Part one of our road trip under our belt, three Christmases tackled, late nights/early mornings, packing, unpacking, and gathering times two, one too many gas station bathrooms, fun, fun, fun and half way into the 2nd part of our road trip, this is what I heard from the backseat. “Mom, there’s a problem.” I happened to be driving my 2% of the trip so I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Brighton’s hand on the top of his blonde head. “What is it B?” Jeff had stirred and looked back as well. Rather proudly, he announced, “I was chewing my gum so fast that it flew out of my mouth and into my hair!” Yeah. That is what he said. “Flew out of my mouth………….” The very first day either of them received a piece of gum, I told them plainly that if I ever SAW it of their mouth or HEARD it in their mouth, it was mine. As a result, I have absconded only a few pieces of gum over the last two to three years.
Not that this was the best response, but Jeff and I were both irritated—one, we had just stopped so it wasn’t like we wanted to stop again to deal with this time consuming incident, and ,two, he knew better. So like any good parent would, we told him we were really sorry that it happened but that we would just have to cut it out and he would have this big bald spot on the top of his head until it grew out again. This upset him immediately because he has become sensitive about his “freaky” hair he awakens with EVERY morning. (It doesn’t stay “freaky” of course. A brush and a detangler works miracles.) After we talked him through the growing out process (he has no concept of time), he calmed down and for the next couple of hours, struggled to keep his fingers out of his sticky hair.
As I stared at 1-20, I started getting sentimental about his hair. It’s really pretty. I am all for gender specific words but “pretty” is the only word I know for his towhead. I even have people stop me in stores just to tell me how pretty it is. Get this. I have had people ask me if I have it highlighted. Of course I do- right along with his weekly manicure and yoga lesson. ??????? I didn’t want to cut that gum out anymore than B wanted a funny looking tuft on the top of his head for a few weeks. I also knew the longer it stayed and the more he rubbed it into his pillow, the closer it was getting to his scalp therefore making it more painful and more difficult for me to get it out!
Next stop- some combo gas station/fast food- he walked in oblivious to the gum wad sticking straight up on his head. Someone saw it and snickered. Oblivious, no more. He dashed for the bathroom and took a look in the handicap mirror. “Get it out, Momma. Please!” I asked for a cup, fixed up some icy water, and stuck the crown of his head in it. We did this several times for several minutes (completely ruining our trip “time”) to no avail. A few more hours down the road, Julia asked for a piece of gum and yes, you guessed it, B chimed in too. Yes and no respectively.
He fell asleep the last hour of our trip and I had determined that I would try again when we got home. I carried a comatose Brighton into the kitchen and laid him on the rug in front of the sink. I grabbed a comb, a towel, the peanut butter and ice cubes and went to work. Clinging to my side, Julia was my worn out and emotional audience making me feel like I was performing major surgery instead of picking Orbit mint goo out of B’s hair. I was grateful that he was sleeping so hard because the gum was stubborn. I found the smell of mint gum and peanut butter a strange, unpleasant combination. While Jeff single handedly unloaded all of our suitcases and Christmas plunder, I finally removed the last morsel of gum, which was quickly becoming an ugly word in my mind. While he was still unconscious with blanket in hand, I placed him on the kitchen counter and washed the peanut butter out.
Just a few minutes later, as I tucked him in, he stirred, placed his hand on his wet head and said, “Thank you for getting the gum out of my hair, Mom. I am glad we don’t have to cut it. Now I won’t look funny.” He went to sleep smiling.