What do you suppose is SO objectionable about getting clean?
Emily and I have been having an on-going struggle regarding her complete aversion to getting clean. She loves taking baths because she can splish-splash around with her toys for hours on end if I’d let her. But honest-to-God washing is as foreign to her as farrowing a cornfield with a mule and hand plow.
And showers? She especially hates them. The strange thing is, once she gets in there, she has fun and sings at the top of her lungs. But getting her in the shower is usually a long, painful affair.
I’ve tried coaxing her into it. I’ve tried rewards. I’ve tried explaining to her how other people think about people that don’t bathe. I’ve tried getting her to pay attention to her schoolmates and how clean and nice they look everyday. All to no avail! The worst part about it is that she has bright blond hair and it is exceptionally thick. It shows dirt and looks sickening when it is dirty. It drives me nuts!
Well…today is Emily’s birthday. She is eight years old today. Knowing that she wouldn’t want to go through the ugliness of a shower on her birthday, I told her yesterday to get in the shower. To which she replied, “I shouldn’t have to take a shower on my birthday eve, mom!”
“Emily, if you don’t take a shower today, you will have to take a shower tomorrow, on your birthday. How are you going to like that?”
Considering that she didn’t even deign to answer my question, I decided to let her have her way. A shower on her birthday it would be!
So…this morning I got her up, crooning ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. Then I ordered her into the shower. She got up - whimpering all the way – and got into the shower. Now, I was trying not to get irritated with her, but after 15 minutes of whimpering and banging around in the shower, the water still wasn’t going. I could feel my blood beginning to boil. Within five minutes, I was yelling at her and telling her that until she learned how to take a shower, turn on the water by herself and adjust it, she would take a shower EVERY DAY and wash her hair EVERY DAY. And if she came out and her hair didn’t smell perfectly clean, I would send her back in to do it again!
As my rant began to wind down, I realized she was cowering in my bed with the covers tucked under her chin and two big tears quivering at the edge of her eyelids. My heart melted.
Sitting down next to her, I put my arm around her and her little tears gushed forth. After she had calmed down, we came to an arrangement: she could take a bath everyday and spend as much time in the tub as she wanted, but when it was time to get out she’d have to stand up and wash her hair and body.
It’s a sad sight to see your little sweetheart smiling with the remnants of huge, old tears in her eyes on her birthday.
I’m so mean.