Thursday, August 17, 2006

Confessions of a Hygiene-Challenged 9-year-old

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.


Bev Herrema said...

Our youngest is 9, and sometimes I wonder WHAT we were thinking when we added #4! I wouldn't dare read him your blog because he would try every single one of your tricks, for sure. I love that kid with all my heart, but he can sure be sneaky sometimes!

But I think there's HOPE for his future as I see how you conquered your hygiene-challenged past and are striding into the future in good health (those ARE your own teeth in that picture, aren't they?).

And now I think I'll go stock up on toothpaste, probably vanilla-flavored, because child #3 seems to be allergic to mint! Always something....

Stacy said...

I think that you may be the funniest person on Earth. This is quite the compliment, coming from someome who was raised by a dental hygienist. :)

Can't wait to see you in 20 something days! (Forever end of the school insanity!!)

LisaQ said...

Every night I do these smell tests on my 10 year old:
*Hair after shower (she wasn't washing hers either!)
In the morning, I do these smell tests:
Clothing. (she's notorious for wearing the same shirt every day...apparently she's oblivious to her own body odor.) Who cares that she has 8 bajillion clean shirts in her dresser. It's only the ones in the dirty clothes pile that appeal to her. I DON'T GET IT.

Ok..that's bizarre about Mrs. Slovensky...I'm 38, and she taught at Walt Disney Elementary in Omaha, Ne when I was in 4th grade. Where did you go to grade school? Maybe she moved to where you are? Or...did you go to Walt Disney Elementary? can I get a copy of your cd?

Gina Boe said...

I absolutely love reading your blog. My oldest is 12 and I think we may have finally won the battle of personal hygiene. Ya know, there are advantages to when they notice the opposite sex! Suddenly hair, teeth, and clothes matter! Next week they'll matter so much I'll wish I'd never bought him deodorant!!

Heather said...

Thats is very interesting Kristie. I just made a note-to-self that if I ever have children that I need to watch them brush their teeth everyday!

StacyMichelle said...

More blogs please.

Brian said...

Your readers are patiently waiting for a new post! Please.

StacyMichelle said...

Yeah, what Brian said. PATIENTLY.