Note: the first draft of this story had the subject line: “Why I don’t like Orange Kool-aide.” It’s relevant. Read on!
Every parent has at least one moment in their parenting lives when they wonder if it’s okay to bleach their child.
Non-parents, please don’t laugh. I assure you. This is a real question. Maybe its after a particularly bad bout of the flu, or perhaps your kid went “fishing” in the toilet. Every parent at some point has the same question: Is now a good time to bleach my kid? Like, diluted, you know. Not full strength. We’re not monsters.
Invariably, the thought will cross your mind and it will lead to a ridiculous sounding Google search. The kind of search that will forever alter the advertisements you see on Facebook. You’ll start seeing links to sites dedicating to ensuring you raise healthy kids and don’t kill them with bleach. You’ll also get ads for bleach coupons at Albertson’s. I guess this means that Facebook knows you’re a bad parent, but won’t get in your way.
The answer, of course, is that no, you cannot bleach your child. Its a bad idea all around. It just happens to be rooted in the very real disgust and realization that children are crazy germ factories and don’t seem to have a build in “yuck” barometer.
For me, that day happened about a year ago.
We had made homemade play dough out of flour, salt, water, and Kool-aid. The Kool-aid for this particular batch was orange flavored. And orange colored. And orange scented. The fake orange junk, not anything resembling a real fruit.
ZM was sitting at the table playing with this stuff while I made lunch. I heard some lip smacking from our dog, and turned around to see ZM feeding Sass a full pound of play dough. Bear in mind, salt is what gives this stuff its consistency. There was about 2 cups of table salt in a pound of this junk. It’s edible, but barely. Certainly not in pound-sized portions.
I figured it was a matter of time before I would see the precious play dough again, albeit in a slightly altered form. However, I didn’t want to just throw the dog outside – that much salt meant that if he didn’t throw it up, we were going to the vet. Luckily(?) about 10 minutes later, my dining room floor was graced with an extremely large amount of orange colored dog vomit, resplendent with sizable chunks of orange play-dough and emanating a scent that will forever haunt my dreams. Dog stomach acid, salt, and orange Kool-aid combined in the most foul smelling and deadly cocktail I have ever sniffed.
It was so bad that I needed to retreat to another room and just contemplate my existence as a dog owner and parent for a few minutes. It turns out, that introspection, while important, was very ill-timed.
It turns out in my disgust that I forgot to tell ZM to come into the kitchen with me. Whilst
fighting a gag reflex, wondering why I have a dog and a kid, and getting 3 rolls of paper towels, ZM was left in the dining room with – you guessed it – PLAY DOUGH!
I have watched ZM play with play dough before. He makes balls, he rolls out snakes. He likes to smoosh it then build it up again. He even tried to eat it once. But I have never…
not even once…
seen ZM put play dough in his hair.
After this day, I confess, that I have seen that. I entered with my cleaning supplies to a horrific sight that will eternally haunt me. My son, my beautiful, smart, glorious son, sitting criss-cross next to a steaming pile of dog puke, humming “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, and smearing… smearing… vomit soaked chunks of play-dough all over his face, ears, hair, and chest.
So for all of you people who are bothered by the title of this post, remember that two things happened to me this day:
I instantly decided Orange Kool-aid was never again for me.
And I googled “Can I Bleach my Child?”