Why I Quit Bathing My Kids.

My friends of the Daily Child Bather Variety (which thankfully are rare) cannot understand people like me.

They’re still in denial that the facts prove that most people are indeed like me but since I’m open and vocal about my anti-bathing stance, I must take the brunt of their shock.

But here’s a little story to illustrate why, exactly, I only bathe my children twice a week.

Maybe this kind of thing doesn’t happen to the daily bathers. And if so, they should count their blessings and shut up.

But they do happen to me.

It was a Thursday afternoon, perhaps yesterday, directly before naptime.

The timing is important, because all mothers know that “directly before naptime” means “I seriously cannot wait to have you in bed so that I can have a moment to reclaim my thoughts without anyone saying ‘heymommyheymommyheymommyheymommy’ while I’m simply trying to think one tiny sentence fragment of my own.”

(Cherish every moment, sweetheart. They go by so fast.)

But thanks to a frantic week, we were off schedule, and I was aware that my children stanketh more than usual.

(“Bath Nights” are Saturday nights and Tuesday nights. You do the math.)

So I had no choice. Pre-naptime baths absolutely had to happen.

I began running the bath and called the children from their blissful play.

“Everybody get naked and go tee-tee!”

Noah was first to whiningly reach me. As he was hopping off the toilet, he was still saying “I gotta go potty!”

“Do you need to poop?”

“No, silly! I just tee teed!”

“Then get in the tub.”

The washing began – along with the shock and awe over the fact that this bath, like all baths, requires me to spray your head, scrub your head, and rinse your head.

(WHY is that always such a surprise?? I will never understand.)

I finished Noah’s head and relegated him to the back of the tub. Then I began detangling Ali’s hair.

It’s unreal, her hair. At least ten feet long, thick, fine, and prone to extreme knots worthy of their own TLC freak show.

(I took her to a random salon at her birthday and requested that they put a deep conditioning detangling treatment on it. The salon manager didn’t believe me that she needed it, but agreed to it anyway. The treatment itself created a matted knot so big that it took her and another stylist over thirty minutes to get it out, all while the she shot me dirty, accusing looks while repeating that she’d never seen anything like it, clearly implicating me in a conspiracy to torture her.)

(Needless to say the treatment has not been any sort of long-term help.)

Back to the bath.

I was two and a half days into removing her tangles when Noah screamed, “I neeeeed to poooooop!”

Of course you do. Because you only poop once a week and of course it would be during this small window of rare bathing that your urges urgently interrupt.

But hey – it’s better than the alternative.

“Get out of the tub and poop, then.”

<Splash> <Splosh> <SHplop> <SHplop>

He tracked his giant pond-sized footprints across the bathroom floor.

He sat behind us, straining and turning purple, filling the room with the most unclean sound effects and aromas.

I considered the air particles for a second – should I just give up this bathing process all together?

“I’m doooone!!! I NEEEED YOU TO WIIIIIIPE MEEEE!”

I’m right here dude. No need to broadcast.

So I rinsed the masses of conditioner off my hands and headed over to wipe a butt.

Mommy's Hands

He leaned over, holding my legs as I sent a piece of unlucky toilet paper journeying through his buttcheeks.

“My hands are all wet from my bath – not from the potty.”, he told me.

“I’m aware of that fact. But thanks for the reassurances.”

I wiped him extra thoroughly since he was headed back into a liquid germ-sharing situation with his sister, then flushed and returned to my detangling of the lion’s mane.

I didn’t notice the fact that his once-a-week poo was so massive that it had clogged the toilet. Or that the commode innards had also gotten stuck in the air and the water was continuing the run.

(One would assume such fortune could only happen once in a lifetime. But here it was, happening again, in the very same bathroom that was now brand new because of the last time it happened.)

I was unaware. Until I heard the sound of Victoria Falls rushing from the toilet.

I jumped up, splattering conditioner onto every surface, all while screaming “NONONONONO STOPSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!!”, sloshed through the quickly forming lake, and began frantically turning the knob on the back of the toilet.

The falls kept falling until the very last quarter turn. By then, the River of PooWater was nearing Ali’s bedroom.

I snatched up their towels and started mopping, while children, who are the ultimate Captain Obviouses, began saying things like,

“There’s water in the floor, Mommy!”

and,

“The toilet is overflowing!”

and,

“It’s comin’ over this way!”

I am not a yeller.

But in a moment of extreme PTSD – complete with flashbacks of living with the last toilet flood damage for 184 days – I yelled.

“Be quiet! Everyone – be quiet!”

Because apparently sopping up water demands silence. At least for Mommies who cannot tune out children.

It took both of their towels and a third fresh one from the linen closet to soak up all the PooWater, leaving me with extraordinarily unclean-feeling feet.

But it’s not like I could wash them off in the bathtub. Or track across my bedroom carpet to the other bathtub.

So I just went back, once more, to my job of detangling.

Mommy's Feet

After everyone was [as clean as they could get in that room] and deposited in their respective bedrooms wearing fresh towels, I carried the sadly abused towels downstairs, using as few fingers as possible and praying that they weren’t wet enough to drip. I opened up the washing machine, ready to fling them in from afar…only to discover that I’d completely forgotten about the last load of laundry the day before.

