The other day I found Elsa alone in her room playing contentedly with a piece of yarn. I swooped down and kissed her on her fuzzy head...and discovered that her hair was plastered down in front, and stiff as lemon meringue.
"What the..." I examined her hair, but besides the odd texture, nothing else seemed abnormal. She didn't smell like maple syrup or hair spray. I couldn't find any other evidence that would point to her just landing headfirst into a puddle of slime. Just a streak of stiff, slightly sticky hair.
"What happened to you?" I asked her. To which she replied by looking up at me with those huge blue eyes and wrinkling her nose in a grin.
"Why is your hair all gross?" I asked. She grinned again.
I grabbed a baby wipe from her changing table and tried to remove the mystery substance from her hair, but she squirmed and whined and arched her back, eager to get back to that exciting piece of yarn.
"Hang on a minute," I said, trying to wipe her hair clean. Still she struggled. Why do babies freak out when you're trying to clean them? Good grief, you'd think I was trying to pull off her nose with a pair of pliers.
I gave up and tossed the wipe, then started picking up some of her toys. And then I heard Rollie in his room. Playing. And singing. And then...sneezing.
"Bless you!" I yelled.
He didn't reply, but a few seconds later he ran into Elsa's room, where Elsa had abandoned her yarn and was now chewing on a sock. Before I could say or do anything, Rollie leaned down and gently rubbed his nose on Elsa's head. Then he sprinted from the room.
Well, that explains the mystery goo.
"Rollie!" I followed him into his room.
"Yes, Momma?" he asked. He was lying on his stomach, carefully assembling a Noah's Ark puzzle. (Any time you walk in on your child doing something with a Biblical Theme--a Tower of Babel coloring book, a Red Sea-scape, a mosaic of The Last Supper, a Nativity diarama--you can safely assume you've got yourself a hidden crime scene somewhere else in the house. Go check your fish tank or your toilets...it's likely that something incongruous is floating around in there.)
"Rollie...you don't use Baby Elsa's head as a tissue." That's a new one.
"If you need to wipe your nose, use a tissue from the bathroom."
"But they're all gone."
Of course! That is the only possible explanation for why you'd be wiping your snot on your sister!
"Okay, well, we'll get you some more at the store. You can use toilet paper until we go to Publix."
"Toilet paper goes in the potty," he said.
"I know, but today you need to use it on your nose, too."
"Because we're out of tissues."
"Because I forgot to buy them last time."
"Why did you forget to buy them last time?"
"Probably because you were distracting me with your grocery store antics. Now stop blowing your nose on Baby Els."
Finally he seemed satisfied with my answers and focused his attention back to his puzzle. But I was left wondering how many really disgusting things he does when I'm not looking...how many stains and marks and sticky spots on the floor are his doing? Here I've been blaming the dog for sneezing on the wall or leaving dog biscuit crumbs on the carpet, when all along my own son was the likely culprit. I've caught him wiping his mouth on the couch, his hands on the bathmat...I've seen him throw chewing gum on the ground and shove raisins into the little hole beneath his carseat buckle. Where he picks up these habits I'll never know. I'm not the model of anal fastidiousness by any means, but I use a tissue when I need one, and I usually throw garbage where it belongs (exception--my purse has served as a trash can on numerous occasions. See the Apple Dapple Purse entry for clarification).
But lesson learned. From now on I'll be sure to have a supply of Kleenex for my son. Otherwise things could get messy. Especially once Elsa's hair gets longer.