Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Keys to a Nightmare

I try hard to hide the fact that I'm a complete dolt when it comes to keeping track of things like car keys, my wallet, my entire purse. I don't miss appointments or lunch dates, but important little things like keys, money and credit cards, well...that's a different story.

Yesterday, I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to get a book for a friend of mine and, to my jubilation, I found out *online* that it was available at Borders in downtown Palo Alto. Smunch had speech therapy at 11am in Palo Alto, so that worked out really well. I put the kids in the car and headed to downtown P.A. We got to Borders, Smunch had to pee, we found the bathroom on the second floor, I did a search at a nearby terminal to figure out which section the book was in. And then accidentally stumbled upon the right section while heading back to the elevator. The book was there. I picked it up.

In the meantime, the kids were pulling books off the shelves in the kiddie section (right next to the section I was in) and sitting on the floor leafing through them. No problem. I let them pick one book each and we headed downstairs with my book and three kiddie books (uh, yeah, right, I only have two kids. Whatever.). I purchased the books, got a latte, headed to the minivan.

No keys.

O.K. I got there somehow, so I obviously *brought* my keys. That *is* my minivan sitting outside. It's not locked, so I put the books in there and go back into Borders to look for my keys. I take the elevator back upstairs. It's 10:30. I look in the kids' section. I look in the parenting section, where I barely spent a minute. I look at the two terminals I used. I go back in the bathroom. No keys. I go back downstairs to the register. I go back to the coffee counter. No keys. I start asking employees if anyone turned in keys. I look in my purse again. I go out to the van. I look in the ignition, on the seats, in the carseats, down the side of all the seats. No keys.

I go back upstairs and retrace my route again. By now it's 10:45. There's a serious possibility we won't make it to speech therapy. I hate missing speech. Smunch has been making progress with his ability to talk without stuttering. I hate to miss even a single helpful moment. In a panic. I call uber-helpful husband at work...about 25 minutes away. He gives me some oh-so-helpful suggestions, but gets in his car to come rescue me. I call the speech therapist's, tell them my quandry and get let off the hook. I feel better, but I still have no keys. I repeat everything in the previous paragraph. Twice.

Husband comes to my rescue. I give up on finding my keys and leave my name and numbers with the information desk. I take husband's van key and drive home. Grrr. Keys, fobs, stupid keyring. Expensive to replace if I never find it.

I get home, get lunch on the table for the kids...who have been really very patient with their idiotic mother and I go back out to clean out my wastebin of a minivan, figuring my keys are probably hiding under *something* out there. On a whim, I pick up my purse and unzip that pocket that I use only to store my "feminine products" and the kids' immunization cards. Keys. Ugh.

I'm irritated as heck with myself, but at least I don't have to replace my keys. I take Smunch to school. The babysitter arrives. I go to work. I feel better. Apparently other parts of my family are scarred by this experience, but I don't know that until...
Cut to this morning...really, really early this morning. It's 5:30. I wake to whimpering down the hallway. I don't know which direction it's coming from or which child it is. I get up and wander towards Mam's room...only because she seems like the most likely culprit. The whimpering has stopped. I open her door and she's sitting in the middle of her bed, looking miserable in the dark. She sees me and what does she say?

Me: WHAT?? No I didn't.
Mam: You did.
Me: That didn't happen, honey.
Mam: You took me to the park and drove away. Gram gave me toys.
Me: I promise I'll never leave you at the park again.
Mam: You LEFT me!!
Me: I DIDN'T! You had a bad dream, honey.
Mam: You did!
Me: I promise, it won't happen again.

Many hugs and kisses. She doesn't go back to sleep. It's like she's waiting for me to bail on her again. Finally, after about 30 minutes, I say "Mommy's going to go back to bed, O.K.?" Surprisingly, she agrees. I go back to bed, shaking my head.

My poor 3-year-old may be forever scarred by her mother. Maybe, when she grows up, she'll even *believe* I left her all alone at the park. Who knows? And all because I couldn't find my freakin' car keys at the bookstore!

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