Occupational Hazards of Parenting

About the time my first born turned two, old enough to trundle things around, we became aware of a facet of parenting that we hadn’t considered before. It became clear to us that we would have to become comfortable with mystery. Up till then, the screws had their own designated spot in the organized utility drawer, the flashlights stayed in the closet, the pens in the tin can designated for pens, not pencils or markers or stray tinker toys. Oh lovely adage: a place for everything and everything in its place. Now five children later, the mysteries have deepened and surround all of life.

It is a little exasperating that, despite having very keen hearing and the use of a proverbial set of eyes in the back of my head, I simply do not always catch on. It is humbling to acknowledge that they probably are smarter and faster than I am.

When I was a child, our family would kneel at the couch to pray every evening at bedtime. The little ones would kneel beside our parents and my brother Nate and I got the outside edges. We hit upon a conspiracy to back slowly into the middle of the living room while my dad was praying, then creep forward again, suppressing giggles. I don’t know how many times we did this before we got found out but I do remember how daring it felt to do something so utterly unapproved of and be undiscovered. Boy, did we ever think we pulled it over our parents.

Now our children do it to us, and sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is really irritating. Just the time we think we have things figured out, they change it up on us. I give you Conundrums in the Kitchen:

Just yesterday you hated tomatoes, and today you are picking them off the salad before I get any. What is up with that?

Why is there a can of worms in the fridge?

Who drank my coffee?

How come it isn’t possible to eat a cookie without 299 crumbs on the floor?

Who let the cat(s) into the house?

How did that box of Cheezits get empty so fast?

Then there are the Black Hole Mysteries:

Does anybody know what happened to Rita’s fuzzy brown boots?

If you had five pairs of undies last week, they must still be somewhere. ???

Where in the world did that Popular Mechanics library book go?

What can possibly have happened with my sister’s prized Cricut cartridge?

Where is all the toilet paper going?

Has anyone seen my driving gloves?

I also have a category of Generally Inscrutable Events:

Who splattered the bathroom mirror with toothpaste?

How did the new colored pencils get so short?

Why are there rocks in your bed?

How can you possibly be hungry when we just ate supper an hour ago?

How did we bring home “Baby Easter Bunny” from the library without my knowledge?

Where did you learn that word?

How do you know how to type and print a document?

What happened to the chocolate chips that were on the pantry shelf?

When did you get so tall?

And last, but not least, there are the Lovely Surprises:

What did I do to deserve a child who loves to sort all those screws and thumbtacks and assorted beads and marbles in the utility drawer?

Who passed on the cleaning gene to the little girl who runs for the vacuum cleaner when the house is a wreck?

How is it that the child who ate all the chocolate is so adorable in his contrition?

Who can resist the mischief-maker who cuts hair, snips sheets, shears stuffed animals, and doles out hugs that nearly crack the ribs?

How can the baby of the crew be so grown up and articulate, yet such a total mush pot who wants to be rocked with her blanket?

How could this life get any more interesting?

EDIT… One final whodunit:

Who published this post before I was done?

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