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Why Sam’s jacket reminds me of a baboon’s butt coated in Flaming Hot Cheetos

I wish I noted the color of the nail polish Archie spilled on 4 backpacks, 3 jackets, the piano, the carpet under the piano, and on his left palm. Sometimes, the name of the color conveys the intensity of the shade. I am left no choice but to make up names for this shade:

Beets from a Can
Baboon Behind
Cinnamon Red Hot-Stained Teeth
Roses for Ruby, Who Took Her Love to Town
Flaming Hot Cheetos Finger Residue
24 Hours Post-Firetruck Birthday Cake Diaper Surprise
Amoxicillin-Coated Tongue
That Time Your Husband Had a Bottle of Pepto Bismol in the Front Pocket of His Khakis and it Leaked
Barney’s Got a Raging Case of Strep
Clown Nose Job

My nose led me to the mess. I was getting ready to leave for a dinner out with friends when the acrid chemical odor slammed my face with a Roses for Ruby colored fist. That’s when I saw Archie standing in the middle of the room with his hands behind his back, looking panicked.

“What have you done!?” I demanded.

“Nofing! Nofing!” he cried as he bolted toward the basement stairs. I caught him and unclenched his hands. The left was Baboon-Butted. The right had rivulets. I recognized it as the polish I used a few days before, foolishly leaving it within reach. I asked where he put the bottle. He said he didn’t know. I began scanning for screamingly-pink-red paint. Found. It stood out on our grey carpet. The bottle was on it’s side under the piano, nearly empty. There was maybe enough to do 4 toes, poorly.

The big kids’ backpacks sported splatters. Sam’s jacket was hardest hit, but luckily most of the damage was on the inner lining. Because I was on my way out the door, the bulk of the cleanup fell on my husband’s shoulders. Also, the strong fumes were worrisome. I didn’t want to breathe them in any longer because of Mr. Baby. I retrieved two bottles of nail polish remover for him to try—one without acetone, one with. I left him lying on his stomach, dabbing Ruby’s shame off carpet strands. He instructed the kids to open every window on the main floor to diffuse the stench of polish, remover, and fault. Mine.

Sometimes, I still don’t anticipate the moves of the little ones, even after all these years and all these kids. I left the bottle within reach. Archie often begs to have his toes done. The temptation was too much for him to bear at age 3 so he went for it. Another name for the shade could be Eve’s Apple.

By the time I got home, the smell was gone. Archie was in bed, palms cleaned. The kids’ property had been cleaned as much as possible. The evidence of Archie’s mischief and my idiocy will never be fully banished. But it will fade, eroding away as we tromp on the carpet and as backpacks wear out and are discarded. Time is a fine bleach.

Although my husband’s pants were never, ever the same.

7 comments to Why Sam’s jacket reminds me of a baboon’s butt coated in Flaming Hot Cheetos

  • sonja

    I only have four littles and I still get caught off guard – I don’t think we will ever be one step ahead.

  • Mom

    I know where you got your talent for coming up with creative, descriptive names…..your Dad. He has some good ones for some t.v. personalities. I hope Sam doesn’t mind wearing his jacket with such a moniker. The anti spam word is bless, a good one for little guys, who just want to have pretty toes. Grace is another good one that fits when little ones transgress. We all need that one everyday. Sorry, but I am laughing, mostly at your nail names.

  • Brittany

    My favorite detail is “Nofing’ — as he bolts for the basement stairs.” I’m impressed with your grace-filled steps as your sprung for him and as you passed the whole situation off to “Daddy” who could be a bit more gracious since he was at no fault. I hope that you were still able to enjoy your evening out! We are parents not mind-readers, and even with experience life still contains surprises. Thanks for the giggles.

  • Amy

    Your silly nail polish names were cracking me up! I cannot imagine the panic at wondering what your little man had done with the bottle. Glad the mess was fairly contained.

    I loved how you said, “Time is a fine bleach.” I’ve never thought of it that way, but you are so right. It does bleach over the little messes of life. Beautiful writing as always.

  • Oh Archie, Oh dear… I think I have at least one tale like this for each of my kids… because they each have their own little nuance on life – you cannot predict their sweet uniqueness… yay for your hubs, he is a star!!!

  • love. i don’t stop here t read often enough.

  • Oh, Gretchen. Oh, Archie! A finely spun tale of what would’ve probably amounted to a bunch of shouting at my house.

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