And this,

All of This,

is why my children are, as of today, required to become hipsters.

I took a few pictures of the perpetrator so that I could remember what cleanliness looks like. To cherish the moment.

Noah Clean

Because he will be allowed bathe again when he’s twenty-one.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. Holli Ballard says:

    We used to only bathe twice a week and my 8yr daughter is still on this schedule but the moment my son turned 11 something horrific happened. He began to make odors that grown men would be proud of. Plus his way past shoulder length hair now becomes a grease pit exactly 2 hours after his shower. (The dr said its normal hormone issues.)
    Plus the getting him to agree to take the very needed shower is now harder than ever. At this point, I just feel sorry for the wife that he may or may not attract.
    My daughter’s hair also tangles in the same medusa fashion due to a campfire incident (cringe) in one spot so she decided to cut her hair into a cute angled bob that only reaches her hair line.
    I had always assumed that the girl would be the hardest but I maybe wrong (or premature in my judging).

  2. Nothing to do with the bathing (I bathe myself daily, but not my kids!), but I wanted to comment on Ali’s hair. When I was younger, my hair was a nightmare. My mom went through bottles of the No More Tangles, and it didn’t help. She finally ended up getting the Biolage detangling solution, which helped a good bit. Also, maybe try a shampoo with Argan oil in it. I use argan oil daily, and it makes a huge difference in my hair!

  3. My BFF is a DCB and we tend to avoid the subject because we can’t not judge each other’s choices – it’s worse than religion and politics. My youngest would bathe daily, multiple times day if I let him, but since his ancestral name is Sir Poops In The Bath, I think you can see why I avoid the situation as much as humanly possible. In fact, I’ve turned over his bathtime to my 10yo because the Baby is a jackass and doesn’t poop in the bath when the Girl is in charge. :|

    Fingers crossed this overflow issue was a one time disaster!

  4. Oh my gosh … I was so worried you were going to end with, “And that’s why our bathroom is being ripped apart again.” Shwoo! Dodged a poop bullet there.

  5. Since I don’t have kids, I have very little child-bathing experience. (Except for the infant twins I used to babysit. Get one in the tub, the other crawls off. Take the wet one out of tub, go catch the dry one, place in tub, the other crawls off. Repeat for an hour or so. I earned my money at that job.) But I think everyone knows the horror of an overflowing toilet, and it is definitely PTSD-inducing. My sympathies to your feet, towels, and floor.

  6. Ali is the age when my mother got me a pixi cut..

  7. Thanks for a blast from the past. I totally forgot (well, not totally) what life used to be like. It gets better!! Hang in there, momma! I should have had a blog. If there were such a thing back then…and if there were such a thing as internet… For the hair, I’ve heard these totally live up to the hype: http://host-53.242.54.159.gannett.com/money/try_it/322831/292/Try-It-Before-You-Buy-It-Ultimate-Detangling-Brush

  8. Oh my gosh I had hair just like Ali when I was a kid. My mom had to cut some of the rat nests out a couple times. It’s still a challenge now sometimes, but layering has definitely helped lighten the load.

  9. Our bath nights are Monday and Saturday so we’re pretty much on the same schedule. Although I am a little ashamed to admit that last night was the first time they’d had a bath in 10 days!!! Well TECHNICALLY they did have a bath in a hotel tub, but we didn’t have any soap that wouldn’t “sting my eyes!!” so they took a soap-less bath mid-way through there. Apparently we are too busy when we literally do not have a free evening to wash our kids!

  10. In a contest between getting the kids to bed on time and bathing them, bedtime ALWAYS wins. This is why we have to schedule bath night, or it would only happen when I start smelling them from across the room.

  11. You need a “Wet Brush”. Our almost 5 year old has super fine hair, and there are a lot fewer tears since we started using it. We bobbed her hair when she was 2 to fight the tangles, but it is now just above her shoulders with some subtle layers. She knows that the rule is she can have any hair length she wants when she can take care of it by herself. She gets a bath almost every day, but I only wash her hair once a week in the winter and 2-3 times a week in the summer.

  12. I came across your comment on another woman’s post about the difficult of finding cute, age appropriate jeans. Was looking for your jeans series when I came across this post. Just wanted to say I love your writing! I personally bathe my children “as needed.” In nice weather, they bathe more frequently if they’ve been playing outside. when they’ve been at home most of the day in the winter, it is not unheard of to wait until Saturday night each week.

  13. Britini says:

    I know this post is kind of old, but I’ve only just recently found your blog and have quickly fallen in love with it. I’m a proud Momma of a beautiful 3 month old little girl and some of the stuff you write is just so reassuring in a way. Almost calming. I hope that doesn’t sound weird or anything.

    I know this has nothing to do with my question, but I just thought I should mention how awesome I think your blog is. :) I literally read at least one post a day. Does that make me a stalker? I surely hope not. I’m just a 22 year old Mommy who finds a weird pleasure in reading other people’s pain. I’m horrible.

    Anyway, are those your towels Noah’s wrapped in? They look so unbelievably soft and fluffy! If so, where did you get them?

    And yes, I did have to write a story just to ask a single, simple question. Lol

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