Removing Crayon from Clothes, or Oh, Crap!

Removing Crayon from Clothes, or Oh, Crap!

Removing Crayon from Clothes, or Oh, Crap!
I took the photo in 2010. Premonition.

I came home to find an entire load of BigBrother’s laundry ruined. By a red crayon. One of his friends gave him his “favorite crayon,” and of course it was red. And of course BigBrother put it in his pockets. And of course my amazing husband did the laundry while I was out of town so I didn’t come how to a mountain of laundry. I FaceTimed him while I thought he was just “doing laundry,” but no, he was cleaning crayon out of the dryer.

Note: I would not have checked the child’s pockets. I should check pockets. I do not. If I had been home, this same scene would have played out except that I would have blown a gasket all over the laundry room. Or the entire house.

It’s really much better that it happened this way.

I left the basket of ruined laundry sit in the dining room all weekend. Jet lag and Easter didn’t leave much room for dealing with a basket of clothes that, if ruined, would require a large chunk of change to replace. Today I spent the day catching up on all the email I couldn’t answer when I was at the conference, taking the boys to lunch as they were home on spring break, buying the crayon-kid new socks, dropping off the iPhone I smashed on the garage floor the day before I left at the Post Office, panicking about things I can’t control, and visiting with some friends this evening so the “kids could play.” (Or, you know, so adults could talk to each other.)

While I started working on dinner tonight, I sorted out all of the socks to throw away. And by all of the socks I mean all of the socks that he owns. He’s genetically my kid and socks float around the house, hide in couch cushions, end up at the end of his bed stuck in sheets, and suddenly all end up in the laundry at the same time but only because I go hunting for them because he suddenly has no socks despite having all the socks. In this particular laundry load, all the socks were being washed. Thus, all the socks were spotted with some kind of cross between orange and red. I didn’t care to fight the color white and orange/red. Goodbye, old socks. Hello, six pair of new socks.


He’s nervous about only having six pair of white socks. He took them off before his shower tonight and immediately placed both socks in the laundry basket. And told me about it. Progress. Silver lining. Something.

I looked up some tips on getting dryed-on crayon out of clothes. By the way, it’s always a red crayon. No one ever washes a purple crayon. It’s always red.

I came up with the following set of steps.

1. As I mentioned, throw out all the white socks because ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. Toss some Oxi-Clean into the tub of the washer.
3. Toss in all the clothes. Say some kind of prayer or chant. Cross yourself.
4. Add in a little less laundry detergent than usual. Add four tablespoons of Dawn directly to the laundry detergent section.
5. Put 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the pre-wash section.
6. Select HOT and HEAVILY SOILED. Make a face that says, “These are more than heavily soiled.” Nod. Wink at the washer. Maybe offer it a drink.
7. Choose pre-wash, extra rinse, and press start.
8. Walk away for over an hour and a half. For real. We even left the house. Anxiety level: Red/orange Crayon.
9. Check all the clothes. Find two items with orange/red left on them.
10. Marvel. Celebrate. Throw a parade. Give yourself beads.
11. Rewash your clothes with a little less dawn, a little more detergent, still 1/2 cup of vinegar, your softener, HOT and HEAVILY SOILED, with a pre-wash and extra rinse.
12. Check clothes to find absolutely clean, soft clothes.
13. Make yourself a drink because you, my friend, are a freaking laundry genius.

One shirt still has an “orange tint” in a small circular area. I’ve decided it can be LittleBrother’s “art shirt” last year. Didn’t we used to have art smocks when we were in elementary school? Is this another way that Kasich has screwed education for Ohio students? Whatever. How he has an arty art shirt. Crayon friendly. Ahead of the game.

All I know is that I don’t need to buy seven pair of new underwear, replace three absolutely well-loved and frequently-worn sweat/casual pants, two long-sleeved t-shirts, three short-sleeved shirts, a button up shirt, and like all the winter jammies. And like having to set up my replacement iPhone as a new phone instead of restoring from a backup, life goes on. It’s not the end of the world, even if the crayon hadn’t all come out.

But of note, that iPhone replacement, even with insurance, cost more than it would have to replace most of the clothing. So, you know, I feel you, BigBrother. Accidents happen. I’ll try to stop dropping my phone if you stop putting crayons in your pocket. Let’s win together.


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[This bed doesn’t suck though.]

I miss my boys.

I miss my bed.

I miss the way our youngest son will wake up in the morning and wander into our bedroom, lift the covers, and slide his body right up next to mine. No words exchanged. Sleep still hanging heavy in his eyes. Quiet, present love.

My husband relayed the fact that our youngest crawled in bed with him the other morning. I felt jealous. That’s my thing, my thing with our baby; my our thing, not his our thing. I got over it by eating at a fancy pants restaurant and consuming the food while it was still warm. I didn’t even have to tell anyone to “sit in the middle of their chair,” though I wanted to say it to the teenager seated at the next table. Slumping like that can’t make for easy eating.

I actually called the airlines to see if I could hop a flight home tonight instead of waiting to fly at the crack of dawn tomorrow. No flights. I’m out of luck.


I don’t know what the boys learned this week. I don’t know what homework they had or didn’t have, what spellings words they practiced. I don’t know if fractions magically got easier, but I assume that fractions still suck so bad. I don’t know what jammies they wore or clothes they wore to school or if their socks had holes. (Their socks had holes. I can bet money on this. They both walk on their heels like their mother. So much loud walking.) I don’t know if they ate their entire lunches. They probably didn’t.

I don’t know if anyone was unkind to them, though nothing has been reported via our FaceTime chats. Those other things I don’t know, well, I didn’t think to ask them those things during our FaceTime chats because who asks about holes in your socks when your three thousand miles away? No one. I just wanted to see their cute faces and hear their little voices and tell them, repeatedly, that I love them.

The gray streak right at the center of my forehead hairline got grayer and streakier this week. I think it came from missing my sons. Or exhaustion. Probably both. It almost looks cool and intentional. It is not.

What is intentional is the fact that I will wake up at some dumb, dark hour tomorrow, fly to Dallas Fort Worth, run through the airport because it’s so poorly designed, land at my own airport, and get home just about bedtime tomorrow night. I will intentionally cuddle into their beds, together or separately, and ask them about holes in socks and kind or mean children. I will read them a story or tell them about my week or let them talk to me about whatever they want. Even Pokemon cards.

And later tomorrow night, before I slip under the covers of my very own, very comfortable bed, I will sneak into their rooms and intentionally kiss their heads and whisper, “I love you so much,” like I do every night when I am home. I will sniff in their shampoo and individual scent and I will say an intentional prayer of thanks for their lives, for my motherhood.

I have it good, and I need to be intentional in recognizing that fact.