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Thursday, September 27, 2007  

M. Small's Law

M. Small's sense of object permanence – the understanding that things continue to exist even when he can't see them – developed years ago. Recently, it became better than mine.

My superhuman ability to lose track of inanimate objects is of course well-documented. Less well-documented is my amazement at Trash's ability to always remember where she put anything down. It borders on her superpower. Alas, her Kryptonite is me; if I move something from where she put it, her ability is rendered useless. Apparently it's just too hard for her to remember that I moved a W-4 form or what have you from the center island in the kitchen to a secure place underneath the seat of my car.

And you'd think that with a toddler in the house, it would be like moving her into a Kryptonite cage. Fortunately, the toddler seems in his own right.

Until recently, it's been fairly narrow, and confined to whichever of his toys currently occupy his ever-shifting "top five." Like, he'll know that his front-end loader is in his playhouse in the backyard, whereas is road grater is in the car, and Chick Hicks is in the spare bedroom. But lately his scope has been expanding.

This weekend, he and I had been playing with his blocks on the living room floor for a while when Trash called us in to the kitchen for lunch. M. Small wanted to bring his Matchbox-sized steamroller, which was nowhere in sight. "It's up there," he said confidently, pointing up to the windowsill behind and below the sofa. Sure enough, he was right.

And then the other night, as I was putting him to bed, I was looking for his sippy-cup of water that I had just filled. "I just filled it a minute ago," I said.

"It's in the bathroom," M. Small informed me. Silly kid. Why would his sippy-cup be in the bathroom? I went and looked, just to humor him.

Sure enough, there it was. We'd gotten sidetracked with brushing his teeth, and I'd totally forgotten to bring it into his room. I brought it back now and put it on his bed, frankly and humbly telling him, "You're amazing."

It's a cliché, even for me, to say that there are all sorts of great and unexpected things that happen when you become a parent. But I would have to say that finding myself in a house where it's twice as hard for me to lose things is just about the last thing I anticipated.

posted by M. Giant 7:33 PM 2 comments


It's funny. My eight year old does this for us. (Note: My BLIND eight year old. No, really.) My husband could not keep track of his keys unless they were surgically implanted under his skin, and our son helps us find those keys all of the time. I don't know if he hears them jingle before they get tossed in whatever direction Husband flings them when he gets home, but 9 times out of 10, our son finds the keys before we do.

Although, I do have to say, M. Small's ability does seem to border on superpowers. It's pretty nifty.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 28, 2007 at 4:10 AM  

I'm so pleased to know there are other people who have this dynamic at home! I have a terrible sense of direction and a poor memory for faces, but I am good at remembering where I last saw something, and I frequently tell my husband where his phone, watch, wallet, or keys are. Which is not to say I don't lose things, but it tends to be a matter of something getting shuffled to the bottom of a bag or a pile. If it's in a visible location, I will usually remember where I saw it. My husband, on the other hand, is better than I am at finding things that have fallen into crevices or gotten hidden in unexpected places.

Does Trash also have the ability to remember who gave you guys a particular item, like 10 years after the fact? This is an odd and mostly useless ability that I have, in spite of the fact that I have trouble remembering useful things like how many tablespoons are in a quarter-cup or how to convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade.

By Blogger kmckee7, at September 28, 2007 at 10:35 AM  

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