We have a saying in our family. And it goes like this.
“Have you used your Lady Eyes?”
There are a lot of us in this house. Sometimes it feels like there are far too many of us. But the number of children I decided to have is maybe an issue for another day.
So there are a lot of us. And so we have a lot of stuff.
And it appears that it is my job to keep tabs on it all.
I spend a fair amount of my day mentally logging the position of many useful objects, most of which do not belong to me.
For instance my husband finds it really hard to keep track of his spectacles. They appear to be a mobile object despite having arms and not legs. Whenever he is home and I walk past them I make that mental note so that when the inevitable enquiry is made I can respond with a GPS location. Arm of sofa, window sill in bathroom, atop the laundry basket, on the patio furniture, beside the toaster. And such like.
Last Christmas I stumbled upon a fantastic stand for him to use. That is a picture of it up there. It is positioned on the window sill next to the front door. (And incidentally whilst we are there that is the place everyone should look first for any missing item. Just saying). And the stand helps slightly. He uses it when arriving home. Or when swapping from sunglasses to indoor glasses. But it hasn’t eradicated the whole problem. I believe a string around the neck is the only sure fire way. Or he could just wear them all the time…
And then we move on to my children. I suppose we must. The current items which cause the most issues are Eldest’s phone and Middlest’s I pod. In the case of the former we could ring it to find it’s location but unfortunately it is set by default to silent so he does not fall foul of the ‘no phone use in or between lessons’ rule at school. And Middlest’s is not ringable. We lost both yesterday. And then I found them almost entirely camouflaged on the black granite fire surround in the family room. I have suggested that putting their entirely black electronics on the hearth is maybe not such a good idea moving forwards. Especially when we begin lighting the fire.
When things are actually leaving the house the pressure ramps up. I seem to be the only person who does a mental check list when leaving a sports field. This weekend I had a ‘Lady Eyes’ fail. We discovered this at 7.45am this morning when their school lift was revving on the driveway and Eldest decided he had better check his Games kit and found his Ripstop was missing.
The Ripstop is a compulsory item. A sort of semi-waterproof, pull over the head tracksuit top. There are three in this house. People scoff at my diligent name label sewing which I undertake annually each Autumn. They say I should use a laundry pen on the care label. They don’t have three sets of everything in very similar sizes to out sort from the laundry. A name in the collar is actually as useful for me, the laundress, as it is for keeping the kit ‘safe’. I do not want to waste time hunting for initials on a care label on a side seam.
They all have red and black stripy games socks. I decided not to bother labelling them as it is quite hard to sew a name label onto something as stretchy as a sock. What a mistake. I often have 6 socks that look almost identical but are actually slightly different sizes hanging from my airer. I am sure I am probably ruining Eldest’s feet in the manner of Chinese babies and it probably explains the blisters Youngest sometimes gets after football training.
So anyway Eldest must have taken his Ripstop onto the field for his (very sunny) Rugby match on Saturday. And left it there. At the end of the match I did send him off for his water bottle which was clearly missing but as I hadn’t seen the Ripstop come onto the field and it was about 20 degrees it slipped my mind.
It will serve him right if he gets into trouble at Rugby training today. When heavy rain is forecast. I would laugh but it really isn’t that funny at £20 a pop.
Generally my kids do quite well at not losing their stuff. That is because I get very cross when they do. And I have a rule that if they lose something they will pay to replace it. I am training them early to do their own mental checklist. Obviously there is still someway to go.
I am also a name labelling maniac. I put sticky labels on everything. Including Eldest’s phone. Which he is surprisingly sanguine about. I put a sticky label on every one of the fine liners in the pack of 10 I bought Middlest this weekend. They cost nearly £1 a pen. I felt justified. A lot of stationary gets ‘borrowed’ at school. If stuff is labelled some other child cannot claim it is ‘their’s’. Middlest explained that actually each pen cost 99.90p. I retorted that I would allow him to merely pay 99p for the last pen he lost but £1 per mislaid pen up to that point. I think he got the message.
Compared to their school mates, and possibly because of my mercenary approach, they do OK. Already this term there have been impassioned e mails from other parents pleading for the return of black jumpers, entire Games bags with contents, mouth guards, blazers (yikes £75 a go) and odd shoes. The latter really worries me. How did they get home? Hopping?
When they come out from sports clubs in kit my Lady Eyes checklist follows a certain order:- Blazer, school shoes, mouth guard, other branded items, generic clothing of which I have a spare pair at home, generic items of which I have 5 others at home, black socks. I also try to remember to mentally note any lack of musical instruments but to be fair it is quite hard to miss that a cello is missing. If you see what I mean. The absence of a violin my slip through the net however.
And so I am chief ‘finder/ retainer of all things’. Here are my maxims:-
- Always put stuff in the same place.
- Always label everything.
- Ensure kids are on board by employing a mix of ‘mummy is very disappointed’ and financial penalties.
It helps. It hasn’t really dealt with the husband problem though. I guess he will get so short sighted at some point it will solve itself.