Things My Children Have Taken Away From Me

184138559My young daughter approached me this morning and asked me if I had a hair binder. She knew I did, because my hair was up and it was MY hair binder day.

She wanted to wear her hair up and so I gave her the binder. Because in my house, we only have ONE hair binder. I buy hair accessories all the time. I buy the little Goody packages of 25 no-pull hair elastics and a few hours after purchasing them we are back to the same single hair binder. Why is this? I have no idea. Sometimes I resort to putting my hair up with a bread tie.

The other thing I haven’t had in the last 17 years? A pen. If you deliver pizza to my house and I have to sign the credit card slip I will be doing so in crayon or eyeliner. I buy pens all the time. I never, ever have a pen.

The pens are obviously where the batteries are because I have also never had a battery. I have purchased batteries, I have seen what they look like, but I have never actually had one. The same with Band Aid’s. I have bought so many Band-aids over the years, Barbie Band-Aids, Spongebob Band-aids, plain boring beige Band-Aids and I will never ever ever have one, even if I slice my finger and badly need one, because I don’t have any.

I also don’t have any tape. If I purchase a five pack of tape around the holidays I have to hide it so I can have tape to wrap gifts. If I place it in a bag and place this bag in another bag and then place that bag on the highest shelf in my closet behind another bag I will maybe have one roll of tape. Is it possible for tape to walk? Like does it go to where the small humans in my house live and present itself to them?

Hi! I know you wanted me so you could tape pieces of paper into smaller pieces of paper and also to be used for taping doll legs together for some strange reason and I am here for you! I’m tape!


Maybe the tape is where the scissors are. Scissors are sharp and they go into the knife block and they are purchased quite frequently but I have never actually seen a pair, except for in photographs when I order them. They are sharp and dangerous and I have no idea where they are, ever. Sometimes I wonder if I should just cut (GET IT?) to the chase and buy my kids some swords because they are larger and possibly harder to misplace.

Or maybe the scissors are where the tape measure is, because I have never seen that either. The paintings in my house are hung at stupid heights and I recently ordered a new sofa that won’t even fit through my doorway because I measured it using the extremely technical method of guessing. I have no idea what my kids are measuring and why they need a tape measure but they frequently inform me that they have grown taller and I sometimes on occasion here the sound of a measuring tape whipping back into its metal housing but when I ask them if they have seen it they look at me like I have lost my mind.

I see boxes of tissue when I go to the market. I see these things in my shopping cart. I see them when I put them away when I return home but that’s the end of it. I sadly blow my nose on scratchy bathroom tissue and even worse, paper towels and I have a feeling there is a stockpile of Kleenex boxes in my house somewhere, like you see on the shows about extreme coupon people. There is no way that three smallish people can go through that much tissue.

Some parents fantasize about what they will do when their kids are away at college or go off and get married and the parents are empty-nesters. They will take vacations and explore new hobbies and spend time doing what they want.

Not me. I’m going to fashion myself a throne out of batteries and tissue boxes, scissors and hair binders and measuring tape all bound together with tape and Band-aids like some greedy Dollar Tree Queen Midas. My scepter will be a pen.

(Image: getty images)

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  • radicalhw

    OMG, tape. THE TAPE! My kids used to play with Scotch tape the way other kids played with Legos. I have had to wrap presents using masking tape, the only kind they didn’t covet.

    • tSubh Dearg

      The Beau’s little boy found my tape and used to create a hover board a la Back to the Future (which he is obsessed with). This was of course in the week coming up to Christmas and he used almost the whole roll, so a lot of my wrapped presents were held together with the smallest bit of tape ever and a prayer.

  • Maria Guido

    The PENS. My children are 3 and under and i still have no pens.

  • Bethany Ramos

    I am 100% certain that all of our trinkets are in the trash or recycling – that is my 2yos favorite trick, but at least he is very tidy.

    • Ana

      I always have to go through my 20 month old’s trash can before dumping it because I find things like my checkbook (twice) and the SD card that has all her first year photos. The little congratulatory clap and smile she does after throwing something away is precious though. Since I don’t want to be going through the gross kitchen trash can we keep it behind a closed pantry door.

    • ted3553

      love it. I have found a remote, various shoes and the dog’s dish in our garbage. we’re nearly finished with that thankfully

    • Véronique Houde

      Adelea recently threw my credit card away in the trash.

  • quinn

    According to legend, there is a tribe of sharpie markers in our house somewhere. I know this because I buy them to write her name on everything at the beginning of the school year, but when I go to find it later on it has vanished, probably to go be with its people.

