Friday, August 26, 2005


From the archives. Three years ago. It was naptime for Sweet Girl. She'd had her story on the couch, and being a Sweet Girl, it took about 40 seconds to settle her for her nap. Forty seconds in which Noisy Boy must be left alone downstairs, but that's okay. Noisy Boy was building towers of blocks to smash down. It would be no problem to keep track of his actions. Lay her down, tuck her in, a quick kiss, and I'm on my way back downstairs. It is silent. Noisy Boy is alive. Phew. Noisy Boy has found a quiet activity! He is is happy. Oh, so happy. Noisy Boy glistens and gleams. Noisy Boy's hair protrudes from his head at odd angles in shiny clumps. Noisy Boy's white shirt is strangely translucent. Not wet, but shiney and wax-paperish. Noisy Boy... ...has found an "empty" jar of Vaseline from the steps by the back door, awaiting tranfer to the blue recycling bin outside. In the forty seconds he was left untended, he has managed to entirely coat his head and much of his torso in clear grease. How? This jar was empty! Not enough grease in there to coat a bum, but plenty, it seems to coat a boy from stem to stern. Oh, Lord. Where to start? Stage one: Strip off the shirt. Get out the paper towels. Apply to hair and pull slick strands through the towel wrapped round my hands. Great gobs of grease are removed in this way. We scrape his hair, his face, his arms, his belly, his back, his knees. Towel after towel goes in the garbage. Stage two: richly soapy washcloth is applied to every inch of glistening skin. A thorough scrub, a brisk rinse, and he's grease-free. On his skin. This leaves... Stage Three:

The Hair
Cue sinister music: "ba-ba-ba-baaath". We repair to the tub. He was really, really good about the hairwashing. He really was. For at least the first six repeats. I tried everything: regular shampoo, greasy hair shampoo, hand soap... The next four washes weren't so well received, and the final two were a fight to the finish. By then the poor babe was positively drooping in his misery, so I take pity on him - besides, my arms were getting shaky - and I dry him off. Twelve hair-washes. Twelve! And he still looks like a duck after Exxon. Even when he's thoroughly dry, his hair still looks wet, soaking wet, except that it's dry, and it's standing straight up on end. We're both exhausted, though, so I put him to bed, an old towel over the pillow. After nap, we rejoin the fray. I cannot send him home looking like this. Can't be done. His father, a great guy, fond parent, nicely laid back and a great sense of humour, will think it's hysterically funny, but his mother, Ms. Anal-Retentive Humour-Impaired Whiner, will not. (Was I surprised when they divorced two years later?) This time I opt for dishwashing detergent (with Special Grease-cutting Formula!!) at the kitchen sink. It's much more effective. After only four wash-and-rinses, I can see definite improvement. After another three, the hair in front is looking nearly normal. A final wash or two - I kinda lost count - and I throw in the towel. Literally. Figuratively. Enough is enough. We spent the next half hour snuggled up, reading quietly, recovering. Even Noisy Boy has his limits. Even then, after something like twenty washes, he looked odd. Sticky. Thankfully, dad picked him up that night. Dad also dropped him off the next morning, gleefully telling me that (as per my instructions) he had washed Noisy Boy's hair a few more times with dish detergent that evening. I didn't see Mom for the rest of that week. I don't think she was speaking to me...


Blogger aaron said...

That's a lot of hair washing for a little boy (and your undoubtedly pruned fingers) to endure. Glad everyone made it through ok (and that you had time to clean him up as much as you did before he was picked up).

8/26/2005 09:43:00 a.m.  
Blogger Juggling Mother said...

Wow vaseline is something I never have had, and from the sound of it I hope I never do!

Mayonaise is pretty awful to get out - especially while in a restuarant with the whole family!

And of course the option with chewing gum is to cut it out - and then try to re-style the rest of the hair around the bald patch.

8/26/2005 11:04:00 a.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

So funny!

Reminds me of the time when a tractor-trailer overturned here in Cincinnati (Home of Procter & Gamble), spilling some sort of greasy substance all over the road.

After literally days of attempting to clean the stuff up, Procter & Gamble sent out a truck full of Dawn Dishwashing Detergent, and a firetruck came out with it's hoses and such.

The mess was gone in 20 minutes.

8/26/2005 11:09:00 a.m.  
Blogger Susan said...

I swear you are the best caregiver in the universe. Had that been my own child, I would have just left him greasy. Forever, if necessary.

And the Anal-Retentive Humor-Impaired Whiner should get down on her knees and thank the heavens that her Noisy Boy had you loving on him. (NOW can I send you MY children? PLEASE??)

8/26/2005 02:26:00 p.m.  
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

You billed them extra for the cleaning supplies, didn't you? ;)

Amazing how those two personalities didn't stay together forever.

8/26/2005 02:32:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Sharkey said...

Ha! This story reminds me of the strip where Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) put Crisco in his hair, I think for his school pictures.

Life's too short to be an anal-retentive-humour-impaired whiner.

8/26/2005 02:55:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Aaron: Yup. He's five and a half now, and still exhibits great enthusiasm whenever we meet, so I think it's either been forgotten or forgiven. Or both!

Mrs. A: Vaseline, aka "petroleum jelly", is the best diaper cream known to man. For preventative care, anyway. But, man, it doesn't wash off easily - which, I suppose, is why it works so well keeping little bums protected from various nasty liquids...

Misfit: they're not kidding when they say it cuts grease, are they now? And I'll bet it was probably the most environmentally safe substance that was tried over those few days, too. And cheapest. Hmmm... maybe P&G should extend its product line? The Suds Brigade!

Susan: thank you. I think, had it been my own, I'd've just shaved him bald.

And the Anal-Retentive H-I Whiner? After the divorce she moved to a suburb, and found a different caregiver (so I had Noisy Boy on alternate weeks, when he was with daddy, who, thank God, was the parent to stay in my neighbourhood). And wouldn't you know it? Her new caregiver was just as difficult and inflexible as I'd always been! Why do those things always happen to her, I wonder?

I have a space coming open in January...

Crayonz: nope. Cleaning supplies are a business expense, though, and be sure I claim them!! Yeah. Surprising about those two, ain't it. (I'll tell you a juicy secret: dad came home early one day from work, feeling sick, and found his wife entertaining company. In his bedroom. Yup, uh-huh...)

Sharkey: I remember that strip! Loved it. And Calvin's parents, particularly his mother, were a bit humour-impaired themselves, weren't they?

Life is too short. And when you have a choice - and you almost always do - between laughing a crying, why'd you want not to laugh??

8/26/2005 04:03:00 p.m.  
Blogger LoryKC said...

Well...we've gone with the Desitin cream for sore little bums.
We also had to use dish detergent (maybe it was DAWN!) to get the Desitin cream out of my son's hair! Many many washings!!!

8/29/2005 05:58:00 p.m.  

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