By KARA EBERLE
Sometimes, I forget to check pockets before tossing laundry into the washer.
Thankfully, my husband, Mark, almost never leaves anything in his pockets (one of his best qualities). I’m less reliable and have been known to leave a tissue or two in a jacket pocket, which turns into a mess in the dryer.
When it comes to our 5-year-old, Mara, I should check every crease and fold in every piece of clothing, because she loves to stash things in her pockets. She also likes to wrap dolls in socks or put stuffed animals “to sleep” in a bed of towels and washcloths.
I have found toy cars, hair ties, stickers, rocks, clover flowers, dandelions and Barbie shoes (usually not matching ones) in her pockets. I also have discovered other kids’ toys and made Mara return them. (We had long talks about not taking toys that aren’t hers.)
My favorite find was a child-sized handful of mulch crammed into a fuzzy pink jacket pocket. To Mara, mulch isn’t chopped up pieces of wood and dirt. It can be cake mix or glitter or a cup of tea. I’m always amazed.
I found the mulch before putting the jacket in the washing machine, but I wasn’t quite as lucky when it came to the orange crayon that made its way from the washer to the dryer a few weeks ago.
When I opened the hot dryer door, it looked like there had been a massacre inside. The casualties were Mara’s Strawberry Shortcake sheets, one pink blanket and Charlie’s silky blue blanket. (If you know how to get melted crayon out of cloth, please share!)
We recently ran a contest asking other mothers to share the funniest things they’ve found in their kids’ pockets. Our top three picks won tickets to Dutch Wonderland.
Here are their responses:
“The funniest thing I found in my daughter Jennifer’s pocket were live lady bugs! I asked her why she had them. She said they were friends, looked to be lost and needed to stay warm! How in the world could I ever get mad! We very, very quickly released them into the garden!
— Rosemarie Colville, New Freedom
“As the mom to four boys, I have encountered many things in the pockets of their clothes! But I must say the surprise I found in my third son Chandler’s pocket made doing the laundry an adventure that day! He was 3 years old at the time and loved digging in the dirt and also loved collecting things. That day, he had collected several earthworms and put them right in his pocket. As 3-year-olds do, he moved on to a new adventure and forgot about the worms in his pocket. I sadly found them in the bottom of the washer that night! We still laugh about this many years later! Chandler is now 15 years old, and I still check his pockets!”
— Kristin Green, York Township
“My daughters love to pick flowers, and my oldest loved to bring me flowers home from school. One day I was doing laundry, cleaning out her pockets, and she had both pockets full of flowers. I asked her why. She said she couldn’t pick just one that day for me so she filled her pockets!”
— Krista Resto, Dover Township
These two didn’t win, but I thought they were cute, too:
“Last year while on a beach vacation with my 5-year-old son Logan, his beach hat had developed a horrible smell. The hat had a small zipper pocket built into the side and after a few days I discovered the source of the smell: three slimy, dead sand clams, which he had stored in there as a souvenir.
— Lisa Connolly, West Manchester Township
“The funniest thing I found in a kid’s pocket was a chicken hot wing.”
— Tina Powers, York
Kara Eberle is editor of Smart. Sign up for a free subscription to the magazine at www.smartmamapa.com/subscribe.