    • ChickenKira

      This answers so many questions.

    • Jessie

      Comment of the week. That was gold!

  • Kay_Sue

    This is where having younger children works for me. Also boys.

    All of my pens and tape are where they can’t get them, lest they run off with them and make a mess out of my (rented) home. And, they rarely bother my hair things. I think my three year old did my hair once over the summer, and that was it. He occasionally wants a mohawk in the bathtub, but other than that, he doesn’t worry about it really.

    Tissues are a different story. Not only does the box disappear, but it’s not unusual for it to be emptied to become a fort for “guys”…or be crushed as an obstacle for something….

  • Alex Lee

    “Sometimes I resort to putting my hair up with a bread tie”

    I must have you now.

  • LaLa

    Pacifiers. I can buy a ton of them but by the end of the week I’m down to one or two. Where do they go? Is my son flushing them down the toilet? Is he a wizard? I don’t have any idea.

    • Kay_Sue

      As soon as you wean him off of them, you will find every single one.

      About two months ago, we finally got our youngest son to relinquish his last pacifier. The next day, I found seven of the bastards. I really wish that was an exaggeration. They were EVERYWHERE–I even unfolded the ironing board and found one in there…

    • Valerie

      Totally. When we took away our daughter’s pacifiers we thought we were solid because we had the only 2 we thought we owned all ready for the Binky Fairy to take away. And then over the next week, the kid keeps coming out of her bedroom and the playroom with a new binky in her mouth. I thought I was being Punk’d.

    • Kay_Sue

      I was convinced they were growing out of our walls like some kind of fungus. I think I have them all now…but I am sure I am wrong, and in another week or so I’ll run into another batch….

    • Williwaw

      I am positive our car has eaten at least ten pacifiers (and will no doubt regurgitate them after my son is past that stage).

  • Jallun-Keatres

    LOL as a teen, on the one day a year we’d clean my room (yeah my mom didn’t pick that battle), we’d find about 34874967486 bobby pins and 24985 bandies.

  • Valerie

    This is so very true and made me actually come out of lurker-dom and make myself a name so I can comment. :-)
    And my kids abscond with any note pad I ever try to claim as my own- I have bought them I don’t know how many cute little note pads for their scribbles and no matter what, mine go missing. My grocery lists often end up on the backs of old receipts…or that one time I wrote one up on a panti-liner because it was all I could find in my purse……

    • Williwaw

      In our house, the nail clippers always disappear, but that isn’t a problem for me since I am a nail biter. However, iPhone cords, duct tape, scissors, note pads, mittens, and puzzle pieces are also pretty elusive. Also, earplugs, but I know it’s the cats that take those. I can’t fathom why any creature would be fascinated by little orange foam bits that have been in my ears.

    • Valerie

      Puzzle pieces..I don’t think we have one completely intact puzzle in our entire house. Drives me bananas.

  • CMJ

    Flashlights and masking tape were the big items in our house….oh, and extension cords.

    • SusannahJoy

      Flashlights were always the issue when I was a kid too. My dad would get sooo pissed because our house had crappy electric work, and every single time the power went out there were no flashlights to be found.

  • Lilly

    Can I add my sanity to the list?

    For me with a toddler who loves stickers, it is any thing that could possibly be a sticker and then it is put on anything that I really don’t want to spend time trying to get sticker goo off of (and yes I love goo be gone but I don’t want to use it on fabric).

    • the_ether

      Eucalyptus oil will get almost any gross sticky residue off anything. It’s also get for taking gum off pants after you sit in it.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Somehow I managed to train my sticker lovers to decorate the toy tubs and trash cans in our house instead of sticking them in random places.

  • allisonjayne

    My toddler hoards whatever she can find in tiny purses hung on the back of the toy stroller she got for xmas last year. Once a month, we go through it and find basically everything we’ve been looking for over the past month.

    I’m a semi-only child so I have problems sharing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been on the business end of cut-eye from my wife when I say “no this is MINE MINE MINE” to my kid like we’re siblings fighting over a doll.

    Also, this was hilarious and made me actually LOL. a-lol.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      My fiance always tries to give my stuffed animals to our daughter, and then the same “mine” fight ensues at my house.

    • Frances Locke

      I get the same look from my husband when I get into a huff at my kids for stealing my stuff, lol!

  • Valerie

    Oh, and once, in a moment of desperation, I tied my hair with the string from a Yankee Candle air freshener. I never thought of a bread tie. You’re like Macguyver.

