“What are you doing with all of the toilet paper you are stealing from the cabinets?” I asked an unsuspecting W Sunday morning when he returned from his weekend camping trip with the Scouts.

He looked at me blankly. Then a puzzled look overtook his face. “Huh?”

“The extra rolls of toilet paper you are taking from the cabinets? What are you doing with them, and where are you putting them?” I asked again.

The conversation had begun the night before, when he wasn’t here, which is why he didn’t see it coming. I had gone into the kids’ bathroom to get some medication for a coughing, sniffling kid, and I noticed there was no toilet paper in the holder. (Now, I’d love to rant about why the paper roll can be empty and no one would address the issue, but I’ll save that for another time.) When I opened the cabinet to replace the paper, there was none.

“Where is all the toilet paper?” I asked, to no one in particular. “I think I just put several rolls in here.”

“You did,” responded C. “You gave me like four rolls about a week ago.” Yep. My recollection, exactly.

“Did you put them in the little cabinet?”

“Yeah, right here,” he said, opening the cabinet. He turned and opened the cabinet under the sink, just to check that he hadn’t put them in the wrong place.

And so the conversation turned focus to W, who was always experimenting on something… and always using household goods to do so. Then it devolved to the neighbors with keys to our house, and the fact that they might be coming in for toilet paper. After all, who would notice if a roll (or two) of toilet paper disappeared here and there?

And so today, since the other two kids had blamed W, I figured I’d pull him into the mix before I settled on the neighbors.

“Is this like the spoons?” W finally asked. Ah, the spoons! I had forgotten about the spoons. With three teens in the house, we never have enough spoons. At one point, I accused the boys of ferreting them off and melting them down to make something more interesting: swords, knives, etc.

More recently, my measuring spoons went missing. But not all of my measuring spoons, just the ¼ teaspoons. All of my ¼ teaspoons, of which I once had four and have since located one. I didn’t blame anyone in particular that time. I just mentioned that someone must be coming into our house and stealing my ¼ teaspoons.

“Yes! This is just like the spoons!” I answered, too jubilantly.

“What’s the problem in there?” J hollered in from the living room.

“Just Mom being all paranoid again. Something about the toilet paper…. She thinks the neighbors are stealing our toilet paper.” We all three dissolved into giggles.

My “paranoia” is my way of using the little issues to have some fun. What the kids don’t realize is that if I didn’t express my “paranoia,” I would be pointing the finger at them and requesting that they work to curb their excessive use of essential household staples. Or maybe I am pointing at them….



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