Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ensuring Proper Credit

When is the proper time to wash a baby?

Let me be perfectly clear. I am not some wet behind the ears rookie of a parent that requires others give standing ovations at the mere sight of my progeny being pushed forward in an immaculate state of the art, J-lo would be jealous type pram. No. I am a veteran of the 24/7 mess cycle known as motherhood.

I am quite serious in my inquiry.


There seems to be no viable reason to bathe a baby during the day, as the baby only gets more orange goo following the next nap, wets, poops and spits up orange goo and therefore requires a complete change before being seen in public. On the other hand, bathing the baby at night seems rather pointless other than from a cleanliness standpoint, as the kid will be tucked in bed and again, the orange or green goo consumed, will soil the sheets and the outfit and the hair.

My daughter still gets a bath, don’t get me wrong. It’s just, I want some credit and don’t know how to time my care of her such that there is a higher percentage chance of her being seen in public and someone not thinking, “Well, you know, she has so many children, she can’t have time to dress her baby up cute.”

I know it’s vanity, but I’m proud of my children and think they’re adorable and would like to not feel like I’m campaigning for Bumpus parent of the year by virtue of my daughter’s appearance. Finally, I’ve taken to placing the baby in her bunting blanket as a way of providing pretty cover for her spitting up tendencies.

That leaves the toddlers, who have recently taken to dressing themselves. This would be great except they both think it is July when it’s winter and winter when it’s July. I’ve tried squirreling away all the wrong season attire. It would have worked except my toddlers are terribly verbal. One asked his brother where his shorts were. I hadn’t briefed the teenager that this information was classified, so the shorts turned up in abundance the morning after I had stored all the stuff. The other just raided her sister’s wardrobe until she found something she deemed suitable.

Lacking the emotional energy to repack the clothing, I finally decided that reality is a good teacher. In March, he came down in shorts. I help him with the socks and he was good to go. He put on his shoes and coat and went outside to ride his bike. Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door. “It’s really cold out there Mom.”

“Why don’t you try long pants, I bet they’re warmer.”“I bet you’re right Mom.” And off he marched to change. While we repeated this routine three times, he then got in the habit of checking the weather.

Now I have a toddler who won’t consider the idea of climate change during the day…it’s cold now, so it will be cold later, or it’s hot now…so it won’t possibly rain later.

Still, it beats the alternative my other darling came up with; she now strips whenever she thinks it is too hot, down to a pull up. She strips in secret, so I find piles of barely used outfits hidden all around the house, under couches, behind doors, once in the refrigerator…don’t know the story behind that one but then I’m not sure I should. I now keep an outfit in spare stashed in my gym bag for just such an occasion in an effort to keep everyone dressed for the day.

Maybe I’ll start draping her in the baby blanket bunting too.

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