A Misty Isles of Spring!

  • Apr. 11, 2011 6:00 p.m.

By Jane Wilson–Spring must be just around the corner as the snow has melted and snatches of colour are showing up on my lawn. Not flowers, of course, but random items of children’s clothing abandoned by their owners as they slid down our stellar sledding hill. If you’re wondering how these children got home without noticing they had lost their clothing, I can’t answer that. If you’re wondering why their parents didn’t notice they came home with out a hat, or with only one sock, I can’t tell you that either. If you’re wondering how to make a glazed topping for duck, I not only can’t tell you that, I think you picked up the wrong newspaper. I’m not saying I’m unsympathetic to the parents of the lost garments. I don’t know any parent who hasn’t gone through this, a child who appears without coat or hat or shoes, when you know you sent them out with whichever item they are now missing. The child will then not only have no idea where they misplaced the item, it will turn out after interrogation that they are not even capable of describing it. This will seem crazy to you as an adult, as you would never put something on your head without giving it at least a passing glance. It will partially explain how the hat got lost, though, as the thought, “Look, someone dropped a blue hat” is completely untroubled by, “Wait a second, that’s my blue hat” or even, “Hey, why is my head cold?” It may be the fundamental difference between children and adults, the quality of always knowing the appearance and location of one’s clothing, for example, my socks are white and they are on my feet. If they were not on my feet, I would know because I would not feel them on my feet and that’s why I’m an adult. A child is capable of walking home in the snow without noticing that they forgot their shoes. A mother of my acquaintance has stopped replacing the items lost by her sons and is now feeling judged by people who want to know why her son is walking around without a coat, but I’m not judging her, I understand. This only stopped for me when my boys were old enough to be told that if they lost anything, they were paying to replace it. Funny, how they haven’t lost anything since. That doesn’t help me clear my entryway of unclaimed clothing belonging to other children though. I’ve tried to hold a missing clothes line-up for every child who comes into my house on a regular basis, but it has not been effective so far. You would think that at least one of them would say, “Well, no, that’s not my off-white hat with mint green and pink stripes, but as there are only 40 kids in my school, I do recall having seen it on my youthful playmate, insert-name-here”. Not only do they not recognize its owner, I swear they don’t even recognize its category, so I’m left explaining that it is a hat, you wear it on your head, and they must have seen someone wearing one at some point in their lives. This is around the time when they start shooting my child sympathetic looks and suggesting that they should play at their house instead. I’ve thought about pinning all the unclaimed clothing to my one child who is still young enough to let me get away with things like that, and then sending her in to play soccer. Hopefully then the game would be played to a chorus of, “Why does that little girl have your hat/sock/snow pants pinned to her jersey?” enabling me to spot the owners and return the items. I won’t do it because I’m afraid other mothers who are also trying to offload abandoned winter clothes will note the trick and when I turn my back at half-time, I’ll find that instead of having the clothing pinned to her claimed, it will instead have doubled or tripled, leaving her warm, but unable to move her little legs. I’ve also considered waiting until I’m picking up my child from a play date and seeding the victim family’s coat pile with the misplaced children’s wear, otherwise known as, “You touched it last”. Of course, I would never do anything like that, particularly when the school has a perfectly good Lost and Found that they leave relatively (and unwisely) unguarded. Email me at jane.wilson@hgqci.org if you want to cover me when I go in to dump the “merchandise”.