What do you do when you are upstairs enjoying time to yourself while your two kids are playing so beautifully together downstairs, when all of a sudden you hear your 2-year old say: “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. I got to go wash my hands?”
First, you ignore her. Don’t do anything. I have been trying to practice a new parenting tip I learned from some friends: “If the kids are not screaming or bleeding, let them work it out themselves.” It was the perfect time to take this new philosophy for a test run.
But then my curiosity got the better of me. I had never heard Kaya talk to God before. Maybe it was Kaiden. I listened again. Nope, definitely Kaya. OK, dam it, I’ll go have a look. So much for the laissez-faire parenting style.
Let me set the scene for you as I approach the second floor: I hear Kaya scurrying about, water running in the bathroom. I see Kaiden first and ask him what’s going on.
“She’s playing with the sunblock,” he said.
And I’m like, “Sunblock? What sunblock? We don’t have any sunblock down here.”
And then she rounds the corner. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!! Dressed in her favorite purple princess dress, Kaya’s face and hands are drenched, no dripping, in white lotion. I wish I had taken a picture, because no words can describe what this cute little girl looked like at that moment. She literally had a one-inch thick layer of cream on her face, making her look like a cross between a Geisha girl gone wrong and Tammy Faye Baker on her first layer of make-up.
And this is what my lubed-up princess had to say: “Don’t I look beautiful?”
Oh my God! Are you kidding me right now?
Trying to suppress the laughter, I was torn between running to grab my camera and running for the bathroom, where I could hear water pouring out of the sink. My practical side won out (don’t you hate that sometimes?). I rushed to the bathroom and turned off the faucet before the water overflowed. Clearly, Miss Grease Monkey had been trying to clean herself off, with little success.
The smell was undeniable. It was not the coconut smell of sunblock. It was the strong, minty smell of tea tree oil. Then I found the now-empty bottle. “Foot Repair Baulm.” It had been on my nightstand. “Oh God,” I thought, “do I even want to go to my room and look?”
Well, it was now or later. I went downstairs, nervous at what I was going to find. I looked at my table. OH…MY…GOD! If I had not known that Kaya had some playtime with the lotion, I would have thought that some sick pervert had sneaked into my room and jerked off all over my nightstand. (Or else Siig was having some serious wet dreams.) Thick, white cream oozed all over my alarm clock, mouth guard and water glass. Nastiness! The up side: it smelled good. The up, up side: she hadn’t found the KY.
I went back upstairs to hose Kaya down. I could not stop laughing. I said to Kaiden: “That was pretty funny, huh?”
And he says: “That was awesome!”
That was the first time I had heard my 4-year old say that. This had been quite the afternoon so far. And then I look over at the wall. There was some lovely red and blue construction paper stuck to the wall of the playroom.
“Kaiden, how’d that paper get there?”
“Oh, we glued it, Mom. Doesn’t it look good?”
Before lecturing my son about the appropriate places to do his art work, I noticed another thing. He was not wearing the same pants he had on this morning.
“Ummm, Kaiden, what happened to your pants?”
“Oh, yeah, they got wet.”
“And how did they get wet?”
“Oh, with the water we spilled all over there.”
Oh my gosh, what now? I walk over to the small table where they have all their paints and coloring books. Everything was now sitting in an inch of water. Uggghhhh! Note to self: do not leave out a cup of water for water colors. On one hand, I was extremely happy with Kaiden for taking care of a situation on his own and getting himself changed without so much as a word in my direction. On the other hand, I was berating myself for embracing this newfangled, hands-off parenting technique.
Lesson learned: if your kids are downstairs by themselves and they seem to be playing nicely for over an hour with no screaming or bleeding, it’s too good to be true.
Lesson #2: Just ignore them and everything will be fine.