For reasons known only to me and my lawyer, yesterday I decided to switch off my mobile phone and to leave it unattended in the children’s room. And lo, within minutes, the phone had been spirited away by small hands, perhaps ne’er to see the light of day again.
I asked The Pixie if she knew where it was.
“No, mama.” was her immediate answer.
I decided to phrase the question another way. Often my children are like those mystics on the mountain who will give you the answer to the meaning of Life if only you ask the right question.
“Pixie, have you seen my phone?”
“Oh, yes. I put it under my pillow.” Bingo!
However, an exhaustive search of her pillow and surrounding areas unearthed nothing except a plastic saw and some lego people body parts. I decided to try again.
“Pixie, did you put it anywhere else?”
“Yes, I put it where my socks go,” she replied. And then added, somewhat cryptically: “Not my clean socks. But my dirty socks.”
Which means it could be just about anywhere. First, I tried those places I’ve repeatedly (and somewhat optimistically) asked my children to put their dirty socks: laundry baskets, washing machine, the pile of dirty clothes on the floor next to daddy’s side of the bed, etc – and then, somewhat disheartened, moved on to places such as my handbag, the oven, down the side of the sofa, inside the “Mary Poppins” video case… No luck!
I then enlisted the help of T. McGee and The Pixie in my search, by promising a piece of chocolate to the first person to find the phone. My children are never more enthusiastic than when fueled by the promise of chocolate. One by one, I was brought a whole series of phone-related treasures: a toy Spiderman mobile, a book called “Telephone Ted”, a Bob the Builder walkie talkie handset, and the handbook to the missing phone, which I had looked high and low for a few months ago. But still no mobile phone.
I finally decided to interrupt Mr Justice’s concentrated drawing by asking him if he knew where the phone was – which just shows how desperate I must have been getting. As any mother of a six year old during school holidays can tell you, if they’re engaged in any activity for any amount of time – even if it involves the minor destruction of property – the ironclad rule is DO NOT DISTURB THEM just in case they remember how bored they are.
“Oh, yeah.” he said. “I found it on my bed yesterday.”
“Please tell me you put it somewhere safe”, I said, somewhat hopefully.
“Ummm… I put it on The Pixie’s bed.”
Which is probably when she put the phone under her pillow and its whole Magical Mystery Tour of the house started.
“I’m bored,” added Mr Justice.
At this point, I began to to feel the kind of murderous rage I haven’t felt since I last listened to the Teletubbies “Hat” song (a sample of the lyrics: “hat, hat hat hat, hat, hat hat hat, hat, hat hat hat, hat. Hat!”. Shit, I feel angry just writing about it…). When the kids find an old grape with fur growing on it or pull a particularly huge booger out of their noses, they are mindful of bringing them straight to me. But if they find mummy’s precious $500 phone, they put it… where???? It. Just. Isn’t. Fair.
And so my phone is still missing in action. It’s been over 24 hours now and finding it is looking as hopeful as the global economy’s been looking recently. Which pretty much means I’ll have to sit out the ensuing recession without being able to text a single person. Now *that’s* depressing.