    • Elizabeth Licata

      I’ve just started tying my hair in a knot on itself. The fact that it stays leads me to believe I have some serious split ends and need a haircut, but at least it stays put.

  • Andrea

    I used to have the EXACT same issue with pens, tape, sharpies, and scissors. Wanna know what I had to do to keep them? I actually bought a safe. I kid you not. It’s a small one. But I put tape, pens, scissors, etc in it and it’s a combination lock and only I know the combo. They cannot borrow anything from it. If they have a project due that needs those supplies, *I* pull them out, *I* use them, *I* put them back and they cannot leave my sight for a second.
    As I type this, I realize how deranged it sounds, but one midnight trip on Xmas Eve to the local CVS to buy tape because it had disappeared was quite enough for me.

  • Tiffany

    The other day, I took the little carry strap off my camera and used it as a hair tie. My kids don’t even have enough hair to use my bands. They just like to take them, hide them, or shoot them at each other.

  • ShanLea

    I always wondered why more criminals don’t use toddlers in robberies, they are experts at stealing! Mine has started announcing it… “I’m going to brother’s room to steal his baseball”

  • Aja Jackson

    Tape! I never, ever have tape. And the tape is kept in a basket on a shelf where my 5-year-old presumably cannot reach it. Rolls of tape bought in the last year: probably 17. Rolls of tape I’ll find today in the tape basket?: 0.

  • ShanLea

    I have 2 boys, and I didn’t understand why all my hair ties were disappearing. 12 year old decided all of his earbuds needed “organizing”, and 2 year old puts them around his toy car tires to make them into “bulldozers”

  • Kristen

    Baby Socks. The good ones. The stupid ones that fall off are easy to find. But the good ones just disappear.

  • Andeli63

    They were sneaking off with my computer. I put a password on it…. wanna know my password? “mineminemine” it was eventually replaced with “notforyou”.

    I have considered buying a safe. for the tape, the scissors, the sharpies, all of that and the “school snacks” too. Oh and for the cereal, buy it one day, gone the next, yet the bananas sit and sit and sit.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Eve, you can’t find where the pen is?

    • Alex Lee


    • AP

      Safeway is like Fail Grocery Store. I HATE HATE HATE that place.

  • Princess

    I’m 25 and no longer live with my mother and I still take her tape, hair ties and pens. It will never end.

    • MellyG

      My mother takes all of those things from me. She always has. She must not have gotten the memo that it’s supposed to go in reverse! Seriously, every damn time i buy a hair clip, i can’t find it, and i see HER with it.

    • Ddaisy

      I’ve moved in and out of my parents’ place a few times since I was 17, and it’s weird how everything stays put when I’m on my own, but within 5 minutes of living with my mom and adult sisters, stuff just starts vanishing!

    • Frances Locke

      I am 30 with three kids of my own and not only do I steal my mom’s hair ties and tape, but my kids do it now too. It will not only never end, but will probably get worse.

  • ted3553

    spoons! I buy 8 million a year and end up with 3 in the dishwasher, none in our cutlery drawer and me eating my yogurt with the baby’s spoon.

    • Valerie

      Or a giant serving spoon….

    • ted3553

      that may be next.

    • Ddaisy

      Haha for this exact reason, my parents used to wash and save the plastic spoons from fast food meals. Who needs to purchase legit cutlery when you have dozens of red Blizzard spoons from Dairy Queen? :P

  • Elizabeth Licata

    I used to steal my dad’s nose hair scissors to cut out the complicated paper dolls. It made my parents nuts. They could easily have solved the problem by explaining that they were nose hair scissors, because I would never have touched them again. They called them “fingernail scissors,” which they were not.

  • G.E. Phillips

    In a pinch (and probably, you know, just around the house) you could use a pair of thong underwear to tie your hair up, basically an underwear scrunchie. I learned that from the Spice Girls movie.

    • Jessica

      My daughter, almost two, has put my thongs (clean, out of my underwear basket) around her head like a headband. It’s almost cute until I remember that they’re my underwear. On her head. Gross.

    • Ddaisy

      When my sister was not much older than that, she used to put her own underwear on her head like a toque. She even made up a song for it: “O Pantyhead,” to the tune of “O Canada.”

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I bet that if you leave the house like that a time or two and make sure that all their friends see you, your kids won’t take your last scrunchie again. :)

    • Frances Locke


  • andrea

    ha! Yes, tape in our house also sacrifices itself to the girls. Along with pencil sharpeners (rendered almost obsolete anyway since the pencils themselves disappear), socks, mittens, FORKS. FORKS people, please, for the love of god, someone tell me where all the FORKS have gone?!?!??!?!?! sigh.

