My friend's son walked into a palace of "girl" toys. I didn't plan for my home to become the pink palace. I wasn't a princess-y little kid, and I've done my best to make sure the kids have their share of dump trucks (never played with), green Magna Doodles ("Don't they make a pink one?") and blocks ("let's build a princess castle!"). But with my oldest having fallen head over heels in love with all things princess, pink and glittery, and it being next to impossible to avoid the Disney Princess Mafia, we are decidedly Team Pink and Girly over here. Anna likes blue, but she likes blue princesses and baby dolls wearing blue. So it goes.
Henry walked in and looked at the toys. He looked at the birthday girl, who had just gotten up from a nap and was in no mood to talk to anyone, and then he spied the one thing that is truly both popular and gender neutral in my home: A Geotrax train set.
"It's ok if he takes that out?" my friend asked.
"Sure, absolutely, whatever," I said, grateful the poor kid wasn't going to be bored, given the apparent hostility of my middle child. Henry got to work laying the tracks out, the tunnel, the little station. Then he looked in the basket again.
"Train?" he asked. "Train?"
The train was missing.
"Don't worry about it," my friend assured me. "He's fine building."
"No, it has to be right around here somewhere," I said. I checked the toy room, the toy chest. No train. I dashed down the hall and checked under the beds. No train. At this point Anna was perking up and my friend was insisting that I let the whole thing go, so I did. And forgot all about it.
Fast forward to today. My friend Eve Marie is coming over for the first time with her son, who is Mary's age. I was attempting to clean up the playroom amid truly disgusting diapers, toddler/preschool drama ("ANNA IS LOOKING AT ME!") and Miss Anna Herself, who somehow smuggled a black marker out from under my watchful eye and turned herself into "a zebra," along with several Little People animals.
|"I'm a zebra!"|
I organized toys (in vain, of course). I dusted an entire Pepperidge Farm factory's worth of Goldfish cracker crumbs out of the couch. I swept. I found missing train track pieces, but no train.
On a roll now, I cleaned the dust bunnies out from under the baby's crib. No train. I collected a million of Tim's socks out from under our bed. No train (though I scared the crap out of the cat in my enthusiasm). I peeked under the girls' bunk beds, shuddered at the Ground Zero of stuffed animals, doll clothes, books and empty sippy cups (but no train) and decided that tomorrow, I just would gate off the bedroom.
It's not in the bathroom, or the kitchen. At this point, I am cursing Fisher Price for making a train that can run via remote control off the tracks. They could have driven it anywhere.
But "anywhere" does not appear to include any place in this relatively small house.
Maybe we should ask baby Jesus.