1:27 P.M. Mom notices that one of her daughter’s pink-and-white tennis shoes is still missing. She knows exactly where she found the other shoe yesterday, so she rechecks the area behind the laundry basket in the master bedroom. Mom gets down on her hands and knees to peer under the dresser, instantly transforming into Detective Mom.
1:29 P.M. “Where’d you put your shoe, Audrey?” Detective Mom casually asks the 4-year-old, barefoot eyewitness. “I don’t know,” Audrey says, with an impish grin. Detective Mom is not amused.
1:35 P.M. Detective Mom dumps out all the laundry baskets to sort the dirty clothes into lights and darks, and to search for the missing shoe (Detective Mom is a master multi-tasker). Nope. No shoes mixed in with the clothes. Mom looks under the bed, but doesn’t actually pull anything out because Dad had just pulled everything out and vacuumed under the bed the day before. It has never looked this good under the bed—not a single dirty Kleenex! Detective Mom makes the bed and pats down all the covers, feeling for strange, shoe-shaped lumps, and finds nothing.
1:40 P.M. Detective Mom says a prayer, begging all the saints and all her angels to help her find the missing shoe, and searches all the usual shoe-hiding spots: behind the doors, behind the toilets, in the closets, under Audrey’s bed and dresser, under Big Brother’s bed (Mom finds the kitty stuffed animal that Big Brother didn’t even know was missing), under his dresser. Mom takes all the stuffed animals off Audrey’s bed and pats down all the covers; then she does the same thing in Big Brother’s room. No shoe.
1:48 P.M. Detective Mom tears apart the couch in the living room, and finds some white gum stuck to the bottom of the couch cushion, three pink-foil candy wrappers, two pieces of stale popcorn, half of a dried-up French fry, and a green fruit snack, but no shoe.
1:51 P.M. Detective Mom starts checking all the unusual shoe-hiding spots: the bathtub, the bookshelves in every room of the house, behind the cereal boxes in the kitchen pantry, the basement, Big Brother’s LEGO bins. She finds a nickel and deposits it into Big Brother’s piggy bank.
1:58 P.M. “Can I go outside?” Audrey dares to ask Detective Mom. “No. Not without your shoes.” “I wanna wear my SpongeBob shoes!” “No. Those are too small. Help me look for your tennis shoe.” “I don’t know where it is!” Audrey cries. “Neither do I. You need to help me find it,” Detective Mom grumbles, wiping sweat from her forehead. “Noooooooooo,” Audrey groans. She crawls under Mom’s bed covers and sucks her thumb.
2:12 P.M. Dad realizes Detective Mom is searching for something. “Whatcha lookin’ for?” he asks. Detective Mom rolls her eyes and sighs. “Audrey’s shoe.” Dad transforms into Detective Dad. “Where’s your shoe, Audrey?” he asks his adorable, stubborn daughter. “I DON’T KNOW!” “Where’d you put it?” “I DON’T KNOW!” Detective Dad searches everywhere that Detective Mom has already searched.
2:16 P.M. Big Brother Zach wanders into Mom and Dad’s bedroom, where Detective Mom has just started pulling every single shoe out of the closet. “I’ll give you a reward if you find Audrey’s missing shoe,” Detective Mom says to him. “How much?” Zach asks. Detective Mom smiles. “One dollar!” Big Brother Zach joins the search.
2:28 P.M. Detective Mom carries seven and a half pairs of disgusting old shoes to the trash can in the garage. Detective Dad is removing every McDonald’s toy and book and piece of trash from the backseat of Mom’s car, and spreading out all the junk on the kitchen table—the kitchen table that Mom had just cleared off the day before. Detective Mom decides not to criticize Detective Dad’s methods.
2:43 P.M. Still no sign of the missing shoe. Detective Dad interrogates Mom, Zach, and Audrey. “When was the last time you saw the shoes on her feet?” he asks Mom. “Zach, did you see Audrey playing with her shoes after she took them off last Thursday?” “Audrey Mae, WHERE IS YOUR SHOE? You need to remember. THINK! Where’d you put it, baby?” Audrey hides her face and continues sucking her thumb. “I’m going outside,” Zach says.
3:11 P.M. Detective Mom and Detective Dad, desperate and irritable, stomp all over the house, unzipping backpacks, dumping out every purse in Audrey’s room (all 30 of them), rifling through underwear drawers. Detective Mom realizes that she never looked through the basket of clean white laundry. She matches up all the white socks, separates the white underwear into four neat piles, and does NOT find the missing shoe at the bottom of the basket. She looks under her bed for the seventh time.
3:22 P.M. Detective Dad catches Audrey playing with dinosaurs—not hunting for her missing shoe—in Zach’s room. “STOP PLAYING! Where’s your shoe, Audrey? Huh? You’d better help us look for it right now!”
3:35 P.M. Detective Mom catches Audrey looking at Dr. Seuss books. “You’re supposed to be helping us find your shoe, Audrey. I do not wanna have to buy you a new pair! WHERE IS YOUR SHOE?” Audrey points to a white sandal in her closet. “No. Your pink-and-white tennis shoe!” “I don’t know! Mommy, go away!”
3:40 P.M. Detective Mom thinks back to the “Case of the Missing Sippy Cup” (Episodes 1 through 57). If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s “Always trust your instincts,” Mom thinks, and my instincts keep leading me back to my bedroom, where I started…
3:41 P.M. Detective Dad is searching Mom’s car for the second time. Following her instincts, guided by all the saints and her guardian angel’s hands, Detective Mom reaches under her bed and pulls out a stack of framed artwork. Jammed between two of the pictures, bent out of shape, is Audrey’s pink-and-white tennis shoe! Detective Mom recalls Detective Dad’s under-the-bed cleaning rampage on Saturday—all the boxes and dusty artwork piled all over the bed. Dad had worked so hard, dusting off everything, vacuuming. Detective Mom decides not to yell at Detective Dad for not paying attention when he was gathering up all the junk and shoving everything back under the bed. She’s one classy detective. “I FOUND IT!” she shouts triumphantly.
More Mommy Humor by Maria Roth: