As the gold medal slipped over my head and the opening notes of our national anthem filled the stadium, the crowd’s screams slowly dissolved into screams of despair. I reluctantly emerged from my delicious dream as my brain registered real life screams coming from our daughter Ava’s bedroom.
Now awake, my mental calculations began. Emergency or bad dream? Did our daughter’s screams qualify as a one- or two-parent alarm?
I rolled over to jab my husband awake.
“Is she being abducted?” I said.
“Doubtful. Fire?” Mike said.
Ava’s screams reached a crescendo.
“I don’t smell anything. You go. You have longer legs,” I said.
“There better be a wild animal in there,” Mike said as he jumped out of bed. “You owe me.”
Wishing I could reenter my Olympic dream, but too agitated to sleep, I glanced at the clock. 12:50 a.m.
I yelled to Mike to tell me what was happening.
“She’s bleeding from her head!” is what I heard.
Oh, god, not again, I thought as I sprang out of bed and clamored for my glasses, lost among the detritus on my nightstand.
As I ran to her side, I chided myself for ignoring her initial screams.
“How bad is she hurt? Where did she fall?” I said between pants.
“She has silly putty in her hair.”
Not registering Mike’s response, I peered at my daughter’s head.
Apparently she’d fallen asleep playing with silly putty and woken up with the puke pink-colored goo matted to hunks of her thick brown curls. I’d never seen anything like it.
Although I assured Ava we wouldn’t have to cut off her hair, the matting was so severe I feared she’d soon be sporting a one-sided mullet. Not a great look for a fashion-conscious fourth grader. And not a haircut this mom was willing to live through.
I turned to my trusted friend Google for advice.
Apparently, since time immemorial, silly putty and kids’ hair have attracted each other like fingers and electric sockets. Fortunately, parents around the globe have tried countless remedies ranging from peanut butter to WD40 and documented their success with each on the internet.
We decided on olive oil for our triage in the beauty ER and massaged half a bottle into Ava’s matted web of curls. I couldn’t help giggling as Mike combed out the now liquefied goo with the studied precision of a brain surgeon.
Ava, however, did not appreciate my punch drunk humor and berated me for being insensitive, which launched another fit of giggles, especially as I realized we now had to get all that olive oil out of her hair.
As the clock struck 1:45 a.m., Mike and I finished our task, hugged Ava and settled down enough to sleep, grateful for our parenting success. My only regret? Not photographing Ava’s head before and after. And she refused to put more silly putty in her hair for the sake of this blog. That’s the thanks I get.