I drifted awake this morning, trying to decide if I should get up and hustle us to church or not. One of my kids loves going to church and asks if we can go more often whenever we’ve skipped. Another of my kids hates church, and I have to overcome a lot of unhappiness to get us there, and then more unhappiness when he remembers once again that he can’t eat any of the wheat-filled after-church cookies. These things flashed through my mind, and then my tiredness also flashed through my mind, and I decided to stay in bed fifteen more minutes.
I got up, greeted the children, and walked into the bathroom, where I saw a small wad of silly putty on the sink with some long, brown hairs stuck to it. Oh great, Selah stuck some silly putty in her hair, I thought, shaking my head.
I walked back out into the living room and spoke to the kids again, and then I saw it, a flash of green in Selah’s hair.
A lot of green. I reached down and snatched up a chunk of her hair. An entire container of flattened silly putty was in her hair.
“Oh no!” I exclaimed, and Selah made kind of a sighing acknowledgement noise. Her hair! Her pretty, long hair! I examined it. It was smashed up against her neck. This was crew-cut material. “I’m going to have to cut your hair off!” I said. She said, “Somehow I slept on it. I woke up and it was there. It was on my face, too, but I pulled it off.” It was completely embedded in her hair and when I gently tugged, it went nowhere.
I went into the kitchen, thinking through my options. Text my friend Kelli, who is a hairdresser–but she was likely at church. Cut the hair off. Oh! Google!
It turns out Crayola actually has a page on getting silly putty out of hair. And here I thought we were unique. “I think I can remove it!” I called.
I pulled Selah into the bathroom and started running a bath. I was quickly engulfed by a crowd of little boys. Asher chuckled with interest, and Noah launched into his game of 1,000 meaningless questions. “Mama, why is silly putty?” “Mama, is that silly putty?” “Mama–”
“Everybody out!” I ordered. “Sorry, guys, this is going to be frustrating, and I need to focus.”
For the next 1.75 hours, I knelt next to the bathtub, painstakingly dissolving the silly putty into hair oil with my fingernails. The boys left us alone, which means that every 7 to 10 minutes, one or the other would fling the door open, and announce, “I have to go pee,” or “Do you want to play go fish with me?” or “Mama, why is silly putty?” Asher offered to make me some toast, and looking at my oil, green-flecked hands, I told him I would love for him to make me some toast, but it would have to wait until I was done. Selah offered to make me some scrambled eggs too, and I was surprised to know that she knew how.
Selah did a good job of trying not to flinch while I combed an enormous wad of putty from out of her sensitive neck hair, and I did a good job of saying no bad words as the literal pain in my neck increased. I just calmly said, “OK, good-bye,” to each boy that had finished whatever his business was in the bathroom and was simply standing around, gawking.
You know, it was weird. Initial terror and later acute back pain aside, I actually kind of enjoyed the unexpected (relatively uninterrupted) time with my daughter. We laughed about the problem, and when the boys kept banging in every few minutes, I told her it was like the time I wrote a blog about trying to take a bath and everyone coming in and asking why the water was yellow.
Miraculously, amazingly, wonderfully, the putty came out, at least mostly.
It took half a bottle of hair oil, two shampoos, and a final hot-oil treatment, combined with a LOT of brushing, but [most of] her pretty hair is still on her head, and even nice and conditioned. I came to be sorry I hadn’t taken a before picture of the giant gob of green goo in her hair–but I hadn’t felt very certain that there was going to be an after picture.
Apparently she was never worried
The kids really did make me breakfast (Leon had gotten up, and he helped fish the toast out of the toaster), and I finally got to drink my coffee. And write this blog!
But I really would like for this to be the worst thing that happened today.