One morning many years ago, I found myself awake in bed a little after four. My daughter, Lily Jane, was crying and wanting to get up for the day. As I fumbled down the hall toward her nursery, I tried to keep my eyes closed. As a young mom, even 30 extra seconds of sleep seemed to make a world of difference.
After I had Lily carefully penned in our bed with pillows, I reached over to hand her a couple of toys. In my mind, if I could just sneak in ten more minutes of sleep I would be ready to face the day. I handed Lily a small rattle and what I thought was a block. She happily grabbed for the rattle, and over the next 10-20 minutes
I rested peacefully while she chatted happily and played.
As I lay there, I could have been thanking God for a beautiful morning, for my healthy baby daughter and for my many other blessings. Instead, I laid there thinking stuff like, “I’m so clever. My baby is utterly perfect. I simply hand her a couple of basic toys and she can amuse herself for twenty minutes. I’m a superior mother and my baby is a superior baby. We are the perfect family…” And on and on.
Just as I was beginning to think another stream of similar thoughts, when my “perfect” daughter, Lily Jane, leaned down to kiss me on the cheek.
She felt unusually slimy, slippery, and sticky!
The next few seconds can only be described as complete confusion. As I jumped out of bed, screaming, I flipped on the light and tried to see what had gone so completely wrong. Instantly I realized what I had done.
Instead of handing her a toy block, I had given her a container of Vaseline™! She had deftly pried off the lid and proceeded to scoop out all of the jelly. She had then cheerfully smeared, painted, slicked and spread the greasy stuff all over her body, her head, the sheets, the pillowcases and now on me, her mother! In less than twenty minutes, the entire bed and both of us had been turned into a giant grease ball! I just stood there, blinking and making unintelligible sounds like, “Nooo, oooo, accck, wwhoooo, whaaa!”
I continued to scream and of course she began to cry. Her large bewildered tears slipped down and shot off her little slick cheeks. I ran with her to the bathroom and tossed her into the tub. As I spent the next ten minutes trying to wash the Vaseline off her body using water and baby soap (Did you know this stuff does not come off?), I was overwhelmed with my reality check. As I continued to clean up Lily Jane, I thanked God for the big reminder about “Pride going before a fall.”
And I laughed at my “perfect” daughter all greased up and cute as could be.
At least her skin felt extra soft for several weeks!