My child is a loser. Like his mother.
Wait. No. Not that kind of loser. I mean, he misplaces things a lot. Many things got lost by me as a child and it seems my youngest child has the same habit.
When I was growing up, I was terrified of getting in trouble. My Dad yelling at me for something was like: WORST CASE SCENARIO! MUST AVOID AT ALL COSTS! So I learned early on that if I lost something, to try to either distract him from noticing by making up excuses until he forgets the thing exists: “It’s in my locker! And has been for the last 7 months!” Or, save up money and replace the thing that I lost before he notices it’s gone.
Things I saved up to replace:
- Ray Ban Aviators. A gift I requested for 8th grade graduation which APPALLED my father because – WHY DO WE GIVE GIFTS FOR 8th GRADE GRADUATION? AND WHY DO SUNGLASSES COST SO MUCH? But, you know: Tom Cruise. So, he bought them for me, and I lost them. So I saved up allowance to buy another pair. And then I lost those. Epic Kim.
- Gold Coin Ring. This was all the KRAZE when I was in high school. I asked for one for Christmas but they cost $75 and my Dad made it clear that our budget for Christmas gifts wasn’t much more than that. SO! That was basically my only gift that year. And I lost it. So I saved up my lunch money and starved myself until I could replace it. And then…can you guess what happened? YEAH! I LOST IT AGAIN!
- A fancy graphing calculator. This one he noticed IMMEDIATELY because he loved the calculator so I borrowed a friend’s who dropped Calculus until I could buy my own. I don’t think I lost the second one. MIRACLE OF MIRACLES.
But there are a lot of things I never could or did replace. Like a windbreaker that was in my “locker at school” for so long Dad knew I had lost it so it just became the thing he harassed me about in the future, just to see how I’d act. When I was a Senior in high school I did what I did before EVERY volleyball game. I attached all of my nice jewelry (which I had a lot by then, I asked for a new piece for every birthday/Christmas) to a 14k watch/bracelet that I found at the beach and my Dad modified to put seashells in – my most PRIZED POSSESSION. And then lost the entire batch. Everything. That’s the hardest loss of my childhood. I lost 100 purses before I started driving and needed to keep better track of things. I lost notebooks and school supplies and uniforms. Jackets and sweaters. EVERYTHING. The lost-and-found at my high school even had a special place for my purse because I left it behind in classrooms like once a week.
So, Dad knew I lost things a lot. And he got mad about it. A LOT. But, when he wasn’t angry and yelling he always said, “It’s because you have too much going on in your brain and you push things off to remember important things like homework assignments (I was an excellent student) and game times and meeting times and appointment times. (I was active in extra-curriculars.) This was him trying to find the silver lining.
I tell you all of this because Wesley leaves behind a trail of debris of possessions EVERYWHERE HE GOES. He never makes it through a winter without losing one coat, last year he lost two. He left his ipod Touch AND his flip phone in Knoxville this weekend. I stopped packing him lunches because he has lost so many lunch boxes and lunch containers.
AND IT MAKES ME INSANE.
So I have to remind myself that A) I was that bad and B) Eventually I grew out of it. I am a little scatter-brained sometimes because – with an anxious brain – my brain is still always kinda worrying about 100 things at any moment. But I learned how to manage it, how to keep track of things in ways that work WITH my scattered brain, and I learned about the power of routine. If you put your stuff in the same place all the time you don’t HAVE to think about it, it becomes routine.
So when I’m not angry that he has lost a $40 hoodie he asked for at Christmas – THE SECOND TIME HE WORE IT – I try to remember he gets it from me. And I try to guide him towards tricks that helped me eventually.
But I fear a lot of it just needs to be growth. I don’t think I can teach him the things I had to learn. I think I had to age into those lessons. So, I try to help him and I cross my fingers he won’t still be losing stuff when he’s 43.
If you have a loser child, find peace in knowing I was the SAME WAY and if my Dad was alive he’d totally help you start a support group for Parents Of Loser Kids because it made him CRAZY.