Where's Bruno?

Jennifer Anys, we feel your shame.

Any adult responsible for children can relate to your faux pas. We may not, however, be able to duplicate it on the scale you've achieved.

Last Friday was a hectic morning. We've all had them. For some reason, Ms. Anys reversed the order in which she dropped off her two sons.

The Morgantown, Va., mom left young Bruno at one day-care center, then John, her three-year old, at another.

Walking back to the van after dropping off John, she forgot that Bruno had already been delivered. Seeing the van empty, she panicked. And the search was on.

Local police and 100 volunteers combed the nearby woods. An infrared-equipped helicopter chattered overhead.

Three hours later, the beet-faced mom realized her mistake as a deputy sheriff retraced her steps with her. Afterward, Anys told Associated Press, "I'm going home to hang my head in shame."

In fairness, most families can recount some time when they lost track of a child in a store or left someone behind at church or a party. My mother did it once with my little brother as we drove off for a camping trip. We just assumed he was hiding, as usual, under a seat in the van. It was a half hour before we realized he was AWOL.

Mother didn't have to summon the National Guard. My brother was sitting in the driveway upon our return.

Anys's experience might be taken as a call for tapping the brakes. Slowing the pace a bit. No, this is not a bugle call to quit your job, jettison your "To Do" list, strap on your K2s, and become a ski bum in the name of a more "centered" life.

There may be a few middle-ground steps before schussing off to the Swiss Alps.

A friend recently provided a copy of Elaine St. James's book "Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter" (Hyperion).

Why it was provided to me is another story.

But Ms. St. James has some practical steps designed to reevaluate our highly effective lives. You know, ways to allocate more time to sniff the long stemmed American Beauties, catch a local sunset - or keep better track of our kids.

It's short too. About one page per suggestion. The chapter titles give you a good idea:

"Stop carrying a purse the size of QE2."

"How to cut your grocery shopping time in half."

"Simplify lawn maintenance."

"Ten minutes to drop-dead gorgeous."

"Learn to laugh."

"Don't answer the phone just because it's ringing."

Simple stuff.

Worth a try. It can't be any worse than misplacing a child. A cheap shot. Sorry, Jennifer.

* We're home. Let us know how we're doing. Write to the Homefront Editor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail home@csps.com

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