Surviving Your Kids Messes

I have learned that there is always a fine print to every agreement contract. You know the undisclosed information that you weren’t made aware of in the first place. The minor details that you would have never agreed to, had you been able to read them.

The same goes with becoming a parent. I mean you can hear all about someone’s little one whose life goal is to work the ice dispenser on the front of the refrigerator door or who is bound and determined to find another tootsie roll in mama’s dumped out pocketbook or how meals are now some kind of full blown hippie art festival, leaving you with a circus mess to clean up. Somehow it doesn’t really hit home until you’re spinning in your own circles cleaning your “dear little one’s” trail of messes. From eating play-dough to dumping the entire toy bucket down the toilet, it doesn’t really matter how many of these comical stories you have been told, the reality doesn’t hit until suddenly, it’s your own story and you’re telling it.

Not all children will push the boundaries with a dangerously curious nature, all of the time. As a mother of four, I was bound to have at least one little menace. So rest assured, if you are just expecting your first child.. all things may not apply, thankfully! But take head to my warnings that it is not uncommon for the little bodied ones to come in a cute little package of very demanding, headstrong, not scared of anything with a dangerous curiosity, looking you dead in the eyes as they attempt feats of monkey business. They fall down, get hurt and get right back up and at it again without a flinch of care or concern for any threatened spanking, time out, or no dessert after supper. They just don’t care, yet. It’s all about fulfilling their purpose of being a monkey and seeing just what they can get away with.

In all seriousness, accidents will happen if you have children. Our job as mom is to kiss the boo-boo’s, fix the breaks and clean up the messes. Obviously some discipline needs to be fit in there some but I’m not going to try and tell you how to correct your little one. With four children from the ages of 16 down to 2, I am still searching for what works as a cure all to detour the monkey business…. In the meantime, here’s my list of non-toxic home remedies to safely and easily remove the curious child’s displaced forms of artwork.

Go ahead, you new moms, and judge me with your “you must not have been watching your child” bit or “no way would my perfect little angel do that” .. well, hold your britches sweetheart, the time WILL come! I ain’t no bettin’ woman but this is one that is bound to happen and if it don’t, consider yourself lucky.

Besides, I’ve come to realize that a child who boogers into things is just a sign of a creative visionary. Mess-making is a part of learning and developing motor skills and coordination. With every mess comes a more creative child.

So when your time comes, watch you’ll be in the restroom too when it happens, and your dear little one’s curiosity gets the best of them… When you’re left with a hot mess to pick up and a monkey to clean, don’t forget to snap a picture first! The proof is always better than just the story! Here’s some of the major messes that our little artists have tried and what worked for us in surviving our kids’ messes.

How To Remove Permanent Marker From Skin
The sound of “permanent” is scary especially when it comes to your child’s self made tattoos from a sharpie the day before picture day. Key in removal is with a quickness. The sooner you try to remove, the more that will. When our sweet girl just wanted to color her 3 month old baby brother, safety and gentleness was most important. We found that a simple baby wipe (or makeup remover wipe will work), with a little rubbing at the marker stain until it is dissolved, and a good rinse off with warm water. With less rubbing is less fading of the marker. What remains (if any) will wear away quick enough, especially if you add a nice soak in the tub in the mix.

How To Remove Bubblegum From Hair
Chewing gum and a little one and falling asleep is inevitable. But don’t reach for the scissors just yet! Find a jar of creamy style peanut butter. Cover the gum completely with the peanut butter. The oils in the peanut butter make the gum base stiffer and less sticky. Wait for a few minutes to allow the product to work. Remove the gum. Wash your child’s hair as normal. (Other sources suggest similar oil-based materials – everything from mayonnaise to butter – but the net effect is the same.)

How To Remove Lipstick From Wall
Using the side of a plastic gift card to scrape away a thick blotch of lipstick, working the edges of the stain toward the middle to prevent spreading it. Wipe and lift some of the lipstick up with a dry paper towel, again wiping from the edges toward the middle of the stain. After removing as much of the lipstick stain as possible, then apply a non-gel white toothpaste directly over the lipstick stain. Allow to sit for 10 minutes then wipe away with a damp cloth, always working from outside edges toward the center. This will help scrub the oily residue away. I will add that this was the biggest pain in the rump to remove. I haven’t purchased a tube of lipstick since my little one used every bit of that once worn $8 tube, decorating every square inch she could physically reach, of the hallway.

How To Remove Vaseline From Hair
Remove the thick globs of Vaseline by combing through the hair with a fine-toothed comb and squeeze the hair with paper towel to absorb more of the petroleum jelly. Make sure to wipe off comb after each stroke to keep from just spreading it around. Apply a little cornstarch or baby powder to the hair, patting it in to absorb the petroleum jelly. Allow the cornstarch to sit for a few minutes, giving it time to absorb the oil. Rinse with warm water and clarifying shampoo or a little liquid dish soap. Before we begun the removal process we played around with some new hairstyles which makes the pictured proof all that more entertaining! We were just thankful it was only the .25oz size of Vaseline!

How To Remove Grape Jelly Stain From Carpet
Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with two cups of warm water. Using a clean cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the stain disappears. Older stains may require a little extra TLC than new ones.

How To Remove Fingernail Polish From Face/Eye Area
For sensitive areas such as face and around eyes, simply dampen the corner of a dry paper towel with some oil. You can use coconut oil, olive oil or baby oil. I actually used a dab of my vitamin E oil that I use on my face to help nourish and soften my skin. The oil easily rubs the polish off without any harsh rubbing or irritation of the skin. My little guy painted his hand in a deep red that leaves a stain on skin and then ended up rubbing his face and eyes and in minutes. A little oil on paper towel and the gentlest rub and presto! This was definitely our easiest of messes to remove, so far.

How To Remove Crayon From Wall
Simply rub some mayonnaise on the crayon marks and let soak in for several minutes. Then wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth. Easy Peasy if you ask me! Unless you have a magic eraser handy, which really handles a clean up job with a breeze.

So, messes will happen. Kids make messes. That’s what they do sometimes. I choose to stimulate the creativity, imagination and exploring. Maybe I’m just not enough of a neat freak. Maybe you are and just need to learn how to cope with your child’s messes. Here are a few things we have learned to implement that help use cope with the messes (particularly the ones that naturally come with the messy art projects) that are just going to happen anyway.

1 – Set The Rules
2 – Take It Outside
3 – Presence Is Necessary
4 – Plenty Of Patience
(and most importantly is #5)
5 – Be In The Moment, With A Smile, With Your Child

It’s all memory making anyway. Remember that things can always be replaced. Things mean nothing. People mean everything.

“The earth without art is just eh” – Author Unknown

Written by Rebecca Anandan

Rebecca Anandan is a Stay At Home Mom of two teens, one tween, one toddler, eleven leghorn hens, one fat cat and with one pretty incredible husband that is the anchor of it all. They’re planted in the one place she’s always called home in Anderson, South Carolina. With sixteen years under her belt as a mama, fourteen of them were spent in the workforce. For four years she was a personal weight trainer and dietitian and ten years were spent sitting behind a computer desk of a government office. Now, two years and two months into staying home, she is finally able to live the life she always dreamed of, balancing the blessings and the struggles, equally the same. With God’s guidance and her husband’s assistance, together they are raising hardworking and compassionate young men of chivalry and a young lady of grace. She dabbles in essential oils, trusts strongly in homeopathy, organic farming and clean eating to handle the family’s severe allergies. As a writer by day and a reader by night she is here to learn as well as to offer encouragement and assistance on to other mama’s.

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