Chats with Miles
*Author’s Note: “Chats with Miles” is a series of posts I’m sharing, in order to capture the funny and interesting things Miles and my girls have said over the past couple of years (which I had originally recorded as Facebook posts, mostly), into this neat little nook for them to be able to look back on.
Have you ever wondered if your child knew the significance of good hygiene? Have you ever thought that maybe their habits and ability to remain clean could be improved? I mean, despite constantly telling them to wash their hands, brush their teeth, and make sure their hair gets clean (or at least wet) in their baths, do you ever actually feel confident that your child is able to get themselves clean without your supervision and/or help?
Well, I’m here to tell you, you’re NOT ALONE!! I think I speak for most of us (well, most of us slacker parents, anyway), when I say that we are actually HAPPY when one of the following gets done:
My child uses actual soap to wash their hands.
My child brushes their teeth for longer than 4 seconds.
My child opts to take a bath without being prompted.
You see, when these things happen in my home, I am genuinely pleased! It wasn’t always so though . . . I used to have much higher standards. I used to think that my children’s hygiene should mirror my own . . . why I wanted to delude myself into thinking that I could have myself and three children all impeccably clean at any one point in this life together, I don’t know, but I used to think it was possible. And it was during one of these days of naivety that the following conversation ensued.
This is taken from February 25, 2013 . . .
Me: (to one of my girls) Go get in the bath.
*Girl Child: Why??
Me: Because you missed it yesterday . . .
*Girl Child: (sighs) Mom, I’m not a princess . . . I don’t have to take a bath E V E R Y D A Y !!
(*note: some names have been changed in the account above to protect the identities of those involved.)
It was around this time that I realized something had to change, or I was going to go bloody mad! So, it was then that my standards started to decline. Since, I had wrongfully believed my children should not only be clean everyday, but also want to be clean, it is somewhat understandable why I was dismayed to find that one of my children thought bathing everyday should be relegated to the super elite . . . Royalty, even.
This was a SHOCKING revelation that I never knew I had coming.
So, I had to throw the baby out with the bathwater, when it came to my prudish views of hygiene (ya know, just bathing . . . or at least getting wet and sitting in a tepid bath for 20 minutes . . . daily). Those days are gone, and I have regained my sanity.
Nowadays, I’m much more realistic in my expectations. Proper Baths are only necessary in a very few select situations, which I have outlined below:
Prior to church (at least twice per month…every Sunday would just be too much to ask).
Definitely before attending any Major Holiday Get Together.
Before taking family pictures.
After playing in the mud.
Other than these, I’m pretty lenient when it comes to their hygiene. Now, this method is not for everyone. This method has admittedly left my children without as many hugs and affection at the end of the day. I have a stronger than average sense of smell, after all, and I can’t be expected to drop my standards in every situation. So, if my kids want hugs and kisses, they know they have to be at least somewhat clean.
Neither will I hold their hands in public after the use of public restrooms, even at the risk of them running into the street, because I will not be tainted by their un-hygienic ways. I just can’t do it. So, you see it is possible to lower your expectations and still maintain a formidable sense of hygiene yourself, as a respectable member of society, by simply distancing yourself from those individuals you have spawned whose hygienic behaviors are mostly primitive, at best.
Ok, Fine . . . Not everything in this post is entirely true.
But, I will be leaving you to guess which parts are true and which are not . . . that keeps the fun going. I will say, though, that I do in fact hug and kiss my children regardless of how thick a layer of dirt is on their faces, so they don’t really go wanting for affection . . . I DO love them more than being clean. I have to remind myself of that often, not so often now that they are getting older, but a WHOLE LOT when they were little . . . LOL!
Anyway, if you have some little ones that are not as interested in being hygienic, not to fear . . . they will grow out of it (or so, I hope). In the meantime, we get to practice our level of tolerance.