Personal hygiene is like eating vegetables and room cleaning. It's an acquired taste that kids will eventually grow into, and no matter how hard you try you can never implant the appreciation for it into them. They may wash up to please a parent or to avoid punishment, but in their heads they're still thinking how pointless of a practice it is. I know because I still remember thinking those very thoughts as I ran the water in the sink and rubbed my toothbrush up and down on the grout between the tiles on the bathroom counter for that authentic teeth-brushing sound. It took a while for my parents to catch on, but they did eventually. I had a mouthful of cavities when I was a kid, but that grout was spotless.
After particularly hot days helping my dad in the garage, he would often try to persuade me to take a shower before I went to bed because "you would feel so much better"! But at nine years old, he may as well have been speaking a foreign language. The only thing I felt after a shower was wet. One night I thought I had found a short cut to the shower by simply running the water for 10 minutes and then sticking my head in to get my hair wet. My plans were thwarted, however, when I walked into the kitchen with soaked hair hanging down my back and dry, feathery bangs in front. If you ever try that trick, learn from my mistake and be sure to get your whole head in there.
These days there is nothing better then the feeling of falling into bed after a hot shower, and I often think of how my dad was right all those years. It is also impossible for me to go to sleep now without brushing my teeth, otherwise I can feel the little plaque armies crawling all over my mouth, pillaging my enamel, and I can almost hear the dentist strike up his drill. I may be cleaner than I was 15 years ago, but I still haven't quite grown into vegetables. At least not the dark green ones. I have gained an appreciation for a clean house, albeit just in time to see the possibility of such a phenomenon in my own home vanish for at least the next 10 years.
At this point I am blessed that Bethany asks to have her teeth brushed. I think this is only because she likes to eat the toothpaste, but I'll take what I can get. I don't know how she'll feel about it as she gets older, but with grout-less bathroom counters I guess she'll have to be more creative then her mother.