The search for Luke’s precious blank-blank begins again. The temptation to put that poor blanket out of its’ smelly, sticky misery grows each day. I look in all the usual places – behind the toilet, in the bathtub, behind a dining room curtain, in the darkest and creepiest corner under the stairs.  I growl in frustration as the red-headed terror stomps behind me demanding, “Now Mama, blank-blank, NOWWWWW!”  I try to use reason with this child. “It is your blanket.  YOU should look for it.”  He ignores me, a talent possessed by all four males in this household. I move on to the living room. I stand at the doorway with my hands on my hips and look down to see my three-year-old nemesis mimicking (mocking) me! I growl louder which only encourages Luke to roar back at me.  I tell The Terror that this is my last effort, if the blank-blank is not in the living room he will just have to do without it.  I see a slight smile flicker across his face and settle mischievously in his eyes.  He knows all too well that no one in this house will let him lose his favorite lovey. One couch cushion up and I’m thirty-seven cents richer. I debate my ability to successfully bribe Luke into forgetting about the blue scrap with the new-found coins. Ha, that is pointless as I know I’m more likely to publish a Newberry Medal book than to redirect his attention to anything else.  Clenching my jaw and trying not to utter curse words (which would earn me an entirely different award), I search under cushions two and three. The only treasure to be found there is a long-lost Happy Meal toy that should have found its way to the garbage weeks ago. As I calmly tell my child that it is now time to learn consequences and responsibility, I toss up the last couch cushion. My child hurls himself onto the lumpy, faded couch frame and squeals in delight. Relief and exhaustion wash over me as my sweet boy buries his face in his blank-blank and tells me, “I fine now, Mama.  I fine now.”

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