Mom, I can’t find my purse!

Diane Cassells
Photographer: Diane Cassells

That sentence has plagued the last six months of my life. As my sweet child has started primary school, so with it has come the advent of occasional tuckshop money or coins to buy an ice cream at aftercare. In all her sweetness though, she's inherited something quite irritatingly quaint directly from my dad.

Being a detective

Throughout my childhood, my dad was constantly losing his glasses, his wallet or an important piece of paper. He'd often claim that things "had been moved" or he'd find his glasses on top of his head. My daughter appears to have inherited a similar trait, and can never find her purse.

This purse has driven me mommy-crazy for so long now. I have labelled it, confiscated it for a short time and tied it the inside of her school bag. Still, she appears to be utterly unable to find it by the time we get home, almost every day.

I found that telling her she couldn't have money for aftercare solved the problem for a while. But when that failed and I ended up just feeling guilty, I gave it a long, hard think and isolated when she lost it, every day. I found that it's in the transition from school to home where it goes missing. Somehow, between the time I fetch her and the time we walk in the door, she's lost it. This annoyed me, but I realised I needed to teach her about coping with change. Granted, this is a small change of time in the day, a routine she is used to but I know there's an undercurrent of change resistance within her that prevents her from thinking clearly when it hits. I know this, because she gets THAT from me.

Check, check and check again

So we've adopted a new routine when I fetch her. It's a simple trick, geared towards helping her get and stay organized. I ask her one simple question: "Do you have everything for home?" and she stops and checks before we continue on our journey home. Sure, it's a hurdle and means we have to stop for a minute but since then, we haven't lost the purse once.

It's had other ramifications though, which have all been beneficial. She's slowly adapting this trick of mine to all her situations. Nowadays, she checks herself, and me, before we leave the house to go shopping or venture out to the movies. It's helped me to become more organised and it's made the morning rush a little easier too.

What do you do when your child keeps on losing things?
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