Quite honestly, there is NOTHING that shoots my parental cool level down faster — from cucumber to completely non-existent — than watching one of my children try to find something.
Wait, that needs clarification: Watching one of my children try to find something that I've asked them to find. If the missing object in question is a specific 5-pronged grey LEGO piece — no, that's light grey, I need dark grey — my children will search diligently and thoroughly until the piece is found, like good little archaeologists of modern-day pointlessness.
(Ask me about the great search for "Lord Garmadon's hands," by the way. Hands. LEGO hands. Purple ones. Was like searching for a specific grain of kitty litter in a sea of...slightly bigger grains of kitty litter.)
If the missing object is like, their shoes or backpack or something, on the other hand...
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. ALL IS LOST. BETTER WANDER AROUND PRETENDING WALL CORNERS ARE INFLATABLE BOUNCEY SURFACES FOR AWHILE INSTEAD.
(Seriously, if I ever had some kind of medical emergency and needed one my children to dial 911, my only hope of survival would be to keep a phone duct-taped to their faces at all times, and then also pray that they wouldn't just use it for a quick game of Angry Birds first.)
We have systems. We insist that everything go in its proper place within minutes of walking in the door. Kid-height hooks for coats. Labeled drawers in a closet for hats and mittens. We have a designated homework shelf stocked with pencils and glue sticks and scissors and space for library books and reading journals that need to be returned to school on specific days.
And yes, we have a shoe rack for shoes. It's in the goddamn KITCHEN, for Christ's sake, right next to the row of hooks I hung under the counter for backpacks, literally inches from where they sit for breakfast. Where they could easily — I know, I know, crazy talk — maybe NOTICE ahead of time that some essential item is not in its usual place.
Instead, the routine will go something like this. (Note that names have not been changed to protect this morning's specific offender, because GAAAHHHH CHILD.)
AMY: Okay Ezra, time to put your shoes on!
AMY: *puts Ike's shoes on, gathers keys and wallet and coffee like a goddamn morning efficiency ninja*
EZRA: *has not put his shoes on*
EZRA: *slides off kitchen stool like a slug and crabwalks over to shoe rack*
EZRA: *stares at shoe rack*
AMY: Where are your shoes, Ezra?
EZRA: They are not here, ergo, they are lost forever and possibly no longer in our plane of existence. I shall now lie on the floor in honor of their memory and answer your question with a disinterested shrug.
AMY: FIND YOUR SHOES, EZRA.
And then I spend the next 10 minutes looking for his shoes while he also "looks" for his "shoes," but in a way that disregards the presence of things like "furniture" and "closets" and "stuff that might be in front of/on top of/somewhat in the visual path of" his shoes. He'll wander slowwwwwly into a room, stand there for five seconds and then — assuming he did not directly trip over his shoes or have them magically fly from their hiding space into his hands — he will give up and wander back out.
AMY: Did you look under the couch?
EZRA: What's a couch?
AMY: Did you take them off in your room?
EZRA: No. Yes. Maybe.
AMY: What about the basement? Did you maybe take them off in the basement?
EZRA: I have taken my shoes off in the basement, if that's what you're asking. Taking my shoes off in the basement is definitely a life experience I have had at some point in my life, so yes.
AMY: *runs off to frantically search the basement, where no shoes will be found, because they will be found later in Ezra's bedroom closet, carefully lined up, RIGHT WHERE HE PUT THEM*
AMY: Dude, I sent you to look in your room like three times. Why didn't you look in the closet?
EZRA: It wasn't me, it was *insert name of neighborhood child who moved to Atlanta six months ago, yet who continues to get blamed for an alarming amount of poltergeist-like mischief*
AMY: Ezra. For the love of God. Put on your shoes.
IKE: *is now running around barefoot*