Picture Break

Attack of the Shoegoblins

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...


(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!

EZRA: Okay!

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. 


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*




story of my life. Sigh.


So funny Amy! Thanks for the laughs this morning and many other mornings!


My 6-year-old has the terrible habit of taking off his shoes in two different rooms on opposite sides of the house. They are rarely in the same room at the same time, unless he is actually wearing them. Double the morning fun!

Courtney in FL

I realized I had "lovingly" used the phrase, "Did you use your eyes?!?!", for this specific problem, when my 6 year old scolded a friend in the same manner. Opps!

A. P.

This. This is my life. Exactly. (It happened this morning for crying out loud!!!).

Cait B.

at what point should I be more worried about the fact that my husband and I do this without kids?

Good thing I'm pregnant, oh fetus you are soooo in for a bad time.


Sounds remarkable like when my husband has to look for something in the fridge/pantry/cupborad/closet. His MO is 1) open door 2) stare 3) close door 4) declare item is lost and I'm a stupidhead for suggesting it was where I said it was. Frequently, I remind him he might have to exerte energy in the process - perhaps moving items out of the way and/or looking up or down. I write this to advise you, it may be a boy thing and you may be stuck with this for the rest of your life. Just fyi ~ L

Sassy Apple

Ha! My husband has the same inability with items HE got out of the fridge or kitchen cabinets. "What bottle of hot sauce? I don't see it." Shoes, not so much. He wears a size 14...they double as ottomans :)


I can still hear my mother's voice. "MOOOM? Where are my shoes?!"

"I don't know. I don't wear them for you!"

Also, "Did you look UNDER things? Look UNDER things!"

Sara M

This: "I shall now lie on the floor in honor of their memory and answer your question with a disinterested shrug."...all the freaking time with my 4YO. He pointedly ignores us (and his teacher) when we ask him questions and will randomly lay down on any ground when we ask him to do something he doesn't want to do.


When my son was about that age, I sent him to his room to get his shoes. After a half hour, he stood there clutching one and moaning about the missing shoe mate. It was nowhere, it was lost forever, it was stolen by ghosts. It was underneath a plastic grocery bag that was lying ALONE in the dead center of the room. It was the ONLY THING on the floor(which was a miracle, but that's a different complaint). UGH, kids.

Jenn H

I am not even kidding, I was just ths morning pondering why am I THE ONLY ONE who can ever find anything my household. ???!%#&$?! Shoes, wallets, keys, toys, etc. It's like my kids (and husband!) are incapable of using any effort to look. I guess maybe I've enabled this??? But tell me, how am I supposed to let my 6 year old go to school without shoes?! Ugh. And the thing that gets me is that we, too, have systems! Shoe baskets! Key hooks! Backpack hooks! Why am I the only one who uses them!?! Ah, motherhood.


Oh man, this morning I decided to avoid this hellish scene here in our house by crawling under our kitchen table (disgustingness I will not mention), and actually putting on my kindergartener's socks and shoes for him while he ate his breakfast. Brilliant, I told myself!

Then, the moment we were walking out the front door to scurry to school right in time for the first bell, I noticed that he had taken them off when I wasn't looking. At the same moment, my two-year-old fell down the front steps, landing on his head upon the front sidewalk. My mornings often consist of comforting one injured, crying child while yelling threats at the other kid.


Gah!! Same! If I end up begging my Dr for an antidepressant/ antianxiety cocktail, it will be in large part because of the "did-you-put-on-your-socks Where-are-your-shoes?" Morning routine.


Same. If I end up begging my Dr for an antidepressant/ antianxiety cocktail it will be in large part because of the "did-you-put-on-your-socks Where-are-your-shoes?" Morning routine.


Yes, this. This is my life. I tell my daughter to put on her clothes/shoes/socks and she'll maybe put one sock on and then start jumping on the bed/reading/staring at the ceiling. COME ON!!!


So, I have to admit to a parenting fail this morning. Normally, this post describes my life to a "T" with my eight-year-old son. However, this morning I opened up his backpack to look for his lunch box so I could pack his lunch, and after rummaging around, asked him where it was. I saw him walk out of school with it yesterday, so I knew at one point he had it at home. Cue the exact actions Amy just described - wandering aimlessly in circles, playing with toys instead, standing in the center of the room just staring. I was starting to get upset when I opened his backpack once more.... and yep, there was his lunch box, right there where I had just checked, mocking me. I swear, I would have even had to push it aside to look for it. What the hell??? So I had to apologize to my son. I was actually embarrassed and that doesn't happen very often! LOL!


