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Gum in the Hair

I learned a trick as a kid from my mother that I will never forgot - though I can guarantee not to repeat the reason I know the secret trick. Did you know peanut butter will dissolve the sticky gluten in chewing gum?

I loved gum as a kid. I can't count the number of times I would fall asleep with gum in my mouth, chewing it as I drifted off to sleep. Most of the time I would wake up with it tucked away in my cheek, where I had stored it like a chipmunk. I had a history of doing this as a kid, too. I would eat and eat, storing anything I didn't want (as an infant) in my cheeks. I would fall asleep with food in my mouth and my mother would dig it out, afraid I would choke on it. That should have been a fear for me at 6 and 7 years old, falling asleep with gum in my mouth, but I just didn't think that way.


One night, rather than tucking it safely into my cheek, it found its way out of my mouth and into my long, beautiful hair. In the morning I ran my fingers through it to get it away from my face, and Lo! My fingers stopped just below my chin. Something prevented them from continuing. I picked up the piece of hair my fingers were stuck in up to eye level and looked. A huge gob of pink gum was smushed wide and flat through a chunk of my hair wide enough to be covered by three of my thumb prints. I must have fallen asleep with SEVERAL pieces in my mouth from the looks of this gob!


I knew I would be in trouble for this one, so I went straight to the bathroom and grabbed my hairbrush. I ran the brush through my hair - or tried. It got stuck immediately. I pulled and my hair pulled. I pulled harder and my hair started to break off. I pulled yet harder and chunks of my hair started to dislodge from my head by the roots. I cried, swallowed hard, and called for my mom.

As I suspected, she screamed at me. She yelled, swatted me, hollered some more, smacked me in the back of the head, and told me that I got what I deserved.

The first thing we tried was ice. She had heard somewhere that if you froze the gum, you could just break it off. It was painfully obviously very early on that this wasn't going to work. I cried harder. She yelled louder. We moved on when the comb she was trying to use broke three teeth off into my hair.

I think we tried mayonnaise next. That was a greasy disgusting stunt, that one. I remember her handing me the wad of hair and telling me to work the mayonnaise into it for a while. I held that glob of mayonnaise in my hands and rubbed that gum for a good 10 minutes. Afterward I felt like I would never get the greasy feeling off of my fingertips. To this day I get a slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach if mayonnaise touches my fingers. I love to eat it on my sandwiches and burgers - but don't dare let me get any on my hands!


Hair moose didn't work either. Neither did olive oil or Petroleum Jelly. Rubbing alcohol, hand lotion, toothpaste and WD-40 didn't work. At this point, my hair looked and smelled like something between a garage and a bathroom with a touch of the kitchen thrown in there somewhere. You'd be amazed at how many hints and tips there are for getting WD-40 and mayonnaise out of your hair. Here I was with a carport bathroom full of NON-hair products on my head, without a clue as to what we were going to do next.

Finally Mom pulled out the peanut butter. She pulled out a big fistful and squished it into my hair, smashing it in deep and pounding it onto the cutting board on the counter as I sat on a stool. The banging of the cutting board on the counter behind me started to give me a headache. It was either that or all the hair pulling.


Finally, after about 30 minutes with the peanut butter and more than 2 hours late for school, I was able to run a comb through my hair. Mom trimmed out the rest of the stuff we couldn't get out, leaving a slightly empty spot in my waist length hair.

I stopped chewing gum for a while after that, and when I did finally start chewing gum again it was NEVER after dinner. That's the rule even now.

So - when your kid gets gum in her (his) hair, skip the WD-40 and Mayonnaise... go straight for the peanut butter. Don't even reach for the vaseline. Just grab the Skippy and have some patience.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, grab the peanut butter, don't yell and scream at your kid, don't hit her/him and above all......as you stated, have some patience!

    Funny story!

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