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The Food-Colouring Incident


I was quite surprised to discover that Indians will use an orangey-red food-colouring to brighten the colour of some of their dishes. Padma, the woman who comes to our home once a week to help out with the cooking and cleaning, purchased a small container of this vivid powder (it’s powder here, not liquid) and proceeded to colour a few of the dishes she made for us on Saturday. Unbeknownst to me, she left the container that was still three quarters full on the windowsill in the kitchen.
This morning was busy for me: I talked to two people through Skype, responded to a few emails, and got a nice load of laundry started. By the time Aria woke up from her morning nap, I hadn’t yet had breakfast, let alone a cup of tea. So, we went into the kitchen and I set Aria on the counter as it’s the only place to put her, as I got the tea started. (A side note to assure all who are concerned: when Aria’s on the counter, I watch her very carefully.) The tea had just boiled and I was getting ready to pour it when I saw Aria grabbing something off the windowsill. Thinking it was maybe something for cockroach poisoning or the like, I quickly grabbed her hand to stop her from putting whatever it was into her mouth. Thankfully, it wasn’t poison; but, it was food-colouring and the cap was not secured. The bright powder fell onto her, me, and the counter. We had a big mess on our hands! I tried to wash Aria off in the kitchen sink, but she wasn’t being cooperative, and a little powder goes a long way. I stripped her and left her sitting on the floor in the middle of her bedroom naked while I tried to figure out the best way to clean up.
I had to use a few sheets of my highly-prized paper towel to wipe the counter and each time I wiped, the paper came up bright orange. It still isn’t quite clean three hours later. I had to do some transferring of soaking soapy laundry to different buckets in order to procure Aria’s little round tub, then filled it and plopped her in. Thankfully, the food-colouring had less staying power than I thought it would have, so we got cleaned up.
At this point, I needed to call my sis about something, so I put Aria on her play mat by the computer. Before long she dove forward onto her face and started to cry the cry that says “I’m not hurt, but I’m going to pretend I am so you’ll pick me up”. So, I picked her up and gave her a pen to play with as a distraction. She’s played with pens before and hasn’t been able to take the caps off so I wasn’t concerned. But as I hung up with Jessica, I noticed that the pen’s lid was off and took note that the pen was a fine point permanent green marker. After scouring Aria for green marks and only finding a few on her hand, I breathed a sigh of relief. A disaster was thankfully averted.
Well, I was feeling quite frazzled by this point in my day and not feeling like a responsible enough adult to “own” a baby. I tried to wash the marker off Aria’s hand (no luck) and set her back on her mat, which she protested about immediately. So I danced around like a crazy woman as it makes her laugh.
I’ve been thinking about big questions lately like, what would happen to Aria if I were to die (a near auto rickshaw accident prompted that thought); or, how would I handle it if Aria, or anyone of my future babies, for that matter, were to die (an article about the possibility of a world-wide flu epidemic prompted this one)? Where would she go? Do babies REALLY go to heaven? I’m sure every parent thinks about these things at some point or other. I realize that I have to just keep trusting God when these questions come—and realize that everyday I have with those I love is a gift.
So with this thought running through my head, I stopped dancing for Aria and picked her up to dance with her, we twirled and danced around her room to the music of Smith Funk & Strauss {thanks, Rae:-)} and I thanked God for my dear little girl, knowing that she is a gift and each moment I spend with her is a gift.

6 Responses to “The Food-Colouring Incident”

  1. Jessica
    March 29th, 2006 17:27

    rachel… what a great post! i honestly felt like i was there watching, gasping, laughing and dancing with you. keep on dancing for and with aria.
    love and miss you.

  2. Rachel
    March 30th, 2006 09:51

    Glad you were able to share in your little neice’s disasters! 😉

  3. Tara Hills
    March 30th, 2006 12:31

    Most days I feel like I’m just guessing too…as a mom. Makes me think of my own mom (she was my age with 3 kids, 2 of which were my brothers! Yeeesh!!!) and empathize with her more than I ever thought I would. And the morbid thoughts come too..the fantasy of “what if” begins and by the grace of God I whisper His Name to rescue me from this godless imagination. And then, like you, savor the moment, the gift, the GRACE with a new sweetness, because they were never mine to keep.

  4. Rachel
    March 31st, 2006 11:02

    Aren’t you glad we know God and a little bit of his heart for us? He is the one who dishes out that peace that’s beyond our comprehension.

  5. gramma clancy
    April 5th, 2006 21:15

    hi Sweetheart….how I would have loved to see you two dancing and also Aria covered in the red powder would have made an unusual pic.
    I think if I look hard enough, I may come up with a picture of your husband as a baby covered in red…..the red tomato sauce for spaqhetti. What a sight that was

  6. Rachel
    April 6th, 2006 03:29

    Had he got sprayed by a skunk and decided to take a tomato sauce bath?;-) Oh, boy… that must have been a mess!

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