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Did That Really Just Happen? A Holiday Survival Guide for Ridiculous Situations

I know we try to keep it clean here at Pittsburgh Moms Blog, but hear me out for a minute… You see, we were dealt a really crappy hand the other evening. Literally.

While I was downstairs loading the dishwasher, setting the coffee maker timer, and wondering where our Elf on the Shelf (Team #ElfIt!) would pop up in the morning, my kids were upstairs playing nicely. Which should have been a big, red, blinking warning sign.

Soon, my girls came downstairs. The six-year-old, who we’ll call Q, looked quite forlorn and the eight year old, hereby known as R, was suppressing giggles.

It seems Q was practicing writing “sight words” (short words they memorize in Kindergarten). On her hand. In Sharpie marker. One hand read “Day”. The other was supposed to read “Sit” but she had added a poorly placed “H”.

“Mom — Q wrote a bad word on her hand!” R reported.

Q burst into tears. She truly had not meant to do that and R swore (in a different way) up and down that she hadn’t had any influence on the unfortunate skin typo. Q confirmed that R was innocent (and I know she’d sell her sister down the river in a second had R put her up to it). All of this was going down right in front of our Elf, Snowball. After hugs and assurances that Santa and Snowball would absolutely know that it was an accident, I promised to get it off of her hand before she had to go to school in the morning.

This wasn’t my first Sharpie rodeo. Two years ago, Q’s twin brother J, while confined to his room for a time out, had artfully decorated his face with a Sharpie. (At this point, you’re wondering why I’m not more careful with Sharpies, right? I hide them, trust me, but my kids have a sixth sense for finding these things.)

Sharpies. The struggle is real.

I knew just what to do — rubbing alcohol! Like with J’s face tattoo, it took a lot of rubbing, but it faded until it was more or less illegible. Not entirely gone, but gone enough that I wouldn’t be expecting a call or email from school.

Which got me to thinking…. These are the sorts of things that we learn as we go. The parenting skills that you never even imagine you’ll need to know…until you’ve got a six-year-old with profanities scribbled on her skin on a school night. Ridiculous things that are bound to occur over the holidays when COMPANY IS COMING and all the stores and doctor’s offices are closed.

I should also note that I’m a brand-new Cub Scout Den Leader, and I’m embracing the Be Prepared motto. So, my fellow moms and dads, I searched my memory for some of the wackier fixes I’ve needed to Google over the years and I’ve put together some tips for dealing with those situations that will have you shaking your head and muttering, “Seriously?!?” because it’s the most festive time of the year and we’re parents. We kiss it, we fix it, we clean it up and we get on with the celebrating. So please, help our group out — comment and share your own tips for remedying the wacky messes you’ve needed to fix!

Are You Freaking Kidding Me? Situation #1:
You’re making dough for homemade rolls for your holiday feast and your kids are supposed to be watching Frosty but are really tatting themselves up with permanent marker.

Pro-Mom Solution:
Rub vigorously with Rubbing alcohol or Nail Polish remover. You can also try an exfoliant like a sugar scrub. But DON’T use the alcohol or nail polish remover after that… Ouch.

Are You Freaking Kidding Me? Situation #2:
While you are rubbing your kids vigorously with nail polish remover so they don’t like they just got out of the clink when you go to Grandma’s, your dog eats the above-mentioned ball of dough off of the kitchen counter.

She still hasn’t learned her lesson. Luckily, just sprinkles this time!

Pro-Mom Solution:
No joking matter here, if you have pets in your house, you need to pay attention to this one…. Unrisen dough can be extremely harmful to animals, and if not dealt with quickly, can result in bloat (stomach and intestinal twisting…sort of. I’m not a vet, but trust me, it’s bad). Also incredibly harmful (and these are just some that are common) are:

  • Gum or mints (even some toothpastes) that contain the sugar alcohol Xylitol — even small amounts can be quickly fatal
  • Chocolate (I’m not talking about a stray M&M, but a good amount of chocolate or a small amount of potent chocolate like baking chocolate)
  • Raisins or grapes

If your pet ingests these things, they need to un-ingest them very fast, so while someone calls the emergency vet, someone else needs to immediately try to get the animal to vomit. Do this by giving your pet one teaspoon (five milliliters) for every 10 pounds of body weight (not exceeding 45 milliliters at once). Obviously they won’t drink this as willingly as they snarfed down the dough or pack of gum, so, from personal experience (both the dough and the gum happened to our dog), I recommend sticking a turkey baster far into their mouth and force feeding them the peroxide. They should throw up in about 10 mins. By this time, the other person has hopefully gotten through to the emergency vet for additional instructions.

Are You Freaking Kidding Me? Situation #3:
While you were busy making your dog throw up, you gave your kids a piece of the remaining gum that the dog didn’t eat to keep them occupied so they wouldn’t worry. After getting the gum nice and gooey, it somehow fell onto, and got ground into, the carpet.

Pro-Mom Solution:
The rug has a boo boo and boo boos need ice packs. Put ice in a baggie and hold it on the gum that’s smooshed into the carpet. Actually, have your kids do it. They clearly need a time out, and you need to go clean-up the dog vomit while your spouse takes the dog to the vet for follow-up. After a few minutes the gum should be hard, so you and your kids can spend quality time picking it out of the carpet. You can sing holiday songs to make it a special memory.

Are You Freaking Kidding Me? Situation #4:
It’s finally evening. The dog is home from the vet and is A-OK thanks to your quick thinking and turkey baster. The kids are worn out from picking gum out of the carpet and drawing on themselves with Sharpies and they fall easily asleep at pretty darn close to bedtime. You’ve collected all of the permanent markers and gum and put them on top of the fridge and found a tube of crescent rolls to use for the big dinner. Now it’s time to settle down with your spouse on the gum-and-dog-vomit-free-carpet in front of the fireplace with a glass of Pinot Noir to unwind. The dog, who is feeling perfectly fine now, romps over, flops down next to you, and spills your wine all over the carpet, which of course, is off-white.

Pro-Mom Solution:
Don’t have off-white carpet. But, if you bought it before you knew better, then grab paper towels and blot. Blot your heart out. When you can’t blot anymore, take about 2 cups of warm water, a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap. Use a clean paper towel or sponge to saturate the stain and then keep blotting. Have your husband help you, because this is now your quality alone time. Once clean, get yourself another glass of wine, but  go with Chardonnay this time.

Finally — here’s your list of what you need for your Pro-Mom Holiday Survival Kit:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
  • Extra Turkey Baster (because the one you had before is now the dog’s)
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • White Vinegar
  • Lots of paper towels
  • Extra wine
  • Phone number for Emergency Vet
  • Pediatrician’s and dentist’s emergency numbers. 
  • Phone number of a good pro-carpet cleaner to come after the holidays

From my nuthouse to yours –Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

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