Keeping it together

Last night after Kiddo went to bed, I was picking up his toys and tidying the living room and dining room. He’d been playing with a bunch of wooden tray puzzles in the dining room but hadn’t finished putting them all together so I took a shot at it. To my chagrin, I ended up with this.

Twenty-five letters were snugly tucked into their spaces. One was AWOL. (Well actually, four of them were A, W, O and L, but none of those four was missing.) I glanced around and didn’t find it. Picked up the rest of the toys. Looked inside things, under tables, even shook out the playmats. Nothing. And the more I didn’t find it, the greater significance it took on.

After a lot of krawling on the floor and reaching into the krevices of the kouch kushions,  I went downstairs to where my husband was watching TV. “The K is missing,” I komplained.

“OK?” he said, klearly not seeing the koncern. I was not komforted.

“You kan’t spell Kiddo without a K,” I said krabbily. At least I had the meager konsolation that it kouldn’t have left the house.

I don’t like losing things. I know it’s inevitable with a young child in the household, but we’ve made it this far with the loss of only one toy, and a few crib sheets that went in to daycare and never came home. Not one tiny-foot sock lost to the washing machine yet–or if they have been, at least they had the courtesy to run off in pairs.

And I especially don’t like losing pieces that are noticeable parts of sets. I have no doubt that scores of LEGO pieces were lost to the carpet and the vacuum cleaner while my sisters and I were growing up. But as long as their loss wasn’t obvious–a red brick here, a flower there–it didn’t bother me too much.

But a K? That’s an omission that’s obvious at a glance. I know my house will never be worthy of a magazine photo spread, but I like to have it as tidy and put-together as we can manage. Puzzles with missing pieces or trucks that have lost a wheel or two don’t feel put-together to me. It’s like a constant reminder of my inability to keep track of all the things that have been entrusted to my child (and by proxy, to me) over the years. Of course he’s going to lose things; he’s only two. But as one of the adults in the household, I’m supposed to be watching out for that sort of thing, and recovering stray items. If it’s in my power to keep things in playable condition, then I want to do it. It’s this sort of thing that led to me taking Kiddo’s carseat almost completely apart at a rest stop on our road trip after he pulled two of the little rubber wheels off his toy school bus. How could he drive his bus around without a full set of tires?

This morning, Kiddo woke up while I was still picking out my klothes. My husband went in to help Kiddo out of his krib. “Ask him about the K!” I kalled from the bedroom. Husband wisely ignored me. I finished kombing my hair and komparing kardigans, and joined them in the living room, where Kiddo was playing with his kars. I gave him a hug, then pulled out the alphabet puzzle and said, “Do you know where the K is?”

“Hah!” said Kiddo (his kurrent word for yes). He ran all the way into the kitchen and then kame back. Konfused, I followed his tracks. I looked on the floor but saw nothing. Then I looked up higher and spotted the missing puzzle piece.

In the Kitchen.

On the Kounter.

In between the Knife bloK and the miKrowave.

And farther back than Kiddo should have been able to reach. I’m still not sure how it got there. I guess it’ll remain a mystery konnundrum.