I like to be clean. Taking a shower each morning is really one of my non negotiables. I can go without a full night’s sleep. I can make it without coffee. But I really need a quick spritz with a little soap to embark on the day. If I have a few bonus minutes to shave my legs, then I really can rock it into high gear.
Keeping kids clean is entirely different. You really have to lower your standards. I try to make sure they are clean enough. My “clean enough” threshold means they might appear a bit messy and sticky but they still look cared for by loving parents. Often my baby Presley has bits of food stuck to her ears or cheeks (at my house we call this “cleaned daddy style”). And my toddler Dylan can spend a half hour at the sink putting on her makeup. That stuff doesn’t fully come off until a good scrub down at the end of the day.
Before I had kids, I never understood why a parent would let snot pour out of their child’s nose. Why don’t they just wipe it and keep the poor kid clean? It’s so gross. Of course, now I know better. The parents are wiping their child’s nose. They just can’t keep up with the non-stop faucet.
Nearly three year-old Dylan is learning the rituals of cleanliness. She regularly brushes her teeth (she does not always put on the protective eyewear).
She is also learning to wash her hands each time she goes to the potty. Well, sort of. I admit that I don’t make her wash her hands every time she goes to the potty. Gosh, I feel so guilty just writing it. Honestly, I don’t know how the girl pees so much. In addition to peeing in her pull-ups regularly, she is able to pee in her potty a million (o.k. eight or nine) times a day. Maybe those M&M bribes have something to do with it. I do try to insist on hand washing at least fifty percent of the time. And I always wash my own hands. Aren’t I the one who is wiping her anyway?
Given my natural tendency to be a neat freak, I’ve come a long way in accepting messy faces, stained t-shirts and sticky walls. I know now that when Dylan drops a tortilla chip on the city sidewalk, it is definitely still clean and ready for consumption (no matter how many dogs have peed there before).