I’ve tried to get my children to be clean, to be hygienic, I really have. But despite my best efforts, my little loves insist on being filthy little creatures. Filthy!
Tonight my youngest left the bathroom, looked at his unwashed hands and declared, “I don’t have germs.” And that was it. I remind them every single time they go to the toilet to wash their hands, but they avoid it at all costs. In fact they dodge any hygiene routines at all, and I’m sure it’s not normal or I suspect the world would have ended years ago from germs and filth and God-knows-what.
My boys have made an art out of dodging anything that resembles a personal hygiene routine. They are attracted to dirt, mud and general filth which I could just about handle if they were just as happy to wash it all off at the end of their adventures.
Of all the clean-dodging, brushing teeth would be at the top of their list. I brush my teeth at least three times a day, there’s nothing better. Well, maybe not nothing, but it is pretty good. But my boys hate it, they absolutely detest scrubbing away the scraps of food from the crevices of their dirty little mouths and will avoid the process at all costs. If you were to walk into my bathroom you’d think I was lying. There’s certainly no shortage of minty freshness spread across the counter, mirror and sink, but the toothpaste is merely a prop in their performance, “she thinks we’re brushing our teeth.”
One thing I know is that it’s not about the time it takes, that’s not their issue. How do I know? Well, they will hang out in that bathroom pretending they’re brushing their teeth, they make a real effort of not brushing their teeth. Sometimes they even turn the taps on and off in an effort to throw me off their filthy scent, for as long as an average tooth brushing episode would take. They bound out of there full of joy, declaring, “doooo-oooone!” in an Academy award winning performance. The thick chunks of who knows what growing on their teeth suggests otherwise. The most recent addition to this non-brushing performance includes eating a chunk of toothpaste and then breathing their lies into my face, “hhhhuuuhhhhhh. Smell nice, mum?”
I don’t know if this is a kid thing, a boy thing or a kid in my house thing, but it’s starting to drive me crazy. Between my reminding and their persistent dodging, it just adds more to the long list of things I have to add to getting done in my day.
Why blow your nose? Sniff and sniff some more my boys will tell you. What’s worse than a kid with a runny nose who refuses to blow their nose? A kid with a runny nose playing an iPad who refuses to blow their nose. With their head bent down into an unnatural posture that will no doubt cause damage, it creates the perfect flow for the contents of a nose full of tissue avoidance to just stream out.
Flushing a toilet appears to be optional around here too. I’d be happy if this was the result of my constant environmental awareness chats, but it’s just another opportunity to avoid following my instructions. The lack of toilet flushing has made us aware that bum wiping is apparently optional too. We’d be saving a fortune in toilet paper costs, except that every couple of weeks one of the treasures casually uses an unravelled roll to block the toilet.
I dream of building a completely waterproof room for my toilet, one that I can spray with high-pressure water each night at the end of their busy day of weeing on the floor, walls and toilet seat. And just in case you were going to recommend adding a ping pong ball to the toilet bowl to aid with the aim of the high powered, held in far too long wee, I can assure you that this will never happen in my house, well not again anyway. We tried it once when my boys were younger, and it was a huge novelty for them and possibly one of the greatest disasters I’ve seen. I wont retell that story, but it ended with a messy number two and recovery that sends shivers down my spine. Never again.
Showers? Well they do happen, but there are only two options- 30 seconds or 25 minutes. The 30 second option involves no soap, the 25 minute one involves all the certified organic, can only be ordered online soap we own being spread on the walls and glass of the shower.
We are making progress on hanging towels up after their use, too. We’re moving away from lumped on the floor, to scrunched on the towel rail, but we see this as progress and are trying to use positive reinforcement to encourage full blown towel hanging. I’m really hopeful and I’m dedicating a vision board to the cause.
Someone told me recently that it can take children five times to understand what you are asking them to do. My plan is to just keep reminding. I’ll just keep saying it calmly before losing it and screaming it at top note for the whole neighbourhood to hear. I don’t see many adults behaving like this, so I really am hopeful that my words will penetrate their little brains and one day, without me telling/nagging them, they’ll walk out of a toilet and wash their hands. Oprah tells me to dream big, and that’s just what I’ll do.
After all, they may be grubby little creatures, but they’re MY beautiful grubby little creatures and I love them to bits. I feel honoured to have them and to smother them in kisses, especially after they’ve de-grubbed and smell all lovely and fresh, even if it is only for the shortest time.