Lemme guess you have video cameras in my house right? And I hear you laughing about the dust on the table under the TV. Yesterday in our morning angst to get the f out of the house and to school I ended up with a squeeze pouch of applesauce in the family room and then later when I was putting my shoes in my shoe cubby I found a granola bar in the closet. I was like WTF'ing F??? Shoes are not typically a problem in our house as we don't wear them upstairs (it's a rental and there's carpet upstairs) however every other god damn thing is. Oh and we have the additional item that the "touched" child has to hug and kiss and generally annoy the 11 year old cat AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE before he gets f out of the house. LOL


And I thought it was just me. Seriously, I was beginning to think I needed to take my kid to a neurologist because he's CONSTANTLY asking me to help him find things he, literally, just put down. Or are right there in the middle of the table. The other night he asked me to help him find the toy that was In. His. Hand. What a weirdo.


How come it's so much funnier when it's happening to you? Oh, I get growly... I've also taken to leaving the least favorite pair of shoes in the car for emergencies.


Worse: my telling this child to find his jacket that I then see on the floor, over there. Me: Bring me your jacket. Him: Where? Me: Right there (pointing left) Him: (Turning right) Where? Me: Right there Him: Right here? (Looking where he is standing) Me: Over there, right there! Him: (Turning in circles) Where? Where? This? (Picks up FUCKING PIECE OF PAPER WHY IS THIS MY LIFE)

dawny dee

i have been living this hellish nightmare for over two decades (my eldest is 21). my youngest is 13 and wears freaking size 12 sneakers - have you ever seen a boys size 12 sneaker - they are HUGE. and yet, when its time to go to school or on an errand it seems impossible to find these even in my tiny 5 room house (thats 5 ROOMS not 5 bedrooms). its almost too much to bear somedays.


Perfect description of anything that ever needs to be found in our house. Our girl is 11. Anyone have advice on how to not loose your ever loving mind and becoming a complete jerk to your kid? I need help.


Gah it's so true! I have to bribe my daughter that she doesn't get her beloved morning cheerios snack until her socks and shoes are on. I know you aren't supposed to use food as a reward or punishment, but it works to add a little hustle. I love hearing these stories about your kids, thanks for sharing!


My daughter (Ezra's age) starts shedding clothing the moment she walks in the door. That is, if her shoes have survived the drive home. Shoes. Pants. Shirt. Socks.

(Not necessarily in that order. All too often, I have to rescue her from her pants when she tries to take them off before her shoes.)

And then - being a long-haired little girl - an assortment of hair accouterments, flung from one end of the fucking house to the other.


Well. I mean, you know. BOYS. (Of all sizes and ages.)


It reminds me of the scene from Galaxy Quest where Jason Nesmith asks the Thermians to help him find his shoes and they all look at the ceiling...
(the clip of which I tried to find for you but couldn't.)


@Missie HAHAHA. You don't need to find the clip because it's already SEARED INTO MY BRAIN.

God. I love that movie.


I have given up. Now, the shoes stay in the car and the kids put them on during the ride to school... one friend ALWAYS point out that there are 4 pairs of shoes in my car (2 for each kid). I don't care b/c it's one crazy thing for me to get snappy over in the morning (none of us are morning people to start with). The car is in the garage off the kitchen, so no weather issues for us- just a messy messy car.


To be fair, we are all good little archaeologists of modern-day pointlessness.


Yes, all of this. ALL. OF. IT. And if she has to walk across the house, she gets immediately distracted by something else, loses focus, and forgets that shoes are even a thing. Suddenly, she's demonstrating how she gallops. Or she's holding a cat (which she shouldn't be holding, and knows it) to show me how happy said cat is to be held by her (read: not at all happy, even in the slightest, but knows he or she will be killed if he or she bites the child). or -- OR -- she changes into a princess dress in her room instead of putting on her shoes, and now we have to start the whole morning all over again.



I also keep my kid's shoes in the car. We don't ever need to be anywhere before 10, but it still reduces our stress level a million degrees. They are not the FAVORITE shoes, so if they don't put shoes away, they are stuck wearing uncomfortable or ugly shoes all day... natural consequences! Everyone has an extra jacket, mittens and hat in there, too, because i'm a general mess at that stuff. oh, and I have an extra diaper bag in there, too. Because I'm lucky if I can find my own shoes most days.


My son was SEVENTEEN, and got in the car to go somewhere with us. When we arrived, he asked where his shoes were. I told him they were supposed to be on his feet. No. He'd taken his shoes OFF the last time he was in the car and I'd taken them out and put them on the shoe rack in the garage. He just expected his shoes to STILL be in the car when he'd left them a couple of days before and it was ALL MY FAULT he didn't have his shoes.


This. This is my every morning. We have shoe box as well, but it seems the only shoes in it are the ones that no one actually wears.


