Painting the Town Blue
Are you Going to Report Me?


September 7 , 1999

I'm baack.

I know you missed me. I could tell by all the e-mail wondering if I was OK. NOT. Well, things were a bit busy here with my sister visiting and all so a lot of things didn't get done, including updating my journal.

I like to update more frequently then I have been but if you want to be the first person on your block to know when there's a new entry up just join my notify list.

So, last night at about 10:00 I'm sitting in my office filling my time with mindless Internet drivel when Chuck walks in. He informs me that Zoe has painted most of herself and her bed with nail polish. Oh. Joy.

He then went on to tell me that Zoe said she tasted it and it "tastes like fire Daddy."


Chuck assured me that she was OK. It was mostly on her legs, one of her hands, her feet and her bed. There's also a little bit on her lips. And no he hadn't tried to remove any of it. It's all dry.

I go in there to triage the damage. Her left hand and right leg are pretty well covered in the most hideous shade of metallic navy blue. (One of the colors she picked out herself.) There's just a little on her lips. I have her open her mouth. A sigh of relief when I see that her tongue is not blue too. There is, however, a bit on her two front bottom teeth.

I'm here to tell you that no amount of rubbing will remove nail polish from teeth. They're enamel, kind of like fake nails. And nail polish adheres really well to fake nails (and apparently teeth).

Zoe is admonished and I threaten to throw out all the nail polish.

She finally settles down for sleep and I return to my office to continue my mindless drivel.

This time though I keep thinking that I know nail polish usually contains formaldehyde. I didn't see any in her mouth and she seemed fine but should we be heading for the Emergency Room? I sit and think for a few more minutes and call information for the number of Poison Control.

This is not the first time I've had to call Poison Control. There was the Sweet Pea incident where Zoe ate some seeds I was getting ready to plant. After I looked it up in my Sunset Western Garden I called Poison Control. (BTW: they're not poisonous.)

My mother delights in telling me that when I was a kid she had the Poison Control number taped to the refrigerator for easy access (this was the days before speed dial).

I start to frantically search for that damned bottle of nail polish. I was so incensed when I left Zoe's room I don't know what I did with it.

Oh, and by the way, after Chuck discovered this little nightmare he left the room and left the nail polish in there with her. Right on top of her dresser, for easy access. HELLO.

I was certain Poison Control was going to want to know the ingredients or something.

Well, I couldn't find the polish (still can't--I think I threw it in the bin outside) but decided I'd call anyway. They should have that kind of information anyway.

"Hello, my 3 1/2 year old daughter just painted her entire body with navy blue metallic nail polish, and she said she tasted it. There's some on her lips and front teeth."

The man at the other end of the phone line was the picture of calm. "Don't worry ma'am." Have I mentioned that I hate being called ma'am. He told me just to wash her down with soapy water. The worst might be some skin irritation from the polish. Don't use polish remover. It'll all wear off after a few baths.

After all this he started asking me questions. My daughter's name. My Zip code. My name. Phone number.

Ut oh. "Are you reporting me to Child Welfare?" I actually asked him that.

I could see the charges: child endangerment. Can you believe this mother left a bottle of nail polish within the reaches of a 3 year old? Headlines flashed before my eyes. Embarrassing visits by a social worker. Impertinent questions. Pertinent questions.

"No ma'am." (That freakin ma'am again.) "We just keep all this information in our databases. Nothing to worry about."

Well, by the light of this morning Zoe looked a lot less blue than last night. It seems to have worn off her teeth though I'll take a better look tonight.

Good thing I got her bathtub fixed.

Until next time. . .