Monday 26 Sep 2016

Always Asked First
Jennifer Flaten

Why do the kids think I can find whatever it is that they have misplaced? I am not sure why I am the designated “locater of lost items, but I am.” Do they think the fact that I am their mother somehow gives me a physic ability to find their belongings?

My kids never look for the item before asking me if I know its whereabouts. Come to think of it, they never ask me, they shout ‘Where is my ----’ ‘ Apparently, it is infinitely easier to stand in the middle of the room and bellow for me than it is too actually look around the house for the lost object.

Even if I tell them I don’t know where it is and that they should look around for it, I will find them standing mystified in the middle of the room hoping that the missing item will dance into their hands.

I know it is heresy to suggest that one should look for an item where it belongs, but I do it anyway. I can’t tell you how many times a kid has insisted that the item is missing only to find it later, exactly where it belongs. Imagine their surprise at finding their missing pen in the “gasp” pen jar.

It isn’t limited to just items they’ve misplaced in the house; no, they ask me about stuff they misplaced at school too. Sure, I know exactly where you put your seond hour biology paper.

Also, why do they always have a faintly accusatory tone when they tell me that they are missing their *insert item here*. They act as if I go around randomly throwing their things away.

I don’t go around randomly at all. I have a system. It works similar to witness relocation. I move the offending item to a more out of the way place-which is not the living room floor. Then if someone comes looking for it I can produce it. If no one claims it in a month then I remove it permanently from our house.

I know it sounds terribly cruel, but you must understand it is necessary to cull the herd every, once in a while. Kids are natural born hoarders, or at least my kids are, especially shiny items. I caught one kids saving the wrapper from the after dinner mints-colorful and shiny.

When I questioned her about it, she told me that she planned to make a collage from the wrappers. I let her keep the wrapper, mainly because I was curious to see said collage. About five weeks later, she unveiled her work of art. It turned out good, if you like art that smells faintly of mint.

So, to keep from accumulating a stockpile of shiny wrappers, bits of strings and god know what else I selectively throw things away.

It’s either that or move and really, I can’t keep moving house as a way to clear out all the junk. Although, I find moving is really the best way to ensure you get rid of any “collections” of junk. That goes for adult junk too. I am ashamed to admit that I have not one, but three junk drawers. Yes, I know I am the pot calling my hoarding kids black.

That’s why I don’t mind moving so much. Suddenly, it is like the “Hunger Games” for your possessions. It is amazing how your opinion of the usefulness of one item or another changes when you are confronted with boxing it up and hauling it to the new place.

Since I don’t plan to move, again, for a while I have to keep the clutter down to a minimum.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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