“Where are your shoes? We’re going to be late… again!” I said to my five year old as I bustled through the living room.
“I’m wearing them,” he replied, concentrating on the castle he was building out of wooden blocks.
“Oh, good. Now where are your sister’s?” I muttered, lifting things up, searching. Finally I managed to find them, one behind the shoe rack, one under the sofa. The bag was packed, lunch, drinks and spare clothes for the baby all ready and waiting by the door.
“OK, all set, let’s go,” I announced in relief. I glanced at the clock to see we would only be fifteen minutes late to their home education group. Two children came running over, eager to go outside into the fresh air. I moved to open the door and saw the keys were not where I had left them.
Little Miss Marmoset, at eighteen months old, has recently developed a fascination with keys, loving nothing better than to take them off to play and then store them somewhere secret and impossible to find. The previous week we had lost them for two days.
Since I was a little girl, one thing has always been guaranteed to reduce me to stressed out tears of utter frustration: losing something important and having to search for it. It all stems from one occasion when I worked incredibly hard on a piece of homework for school, only to lose it.
I can still remember searching through the whole house at midnight, hours before the deadline, the feeling of absolute anxiety and the need to uncover its whereabouts turning me into a sobbing wreck. To this day, I don’t remember if I ever found the work, but I do remember how it felt to search fruitlessly for it.