I am ashamed to say that the coming of spring at my house, is marked by the annual “Shaving of the Entire Leg” event…as opposed to only the lower half. Sitting on the edge of the bathtub, with one leg painfully stretched high above me, resting on the shower wall, I curse the societal demand for, and torturous methods of female hair removal. Spring and summer mean months of this nightmarish, weekly torture drill: wax, shave, pluck. Wax, shave, pluck. Yank, scrape, rip…repeat.
It is for this reason alone that I hate summer. I am a snow bunny. Keep it all covered up. Define it as a “warming layer.” Refer to it as insulation. But I don’t. I yank, scrape, rip and repeat. Toweling off in front of the mirror, I check the result. Front side…not bad…only four open wounds. Back side…about average, I’d say. From the very edge of my buns, all the way down to the back of my knees, I am a solid mass of festering red bumps…ready for booty shorts.
Believe it or not, this nasty regimen reminds me of a rather interesting account not so long ago with two mischievous little fellows of the frisky age of five. One of the boys was my charge, and the other, his best friend in preschool. Each of the boys has a younger sibling, so Friday afternoons are spent enjoying a loud, energetic, three-hour playdate.
This playdate took place in the home of our preschool friend. After breaking up a particularly brutal plastic baseball bat beating between the two younger siblings, I became aware of the hair-raising silence that signifies only one thing to parents and caregivers across the world:
The two elder boys are MIA and a heavy stillness fills the room. Even the two younger children know that there is serious tomfoolery afoot. I tie the two younger children into highchairs with a cup of milk, a few crackers, an episode of Barney, and begin to swiftly track the small outlaws. Time is of the essence here. These boys must be found before the smell of smoke can be detected or water begins to trickle down the carpeted stairway.
I’ve gotten really good at this “hot pursuit” stuff over the years. Learned the fine art of scanning the horizon for clues, sniffing the air, cocking my head to catch minute noises, all while moving at a rather impressive clip for a chubby chick. I notice that the baby gate blocking the stairway is open…the boys are upstairs.
I move like the wind up the staircase and stop to sniff and listen at the top, where I can hear whispers coming from the parent’s room…a really bad sign, since the children know this area is off limits. Peeking around the corner, I realize the whispers are coming from the master bathroom, so I creep to the bathroom door in time to hear some of their conversation.
“…and look, it’s got some little hairs in it.” One of the boys is saying.
“Eeewww…why?” asks the other, whose voice I recognize as my charge.
“I don’t know. Go ahead…touch it.” Urges the friend.
“You touch it.” Says my charge. “It smells funny.”
“I already have. It’s all dried up and hard now…”
I know not what is happening, but I know this…it must be stopped. Immediately. “WHAT ARE YOU TWO JUVENILE DELINQUENTS DOING IN HERE?” I shout, way too loudly for the small space.
The two-five year old boys nearly jump a foot off of the ground and turn, red faced and shaking. “Nothing,” they say in unison, although they are clearly attempting to hide whatever dried up, stinky item with little hairs in it, lurks in mommy and daddy’s bathroom.
The boys look terrified. However, I must admit…I am terrified. I believe wholeheartedly that we do not need to know what other human adults harbor in their bathrooms…especially those that may smell odd, or contain any type of unattached hairs. But I have come this far, so I press forward.
“You know you’re not supposed to be playing in here. You could get in big trouble.” I say sternly. “Now why don’t you tell me what’s going on, and we will talk about what we should do about it.”
The mere possibility of getting into big trouble works like a charm on my small charge and he sings like a canary. “I’m sorry, Nanny.” He blurts out. “He wanted me to see his mommy’s collection, that’s all.”
“His mommy’s collection of what?” I ask, although I am afraid of the answer.
“Ear wax.” He answers quietly, his head held down in shame.
Perhaps I need to clean out my own, because I am sure I have not heard him correctly…”Excuse me? Her what?”
My charge’s friend steps aside to reveal the hidden treasure:
It is a small waxing pot with a wooden stick solidly frozen in the middle. He sucks in deeply and says all in one breath, “my mommy collects her ear wax in this little bucket and now she has a big glob of it. Daddy says if I am bad, I’m gonna have to eat it!”
“Eeewww!” says my charge, recoiling from the glob.
I stifle a snicker. “Well then…if I were you two, I would get downstairs pronto, unless you are hungry for peanut butter and ear wax sandwiches!
The boys spring into action, bounding down the stairs and washing their sticky hands for lunch. As I follow behind, I witness one of the younger siblings throw a cracker directly at the forehead of his older brother, a move that would normally illicit a karate chop to the neck. However, today, the older brother simply picks up the cracker, places it on the tot’s tray and says, “that wasn’t a very nice thing to do.”
All I can think is…A hairy glob of ear wax…Bravo, Daddy! Bravo!
At home I own my own glob of hairy ear wax. I believe I will bring it to work with me. It appears to work wonders!