Just Don’t Mix Up What Goes in Your Eyes and What Goes in Your Hair and What You Plan to Drink with Breakfast Tomorrow Morning
Okay, raise your hand if you knew that pineapple juice is good for getting Knox gelatin out of your hair. Now, raise your other hand if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. Okay, put both hands down because you look kind of funny. Not as funny as I looked with Knox on my hair a couple of nights ago, but still kind of goofy.
Now, you’re probably tempted to Google everything in my first paragraph, and you will probably find confirmation for the milk thing, maybe in the goofy thing, too. Because the internet will confirm everything you want it to. But, if you think the internet is the best place to learn things, then you obviously have not attended a synchronized swimming tournament. You will get all kinds of information that you never knew you needed to know if you stick around a natatorium for three days with a bunch of experienced synchro families.
For example, if your eyes start burning from the chlorine in the pool, put milk in your eye. Yep, you read that right. Grab a pint from the corner store, tip your head over backwards, and douse yourself with the stuff. Of course, it helps if you can keep the eyes open while you do this – which might explain why that home remedy didn’t work for my poor daughter. To be fair to the milk, none of the more conventional eye drops purchased from the pharmacy helped, either. So, I guess we can’t say that we debunked that myth, just that my daughter claims that it helped, even though she still held her eyes tightly shut for the next two hours and spurned the sun like a real vampire (not like those contemporary pseudo vampires who can apparently go wherever they want.)
You can imagine my skepticism about the whole pineapple juice thing. A bunch of the moms mentioned their daughters had tried it, and that it really helped to get the Knox out of their hair faster. But I have a tendency to disbelieve completely subjective statements. If someone will conduct a scientific experiment in which everything is the same except the pineapple juice variable, and I mean everything – including the amount of Knox that was on there in the first place, then I might just give it a whirl. Maybe.
In my Knoxing internet searches, I found a thread about using Elmer’s Glue to make your mohawk spikier. (It’s amazing how quickly an internet search can devolve into something completely not what you were looking for.) And I thought it might be fun to surreptitiously spread the word throughout the synchro circles that I’d heard you should mix glue with the gelatin to make the perfect shiny hair helmet. Just to see how fast it would get sprinkled all over the internet and back to me.
But no one would be dumb enough to believe that.
So, I Knoxed my hair tonight; what have you done for your daughter lately?
Here was our conversation in the car today:
“The coach says we need to be at the pool by 7:15 am. Knoxed.”
“Hmm. I guess I’m going to have to Knox your hair then.”
“But you’ve never done it before!!!!” Complete panic.
“We’ll, I’ve got to learn some time.”
“But not now!”
“What’s wrong? Don’t you trust me?”
Full confession, My daughter has been involved in synchronized swimming for three years, and I have never Knoxed her hair. Oh, it’s been Knoxed – just not by me. And if you don’t know what I mean by “Knoxing”, it’s the wonderful secret of waterproof synchronized swimming hair. Mix hot water with Knox gelatin (unflavored, though we’ve all secretly been yearning to experiment with cherry because it could taste good and give your hair a nice tint) and paint it on wet. Then it hardens into a nice plastic helmet.
Ask 100 Synchro moms about their Knoxing technique, and they will tell you a hundred different ways to do it. The variables aren’t just the water and the unflavored gelatin packets. You can do the hair several ways, and use a variety of utensils to do the mixing and painting – including, but not limited to, a paint brush or a basting brush.
I didn’t want to fight with my daughter at 5:30 in the morning, so I thought I better settle the issue tonight. I decided to prove to her that I could mix the concoction to the right consistency since she seemed pretty doubtful that I could even do this, much less paint it on her hair. (She is right to doubt me. My sister, Crash, once tried to make Jello. It sat in the fridge for a week and never jelloed. I used to tease her relentlessly about this, and I have a feeling there is such a thing as Knoxing Karma.)
As I was mixing, it suddenly occurred to me that I should paint it on my own hair to put everyone’s doubt to rest. (I have a feeling that it is no coincidence that my medication usually wears off about the exact time of night that I had that genius idea.)
It worked, though. My daughter couldn’t believe I was doing it.
“I bet no one else’s mom can say she’s done that,” she said, proudly.
Okay, I said it. But she agreed with me.
The only problem with this great plan was that I then had to get in the shower to wash it off. That is when I realized that my daughter is not exaggerating when she complains about what a pain it is to get that glop out of her hair. I rinsed 5 times, got out to dry my hair, and realized there was still an entire section over my ear to which the goop had stubbornly clung.
