Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Klepto

A few weeks ago, we had Kensie’s 2nd birthday party at my parent’s house. It was chaos, but everyone had a really great time, Kensie especially. However, that was the last day I saw my keys—until today.

Let me back up a little bit: Since Makensie was pretty young, she has been known to “disappear” things. I find pacifiers stuffed in toys and furniture, sippy cup tops in her toy box, spoons and forks in the refrigerator, dog leashes in the stroller (which actually isn’t a bad spot being I really need to walk the dogs more), Tupperware on the back porch. Things disappear around here like you wouldn’t believe, and many of them are never found. I am, at this moment, missing two necklaces that are very special to me, and I can’t find matching pajama tops and bottoms for Kensie anywhere.

One day awhile back, I got a frantic phone call from my mother. She’s an education consultant and works out of town quite a bit. When she goes out of town, she always rents a car. On this day, she had to take the rental back, and it had to be there by 9 a.m. But as she walked out the door, she realized something was missing: the keys. She and my dad searched the house from top to bottom, and Kensie admitted that she’d had them (she wasn’t talking as well on this day since she was only about 1, so the conversation went something like, “Kensie, did you see Nana’s keys?” “Uh huh!” and that’s it). She had been playing in the office, so that was a good spot to start. But when no keys turned up, my mom called me in a huff (I mean, she is my daughter, so it must be my fault, right?). I got there as quickly as I could to help in the search. I did the same thing my parents had done, but with a fresh eye and a deeper understanding of my daughter’s klepto ways. She’d been playing in the office, and she loves my mom’s computer case, and though both my parents had checked there multiple times, I had a gut feeling that’s where they'd be. And thus, there they were, easily accessible in the lining of the case (I had to dig down into the opening where the arm extends out to get to them). On a separate occasion, I found my bra in that case, so it’s reasonable to believe that the computer case is a favorite “disappearing” spot.

So the day after Kensie’s birthday, when I headed out the door to go wherever I was going at the time, I realized my keys were not in my purse. Now, when it comes to my mom, it’s understandable that she could have been the one to lose those rental car keys. The woman never knows where her purse, glasses, or cell phone are, and they’re a lot bigger than a set of keys. But with me, it’s less likely to be my fault because I’m diligent about either hanging my keys up on the key hook or putting them in my purse. With a two-year-old, I’m always running behind, so I make a conscious effort to have my keys readily available. But with the chaos of the party, including multiple repositioning of cars, I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t me this time. I did ask Kensie if she’d seen them, and she said “Yep” and proceeded to take me to several spots in the house where she thought they were to no avail. So I searched high and low for two days—in the yard where we’d put up balloons, throughout all the party stuff including pools and towels and sandboxes and multiple types of toys, from the top to the bottom of the house and everywhere in between. Of course, my car was locked, so I couldn’t get in there to look. But they weren’t visible from the window, and I really didn’t think I’d locked them in there.

Finally, I conceded defeat, and I went to the dealership for a new key (luckily it was only $27, though I’ve heard of people who’ve paid hundreds depending on the type of car they had). I declined to get the automatic opener because I was sure that my keys would be found—some day.

So today, as I searched for jobs on the computer (unsuccessfully I might add), my mom was assembling packages for all the Cancer birthdays in my family. She got the bright idea to send the leftover gift bags from Kensie’s party to the kids since we usually celebrate those birthdays together as a family in San Diego but couldn’t this year because my cousin and his wife were due to have their first baby during the same time. As she put each bag into a box, she noticed that one of the bags was a bit too heavy. At that moment, I heard a loud gasp and went running into the next room. Oh yes, my keys had been found, exactly where I should have looked in the first place: a gift bag full of toys, bubbles, hats, and sunglasses that could easily have been picked up by an unaware birthday-goer and carried home.

Well, at least it wasn’t my underwear!