits anyone anyway.