We thought he’d been asleep for an hour when we heard a sing-song voice over the monitor.
It didn’t sound like a “just woken up and upset about it” cry. It didn’t sound like a “frustrated about something weird and half-asleep” noise. It sounded like a happy little song. Some movement in the room. More singing.
Slowly, we walked down the hall. The smell hit us about half way along.
With each step, it became stronger. Stronger. Until by the time we reached the door, it was almost dizzying.
We pushed open the door, slowly.
He was sitting by the bed, glistening in the light of his bedside lamp. By his side was an almost-empty tub of vick’s vaporub.
"Special ointment!" he said "Look I found it! I put it on my tummy. And my arms. And my feets. And on these letters." He pointed at the alphabet tiles underneath him. They looked slick. "And on my hairs. And also on my bum. And my legs. And my toys."
Not, please note, on his face, or in his eyes, or anything that could actually hurt. He’s sensible in his chaos.
But otherwise? Head to foot covered in it. A thick, pleasantly whiffy layer.
His pyjamas were dark with eucalyptic grease. We peeled them off, wiped him down as much as we were able ("Nooo! Special ointment!") washed his hands thoroughly, and put him, clean-pyjamaed, into bed.
On the positive side, at least he’s not going to suffer from congestion.
None of us are. How could we?
It will become a thing of legend. People are going to be sent on healthful vacations to take the restorative air of Duboce Triangle. The sheer power of the scent will burn through the fog and make this the sunniest neighbourhood in the city. Years from now, people will look back at photos of the winter of 2014 and marvel at how glowingly, boundingly unfettered by blocked sinus they looked.
It will be brilliant. He is an innovator. Well done, Doozer.