As I wake from my slumber, I focus on the little person at my bookcase. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and look closely. Thank God she hasn’t torn all the books from the shelf as usual. I lay back and smell a familiar odor but can’t quite place it. It’s something I’ve smelled before. No, not baby poop. Not vomit.
It’s strong and brings me back to my childhood, my teens, even my adult life. But what the hell is it? It’s got a slight ammonia smell, or at least something I associate with that offensive odor.
I look at the little person.
“What are you doing?”
She doesn’t answer. Keeps her back to me, absorbed in what looks like lining the books perfectly. If only she could alphabetize the titles she has rearranged on numerous occasions.
“Hey. Come here.” I sit up. She turns and then I see it. “Oh God.”
Probably the only bottle of nail polish I currently own is open on the shelf. The little brush lays beside the bottle on the shelf. “Shit.”
I get up and grab the bottle. It’s empty. I search and then see. Gobs of sparkly pink, with a little glitter, are spread over the top of the dresser. And the smell is becoming offensive. I look at little person’s face. No pink paint. Thank God. But her hands are sparkly and there’s a thick hard stain on her pajamas.
I take her to the bathroom, and try to wipe the paint off her skin with a wet cloth. It works a little, but not enough.
There has to be some nail polish remover around her somewhere, but do you think I can actually find it? I look through the medicine cabinet for something that might work. Aha! Rubbing alcohol.
I pour the clear liquid onto a cloth. It smells like nail polish remover. I just pray little person has no open cuts or scratches. I wipe the polish off her little hands. It works. Then I take the bottle and try to clean the mess off the dresser. It mostly works, but I don’t think it’s meant for removing paint from wood so it doesn’t give me the exact desired result but it’s better than it was.
Little person is cleaned, I’m showered.
But now, all I can smell is nail polish. Everywhere I go in the house. It’s strong. There’s a little on my hands that won’t come off.
But in all the early morning hassle, I did not get upset.
At least not until I poured my hot coffee into a normal water glass.