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New shouted question is the winner

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WE HAVE A WINNER!

In the past couple of months I have realized that there is one question shouted around our house more than any other. But before I mention the new champion, let's acknowledge previous winners:

'What's for dinner? THAT AGAIN?'

'But Mom, NO ONE passed the test!'

'Mom, honestly, my teacher didn't tell us we had homework due!'

'I did the dishes last night!'

'How come we NEVER have anything to eat?'

But ladies and gentlemen, we have a new number one:

'Mom! Where's my charger?'

This question gets more airplay around our house than the Kardashians. It's constant. And believe me, we have chargers everywhere. We've got chargers for laptops, cellphones, iPods and one iPad. When you have a family of five, that's a nightmare. With the exception of my own personal chargers, which I guard like they are serving on death row, these necessary nuisances are overpopulating my home quicker than my mood swings.

Believe me, I have tried to coordinate some simple yet effective system where these devices can be easily located. I purchased a label maker and had everyone personalize his or her charger and put it in a special designated drawer. I made it like a game. Remember when your kids were small and it was time for them to pick up their toys and you would gleefully yell, 'Let's see who can clean the room the fastest?' They would race around and put toys away faster than you could pat yourself on the back. Well, reverse psychology stops working around the same time their voice starts changing. You'll be happy to note my children labeled every item in their entire room yet they still can't find their charger.

As their mother, it is apparently my primary responsibility to know where every charger is at every moment. When I answer that I don't know where their charger is located, the inevitable reply is always:

'But I left it right here! You must have moved it!'

That one always gets me.

But what I enjoy most during this frantic, mad hunt, is when one child finds their lost piece of equipment in another sibling's room. That is always music for my ears. Usually the conversation goes like this:

'What is MY charger doing in your room?'

'That's not YOUR charger that's MY charger and GET OUT OF MY ROOM!'

'This IS my charger because Pepsi spilled on MINE and this one is still sticky!'

'Well I'm using yours because YOU used mine last week!'

'Then where is YOUR charger?'

'I don't know. MOM! Where's my charger?'

Julie McGuire is a busy Lake Oswego mother of three children and a monthly columnist for the Lake Oswego Review. When she's not playing chauffeur she writes a blog, 'From the Mudroom,' at www.fromthemudroom.com.