“Mommy! Where are they?”
“Where’s what, buddy? Did you lose something?”
“No, I didn’t lose them, Mommy. They have to be here.”
“What, Nicky? What are you looking for?”
“My treasures. I had them right here in my pocket.”
Why can’t he take better care of his toys?
“Did you have them at the park?”
“Yes!” Amazing how he has mastered the are-you-stupid? tone at such a young age.
“Sweetie, you probably dropped them while you were playing. Now get your jammies on. It’s time for bed.”
I go to the bathroom to get his toothbrush ready, but he doesn’t come. When I check on his progress, he’s crouching behind the rocking chair, his hands covering his face.
“What are you doing, bud?”
Through the slats, I see tears stream down his face as he looks up.
“I need them, Mommy.”
I tamp down my irritation and force my “patient mommy” voice as I pull him out from his hiding place.
“Honey, they could be anywhere right now. We can look for them in the morning, but you shouldn’t have taken them to the park. We’ve talked about this.”
He slips from my grasp and collapses, sobs shaking his torso.
“They’re just little plastic jewels,” I say. “You have plenty of other toys.”
“I need those,” he wails. “It’s you and me and daddy. I have to take care of them. So daddy will come home safe.”
At sunrise, we’ll go check the park.