Tale of the Missing Nub
The extent of the memory loss that accompanies new parenthood really surprised me the first few times I experienced it. My task is especially difficult when I must not only to retrace my own footsteps, but figure out what my toddler might have seen fit to do with that half-gnawed cookie, the crayons she was supposed to pick up and put away, and the box of peppermints I just bought.
Of the peppermints, I know only that I put a full box in my bag yesterday afternoon, and this morning the box is empty. My car now smells curiously of peppermint, but no matter. After sniffing the little one's breath and looking for remnants of the mints in her mouth, I decide that none of those missing items concern me as much as the non-refundable airline ticket that seems to have also disappeared.
My toddler has a habit of throwing everything into either the toilet or the trash, which I attribute at least in part to my obsession with putting things away. It's really sweet that she wants to help put the laundry in the washing machine, and her empty juice boxes into the trash. But the thought that she may have carefully placed my airline ticket in there as well sends me scurrying round to all of the waste baskets in the house; then, with growing alarm, to all the toilets in the house; and to all the drawers and cabinets within her reach. I reason-as I check the kitchen trash one more time-that when I was a toddler, my mom never had any of the child-safety devices that I now insist on, and my most serious bout with ill health was the chicken pox on my twelfth birthday.
Fortunately for me, the worst things I ever did were getting my head stuck in a part of my high chair where I had no business putting it; breaking the tail-light on my older sister's bike by riding it into a fieldstone wall (I was so focused on balancing the thing that I forgot to steer); and nibbling a bar of mild bath soap, figuring that since it smelled really good, it would probably taste nice too.
Thankfully, I found the airline ticket-in a place where I never would have consciously left it. I also found the crayons, and the nub of a cookie. The disappearing peppermints remain a mystery.