The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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The Mom Game

on May 27, 2012

Our youngest wasn’t feeling well last Sunday so he was resting on the living room couch.  I had just delivered him some toast and was busy in the kitchen when he called me back into the living room. “Do you know where the tv remote is?”  The child was already watching tv, he just wanted to change the channel. “I have no idea where it is.  How did you turn the tv on?” He looked at me trying to look his most pathetic. “I had it then. I can’t find it now.”  Are you kidding me? “Well I didn’t move it. Where did you put it after you used it?” Again, pathetic look, “I don’t know.  I thought you would know.”  He was serious.  While I love the fact that he still believes at some level that I know everything, I was at a loss.  “Is it under your blanket with you?”  The child had been on the couch no more than a half an hour. He seriously lost the remote that fast? “I don’t think so.”  Sigh. “Get up.”  Sure enough. There was the remote, wedged between the cushion and the back of the couch.  He needed me to find that?  Really?  I guess he did or we couldn’t play the Mom Game.

Every mom knows this game.  It starts with the words, “mom have you seen…”  or “mom where are my…”  We moms have such omnipresence in our house that we know where everything is located at all times.  Well…our kids think we do.  It’s all part of the game.   My job is to get up in the middle of the night with the sole purpose of hiding their stuff while they sleep. The game sounds a little like this:

Q: “Mom have you seen my shoes? They were right here last night.”  A: “Oh yes.  When I wore them last night I decided to put them….um…under your bed?”

Q: “Mom do you know where my science report is?  I KNOW I put it in my backpack.” A: “Well I thought we could use a little frantic activity right before school so I pulled it out of that back pack and left it on the computer desk.”

Q: “Mom where is my brush?”  A: “Wild guess: the bathroom drawer?”

I really do wonder if kids honestly believe that we moms purposefully lose their stuff for them. There’s a little truth to their thinking because we moms are usually the ones who have picked said object off of the middle of the table or floor and put it someplace.  Fastest way for my kids to lose something? I put it back where it belongs. Why in the world would they look for their bobby pins in the basket in the bathroom? It makes much more sense to leave them on the dining room table.

Because I am ever diligent at teaching my children to be responsible, somewhere along the way we entered to the “Nagging Mom Round.”  During that round I, the nagging one, call a child back into the room and make him or her pick up whatever thing it is they left laying there.  That child’s duty is to sigh, roll their eyes heavenward as if asking for help, pick up offending object and slump out of the room EVER so wearily. This round got old in a hurry – for everyone involved. Because of this I decided to implement the “Mom box”.  Simple concept.  Anything left in a “family area” after they went to bed was placed in a box. In order for them to secure the return of any item from the Mom box they had to pay a quarter or perform an extra chore.  That worked pretty well.  Now when I have to revert to the Nagging Mom Round more than once in a while I threaten to break out the Mom Box.  That scares them to death. Not really, I’m really not very scary, but they get the message.

Another part of The Mom Game I particularly enjoy is the laundry round.  You may be familiar with this one also.  It starts with, “Mom did you wash my________” (fill in the blank with football pads, volleyball shirt, work uniform, favorite jeans, etc.)   My usual response to that inquiry is, “Did you put them in the laundry?”  It’s a simple concept really: if I can’t see it, I can’t wash it.  I’m not sure why this is such a hard one to grasp..  You get it into downstairs hampers and I’ll wash it.  I’m not part of a search and rescue organization.  Once it is washed and folded you need to pick it up and put it away. I’m not Pizza Hut – I don’t deliver.  That round usually ends with said child stomping off in search of clothes that won’t look NEARLY as good as what isn’t washed or throwing the object in the dryer with a dryer sheet to “freshen” it.  Well – not the football pads. Football players really don’t care if their practice clothes smell bad. They don’t mind missing a laundry day. The rest of us do.

One of these days, just to be ornery, I really am going to sneak into my children’s rooms and hide a whole bunch of their things.  I might as well. They think I do that anyway. If I’m feeling really nice, I might even leave them a map.

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