Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Nail Polish Nightmare

It was one of those days. Every mother knows right when the kids get up if it is going to be one of those days. By God, it was one for me. We had a high school graduation to go to on Sunday, we had family coming over on Saturday, and I had a paper to write for my college essay course.I wanted everything done in a neat and orderly fashion. Well, my youngest daughter had some other ideas.

For hours the older girls had been begging me to paint their fingernails. In typical busy mom mode I said, "In a minute." Minutes turn into hours, and they are still begging me. "Girls!" I say, with a sigh and a hand to my head. "Mommy, is busy today. I will paint your fingernails later." I hear the mutters of mutiny as they walk away. In hindsight I should have just stopped what I was doing and painted their nails. It would have only taken five minutes. But being my usual stubborn self, I didn't.

I was busy scrubbing the sink when I noticed the silence. It was eerie. That kind of silence is never a good sign. If I had been in the military, I might have started looking for enemy snipers. Mothers never think of their children as their enemies. (At least, not that any of us will ever admit it.) I put the can of sink cleaner down, and slowly backed away from the counter. As I started to look for the little darlings (insert the word monsters here), I noticed the bathroom door was closed. As I walked towards it, I could hear the theme from Jaws playing in my head. Da duh, da duh, da duh da duh.
In hindsight (again), I am sure that the look on my face must have been priceless. I had no idea how long I stood there and stared at the girls in shock. When had Jackson Pollock come to visit and where did he get off decorating my bathroom and, apparently, my kids? The toilet, the walls, the floor (Did I mention the floor in the bathroom is hardwood?), and the fingers and toes of the older two girls were covered in virulent shades of pink, red, blue, and purple. "Hi, Mommy!"
The voice of my oldest daughter, Adelyn, startled me out of my shocked silence. "What are you doing?!?" I screamed, despite my best intentions to remain calm. Adelyn tilted her head, "You were busy. I am a big girl. So I painted Paige's and mine fingernails." I started replacing the caps on the bottles, noting that one of my favorite's was half empty. (Damn, Chanel doesn't even make that color anymore.) I started cleaning the mess. "So who painted the toilet and walls?" Adelyn and Paige exchanged looks of pure dread.

When I saw that look, I knew. "Where is Charlotte?" As I asked, I looked around the corner. There she sat in all of her multicolored glory. My two year old daughter was covered from head to toe in every color of the rainbow. It was in her hair and on her legs, chest, arms, and neck. Apparently, she had possessed the foresight not to paint her face (thank God), but everything else was fair game. This is where my alter ego "The Desperate Mom" took over and calm mom went away.
"Oh. My. GOD!" There wasn't enough nail polish remover in the house to clean her up. I wasn't sure there was enough remover in the whole town. Of course, as I am hitting panic attack mode (Something the my family calls "mommy def com 4") my husband arrives home from work. He walks to the source of the commotion. "Hey honey, the house looks nice. What's for ... what happened in here?" He looks around the bathroom with the same sort of stunned awe that I felt.

"Forget the bathroom. Look at your daughter." As he looks at Charlotte, I can see a smirk (A smirk!) forming on his lips. "This is not funny, Brian!" He shakes his head at me and tries (unsuccessfully) to put on a straight face. I start thinking of ways to murder him. (Ok, maybe not that rash. Perhaps a maiming or a slight bruising.) "How are we going to get it off?" I glare at him. "Oh, have you gotten over your hilarity now?" He nods and endeavors to choke back a new wave of chuckles.
I have absolutely no idea how to get all that nail polish off. I ran a bath and set my technicolor dream baby in the water. "Uh, hon? I am pretty sure that nail polish doesn't come off with soap and water." I roll my eyes heavenward. "I know. I am going to try some of my exfoliating scrub to get it off." He nods. "Good idea."

We begin to scrub her arms with my coconut body scrub. While my daughter now smells like coconutty goodness, the nail polish is still there. Brian looks at me with raised eyebrows. What could take the polish off without removing a layer of skin or suffocating my daughter in acetone fumes? And then I am struck by an idea. Skin! I reach for my pedicure file. "You're going to file our daughter's skin off?" I send my husband a "mommy def com 4" patented death look. "Just trust me."

I start on the inside of her arm. As I start to lightly scrub at the polish, Charlotte emits a high pitched scream. "Oh God, Mommy is so sorry!" But Charlotte is not crying, she is laughing. "Mama, it tittles!" A half hour later we are all breathless with laughter, and the only nail polish left on my daughter is inside her belly button.
That is one of the fun parts of parenthood. A situation that seems impossible can get turned into a gigglefest in no time. You never know when those moments will be. I guess you just have to keep your eyes open and be ready to laugh.

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