Tag Archives: washing

Don’t Drink the Bathwater


What's wrong Mummy?

What’s wrong Mummy?

You know when you feel like you’ve almost got the hang of this parenting thing?

Your children do as they’re told and listen to you?

They seem to have developed a respect for you and your wishes?

And you feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing now?

The smart part of you, which has usually gone into hiding for self-preservation reasons, might finally stick its head up over the parapet just a tiny, little bit to point out that it’s the lull before the storm, or, more accurately, that pride comes before a fall.

Mini is just at that age when she has started picking up bad habits and she seems to be getting them from her big brother, who is just starting to stop all the gross little habits he’s accumulated so far.

Like investigating the contents of his nostrils, presenting them to me with the proud flourish of a fait accompli. (It is of course mandatory for this to take place in public.)

Or eating food off the floor. Without application of the 10 second rule (a moot point in Mini’s case since she can’t count to 10 yet).

She takes her nappy off when she wants it changed and presents you with the offending article. We then have to play hunt the contents around the house. This is a Mini special and, fortunately for the carpets and furnishings, not one we had to face with Motormouth.

She also licks the railings. This is one habit she hasn’t gotten from her brother and I have no idea where she got the idea from but her assessment seems to be that the hilarity of the situation is proportional to our reaction to it. It is really hard to pretend not to see it, believe me.

Our general reaction to this sort of behaviour has toned down since Motormouth, but you know what they say “Your first child eats dirt, you rush them to the doctor; your second child eats dirt and you clean their mouth out; and your third child eats dirt and you wonder if they still need dinner.”

So we carry on, trying to break her of the bad habits without making her so stubborn she carries on the behaviour just because she can, and we try not to worry too much.

There are things that we still get aerated about; we have the “dog poo alert” chant to the Octoalert theme from Octonauts (don’t get me started on people allowing their dogs to foul pavement and verges); we still clean bottles when they’ve been dropped; and we’re very strict on hand-washing after going to the toilet.

I think we’ll just have to put up with what can until Mini get out of the habit of having bad habits.

I almost forgot. She drinks the bathwater as well.

A Tale of Two Bubbles


Bubble Trouble

Bubble Trouble

I was going through the annual ritual of bathing Motormouth and Mini when it struck me that they must have very different experiences of bath time.

Motormouth is quite happy to have his bath but he has one stipulation – Mini has to join him.

He is very much the more experienced of the two and needs to be surrounded by bath toys and plays quite complex games that involve submarines, Octonauts and trains (well he is a boy!). He will happily fill bottles, taking great delight in emptying them into the bath, over the side of the bath and, most often, over Mini’s head.

I think that’s partly why he wants Mini in there with him. Not so much to play with as a little sister but more as a toy. He’s especially keen to help wash her hair. Funnily enough, this involves dumping more bottles of water on her head.

For her part, Mini seems content watching the splashes as she slaps the water, or catching the odd plastic ball that floats past her. Or grabbing any stray parts of Motormouth that come into reach.

Fortunately she doesn’t seem at all bothered by him pouring water over her, though she does give me the odd look as if to ask “is this how it’s meant to go?” Bless her, she doesn’t cry. At least she hasn’t yet.

That is until I take her out of the bath, then it’s as if she is being tortured. I haven’t quite worked out why. It might be that she was having too much fun. It could be she doesn’t like the sudden cold or sensation of being wet. I suspect I will never know.

Maybe it’s the whole performance around bath time.

I remember when Motormouth was first born. We took endless care – using a special baby bath, making sure the water was exactly the right temperature, that we had everything to hand, including towels that were heated snuggly warm for him.

Now we’re much more blasé – as much because of the practical necessity of keeping two little ones occupied during the process, as a familiarity that makes us more comfortable in following our own instincts.

I have even been known to give Mini a quick bath in the sink, or douse her under the shower when I’ve had one of those nappies (you know the ones where it’s hard to work out where to start so you decide to hose everything (including the baby) down first). I think they have been interesting experiences for her, judging by the bemused look on her face.

This relaxing of the strict observance of the rules runs through pretty much everything with Mini. We aren’t as worried about half the things that used to keep us up at night with Motormouth. We don’t stress about the sniffles or the coughs. She doesn’t keep her socks on? Chuck a blanket over her. She falls over? Well, as long as she isn’t too noisy or too quiet, she’ll be fine, she needs to learn.

