The case of the mistaken makeup remover wipes

My daughter mistook household cleaner disinfecting wipes for makeup remover wipes, and she used it to clean her face. #parentingfail

Earlier that week, Olivia had Spirit Week at school, which meant face paint for two days. I gave her my makeup wipes for the week to keep in her bag. When she was done, she put it back on the stairs by my bedroom.

That probably begs the question of why we use the stairs as a staging area for items in transit. The short answer is, because we suck at housekeeping and we lack a maid or MY mother. I’m going to take responsibility here and admit that particular habit starts with me, and she copies me. 

Olivia was carrying a bunch of things from the living room to her room, and dropped the wipes off along the way, with the intention of returning and putting them in the bathroom cabinet. As it happens, she gets sidetracked and/or runs out of time and didn’t get to it. The wipes sat there for a day.

I’m supposed to be the mother who gently reminds her to pick up after herself so she learns, but half the time, I give up and just do it because it bugs me. The following day, I went on a cleaning bender, and spent four hours tending to the house. 

In that time, I put away my wipes, but I used some Kirkland Disinfecting Wipes, and when I was done, I left those on the exact same place on the stairs. The pouch was nearly empty, and I wanted to remember to put it on the shopping list before I put the cleaner away and forgot all about it.

So here we are on a weekend, and she and I were fooling around with makeup first, before playing Hide and Seek. I looked in my bathroom, and while there was no child, there was a strong lemony scent that I knew to be the disinfecting wipe. “Where is that coming from?” I wondered, and then let it go in my quest to find the hider.

I went into her room and found her. I smelled lemons again and thought, “Hmm. Weird? Maybe she cleaned something in here in the last ten minutes? That doesn’t make sense? Plus, nothing looks clean.” Then I forgot about it.

My husband would later say that should have been my first red flag. “Her? Cleaning?!” he laughed.

We went to the living room and sat with Daddy on the sofa. I kissed her forehead. I smelled lemons again. I got confused for another second and then thought no further about this really odd mystery. 

This whole time, it never occurred to me that her heavy eye makeup was gone. I’d probably be out of my wheelhouse as a scriptwriter for “Sherlock.”

Just so you know, if we’re ever in a situation where our lives are in danger and the only evidence is via smell, please don’t rely on me to save us. I’m apparently a real ditz when it comes to non-visual clues. 

I smell it and then totally don’t investigate it. I would be like, “Wow, what a strong odor of gas. I wonder why? Oh well.”

So then I tell her so go take a shower now, and make sure to take her makeup off with the wipes in my cabinet. “I already did,” she said. “Just before the last game of hide and seek.”


“You did?” I ask. I’m not surprised because she doesn’t like wearing makeup. Now that I look at her, the heavy eye shadow is gone, and only a trace of eyeliner remains around her eyes.

“Yeah. And the wipes are on the stairs,” she corrected me.

“Stairs? No, they’re not… OH. Oh no!” I exclaimed, as I slowly put it together. The packets look similar enough for her to think the disinfecting wipes were makeup remover!

I rushed her back to the bathroom to rinse any harsh chemicals off her face. When she returned to the living room, Claus called her over. “Come here, Sweetie. Sit by Daddy. I’ll protect you.”

I’m just going to see if anyone wants to nominate me for Mother of the Year now.