“I can’t find it (when I don’t even try to look).”

October 26, 2015
Notable Stats
Object Recovery Osmosis (ORO) – The science behind the thinking of a child when they expect the object they are looking for to magically appear in their hands when they have not taken a single step towards that effort. 
Laziness Deterioration Rate (LDR) – After challenging the lack of effort of your child, the escalation of indignant sighs each time you say “but you have not even moved yet.” Measured in tired shrieks of exasperation. 

I am an engineer, or at least I have a degree in engineering and at no point could I mathematically or otherwise explain how a child expects to find something they are looking for when they are not actually looking for it.

Parents all know this moment, when their son or daughter has one shoe on and is “looking” for the other shoe. As time ticks and you see that you have to leave for school in 90 seconds or face an extra 10 minutes of traffic, you finally say “where is your other shoe?”

Of course, despite their limp, they did not notice their other shoe was missing until you told them. At that point, they immediately stop in their tracks and, with a look of total shock, say “I don’t know, I can’t find it.” 

Oh, so was I mistaken that in the time before I asked that question, he was actually looking for it? Was I to take that his spinning around on his head on the stairs was actually an All Points Bulletin posted by our son that he and an army of invisible friends have been in the process of looking for the wayward shoe for “quite some time?”
Despite being an engineer, my English is pretty solid, so I usually take the phrase “I can’t find it” as an indicator that you were already looking for it, and did such a thorough search that you woke up before I did two hours ago and had begun the search. I did not expect that quote to apply as a reflex reaction to a parent awakening you to the idea that you only have one shoe on.
Then again, to a child, maybe 3 seconds is an eternity. There was a slight pause after she responded “I can’t find it” so in that three seconds, it is possible that she searched the entire house. I learned the other day that a day in Venus is actually LONGER than a year in Venus because it spins so slowly, so maybe it is safe to say a second in my house kitchen is really like 2 hours in real time. So, if they looked for 3 seconds, they actually looked for 6 hours. Therefore saying “I can’t find it” is totally legitimate.
However, my house is on Earth and so are my children’s feet, and I would venture to say, so is that lost shoe. So no one humanly can do a effective search when the unit of time is in single-digit “seconds.” 
I have employed the “five point” check. If you have not looked in five independent locations in different areas of the house, based on a high likelihood they could be there (shoes = closet, shoe basket, bedroom, under bed, near an exit door) then you have not looked, so do not ask for my help as I cook breakfast, put in a load of laundry, take out the trash, feed the dogs, sign the homework sheet, call to re-schedule the dental appointment, simultaneously, while you have time to recite quotes from Pikachu and scarf down my French toast sticks.
Parents help a lot. They just ask you to do your part, and the part I am talking about is not just to find your shoe, but to put it on your feet, and please, do not ask me to tie them. 
- Doug Glanville
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