Apparently when you become a mother they install a device on your person that keeps track of all your offspring’s belongings at all times. This makes sense when children are infants and not as capable of keeping track of their things. A person working on holding his or her head up and rolling over really can’t be expected to keep track of their own diapers, wipes and sippy cups.
As they age, however, you would expect human beings to start to be as invested in keeping track of their own stuff as they expect other people — namely their mothers — to be.
You would be wrong.
Recently our 14-year-old daughter was beside herself — and more so me — because she could not find her favorite pair of pants. This wouldn’t be remarkable if not for the fact that this is the second time she has misplaced her pants.
They are workout pants, and as such dragged about in her athletic bag, and tossed in baskets, hampers or the back of the car at will. They are basically traveling pants. They’re kind of free range. This understandably makes them difficult to locate later.
It should be noted that GirlWonder, for the most part, is sweet and bright and kind to animals and would totally help a unicorn cross the road. When it comes to being unable to locate something she needs, however, she morphs into a princess, and we all should bow to her, which we would do if we weren’t busy hiding all her things.
A good example of her stubborn “I know what I know and don’t tell me different” demeanor was exhibited early. At approximately four years old she insisted she wanted a “peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” This was surprising since we had known from an early age she did not like any part of peanut butter or jelly at all. All attempts to reason with her were for naught. Her brother was having peanut butter and jelly and by golly she wanted one too.
She drew herself up to her full four-year-old height (not much), cocked her eyebrow and said, with authority “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But … I don’t want you to put on any peanut butter and I don’t want any jelly. I just want ham.” So there!
This is the person I am trying to reason with at 6 a.m. sans pants.
Meanwhile, the first time the pants went missing she went on a whole house mission to find them. No stone — or laundry basket — left unturned. We looked under beds, behind furniture, in other people’s drawers. No one was above suspicion. After days they would finally turn up in the one place no one thought to look: the back of the car.
This time, I felt that being forewarned was forearmed. Using my amazing powers of deduction, I suggested she check the car first. It is often home to errant cleats, shin guards and many a sock has weathered the season out there. The pants had sought shelter there previously. It made sense.
My very excellent suggestion to try the car was met with a classic “PB&J” exasperation, coupled with a rare, but oh-so-powerful, teen girl eye roll. She doesn’t do it often, so when she does, it’s super concentrated and loaded with extra disdain.
I was informed they would not be in the car because she “did not have them in the car.” Ever notice how people who cannot find something are always so sure where the lost item isn’t?
I suggested she wear a different pair of black pants. This would clearly be wrong.
Then came more stomping around the house growing increasingly sure someone has taken her pants. Probably her brother or I, maybe the cat (that last one is not so farfetched. He does love to steal laundry but is little — and somewhat lazy – so he doesn’t get far with the loot).
Having ascertained that eye rolling, stomping and sighing do not help find things, she decided to wing it and wear a remarkably similar pair of black pants. As an aside is there anything so painful as having to admit maybe your mother was right?
Meanwhile, later that day, I cleared out the back of the car and lo and behold, I found the pants. Right where I had said they might be all along.
I washed and folded them neatly, and resisted the urge to add a note saying “I told you so.” When dealing with a sore loser (of things) it’s best not to revel in a find — or a win.