01 November 2009

Noah, How Long Can You Tread Water...

As the kids get older, I’ve discovered a stage in which I find it extremely hard to believe that I ever went through. (although my mother assures me that I wasn't unique enough to have skipped this part of childhood) The stage in which I speak of is the act of God that it takes to get them to take showers regularly without an argument...

First of all, what’s up with that? I’ve tried to explain to our children calmly and rationally (my first mistake) that as your hormones kick in they make your physical form excrete body odors. Not to mention bodily fluids like sweat and other physical changes that we shall restrain ourselves from embarrassing our offspring with at this moment. So I try to convince them them that they need to take a shower EVERY day to stay clean, healthy, sweet smelling and in good working order. This reasoning never works. You'd think I would have learned this by now.

Ok, then as a parent you persevere onward to what happens when said offspring still argue about taking a shower (or bath for that matter).
"Nobody will want to stand down wind from you. You will get teased by all the kids," you advise them.
"You will acquire 'The Funk'", you warn them. "The skin irritation that comes from not washing will itch and when you scratch it, it can become infected", you explain.
"This and other rashes and/or infections usually occurs on the face, behind ears, under the arms and all those other dark and sweaty places on your body that we will then have to discuss... in detail and at length... with your doctor..."
Does this reasoning/pleading/threatening with an adolescent pre-teen or teen work?

Nope. Sometimes it makes me wonder if it is just Darwin's theory at work...

Finally, the last thing you try as a parent is to assert your command authority...
“You Vill go Und you Vill take a showVer NOW! Und you Vill wVash EVERYWHERE or I Vill do the scrVubbing for you! I don’t care HOW old you are!”
You’d think I were dragging them to the gallows, asking them to submit to the tortures of the damned, demanding they have a sex change operation!

I have also discovered that at some point in a child's developmental process, this situation changes... Time to do the Happy Snoopy Dance, right?


Now you get one of your teens into the shower. You hear the water start and you start feeling like you can start to relax. This wasn't so bad you tell yourself...

10 minutes later, the shower is still going.

15 minutes later you tap on the door.
“Are you all right? Did you fall in?”
“No, I’m washing my hair.” 
15 minutes and they haven’t washed their hair yet? Ok, I won’t complain. Pick your battles my sister always says. They are, after all, in the shower. Mission accomplished, right?

20 minutes…..25 minutes…another tap on the door…. Time to be encouraging but firm...
“You need to wrap it up and get out of the shower. There are others in the house who have to take a shower.”
From the bowels of the steam filled room (you know this because the steam is now seeping out from under the door!) you hear, 
“I’m just rinsing off.”
JUST rinsing OFF? Enough is enough.
“I’m going down to turn the hot water off at the heater. You have about 30 seconds before I get down to the basement and you get ice water!”
Believe me, I now get to hear how it was MY idea that said offspring takes a shower. I believe my answer to that was that I have more surface area on my body and even I can soap up, wash hair, shave legs and underarms, scrub the heels of my feet, rinse off, dry off, moisturize every square inch of my lumpy body, give myself a manicure, pedicure, blow dry my hair, put on full battle makeup, and dress (including hose, shoes and jewelry) in the time it takes one of them to take a QUICK shower!

Be careful what you wish for...

Now, as it happens, in our house we have a tankless hot water system. Which means the water is heated on demand and it is loverly! You never run out of hot water. Which is great for my husband and I but has spoiled the kids. When Rachel had gone to my friend Kelly’s house for a week, I didn’t even think to warn her. They have a water tank which our daughter promptly emptied leaving everyone else in the house without a drop of hot water!!!! I'm soooo sorrry Kel!

As an aside and since we are on this subject I want to touch on one last point. The amount of stuff that accumulates in the shower stall...

We have two bathrooms in our house. Count them…TWO! One upstairs, one downstairs. The downstairs is a full bathroom and the upstairs is a ¾ bath and there are always fights about the kids wanting to use the shower stall. Ok, we have learned to pick our battles (or we at least try). If we can get them to take a shower, I don’t much care which bathroom they use…..

Except now I only have about a six inch square place to stand in the shower. Consider this…we have FIVE daughters. Three of whom will only take showers upstairs. So, in essence, 5 of us use that shower. 5 of us who like DIFFERENT shampoos, conditioners, body wash, shaving cream (for the ladies), buffs, back scrubbers, etc. Can you see the picture forming in your mind of this situation? (it's not much better in the downstairs bathroom for some reason...)

I have often wondered if God had this problem (at least in part) with Noah and that he was only trying to do what all good parents do….teach their children the lesson of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Or maybe as comedian Bill Cosby showed in his skit about Noah, maybe God was just as exasperated and frustrated as most parents.  [Anyone that has kids or is even thinking about having kids needs to hear Bill Cosby's truly priceless Noah's Ark skit on YouTube @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMH_uVu2Acs and then there is a script of this infamous skit HERE so you can quote him!]
QOTD: “If dirt was trumps, what hands you would hold!” Charles Lamb, English Essayist (1775-1834) (used pseudonym Elia) Lamb's Suppers (vol. II, last chapter)
(Originally posted on 6 Aug 2006)

1 comment:

  1. Hooray, you're BACK!! Sure have missed seeing you around. Mrs. Who and I have wondered aloud many, MANY times about you - wishing you and your family well.

    Looking forward to sharing more lemonade! WELCOME, LS! :)


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