I know that experience makes us better parents – more confident, more able to deal with the little bumps that life sends us parents, but I have to admit I have wondered about whether different is as good for Mini.

Whilst we try and give them equal one-to-one time it can never measure up to the total attention that Motormouth had when he was her age. She will always have Motormouth there before her, whatever she does. First ride on the swings – he’s done it before. First time swimming – he’s splashed in the pool lots of times. First time seeing a sheep or a pig in real life – he’s petted them already.

So, is this just a different experience or is it a lesser one for Mini?

I hope it’s the former.


Ten Step Guide to… Upchuck Central


An important receptacle

An important receptacle

Welcome to the Ten Step Guide to Dealing with Upchuck Central, otherwise known as Small Children with Tummy Bugs.

Step 1 Drag yourself out of the best, most refreshing sleep you’ve had for days as your poorly child starts to make the coughing, hacking sound you dread. Usually at 2 am in the morning. Ideally this will be accomplished within a 30 second window. Fire fighters have nothing on you at this point.

Step 2 Find the bin you usually use as an emergency sick bowl, empty the contents unceremoniously on the floor (promising yourself to retrieve the 27 pieces of different train sets that have found their way in there) and place in the general line of fire. Adjust positioning for wind vector and toddler unpredictability as required. Use your hand as a backup receptacle if required.

Step 3 Wait for a suitable pause to commence the cleaning process. Peel dripping pyjamas from your child, ensuring that you do not wedge any lumpy bits in any orifices. Carry the child to the bathroom at arm’s length. Place carefully in the bath or shower and apply running water to the affected parts. Talk soothingly to the child, promising them you will not get water in their eyes or any part of their body currently designated as the “delicate bits”. This can be tricky if “delicate bits” includes knees, ears or boobies. Endeavour to deliver on said promise. Encourage use of toothbrush if possible.

Step 4 Return child to their room and dry them off. Attempt to redress in clean pyjamas, explaining that the rules do not prohibit the wearing of tops and bottoms that don’t match. Make mental note to rewrite the rules during daylight, if required. Continue to reassure them that they have done nothing wrong and that they will feel better now all the bad germs are out of their tummy. Send silent request to relevant deities that this will, in fact, be the case.

Step 5 Encourage them to wait patiently while you strip any soiled bedding and search for clean sheets. Restrain yourself from using curse words as you search through the dirty washing basket for a sheet that will do “just for tonight” when you discover that there are, in fact, no clean sheets available. Field any questions from the child about why you can use dirty clothes out of the linen basket and they cannot. Make a mental note to do the washing. Soon. Remember to make sure the child knows where the bucket is at all times and they remain within vomiting distance (around three feet for distance, three inches for accuracy).

Step 6 Clean any collateral damage in the surrounding area, taking the opportunity to throw a few extras toys into the toy box to create a sterile zone in the event of further emissions. Reassure the child throughout as before. Try to remain positive as the washing pile quadruples in size.

Step 7 Encourage them to get back into bed, using any persuasion methods necessary (the standard bribery rate is three short books). Assure child that they will not be sick again, ensuring you cross your fingers during this statement. Make sure they are aware where bucket will be stationed by reminding them a minimum of six times.

Step 8 Retire to bathroom to sanitise your person as appropriate, placing soiled clothing on the ever increasing washing pile.

Step 9 Return to your bed, avoiding the cold spot that has developed in your absence. Ensure you retain full self control as you relocate Significant Other (who has slept soundly through the entire incident) to allow you sufficient space to lie on your side in a plank-like pose. Timing your physical efforts, (in the form of sharp pokes or shoves) to coincide with the snores (theirs not yours) is most effective (and satisfying).

Step 10 Review the tasks that have now been added to the next day’s To Do list, reprioritising as needed. Ensure you place a second request to the relevant deities regarding the infectiousness and timing of any further emissions from any party within the household. Close your eyes and wait to fall asleep again.

And… wait for number two child to rouse with a choking, hacking noise.

WARNING Do not look at the clock at any point during this process. Calculating the maximum amount of sleep you can still get before you absolutely have to get up will only make you feel worse. Especially when you find yourself recalculating it every quarter of an hour. It gets less. You know that already.