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I've lost things- my train of thought, my direction, a cat (who jumped out a bathroom window and ended up on a neighbor's garage roof), my keys (no, that was actually some gremlin's doing). All of it is frustrating- the act of recovering those items is time consuming- with an ending that is often disappointing. But the object which habitually gets lost in this house (due to the carelessness of others) and which causes me the most consternation is The Baby's sippy cup.
We have 4 cups in rotation. After months of trying to develop a relationship with cups that didn't lie to me or my carpet ("Dang you! You promised that you were spill proof!"), I found a model who keeps its promises and whose aesthetics appeal to my artistic side (whimsical little fish and hummingbirds happily distract me while I am hand washing the dishes). But the stores we frequent do not always stock them- making each one in our possession ever more precious. This is why I have developed the habit of keeping tabs on our inventory after each cup has been loaned out to The Baby.
When I am solely in charge of her- I am attentive to the cup's location- usually within a ten toddler step radius. I know that though she doesn't mean to be- or perhaps she does- she is sneaky with the places that she sets her sippy down. I've found it in a coat pocket in the front hall, under bookshelves, below my desk in the recesses I shudder to explore, hidden in a box of Kleenex. The urgency of my tracking is dependent on the liquid contents contained within. If it's water, no worry. If it's milk, find it in a hurry. Aside from a few undue moments of panic where I was reduced to forlorn tears- convinced the cup was lost for good- it always resurfaces in time for me to wash it out before it sets to festering.
I made that mistake once before when the boys were young and I was more reckless. I left them to wander the house with a cup. I let the cup out of my sight. I didn't find that cup for over a month. And when I did finally happen upon it-wedged between a wall and a chair, I naively unscrewed the top to discover a horror of puke smelling sludge wrought with fuzzy white and green growth. I vowed, my stomach lurching, to never allow myself to be so unmindful again.
There are times, however, when someone else has given the cup, someone else is 'watching' The Baby. Invariably, that is when a sippy goes missing. I return home and take inventory of my children followed by an itemization of sippy cups to find that four people were here and not one of them recognized that we were short one sippy.
I can't really blame them. They do not have maternal instincts which alert them when something is askew- when a cherished one is missing. They just shrug when I inquire about Sippy's whereabouts-mumbling very unhelpful information, 'It was here a minute ago.' My family also does not have a firm grasp on the concept of time. A minute could mean an hour or a few days. Doing my own math and knowing that the first 60 minutes are the most critical for recovery- I launch a search and rescue party.
'Leave no Kleenex box unturned!' My family also does not know how to find things. They still have not mastered the idea that some times you need to shift one object out of the way to find the thing you are looking for- a pair of soccer socks might actually be in the laundry basket under a t-shirt, the container of lemonade might actually be obscured by a gallon of milk for example.
Realizing that they are not going to be of any use, I break my own rigid rule: never wake a sleeping baby. She is always ready to jump at the opportunity to help. 'Do you know where your sippy cup is, Baby?'
'Sure,' she answers confidently taking me by the hand to her toy basket. 'In there,' she says pointing down. Sure enough it is there hidden underneath her stuffed animals and baby dolls.
"Good one, Baby," I say and we high five.
I examine the cup, swirling it's contents around and I notice that the color is off. This isn't the cup of milk The Mr. had given her while I was out. This is juice. Juice from 5 days ago! I deflate at the realization that I had let a sippy out of my sight, that The Baby really is that sneaky about the places she chooses to set her cup down and my maternal instincts are crap.