So, tomorrow, if you see a 40 year old woman with hair sticking straight out of her head over her left ear, don’t point and laugh. Bend over to your child’s ear and reverently whisper, “Now there goes a great mom!”
My hair; don’t worry, I got better on the other half of my head.
There is nothing like a weekend spent out of town with my 10-year-old daughter at a synchronized swimming tournament to re-affirm my complete ineptitude as a mother.
Once again, I was faced with the fact that I am unable to do the following: brush my daughter’s hair, put it in a ponytail, make a bun, mix Knox gelatin with warm water to the right consistency, paint the Knox gelatin on my daughter’s hair without burning her scalp, attach a headpiece to the plasticized hair without skewering her with a bobby pin, apply garish eye makeup, make the judges give her first place in everything, be the cool mom that lets her stay up late with her friends the night before she has to be at the pool at 7 a.m., bring her parka to keep her warm despite the fact that she told me in no uncertain terms that she would not need it, take pictures that don’t look like I was having an epileptic seizure that lasted the entire 48 hours.
I am not Swim Mom. I am Teach Her How to Program a Robot Mom. I am Sure, I’ll Ice Skate with you Since Your Friends Won’t Leave the Wall Mom. I am Let’s Ride the Roller Coaster and Get Scared Out of Our Wits Again Mom. I am Thank God You’re Finally Old Enough to go Ziplining with Me Mom.
And I thought that was enough. But a weekend spent confronting my own shortcomings in the Swim Mom department was a bit defeating. Particularly as I listened to my daughter’s pained yelps every time I attempted to do anything that might involve her scalp.
By the time we returned to school on Monday, I was feeling like one of the most incompetent mothers in history, rivaled only by the leathery mom who gave her daughter a sunburn in the tanning bed.
I halfheartedly invited Dimples to assist me in a “practice eye dissection” after school, and she agreed, “because then I don’t have to go to after-school care.” She hates after-school care. Another failing on my part.
When I pulled the sheep eyeballs out of the jar, the other adult assisting me had to “take a moment” before we started cutting in. But Dimples surprisingly seemed untroubled by holding a detached organ in her gloved hands. She approached the task of slicing the eye with great gusto that, quite frankly, had me a bit concerned about her own detachment.
Her favorite part was the inside section called “the vitreous humor”, and she plopped it up and down zealously, fascinated with the consistency. I had a vague impression that I had seen this substance before, and finally realized where – it looked exactly like the unflavored, dissolved Knox gelatin that had been painted on her hair all weekend.
“Gross, Mom,” she groaned when I pointed this out. But she grinned.
And I thought, “How many other daughters get to hang out with their own mother dissecting a sheep eyeball?”
You may bond with your daughter by teaching her the art of the perfect ponytail, but my daughter and I will always have our successful hunt for the optic nerve that brought us closer together.
A spray on Knox gelatin for synchronized swimming competitors. That is my next invention.
When we first got our 9 year old daughter involved in synchronized swimming, we had absolutely no idea what we were getting into. The first time one of the parents mentioned “knoxing” to me, I thought it was her way of hazing the gullible new mom. Since then, though, I have found she was not making this story up. Knoxing is only done for shows or competitions – not for practices. Which meant that Dimples had two months to fall in love with synchronized swimming before she encountered one of its major drawbacks. And, by then, it was pretty much too late.
Painting Knox gelatin into the hair keeps it in place during performances. It does not easily wash out in the pool water, and it’s not harsh on the hair (like the petroleum jelly swimmers used in the Ester Williams days). With some finesse, it washes out with warm water and shampoo (and a bit of elbow grease).
It is not fun to put on, though. I actually haven’t done it myself, yet. I’m afraid I will mix the gelatin and water to the wrong consistency, or burn my daughter, or make it look so horribly gloppy that we will have to start over. And you really don’t have time to start over when you have an hour before a performance.
Fortunately, for novice moms like me, “knoxing stations” are usually set up somewhere around the pool, and experienced knoxers will do the hair of the younger girls. It takes a village to do my daughter’s hair because I am apparently bad at putting it into a ponytail and bun as well. The only thing I don’t screw up too badly is taking pictures. Although that’s happened before, too…
The problem with this whole process – actually, one of many problems, is that, if your child is involved in more than one routine, the Knox starts to get a bit clumpy and gloppy. It eventually begins to wash out – even when I sternly tell it not to – and there is no way anyone is going to go through the whole knowing process more than once in a day.
That is why my Knox hairspray idea is so good. And, if you couple it with my first whatimeant2invent idea, the hair-growth stopping pill, you could have a complete beauty empire with these two products. Come on, Mark Cuban, you know you and your Shark Tank rivals would love to jump on this…