It was cute when the Princess Cupcake started stealing my clothes as I was getting ready in the morning.Yeah, I could smooth the wrinkles after she pulled them out from under the pillows she was sitting on. Mostly.
Then she got a little smarter and started taking just a piece of the outfit I had so carefully laid out. An integral piece, you know, like my bra. Chances are I’d figure out THAT was missing – but she’s perfected her Daddy’s poker face so she’d get away with it for a few frantic minutes while I searched for the missing undergarment, turning the bedroom upside down. Apparently this search and rescue mission is amusing to a 5 year old because the ensuing giggles gave her away eventually.
Its become commonplace now that if I leave my phone unattended, the Cupcake will hide it in the blankets on the sofa. She thinks this is HIL.ARIOUS.
I do not.
But at least I can call my phone to help locate it so it’s largely just an inconvenience.
However, now she’s escalating.
At the end of a particularly long day, I was ready to fall into bed and let a rerun of Castle lull me to sleep – except I couldn’t find the remote control. I tore all the covers off the bed. I looked in the only three places that I leave it:
- my nightstand
- the hubs nightstand
- on top of the TV
I searched the closet. I crawled under the bed.
Nada. But I did discover that I desperately needed to vacuum under the bed. Yuck.
I tried the 4 other remotes in the house to see if they’d work on our cable box, only to learn that AT&T Uverse cable boxes are a fickle one-remote kind of device.
And now not only was I frustrated beyond belief, I was FULLY awake — and not sure which was worse.
It occurred to me that perhaps the Cupcake had stolen the remote. Would she? Really?! No…. I didn’t want to believe it. I searched her room anyway and I couldn’t find it.
Let’s face it, you couldn’t find an elephant in that mess of a room.
So I did the unthinkable: I woke her up.
“Did you take Mommy’s remote control?”
Her eyes were still closed but a slow grin crept across her mischievous and yet still cherubic little face.
She climbed out of bed (still smiling), crawled inside her play tent, lifted up a pillow and pulled out a wrapped blanket that had my remote control swaddled inside. In a fit of laughter, she handed it to me like a trophy.
At this point, I was laughing too.
C’mon, it’s funny. I just woke my kid up because I couldn’t change the channels on my TV.
Yes, I saw the humor in it.
That was a few weeks ago. I thought the phase had passed in one of those “Awww, remember when you used to hide things?” kind of way, replaced now with the obsession to wear mommy’s lipstick E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
So the other night when I couldn’t find my keys I didn’t immediately connect the dots.
True: I went through a bout where I lost my keys on average 6 or 7 times a day. After that madness, I trained myself to ALWAYS leave my keys on the same counter in the same spot. It’s been working for me. Occasionally the sins of my past creep in and I’ll find my keys on the kitchen counter or the dining room table, but by and large, I find them right where they are supposed to be.
Not that night.
I recalled being distracted when I came in the door, so it was 100% believable that I varied from routine. But there are still obvious behaviors for my “enter the house routine” and there was no telling footprint of where those keys should be. My keys had vanished.
In my pajamas, I grabbed a flashlight and scoured the front yard.
I looked in my car.
I searched in the refrigerator.
I even went through the coffee pods stash.
At this point, the hubs was done lecturing me on how I should put my keys in the same place every day and was recruited to join the search party.
After 30 minutes, I was frustrated and near tears, I went to wake up the Princess to see if she took them. I couldn’t believe she did, but I was past the point of an easy return to sanity.
She refused to wake up.
I started to panic. What would I do in the morning? How could I replace all those keys?
I went outside with the flashlight again. I peered under the sofa. I tore through everything in the laundry room. I dug in the garbage.
They were so gone. So I went back into the Princess and tried to wake her again, saying loudly,
“If you took my keys and don’t go get them now, you’re going to be in a heap of trouble! The kind of trouble that has NO TV FOR A WEEK.”
Well … that got her up.
“I’ve been putting things in my special secret hiding place. They’re in there.”
“THINGS? THERE’S MORE THAN ONE THING? GO GET MY KEYS.” Honestly, I didn’t care about anything else. If I haven’t missed it, it doesn’t need finding.
As I followed her downstairs, her words “secret hiding place” rang a familiar note.
Painful realization hit: I did this. This child follows me incessantly through the house, not letting me out of her sight for a second. One day while I was putting clothes away in her closet, she was beside herself with worry because she couldn’t find me. I explained I was in my “secret hiding place,” and never revealed where I was. She has been trying to figure it out ever since.
Yep. I brought this on myself.
I have my keys back. And two pairs of her privacy shorts for school that I thought were forever in the laundry. So I suppose since she held up her end of the deal, I will actually let her see six years old but I so hope that next time she has the urge to “joke me,” she’ll consider hiding those dust bunnies under the bed.