The world doesn’t end when a child’s toy is misplaced, but it sure as shit is a much worse place to live. I have years of experience finding children’s toys all over the house, the car, the store, the zoo and the rest stop somewhere between Ohio and the Carolinas. Here is a super easy way to resolve your lost toy situation pronto:
Step 1: Ignore your child’s whining for as long as possible.
The longer you can hold off on the search, the better. It is inevitable that you’re going to have to do this, so go ahead and squeeze in some more “you” time before things really get going. Take a few moments to eat or stare into space dreaming of life before kids. Yes, you’ll have the background music of a whining, pleading child, but you should have already trained your brain to treat that as white noise.
Step 2: Spend no fewer than 10 minutes telling your kid to look for it.
That 4-year-old should know how to find a damn dinosaur by now. If the kid is old enough to rip the toy out of the package and find YouTube videos of other kids doing the same thing, he should be able to march into the playroom and at least make it seem like he is looking for the toy. Let yourself get just to the tipping point of pissed off as you repeat over and over again, “Go look in the last place you had it. Where did you leave it? Go look there. Go now. Now. NOW.”
Step 3: Completely waste your time looking in obvious places.
Did you check the basket where the toys belong? The room that was once your office but has been turned into YET ANOTHER playroom for the kids? The child’s pocket? There is zero chance that the toy is there, but if you triple-check those places, you can really work yourself up into that annoyed state of mind where you are positive that if you find it, you’re just going to stomp on it and break it. On the plus side, the kid is still crying and following you from room to room, so at least you aren’t alone.
Step 4: Start resenting your child for all the toys he has.
Like, come on, kid. You have three other toys that look almost exactly like the one that has been misplaced. You also have a bedroom with toys and a playroom with toys and even my purse has some of your stupid, ugly, waste-of-money toys! Why is this one so damn important? Oh, because the missing dinosaur is green and the others are red and you just HAVE to play with a green one? Seems racist.
Step 5: Take a break and brush your teeth.
Yeah, you haven’t brushed your teeth yet today, have you, momma? No one is benefitting from that death breath. Go brush your hair while you’re at it, too.
Step 6: Realize your child stopped caring 10 minutes ago.
For the last 30 minutes while you looked like a lunatic taking all the contents out of the closet under the stairs, your child was playing with cars. He doesn’t give an animated rat’s ass that you dug through your underwear drawer and scoured every toilet (because: toddlers) for the toy. Call off the search, at least for now.
Step 7: Text your partner.