Monday, June 7, 2010

Search and Resue: The School Years

What seems like an eternity ago (two years) I blogged about Husband and I conducting reconnaissance missions to find the kids' stuff. Most notably at bedtime when various and sundry loveys are required for nocturnal peace.

Nowadays, for the most part I have solved ever having to look for anything by never putting anything away.  Every is strewn from corner to corner of our house.  I am blessed with a very good memory which, in addition to carrying me through law school by allowing me to memorize ridiculous number of cases and facts, also helps me to (mostly) remember where stuff is.

So in the morning when Sydney can't find one shoe, I'll remember that it's in the main floor bathroom behind the toilet plunger.  When Jackson asks where his DS is, I'll know he left it on the bathtub ledge in our en suite bathroom underneath a towel and two magazines.  If you ignore the fact that we live in far too much clutter to ever let us exhale, it's a good plan.

So while I have to search for an occasional library book, for the most part our search and rescue days are over.

Or so I thought.

Sydney had show and tell scheduled on June 7th. The last show and tell (it's monthly or so) I neglected to take note no doubt because we were down one parent (i.e. me) to get stuff done and my brain which normally keeps this outfit running was overtaken by physical fatigue of lunch making, bedtimes, discipline and chauffeuring.  Since I didn't know about it I didn't  mark it on the calendar so I would remember. Which meant Sydney had nothing to share at show and tell.
Which she has not let me forget about in the last two weeks.  Every four hours without fail she reminds me that she had nothing last time, she asks when the next show and tell will be or muses on what she will bring IF I don't forget again.

Since June 7th was show and tell day, a Monday.  In a remarkable feat of advance planning and organization, I told Sydney to pick what she wanted for show and tell on Friday and put it in her backpack.  In a remarkable feat of lack of follow through we all forgot about it as soon as I uttered those words. 

Until it was Sunday after dinner and Husband and I were in the "what-homework-do-they-have-let's-clean-up-this-place-make-lunches-and-we-definietly-need-to-change-the-beds-tonight" mode. A few hours to do things we had neglected all weekend.

I asked Sydney about shows and tell.  She wanted blankie. Or by-ya, her purple blankie that has been her lovey since she was a baby.

"I haven't seen that in a while" Husband said foreshadowingly.

"It hasn't been that long since we've seen it" I said naively. I so have this. I am hands down the best finder in the house.  Jackson tells me all the time.

"Mommy, since you're the best finder in the house, can you tell me where I put that rock I brought home from school in grade 1?"

And I will check a few spots and I usually find it and I will get a congratulatory hug from my son. It's one of the few mystical powers I have left since the kids have figured out that I don't actually have eyes on the back of my head.

Back to the search on Sunday night, as Husband finished up in the kitchen, I went upstairs to look for Sydney's blanket.

I figured a thorough search of her room would yield results. I was wrong.  A quadrant search of the the entire upstairs proved fruitless. I moved down to the main floor where I checked every nook, cranny and empty void except the kitchen cabinets and found no purple blanket.

I did find my Teva sandals, which went missing circa 2007, underneath the sink in the laundry room.

I bravely went to the basement.  The kids have been playing carnival down there lately and there are chairs set up with one stuffie on each chair. They are waiting for some sort of show to start.  It makes walking, never minding searching difficult.  But I dug to the bottom of the dress up box, I looked in every doll bed, stroller and empty box as I know they use blankets so everyone from  Simba the lion to Woody the cowboy can sleep comfortably.  I even checked in the freezer, in the shop (where children are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN) and in every empty bag or pretend oven I could find. No purple blankie.

I did find the "chocolate blankie", the one the kids are always fighting over in the morning. It's normal place of rest is family room but it went missing circa April.  It was in the storage room (also off limits to kids).  I also found a hallogen flashlight. Turned on. Inside a wall cavity. (Do you see what I'm up against???)

I headed back to the top floor to start the cycle again. This time with the Halogen flashlight to aid my search.  I checked under and behind furniture more carefully.   I momentarily thought I had struck paydirt when I felt something wadded up in a set of sheets waiting (patiently) to go on our bed.  It turned out to be a towel.  I searched through both linen closets without success.

I checked Lego bins, in large boxes of too-small clothes waiting to get hand-me-downed and in dirty laundry baskets.  I did a second sweep of the other two floors before heading upstairs for sweep number three.

I should add that I asked Sydney quite frequently, with increasinging annoyance, if she remembered where she put it / when she last played with it / when she last slept with it.  She disavowed any knowledge of its whereabouts and really any responsibility for keeping track of her things. (I know, that is my fault.)

Somewhere between sweeps 2 and 3 I started to get really concerned. That blankie has a lot of sentimental value for all of us (well, not sure about Jackson, to be honest).  We would collectively be very sad if it were never to be found.  It was Sydney's constant companion for about 4 years of her life. It's hard to remember Sydney as a 2 or 3 year old without thinking of her with her by-ya, her pink puppy and her soothie.

I called down to Husband to ask for the fifth time if he has any more ideas. Sydney wandered onto the scene. I'm hoping ONE of them will have a brainstorm, an inkling of where it might be.

Then I see it. 

A pink backpack that Sydney used in preschool when she was 4.  She re-discovered it a couple weeks ago and has been filling it with random things and carrying it around the house and unpacking said random things in various spots in the house (you see how we get overwhelmed by clutter).

"CHECK THE BACKPACK!!!" I shouted. 

Husband bent down to pick it up and Sydney said with equal parts confidence and disdain:

"Mommy, I KNOW my blankie isn't in there."

But Sydney proved to be a very unreliable source and Husband pulled the blankie triumphantly from the backpack.

Nothing feels as good as a big find even to a champion finder like me.

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