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...
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...