Help! My kids stink!

           With school beginning it seems we are again forced to kiss those lazy summer days goodbye and start back into routines, including the most hated of them all, bathing. (You thought I was going to say homework, right?) Unfortunately, the average person prefers a clean-scrubbed child over one with a sticky face, stained clothes, and enough dirt under too-long nails to plant a garden.
            And so, after a summer filled with phrases like “the hose was good enough,” we find ourselves fighting the same bathing battles once again, apparently brutalizing our children by asking them take a few minutes of their evening to destinkify themselves. You’d think we were asking them to embark on a torturous journey with obstacles, hardship, and pain and not walking up one flight of stairs to stand in hot water and cover themselves in soap that smells like a fruit salad.
            I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only parents who face these encounters of the unclean, which means that there has to be some instinctive reason that little people don’t like to be hygiene happy. Thankfully, countless articles have been written on this very subject, and to spare you the time, I’ll recap a few of my favorite reasons why kids don’t like to shower.
1.     It means they have to go to bed. Like little Pavlov’s dogs, they think their fun time will end once they are clean. Conversely, if someone told me I was allowed to go to bed after I showered, I would run directly to the bathroom and crank on the water.
2.     They don’t like to have their hair pulled. I understand this, because no one likes to have hair yanked by a brush at the hand of an angry mother. But sometimes life is hard and you have to suck it up, kid. No one wants to see the maple syrup that you managed to smear over half your head.
3.     They like to be in control. Especially strong-willed kids and teens, which is no surprise, that don’t want anyone to tell them what to do. Apparently these strong-willed kids are unable to smell themselves.
4.     They are lazy. According to one site, the act of showering is a reminder of the other work that follows: the drying, the finding new clothes, the getting dressed. Such work! Nevermind the fact that I cleaned the shower, the towels, the laundry, etc., said the Little Red Hen.
5.     They don’t like to miss out on anything. Because you know, the second you step into the shower, the streamers come out and we have a dance party and eat giant ice cream sundaes, and it’ll all be over the instant the water turns off.
Thankfully, the experts have made this transition into a clean school year routine easier to swallow. So mean parents, unite! Send them stomping to the bathroom knowing full well the reasons they don’t want to go and not caring! Because as much as “dirt don’t hurt,” no one wants a whiff of a stinky kid. Go forth and lather, young ones.

Originally written 8.23.15


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