    • Aja Jackson

      I’m convinced my kids eat them. I understand how tape disappears, but where in the world do missing forks go?

    • Itpainsmetosay

      My mom is all about the forks and the spoons and the knives… Check the takeaway boxes because my mom throws them away without looking inside sometimes. I also woke up one time with a steak knife tangled in the covers with me (I didn’t cut myself thank goodness).

  • chickadee

    I have had to resort to tying my hair up with the twine that I bought for hanging the birdfeeders.

  • Kati

    If you find said items, could you please look for my dignity along with them? My kids took mine away for good the first time we all squeezed into a bathroom stall and they loudly discussed what mommy was doing on the potty for the whole world to hear and my dear eldest fake-gagged as if he would throw up. This occurred simply because I wanted to use the toilet without losing track of my brood in a crowded restroom. And I’ve gladly endured that indinity countless times since then. You know why? Because at least in a public restroom I have a shot at having toilet paper. I’m convinced that at my house it gets sucked into an alternate universe that’s flush with toilet paper, to the point of overflowing, I can put rolls in all the bathrooms at breakfast only to have them disappear by noon. It’s a wonder our plumbing hasn’t exploded.

    • Valerie

      Better for them to announce your bodily functions than those in the neighboring stalls. As toddlers, both of my kids were like potty color commentators making sure to loudly take note of every fart and dribble. “Momma, it smells like dipeys in here from these foofs!”

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    I have this problem at work, too. My boss lives above the office and her six year old comes down and makes off with the highlighter, stapler, paper, pens and tape dispenser. I actually bought her her very own tape dispenser as part of her birthday present. :)

  • AnastasiaMcNally

    Eve, your throne sounds nice and all but I am 21 and have been living out of home for probably 18 months now and I still pinch hair ties and tape when I visit my mama…

  • NotTakenNotAvailable

    ‘Fraid you might still be short on some of these items even when the kids are in college. I buy packages and packages of pens, because as a writer, it’s a good idea to have something with which to take down notes and observations in case my iPhone decides to eat my Notes, which it has this tendency to do on occasion. Can I tell you where a single one of these pens are? Hell no! It’s just me and the cat, too, so all I can do is wait for the day when I find his secret stash of pens and toy mice, because those things also never stay in the open for longer than 5 minutes.

    Scissors are another issue. My lone pair of ambidextrous scissors disappeared roughly the same time I kicked my boyfriend out, so now I’m stuck with a pair of dull righty scissors. Seeing as how I’m left-handed, this has resulted in a lot of cursing and frantic scrambling for equally-evasive band-aids on the rare occasion when I can’t open a package or get a tag off with my fingers. Maybe my right-handed ex colluded with my cat on the way out in order to seek vengeance.

    • Frances Locke

      Have you checked under the sofa for the pens? That’s where my cats hide all of mine.

  • Sarah Penny

    Eve that was hysterical. I’m dying of laughter.

  • Ddaisy

    Gluesticks. My students are bottomless gluestick-gobbling fiends. I swear they must be eating the glue, plastic tube and all, behind my back.

    • Valerie

      And the ones we do have are dried out and petrified.

  • Maddi Holmes

    There’s a pair of scissors chained to a kitchen drawer in my house. It is literally the only way there is scissors in the house.

  • Frances Locke

    Wait, so you’ve actually SEEN these things? In you HOME? Wow.

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  • MeLuRe

    This. All day, er’y day.

  • Jem

    To this day I wear a ponytail holder around my wrist CONSTANTLY as a result of growing up with 6 siblings. Seriously. I was even wearing one at my wedding and didn’t notice or I would have taken it off. I also keep a nail clipper on my keys at all times so I’ll always know where it is.

  • AP

    I used to have this issue when I was in high school. I’d put aside basic supplies I needed to do my homework and go through life, and my family would steal them and lose them.

    I ended up putting glitter puff fabric paint on a tape dispenser and a bunch of other things and hiding them in my desk. I did such a good job hiding it, my family spent my four years of college calling me to ask where the tape was.

  • val97

    Ha. This is all so true. But not only do my kids lose things, I’m almost as bad as they are. I hide the tape from them and then forget where I put it. I also don’t have any daughters, my husband and boys have short hair, and I lose hair ties all the time. I blame that on the cat. My dog eats the tissues when we’re not home, so I’ve stopped buying those altogether. I ordered 100 pens from Amazon, and when the package got lost, I felt like it was the universe conspiring against me.