No, I Don't Know Where Your Boots Are: A True Story

My daughter lost her boots this morning. Correction: She misplaced them. But why is it that when anything goes missing in my house, my people always assume I know where it is? 

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My weekdays usually consist of the same sort of routine. I wake at 5 a.m. after my husband's stereo system starts playing BBC Radio 2, because he obviously needs to wake up to Spandau Ballet or the news that there's traffic congestion between High Park Road and the M4 J1. We don't live in London. 

So I get up, feed all the animals, put away clean dishes from the dishwasher because no one else knows how to do this task, make coffee, and start my workday. My kids usually come downstairs at about 6. And demand breakfast. This morning, my daughter could not find the boots she wanted to wear, which went a little something like this: 

Daughter: "Mom, have you seen my boots?" 

Me: "No, where did you last leave them?" 

This isn't really a notable occurrence. My people are always losing stuff, and they usually expect me to magically know where it is. But this morning it struck me that if there is one phrase I have uttered in my life -- more than all the "I love yous" or the "I'm sorrys" or the "Can I get an extra shot with that?" -- it's this: "Where did you last leave them?" 

You would think that at some point these people I live with, who are always losing things, would stop to ask themselves internally, "Hmmm, where did I last leave this object that has magically disappeared that I can no longer find?"

But nope, they ask me, and I always come back with those six little words.

"Them" is easily interchanged with "it," because on occasion I have been forced to use that nominative. 

My daughter answered: "I don't know." 

Now, dear reader, you may either be recognizing how this same story line plays out in your own house, or you may be wondering, as I did, that if she doesn't know where she last left her boots, why would I possibly know? 

Because we are mothers, and we magically know all these things. 

She walked into the guest bathroom to look for her boots. 

I was tempted to ask her why, of all places, would her missing boots be in our smaller-than-closet-sized guest bathroom that no one ever uses, but I stopped myself. Because I have found any number of things in the guest bathroom that don't belong there. Car keys. Mittens. The remote for the TV. The butter dish. The dog. 

Her boots were obviously not in the guest bathroom. 

Then she looked in the second most obvious place. The kitchen. And not only did she look for her missing boots in the kitchen, but I also overheard her asking the cat if he had seen her boots.

SHE ASKED THE CAT.

Now, I know, kids are weird and funny and she talks to the animals who live in my house and who vomit on my area rugs quite frequently, but all I could think about is our cat thinking in his own tiny little cat-head, "Well, where did you last leave them?" 

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Then, and I know you see where this is going, because the boots were not in the guest bathroom or the kitchen and the cat did not know where they were, she came back to the living room to inform me:

"Mom, I still can't find them."

Now, dear reader, I am a good mom. I try to be a patient mom. My own mother has told me numerous times that *statistics say that 89 percent of children who are yelled at in the morning go on to have bad days at school and don't do well on their tests. Even though I was tempted to yell a little something that goes like this: 

HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW WHERE YOUR BOOTS ARE WHY WOULD THEY BE IN THE KITCHEN THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE AND WHY DO YOU PEOPLE THINK THAT I KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS WHY ARE YOU GUYS ALWAYS LOSING YOUR THINGS AND EXPECTING ME TO FIND THEM WHY CAN'T YOU GO LOOK FOR THEM DO YOU THINK THAT THE CAT ACTUALLY KNOWS WHERE THEY ARE AND WHY AM I THE MAGICAL FIND-IT FAIRY WHO DECIDED I AM THE SHERLOCK OF LOST SHIT?!? 

I smiled at her and said, "Honey, did you check your closet?" 

Which is where they were. 

Which is why I'm a better mom than the cat is. 

In advance of the next time I am asked, I would like my family to note that I also don't know where any of the following are located: 

Your scarf, your math book, the toilet paper, your car keys, your wallet, your homework, your Batman guy, your cell phone, the remote controls for the TV, that one missing piece to the $227 Lego set you got for Christmas that you had to have or you would die, the milk, the dog, your earring, your presentation, that copy of that one book you wanted to read but cannot remember the name of, the scissors, a pen, your permission slip, your sweater, your glove, or your toothbrush. 

 

*I think my mom invented this statistic after watching an old episode of Dr. Phil.

 

Image via © Ian Nolan/cultura/Corbis 

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