Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Bathing Children Debate...

Alright all you mothers with young kids out there... it's debate time.
I recently took an informal poll with several of my mom friends to come to a conclusion about todays topic... and that conclusion is...

Children are to be bathed between once and ten times per week.

Yeah. That's what I have for you. These are a few random comments that led me to that conclusion-

"I bathe my children every night before bed. It's part of their ritual- it helps calm them and put them in the mood to rest."

"I suppose I SHOULD bathe my kids everyday but the reality is I don't. Every other day is more realistic. I mean- really, how dirty are they?"

"My mom is the one that thinks the kids ALWAYS need a bath. I will drop them off and tell her they've all recently been bathed and inevitably upon return she will give me some reason why at least ONE of them needed to be in the bath tub."

"I don't bathe my children at all. NEVER. It's up to my husband. They're all boys after all. FINALLY, a silver lining to the 'we can only deliver boys' thing."

and one of my favorite responses EVER-

"I try to bathe them Wednesdays and Saturdays. The way I really see it, unless they stink and/or start complaining of ITCHING in abstract places... well, I don't worry about it."

My opinion on the issue... (And I'm not the best one to check in with on this topic as B-boy was probably 10 days old before I ever even realized bathing was part of my parental responsibilities... and I think 10 days was good considering the day after he was born the nurse came into our room and asked me how many times I had changed his diaper in the previous 16 hours to which I looked at her dumbfounded and muttered something like this, "Oh... uh, I see. So.. uh, I'M supposed to do that?" NICE! Still surprising how they have let me take three children home with me huh?)

But I digress...

My opinion on the issue of bathing children is this...

I'm not opposed to bathing them daily. Not at all. It's just that certain things factor into it. The bedtime ritual for instance- in our home is already too long. 45 minutes to an hour before they'll actually be in bed we start rounding them up. This includes having them put away the many toys they are currently playing with, making them put cushions back on the couch as they've used them as "boats" to float upon the ocean also known as our living room floor... and having them dismantle the "pirate ships" made of blankets in their room so they can have bedding to rest upon. This alone is capable of taking 30 minutes. Then comes teeth cleaning. Not nearly as easy at it sounds... cries and admonishions can be heard from deep within the bathroom.

"I already brushed my teeth!!!"

"gurgle, OUCH, gurgle, YOU'RE PUSHING TOO HARD gurgle"
"You're not brushing long enough..."

Ahhhhh... the joys of parenting right??

So that eats up 10 minutes for sure. Then it's getting them to sit still in their room for stories and bible reading. In all honesty story time takes longer than Bible time as in fairness... each child is allowed to pick their own book. Inevitably, they are story readers that take 5 minutes a piece (when reading through without pauses of course) But come on... I can't read through without interruptions. When reading B-boy's book Beetle sits still as he too shares B-boy's interests but K-girl... she is wandering. And climbing. And DIRTYING. Etc. Beetle's book brings equal interest from his brother but K-girl... still messing up the place (if not wandering to the first floor to scam another few minutes out of the non bed putting parent.) And then come K-girl's book, all I hear is,

"MOM.... why do we have to listen to her GIRL book? It's about Barbie Mom. Eeeeeewwwwwwwww."

And I'll admit, I hate listening to it also. (EXCEPT the first few seconds when before I read the book to her, she goes through the pictures and tells us the story first. Last night while reading Barbie she came to this picture and said, "So Barbie and Chocolate Barbie were friends..." HILARIOUS!)

Again, I digress... (you've come to expect that haven't you?)

Story time is a good 20 minutes, easy. And then we read a bible story- answer the three bible questions pertaining to the story and say our prayers. Another 15 minutes. Have we hit the hour mark? Because I can stop there or tell you about the yelps heard from the kids room for an additional 20 minutes-

"Mom I need water."
"Dad I need Mom."
"I can't sleep in this bed."
"I don't want a blanket but one's on my bed."
"I have to pee."

and my favorite... "I'm too tired to sleep." Nice.

ALL THAT TO SAY- the idea of adding BATHING to our nightly bedtime ritual... hmmmmmm, NOT appealing.

So, I think to myself, "SELF... the children can be bathed in the morning after breakfast and before getting dressed." (Obviously.) But as I try to make sense of that idea- I can't. Afterall, the day is likely to consist of 20 minutes of the children chasing one another. (I won't mention how that chasing occurs in Targets and Grocery Stores throughout the Pittsburgh metro area) Spaghetti and or Pizza sauce being crusted upon the faces and in the crevices of these little people and well, finger paint and marker stains found anywhere on any child from their noses to their big toes. So- I rule out the morning bath as POINTLESS.

And I suppose in my coming to the conclusion I find myself in agreement with "trusting the senses". When they start to stink- GOOOOOOD indicator that they need to hit the tub. When their hair sticks to their faces and or stores small samples of leftovers from two days ago- Yeah- another reason to bathe. And I have to agree with the itching thing... I mean really, can't say it never happened.


So there you have it. My thoughts, as well as the thoughts of some of my mom friends, regarding bathing the children. Post your thoughts too.

Until next time-


Tara said...

You are so funny, Chelle'. Thanks for making my day. I obviously have no advice (yet), but I enjoyed reading about your bedtime rituals with the kids. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad we are having this discussion! There is a certain woman in our church who complains that she has to do five loads of laundry a day in order to keep it from mounding up. Then this same woman prides herself in that her children (3 girls) take a bath nightly. Hello!!!! That's were all the laundry is coming from!!!!!!! The signals I look that indicate its bath time is dirty fingernails, not just slightly discolored but black and the itchies. I always reflect on the my grandparents lifestyle who work on the farm with manure and chickens and a lot of yuck. And they only took a bath once a week! Saturday night! And they shared the same water between the twelve of them!!! That sheds a lot of light on the subject for me!!!!
Thank You for asking!
Carol Thomson