When I looked into my baby’s adorable sweet face, I never imagined all the awkward and bizarre conversations we would have. There should be a manual preparing you for the job of warden ruling over personal hygiene and matching clothes. Why does it take more than one conversation? Come sweet children please just tow the line on a few things and give your sweet Momma a minute to breathe. Alas, the awkward instructions continue.
Did you brush your teeth?
I was unaware that all the CSI skills I learned watching prime time TV would serve a purpose in my day to day life, but they most certainly do as I navigate the teeth brushing dilemma. I really do not understand this one my dear friends. Who wants to walk around with cruddy teeth? But I have one child with an all-out aversion to teeth brushing on most days. Everyone will be going through the bedtime routine and I will casually say, “Go brush your teeth?” Smiling response from child, “I did already.” Ok, great. Cross it off the list for tonight. But as I enter the bathroom to help child #2 and #3 brush their teeth, I notice her tooth brush does not appear to have moved since the last time I saw it. Here comes the CSI skills; Check toothbrush for wetness. There is no way in Heaven this toothbrush was used any time in the last several hours. Head back to child’s room, “You didn’t brush your teeth.” Now insert a drama filled, often tear filled conversation about trust and honesty, and all things sacred between mothers and children. The drama ends in clean teeth, but why! Please sweet child, just brush your teeth. Momma really has no interest in being a CSI.
Please get dressed.
Asking a child to get dressed for the day seems like a simple task. How could this ever become drama filled and awkward? Indeed it can my friends, if you ask the questions: Does it match? Does it fit? Either of these two questions asked to a child who is already dressed and ready for the day can cause a meltdown of apocalyptic nature. I sometimes feel I should have a better grip on this task. I purchase most of the clothes. I put them in the drawers. When we get new clothes we talk about how wonderful “this top” will go with “these pants”. I plant the seeds for all things coordinating. The problem is that children have favorite items and no matter how different two favorite items may be, they match perfectly in the eyes of a child because they love them. The love of these items is deep and special and it is horrific that you would even for one moment question that what we have on is not a perfect outfit. I’ve learned to let go sometimes. Are we going anywhere today? No, wear whatever you like. I will not say a word. It is on the day we are going to school, church, or a party, that I just feel the need to put my foot down a little bit. Mommy will even help you. I can assure you that my children do NOT want my help and their life is now ruined for all eternity. The same ruination takes place when that favorite piece of clothing becomes too small. I am a chicken and I like to remove items from our home as I fold laundry. Things simply disappear. They may return in a few years for a sibling, but for now Mommy does not know where your shirt is. I understand it is the coward’s way out, but you just can’t fight all battles head on.
Did you wear deodorant today?
I am only having the deodorant talk with one of my children as of today, but it is a mighty conversation. Here is a little secret, when I ask if you are wearing deodorant, I already know the answer. How? Because I can smell you! I think my sweet tween has been wearing deodorant for about 3 years. I use the term “wearing” loosely because she may have it on 2 out of every 10 days. Blessed be sweet girl, your laundry can get up and walk away all on its own. I know you are not putting it on. Similar to teeth brushing, who ever thought I would need to ask daily, “Did you put your deodorant on?” I certainly never thought this would be a problem. I do not remember having an issue with it as a tween myself. Maybe I blocked it out. It could have been a bigger deal than I remember. I should ask my own mom and find out. I found the only thing that actually gained any attention from my tween was saying, “You smell!” I know, I am a horrible woman and someone should lock me up. There is no grace in this method. The response is usually something along the lines of, “Rude! You are so mean!” I know! I am! But I tried everything else and I do not know how to penetrate your brain to understand the importance of this one hygiene item. Straight talk, no filters seems to be working. But I still feel like there must be a better way.
It’s time to take a shower.
I have been told that there are children who love to bathe. I personally love standing under a hot shower and think it is the perfect way to end the day. My husband cannot start his day without a shower, it just doesn’t feel right. Because he does very physical and often messy work, he takes multiple showers a day on a regular basis. Our three children avoid bathing like the plague! No joke here. When I say “Time to take shower” the answer is always, “I just did!” Yes my lovelies, we have to do this on a pretty regular basis. All three of my babies had eczema, so we never developed a daily bathing routine. If I had bathed them daily as infants they would have been a mess of blisters and rashes. That being said, we always stuck to a pretty good every other day routine; sometimes every third day in the winter, because winter can be hard on your skin. So why they think once a week in plenty is beyond me. I am not saying you have to spend an hour in the bath tub, just 5 minutes to get clean is all you need. Five minutes and then you can go back to your Transformers, Legos, or drawing, I am not asking for blood, just five minutes. If you want to play in the tub for 20 minutes, you can do that too. All I want is a clean child at the end of the process. I bathed a child standing up in the tub, screaming and crying in my face that he does not want to be clean. The funny thing is 20 minutes later when I was in the shower; he was climbing in after me because he needed me. Oh my, toddler logic is hilarious. Maybe we should all shower as a group? I am not sure our shower or my sanity can handle that one.
Motherhood keeps me on my toes. I never know what mundane thing is going to become the challenge of the week. It always seems the simpler the task is from my adult eyes, the harder it is for my children to comply. It seems there is always a question if I really know what I am talking about. Yes, sweet children, I have been through a thing or two and I know for certain you should brush your teeth. I know the awkwardness will only get bigger and more insane as they all grow older, so for now I will smile, laugh, and try to breathe through the awkward instructions of everyday life.