One of my favorite parent hacks! I just can't keep this to myself anymore. Hack away and thank me later.
Toddler Lost and Found
If you're like me, you spend a good 55 minutes each morning running around the house with increasing vexation, volume, and rapid arm movements in a frenzied search for your house and/or car keys. Your keys should be on the peg over the desk. But of course, they aren't.
You are sure that you put the keys on the peg last night. You distinctly remember coming home from the supermarket with keys in hand and hurriedly tripping over the front door threshold, executing an energetic half-spin in a fruitless attempt to land on your keister instead of your pate, and thusly propelling four bags of groceries across the kitchen floor (because two trips back and forth to the car is completely ludicrous in your time-crunched world) upon which the family dog made good use of himself by devouring a package of chicken tenders, box and all. And then there was your lunge toward the dog despite immediate concerns over whether your elbow was just bruised and not shattered like so many jars of pureed organic peas, and the yelp, and the grabbing of the dog's tail, and the sliding nails across the vinyl tiles, and who knew such a small dog could drag an adult woman across the floor and headfirst into the dishwasher? And then the phone rang and you were hoping it was 911 just checking-in like they always do this time of day, but instead it was your mom who was checking-in just to let you know that she found an 8x10 framed photo of you from 7th grade and do you want her to mail it to you or just wait to bring it the next time she comes to visit, and before you can even answer (and that answer would be "burn it") the dog rounds the hallway corner with a box of tampons in its mouth and you have no choice but to whip the telephone handset at the dog's head for its own good because last time the dog ate a tampon the result was a very sick dog and several thousand dollars worth of surgery.
And that's why I'll never own a dog.
That's not what I started talking about.
Oh! Parent Hacks!
(However, I do know someone whose dog ate what later proved to be the most expensive tampon in the whole world)
So you're busy. Or you're out-of-control chaotic, but you call the chaos "busy" because it looks better on your resume. Or you're just a nutty absent-minded-professor type who can't keep track of where her own socks are even when they are snugly on her own feet.
Or, like me, your house is infested with evil space pixies who steal your keys and tuck them away between folds of an invisible time-space curtain. And the evil space pixies only bring forth the keys after they know that you're late for the dermatologist appointment you've waited seven months for, and they see that you're driven to kneeling in the middle of your living room begging Saint Anthony to come around, there's something lost and can't be found. It is at this moment that the evil space pixies tantalizingly jingle your lost keys from somewhere in the next room, but then quickly toss the keys back through the time-space curtain and onto Umbriel, the darkest moon of Uranus.
That's usually where my keys are.
Anyway, there is a parent hack here, I swear.
So anyway, while the dog is ripping through your personal girl stuff with great gusto and the ice cream is melting into a mint-chocolate-chip puddle while you sit on the kitchen floor with a bag of frozen corn on your bruised-probably-broken elbow, the only way that your domestic tableau could truly be complete would be if the baby toddled into the room brandishing a Phillip's head screwdriver.
And he does.
Where the baby found a Phillips head screwdriver, you'll never know. You just spent three hours yesterday looking for a Phillips head screwdriver so you could install the batteries in the back of a cuddly, red, Strangle-Me Elmo doll so that the baby could have another age-appropriate and eyeball-friendly toy to play with. Perhaps this would be the toy that would rapt baby for a solid fifteen-minutes with its high-pitched singing so that you could finally make that phone call to the roofers or install a taller (and maybe barbed-wire) baby-gate at the top of the stairs. You'll never know. You couldn't find the Phillips head.
But baby could.
You try to lure the baby and the eyeball-poking instrument toward you and redirect by pointing at the melting ice-cream, saying, "Here baby! Look at the yummy, sticky, bright-green mess to play in! Give Mommy the pointy ouchie yuck-yuck stabber and go make messy in the pretty, mooshy ice cream, that's much more fun!" - upon which the baby giggles maniacally and then executes a perfect javelin throw, whizzing the Phillip's head past your earlobe where it lodges Thunk! in the door of the lazy susan cupboard behind you. And as the baby toddles back into the living room, you briefly wonder with some trepidation (and a little pride) at his advanced overhand-throwing skills - and surely that’s a 24-month-old developmental milestone - when suddenly the baby returns with a corkscrew in one hand and a sharpened chopstick in the other and you wonder WHERE THE HELL is he GETTING these things?!
I mean, I know for a fact that not only is every room in the house mostly baby-proofed (and sometimes within an inch of its foam-cornered life), but the house is also currently strewn from stem-to-stern with brightly-colored, round-edged, soft and jingling, lead-free, unswallowable, happy-fun-fun, baby-lookee-here! paraphernalia. And yet I've watched this kid bee-line through the beeping, blaring, fluorescent, glowing, rolling, bouncing, shining, whirring, spinning, safe-safer-and-safest baby toys, on a mission to dive headfirst under the sofa and retrieve a tiny razor-sharp shard of broken pottery (from a vase that broke two years ago even though I KNOW I’ve cleaned under the sofa since then), and then howl bloody murder when I try to pry the slivered crockery from his chubby fingers.
Which, in a roundabout way, all leads me to my parent hack.
And here it is:
For parents of toddlers, an easy way to keep track of your car keys is to fashion a keychain from a pair of carbide-tipped, diamond-cut, serrated, meat shears.
(Or you can use a television remote. Kids seem to love those things, too.)
Now when you can’t find your keys, you can be sure that Junior will.
(For dog owners, you can substitute a tampon as a key chain.)
Your keys will never go missing again.
Wasn’t that worth waiting for?