One of the key skills of a mum is finding things. I’m not sure how this skill is developed, but it is one of my few successes as a parent. Invariably I can find things, even teeny tiny things like the legs of Loki from the Kinder Surprise egg, that no-one else in the house can. Admittedly, most of the house doesn’t actually look for the things bar a cursory glance round the room, but finding stuff is one of the things that brings a small sense of achievement to my day. However, we are now on day two without the tv remote and no manner of second guessing people’s movements and habits – finding stuff has a very vital psychological/sociological element to it – has succeeded.
The loss of the tv remote occurred at circa 6pm the other evening. The circumstances are a bit hazy. Daughter one had gone out to the corner shop with daughter three on an emergency chocolate dash before settling down to watch When Harry Met Sally. Only son was killing ice cream sundaes on the computer and doing some sketches of superheroes. Daughter two had shut herself in her room [possibly with the tv remote] because she was invited to take part in some athletics championship and is refusing to go on the grounds that no-one else likes athletics. I have tried persuasion – it’s a day off school, it’s an honour, you’re great at athletics, girls tend to be anti-athletics but in the long term it’s not in their interests and are you a sheep or a lion, etc, etc. Nothing has worked so far.
I have filled in the form, but the trouble with secondary school is that you have to rely on the actual young person to give it in. I am contemplating posting it. I have also lined up various others – my partner, daughter three, possibly only son – to have a word. I have barred daughter one from the process on the grounds that she won’t even let me come to sports day because, as she says, “even I don’t want to be there”. In any event, daughter one has already expressed an unlikely pact of solidarity with her sister on the athletics meeting.
It had been a bad day for everyone. Daughter one had stomach cramps, daughter two just hates school in general, daughter three had emerged from school with several tales of terrible injustice and only son was on a yellow card or some such for “accidentally punching” two of his friends.
At some point in the proceedings only son was on the computer and asking for tech support for the ice cream sundae game every five minutes. I was trying to focus on something else and after several attempts to sort out the game – he appeared to have opened multiple pages and there were several of those annoying de de duh de duh songs going simultaneously – I told him to go upstairs. It is at this point that the tv remote appears to have vanished.
Only son is very much the key person in the frame, but, of course, has not been able to remember anything at all about the entire evening, even while the evening was still going on. He also has a tendency to confuse memory with fantasy. “I think daughter two threw it in the garden,” he said at one point. 1) daughter two was in her room the entire time 2) no-one except daughter three went into the garden. Then he said he put it in the dishwasher, then under the table, then in the sofa. Whole rooms were turned upside down. Boots were checked, the fridge was emptied, the sofa was dismantled, the garden scoured. No tv remote. Had daughter two taken it as a protest? She denied all knowledge while once again refusing all entreaties to take part in the athletics championship [“it’s just one long jump and you get the day off”].
Unfortunately, tv remotes do not have tracking devices and you can’t ring them. This is surely an oversight on the part of tv remote manufacturers. In the end we had to press the buttons on the front of the tv like in the good old days. Only, the tv was stuck on 737 – Tiny Tots tv – and we didn’t fancy watching the Care Bears after the kids had gone to bed. So a lot of pressing was required to get back to 101 for the news. “You are a bit of a magician,” I told only son as he got into bed. “You have made the whole thing vanish.” He was mighty impressed with himself. “Is it my birthday tomorrow?” he asked as he closed his eyes, just as he did the day before and the day before that. Still two weeks to go.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: By Zdaunas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.