I’ve mentioned before about Tyger’s ability to lose toys here, though that was specifically about his small farm toys. I hope this didn’t give the impression his skills are limited to those toys alone because they most certainly are not.
Tyger, like all children, has many abilities. His acting is pretty good when he wants to distract you from a telling off. For a while he’d point towards a corner/the wall/the floor shouting, ‘Look, a spider! Oh no, a spider!’ I’m ashamed to admit I fell for it the first couple of times before I cottoned on to what he was doing. When he realises one tactic has stopped working, he moves on to something else. So far, his various distraction techniques have included: shouting ‘pine cone’ very loudly, pretending to sneeze, pointing at imaginary spiders, saying he has a sore tummy, and proclaiming he’s ‘really tired’. Although, when all else fails, simply shouting ‘go away’ or ‘I don’t like Mummy’ suffices.
Another skill Tyger possesses is opening baby gates. We have three baby gates and two have a pretty simple opening mechanism where you pinch a bit on top and a bit below. It wasn’t really a great surprise when Tyger figured out how to open those (and came barging into our bedroom at 5.30am shouting, ‘It’s morning time, Mummy!’ – I guess technically he was right). We tried locking it at the bottom, too, with bits that flip down but he soon figured those out. The more impressive gate flummoxes most adults. Many a friend, family member or workman have been stuck on one side of that gate even after being shown how it works. I know lots of toddlers defeat baby gates by climbing over them but Tyger has never been a climber. He never climbed out of his cot and he was quite late to climb onto the sofa. Whilst I knew other parents who had to use stair gates much earlier than they’d planned because their five month old was climbing the stairs, I couldn’t convince Tyger to climb the stairs when he was a year and a half and I was pregnant so didn’t want to carry a toddler up and down the stairs. Tyger will use chairs to climb and reach things now but I still don’t think it would occur to him to try and climb over something, especially if he could figure out how to open it or simply move it instead.
That leads me on to his next skill. The reason he manages the gates so efficiently is because he is always watching and listening to everything, even when you’re convinced he’s not. My youngest sister was exactly the same. You’d swear she was sat playing, completely oblivious to the grown-up conversations taking place the other side of the room, but it became apparent she was constantly listening. My sister has known what she or my other sister are receiving for Christmas and birthdays countless times without ever needing to raid my parents’ bedroom or any such cliche. All she did was sit quietly and unobtrusively playing and pay attention to any conversation taking place in the same or next room. Tyger knows what you’re saying when you go out of your way to disguise it. There are times I’ve spelled out C-A-K-E only to have him say, ‘Cake?’ I often think I’m talking in code about something but it later becomes clear Tyger knew exactly what I was saying. He certainly does a good impression of someone not paying the slightest bit of attention to anything but I’m gradually realising he is aware of everything happening around him. If kids in general are sponges then Tyger is…something more absorbent than a sponge. Is there anything more absorbent than a sponge? Ugh, now I have disgusting images of ‘feminine hygiene products’ in my head. I should really avoid metaphors altogether.
Anyway, Tyger has lots of such ‘skills’ but perhaps his biggest talent is for losing things. I know every parent has probably experienced some variation on the keys out the letter box/remote control in the bin/something shoved in the DVD player scenario at least once. It’s a well-known fact toddlers enjoy putting things that belong in one place in a completely different place. In that sense, Tyger is perfectly normal. But the sheer number of things that go missing and the fact so many of them never resurface is impressive.
Items he’s lost but have subsequently been found include (but are not even close to being limited to): a plate (tucked away in a rarely used cupboard behind a chair); one of my sister’s school books (Tyger had helpfully put it in the other sister’s school bag); various items of clothing – both his and other people’s (generally found in his toy oven, which apparently doubles up as a ‘washing machine’); plastic cutlery from his play kitchen (this is hard to explain but he pushes them into the middle of the kitchen roll and into the kitchen roll holder, which is shaped a bit like a narrow whisk); two of Baby Bear’s teething rings (placed in the shoe cupboard amongst all the shoes because apparently Tyger likes to wear these teething rings on his feet as shoes…), the engine and two carriages from his wooden train set (stuffed behind a radiator). I could go on, and on, and on.
But for every item we find, at least one is still missing. Some haven’t been seen for six months or more. Tyger got a wooden shape puzzle for his first birthday and eight out of the nine shapes have been gone for a long time. One, lonely, green circle remains. The end of his Henry Hoover (the attachment part) has also mysteriously disappeared, causing the noise Tyger makes when he’s ‘hoovering’ to change from a ‘vvvvvvvvv’ sound to more of a ‘cchh’ noise because, obviously, the sound changes when you take the attachment off the end of a vacuum cleaner. Other missing items include: half an egg from his toy egg box, a small purple car, several bits from his toy kitchen, the spoon he normally has for his cereal in the morning, a couple of plastic balls from his ball run toy, half an egg from Baby Bear’s Russian doll style eggs (what is it with halves of eggs?) and the top of the plastic work bench from his toy tool kit set. Of course, there are several small animals missing as well but Santa – being a smart chap – gave Tyger two packs of small plastic animals in his stocking so there are always plenty left.
Now, my parents’ house is large but Tyger is restricted to the living room, dining room and part of the hall during the day unless he’s with one of us big people. Sofas are regularly lifted to check underneath, I know to look down the backs of radiators, our fat cat brings live mice in often enough that other bits of furniture/speakers etc. get pulled out fairly often, and the bin in the living room is wide so easy to see into. I don’t know where these things go. There has been the odd occasion when a toy has been missing and has been found in several pieces in the garden courtesy of the demon husky but no trace of any of the above has been found in the garden. Tyger’s skill isn’t even ‘hiding’ things because that implies he does it deliberately and knows where they are. However, he often asks where his purple car is, or where the end of his hoover is. He is simply very skilled at losing things.
So, suggestions on a postcard as to where the missing things are (or maybe in the comment section. I don’t know, I’m not good with technology – send them via carrier pigeon if you like).