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Lost and Found

Why is it that kids always seem to lose something they suddenly can’t sleep without just before bedtime? The twins are constantly losing those tiny little Pikmi Pop stuffy’s. They’re about the size of a hacky sack so it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. "I can't find Blueberry!" "What? You want blueberries?" "No, my little guy - Blueberry!!!" What the hell? It's not (drink) like they have a particular stuffy they sleep with every single night. There are dozens, but no favorites. They're like polygamists the way they rotate their sleeping companions. So NEEDING this Blueberry character at 9:00 at night is a blatant stalling tactic. A stalling tactic I indulge time after time after time. Because the alternative is listening to endless screaming and whining the duration of which will surely last longer than hunting down the missing Flavor of the Night. The long-term repercussions of calling them out on their charade and enduring the temper tantrum may well be worth it though. It's like a staring contest - he who blinks first loses. But I always blink first. My patience just can't stretch far enough at the end of the day.

Last night it was Kaleb’s turn to lose something. Somehow his tablet went missing. How you misplace an 8-inch device is beyond me. (Drink) We tore the house apart trying to hunt it down, not only because it’s an expensive item to lose, but because it's extremely difficult to get him to sleep without it. Yeah, that's right - I let my kids take their devices up to bed to lure them into slumber. The "experts" say to eliminate screen time at least 30 minutes prior to lights out. Not at this house! Screen time works wonders and nine times out of ten Kaleb is asleep within five minutes. It's a habit I'm not mentally prepared to break (drink) right now. Plus the patience thing. So the missing device at the eleventh hour was a major problem.

We enlisted the entire family to join our detective team. We cross-examined all parties. "When was the last time you saw Kaleb's iPad?" (We call it an iPad even though it's a cheap Droid - kind of like Scotch tape). No one had any helpful leads. Kaleb claimed he did not take it out of the living room all day. But we know better than to put much weight in his recollection (drink) of his actions. Everyone was in on the hunt, all of us confident we would be the one to debunk the mystery of the missing iPad. "It's kind of like Clue!" one of them said. Except, as James reminded us, there were no clues.

You know how when you're desperately looking for something and you look in the most obscure places even if there's no way in hell the item is there? Last night, for example, I looked in my purse, my underwear drawer, the trash...I think I even checked the oven. You just never know. We went through all the go-to lost item exercises - Let's retrace your steps, Kaleb....Do you remember taking it outside at all?....Were you playing with it in the car for some reason?....Perhaps you were entertaining yourself while sitting on the can? Nothing. Then Paige got the genius idea to call him on Kid Messenger. I thought I hated that app, but perhaps tonight it would be save (drink) my ass. We scattered and divvied up the house listening for that distinct annoying ring. Again, nothing. (Drink)

I was starting to lose hope, but the mystery was killing me. The most irritating thing about losing something is that you know it is somewhere. And, as Abigail pointed out, always the last place you look. Clever. As a last ditch effort, James appealed to the kids once again, "Think very carefully. Does anyone have ANY idea where the iPad could be? Close your eyes and really think about it." Suddenly, Cynthia had an epiphany.

"The safe!" she exclaimed, "I remember putting it in the safe!" The kids have this safe disguised as a book and last April Fool's Day one of them hid a tablet in it, creating a mystery strikingly similar to last night's. Why didn't I think to look there? Sure enough, the puzzle was solved and the game of Clue drew to a close.

As predicted, Kaleb was pacified with his device, much like Cynthia and Eleanor with their various stuffies. He was asleep almost before he could join the Sharer family on another epic adventure. As for me, I questioned my inability to demand going to bed without a crutch. I've tolerated bedtime (drink) manipulation for twelve years, though, and something tells me, I'm likely to graduate the formative years of child-rearing with honors in surrendering to nighttime demands. They have way more stamina than me at the end of the day and they know it. Crafty little devils.

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