I get the added bonus of my 11-yr-old screaming, "WHERE ARE MY SHOES?!?" over and over again, each repetition growing louder and higher in pitch. I think she thinks they will appear if only she screams loud enough and frantically enough. They will rise out of her closet like the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch.

And then I get sucked into looking for them. Last time they were on the floor in her room, in plain sight. After she yelled that they were GONE, JUST GONE, WHERE DID YOU PUT THEM MOM?!!! Because she is 11 and therefore I am to blame for everything, don'tcha know. It's getting exhausting.


K, srsly? I have often thought that you and I are cousins 47 frillion times removed because of incidences like this. This movie...this piece of cinematic genius, is a part of our family, like hair color, snort laughing, and the inability to maintain any sense of decorum. We quote Galaxy Quest, Nacho Libre, and Napoleon Dynamite all.the.dang.time. Oh, and Overboard.
If I had a nickel for every time my husband busted out with, "Mmmm...Guy," or "That's not right!", I could quit my nowhere job and retire. And hire someone to find my kids' shoes for them.


Funny story (at least to me. Humor the old girl)...
Our son is smart, funny, gets good grades, is responsible. Been getting himself up, dressed, and ready for school since age 8. At age five, he could clean his room to perfection.
But now? He is 17. All y'all moms of teen boys know what's coming.
He frantically calls me at work one day before school.
Him: MOM! Where is my belt?
Me: I don't know.
Him: What do you mean, you don't know? Mom, seriously! What did you do with my belt?!
Me: Son. For real. If it is not in your room, and it isn't on a pair of pants you threw into the laundry room, then I give up.
Him: (very disappointed in the failures of his mother) I cannot believe you do not know where my belt is! How can you NOT KNOW?!?
Me: (long pause) Think about this for a moment, Son. Why WOULD I know where your belt is? I don't wear it. I don't keep track of it. If I saw it laying around somewhere it shouldn't be, it would be put back in your room. Tough breaks, kiddo.

After another 20 minutes of searching, he rushes off to school, sans belt, upset that obviously in my evil maniacal way, I am choosing to punish him by hiding his belt. Because that is the best someone as lame as me could come up with if I wanted to make my kid's life miserable, obvs.

Where did he find his belt that afternoon when he got home? IN.HIS.DRAWER. Where his belt goes. Insert shock and awe and amazement of all sorts.

And yes, he did apologize. :)

So, does get better...and it does get worse. You're welcome.


Literally crying with laughter here. This scene is played out by my 4-year-old on an almost daily basis.


This is a boy thing. My standard response to the cry of "I can't find it/It's not here!" is "If I come in there and find it where you have already looked, I will hit you with it/throw it in the bin (depending on the nature of the thing being sought). This applies to my husband as well as my two boys.


I was out to dinner with friends the other night and my husband texted me that this family was going to drive him crazy/kill him. When I got home I said "so, someone couldn't find their shoes, jacket, whatever they needed so you could make the meeting" 8 year old shoes, 11 year old scout book. And that is life round these parts.


I wish I could say it gets better. Also, this is totally not just a boy thing. My 12-yr-old still can't find things, though now it's graduated to more expensive things, like phones and tablets and MY SHOES that she likes to wear. Because she can.

But, my favorite was always, when I'd ask her to go find her shoes, she would immediately look up at the ceiling. WTF? She doesn't do that anymore, thankfully. The actual looking for things has gotten better, but the actual seeing things she's looking for has not.


There's even a Broadway song for this situation, that I'm often tempted to sing when I can't find my shoes (my shoes are almost always in the shoe organizer or my closet, but sometimes I forget . . . )
The song is actually called "Where's My Shoe."


Does anyone else watch The Middle? That show makes me laugh for stories like this. The mom is always telling the kids and the dad "are you moving stuff around? you have to move stuff around!" when they are looking for things.


I really wish I could say that it gets better, but sadly, it doesn't. And it's not a boy thing, either. My fifteen year old daughter suffers from this same affliction. Last week, she was running late, so I very kindly made her lunch for her. I left it on the kitchen table for her, right above her backpack that was sitting on a kitchen chair. I then left to take my son to the middle school, where I was volunteering. My husband was on driving duty for my daughter that morning. I got a text from my husband while on the way to the middle school--a seven minute, TOPS drive. My daughter had forgotten her lunch. Then I get a text from my daughter, telling me that I "forgot to give her" her lunch. I called my husband to tell him to drop the damn lunch off for her. His response? "I don't know where to go". At this point, I wanted to kill them both. How was this MY problem? I wasn't even home (and couldn't run back and take care of it). Ugh. Told husband to be a dad and figure it out (actual words). Told daughter to call her dad and stop blaming me when she's the one who FORGOT her lunch.
So, yeah. Doesn't get better. I sometimes wonder if I'm enabling somehow? No wonder I have a head full of gray hair!

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