Monday, November 8, 2010

How To Misplace a Child in 5 Easy Steps (without even knowing it)

1. When the children's school starts at 8:30am, make sure you're running late to ensure stress and scrambling.

2. Once you've gotten downstairs from the 6th floor of your apartment building with the elevator made during the days of Yore, make sure the younger child ("CHILD A") realizes there's a page missing from her story-time book, a book that she doesn't need for school. This way, she will ask if she can go back upstairs to search for the page. This will take at least 6 minutes so you will tell her no, "Il n'y a pas de temps! We will be late!"

3. Cue Child A's tantrum, which will steal more time from your already rushed morning. You're more than halfway there. Let's keep going.

4. When the 7 year old ("CHILD B") asks if she can go ahead to school (which is only a few blocks away), ask if she knows the way. She says she does. Fall for her convincing affinity of independence. Don't consider the fact that you live in a large city and moreso, in the city center with lots of traffic and current riots taking place. She's totally capable, right? So tell her yes, "yes you can go ahead to school. We'll see you there." Assume that she won't get very far. Assume that the knot in your stomach is from the outdated yogurt you ate that morning.

5. Because you've had "that" kind of week, CHILD A will continue to throw a tantrum at the bottom of the stairwell for the next 3.5 minutes. Once you get her outside of the building, ensure that she throws a tantrum all the way to school, including in front of the police station (just for good measure and to add a bit of chagrin). Since you are running considerably late, assume that CHILD B made it to school just swimmingly because well, you didn't see her on the way. Comfort your doubts by reminding yourself that there are a few different routes to take. Drop off CHILD A in the nick of time, and voila, that's it!

You will return home to get your own books for school and then hear the buzzer ring, to which you will be stupefied to find that there is a strange woman downstairs with CHILD B. She will tell the heroic story of how she found CHILD B looking lost at a cafe on the corner of your block. You thank her. You inform the eavesdropping overly pretentious neighbor, when she asks, that the father returns from his business trip in two days (so that she will know when she can squeal to him about your incompetencies). Now you can proceed to take CHILD B to school, return home and take a breath.

Then, go ahead and ruminate about what in the (profanity spoiler alert) hell were you thinking letting a 7 year old go to school by herself in the center of a city, with traffic and riots going on?!? You can proceed to question your own capabilities while a surge of anxiety washes over you. Out of resentment, you can then reminisce of the days in California when you weren't responsible for children. You can even Freud yourself, questioning if you did this on a subconscious level so you could be fired and sent home.

I'm not fired. I'm still here.

Let's do some gratitudes:
  • I have a really really fantastic support system in California!
  • My dad and brother are coming to visit in a little over a month!
  • While studying at a cafe the other morning, an 85(ish) year old man bought me coffee and sparked up a conversation with me for the following 30 minutes. This fulfilled my longing for friendly strangers, which I think is rare here.
  • I'm done with cranberry juice!


  1. That's the problem with kids. Wherever you dump them, they always,somehow or other, find their way home!

    All the best


  2. Glad you're done with the cranberry juice...

    I still think the child misplacement is hilarious. Actually, I think it's more hilarious that when you told me you "lost a child," I assumed the child had met some kind of unfortunate end.

    Miss you!

  3. Hang in there. As a mother of four children....take heed to that gut wrenching feeling it's never bad yogurt it always means trouble, and if you act on it and find that all is ok with your child, well then I guess you never really know what danger you saved them from. Just a note I am not a helicoptery type parent...just saying go with your gut.
    I think you need to look up David Lebovitz while you are over yonder. You are too funny..keep writing!

  4. You know I had to go through a "This blog contains content only suitable for adults" page to get here. I thought you would find that funny. :P

  5. I've been wondering how to misplace French children, but people return them? Hmmm. Must find a better strategy.

  6. I blame it on the tantrum throwing child.

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  8. Well you know, French people are known for their eavesdropping. I recently learned that while it is totally normal for Americans to bust into eachother's living spaces unannouced; French people observe 'through the walls'.

    You know, 'les murs sont des oreilles' type thing.

  9. Generally when one of my nieces is throwing a tantrum another can ask me about something (Can I eat an entire jar of frosting!?) and I will invariably agree.

    Glad you are still employed.