As I have mentioned before, Pat (my husband) and I worked different shifts for the first 14 years of our marriage — which meant he was left home alone with the kids during the day. This led to many experiences which I’m sure Pat and his children will always cherish and a few which he would probably rather forget — and there are some he is just plain glad that everyone survived!
Since Pat worked until around midnight and then had to get up with the children after I left for work around 6:30 a.m. every morning, he tended to get a little sleepy around mid-morning. This was usually time when Jenny and Bob were watching Thundercats or Sesame Street — or some other cartoon which would keep them completely absorbed for about an hour. Try as he might, he would inevitably fall asleep for at least 15 minutes and always wake up in a panic as to what had happened during his short nap — especially after Jenny and Bob had changed the color of the entry way during one of his interludes (See The Experiment and The Experiment – The Next Generation).
Jenny was our climber and she tended to end up on a chair trying to get on top of the refrigerator (where she was sure that all the ‘good’ stuff was being hidden from her) or sometimes she had actually made onto the countertop and was rummaging around in the top cupboards. Bob? Well Bob was like Boo Boo to her Yogi Bear– and he would follow her around everywhere – and to make matters worse – he trusted her completely – even though Jenny had made him faint on numerous occasions (See He’ll Grow Into Them).
So, based on previous behavior of these two little idjits, Pat should not have been so surprised when he woke up from 15 minute nap to find that Jenny had climbed to the top of the shelf of the linen closet. What did surprise him was that Bob was sitting on the floor, allowing his sister to empty bottles of whatever she found in the cupboard over his head – that is the stuff she could get open! In 15 minutes, she had managed to sprinkle him with what was left of a little bit of Comet and an entire bottle of Murphy’s Wood Soap. Pat caught stopped the two of them as Bob was trying to open the Lime-Away with his teeth so he could hand it to his sister to add to the mess on top of his head!
Pat’s first thought was to make sure nothing poisonous had gone in either of their mouths – or eyes or ears! He grabbed the Lime-Away and immediately called me to find out how much stuff was left in the other two containers. Lucky for Bob, the Comet was virtually empty – but the Murphy’s Wood Soap was a brand new bottle! However, guardian angels were looking over those three that day (because I’m sure Pat would have had a coronary if something had proved to be harmful to either child) – and since Murphy’s Wood Soap is vegetable based — there was nothing that would hurt Bob – and the Lime-Away didn’t come open and there was nothing on the lid!
After everyone had calmed down — because there was a lot of wailing, screaming and crying – mainly from Pat and then the kids joined in because he scared them — Pat asked Jenny what the heck she thought she was doing to her poor little brother, to which Jenny replied, “Daddy, his face was so dirty and I wanted to clean him up! He was soooo dirty!” Sure enough, Bob’s face was filthy – but now that was the least of the mess!
Pat explained that the next time Bob was dirty, Jenny was to let him know and he would get her a washrag to clean him up. He then promptly stuck Bob in the bathtub and tried to scrub the cleaning supplies off of him.
Bob smelled like Murphy’s Wood Soap for about a week – and I’m pretty sure that’s why his hair became curly and started growing so fast! Plus, I noticed that he learned to wipe his face off every time he ate something — just in case his sister decided to try to clean him up again!