2004-09-10

Tasty Marker?

This morning, I was working on packing up some lunch to take to work with me. I look up, and notice something a little odd about my youngest son. His chin looked somewhat jaundiced. Yellow.

I looked closer, and assumed he had decided to draw on himself with marker again. Just a little bit earlier in the morning, he had shown to my wife a picture he had drawn last night. It was very good work for him. Heads, arms, faces. He even did a rather good, for him, version of his name on the back. Last night he told me it was his teacher and himself. This morning it was my wife and himself.

He has been know to draw on himself before. Usually he draws on his arm. He is trying to write Chinese on his arm. He is playing at being Mulan, from the Disney movie. Mulan want to make sure she remembers all her answers for the match-maker, so she writes them on her arm.

I look at his arm. I see yellow and brown. It looks like he has been drawing on himself. Not good, but not too bad. They may look a little oddly at him at school, but not that big a deal. But often when he draws on himself, it doesn't stop there. Sometimes he draws on the walls. Or at least leaves the markers open and lying around.

SO I ask him where the marker is. He doesn't answer. I keep asking. Then he lies and says it is dirt from outside. Do I have stupid written on my forehead? I keep asking. I tell him I know it is marker. He still doesn't tell me. It seems he had a reason he didn't want to tell me.

It seems there is a reason he didn't want to tell me. He did just draw on himself. He did just leave a marker uncapped. He didn't just get some marker on a wall.

I found some yellow marks on the carpet going up the stairs. And then I noticed a yellow puddle at the bottom of the stairs. And there is tiny pieces of yellow in and on the toilet in the kid's bathroom. He gives me a nervous grin. His teeth have yellow on them too.

I pieced together the events, that most have happened in just a couple of minutes. He bit into a yellow marker. He got a mouthful of it. He didn't like the flavor much. He spit out a bunch on the floor. He headed to the bathroom to spit out the rest. He stepped in the puddle with on foot on his way to the steps. His foot, with yellow marker proceeded to leave an impression on over other step on the way up.

When I asked him where the rest of the marker was, he indicated that he ate it. I have trouble believing it, but I saw no other signs of it. Maybe he flushed the pieces. Maybe he swallowed some. I just hope I don't find more of it someplace else.

I washed his hands and face with soap. It faded by about half, but did not come off. This is not a good sign. I managed to get his shirt wet. His second shirt of the morning. I had already sent him to change one shirt. Now he had to change another. Maybe he will remember not to make a mess on himself.

So I get a cup, and fill it with water. I dump water on each spot on the way up the stairs. Hmmm - it seems his foot was pretty dry by after marking about 5 steps. The final step that should show stain, and the hallway leading to the bathroom show no obvious signs of yellow. So it looks like I have a little less to clean up. I know that the key to getting carpet clean is usually to get water on a spot to dilute it as soon as possible.

I get a kitchen dishcloth to sop up the water. The water sops up, but the yellow doesn't. I wipe up the puddle on the floor. The puddle comes up, but a lot of the yellow stays on the floor. What did he find that would stain a coated hardwood floor?? This does not bode well for the carpet either.

I go down to the basement for the shampoo/vac. I am reminded that I can't seem to go more than a month or two without needed to get the wet-vac out to deal with my sons. And it is almost always my youngest son that is the cause. I fill up the water canister about halfway with hot water. I add the carpet shampoo. I am almost out of shampoo. I wet down the yellow areas on the stairs. I spray some water on the floor spot. I start vacuuming. More yellow comes up.

But the problem of spot cleaning with the wet-vac is that it can make some really clean spots. And the steps are a pretty high-traffic area. So I have these really clean ovals areas on the steps, with yellow stains in the center. Boy have the steps gotten dingy. Well, if I can get some more yellow out, the yellow should fade into the dinginess as spots get dirty again.

Well, I needed to get the two younger boys off to school. So I turned off the vacuum, and got the boys ready to go. I walked them down to school. Then I came back. I tried the carpet spot cleaner spray. That got a little more yellow out. I got some laundry detergent, and treated each yellow spot. Still more yellow. The top two yellow steps didn't seem yellow any more. The first two yellow steps were still a little yellow. I needed to get to work, so I tried to wrap it up. I decided to hit the two remaining spots with Shout - laundry stain remover. I left it, and then wrote a note to my wife.

My wife just let me know that the Shout seemed to have worked very well on the yellow. But now she wants me to clean the entire staircase with shout! I was afraid of that. Well, maybe it wont take shout. Maybe I can do it with a strong solution of laundry detergent.

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