I’ve noticed lately that their Union is engaged in fight with management over how often they are required to bathe. I think that they think that stench is one of their new superpowers. I’ve heard many tales of this phenomenon over the years, but like most Moms, I secretly thought, ”Oh, that won’t happen to me.” But it did. It is. It’s starting to happen to me and my nose.
I remember a friend once telling me about having to check her teenage sons packing efforts before he went away for camp one time. She found out that he had packed one pair of underwear…for seven days. She was thrilled to discover this before he left. For me, that would be the moment in the conversation where I would stiffen all the fingers of my left hand and strike a light blow dead center of their forehead. It’s a little like a love tap with intention, reminding them where their head is…you know, in case at some point they want to use it.
As a matter of independence now, the 10 year olds are trying to establish their right to smell. WTF? How does bathing cut into your busy schedule of computer games, TV watching and trying to avoid helping around the house? (which sounds an awful lot like my busy schedule sometimes, so I guess the apple doesn’t really fall far from the tree after all).
And weirdly, when they finally can be prevailed upon to bathe, the project goes on for up to and hour or more if you don’t intervene. It’s like they think that they can stock up on enough clean to keep them going for the next 10 days. They will also use 10 days worth of soap if they are not controlled.
The things is, and I try, with considerable desperation, to make them understand that their problem is only going to get worse when the hormones come on in earnest. The idea of three teenagers at once just makes my eyes cross, and the other boy won’t be far behind them. But they seem blithely unconcerned with this.
Add to this their complete lack of concern for brushing their hair and their tendency to wear pants that would suit them just right for the next flood and I’ll tell you, I don’t know how they get invited over to people’s houses. I really thought, as a family, that we would look better than this, but in the end, that wasn’t a battle I chose to fight. I regret that on some levels, but they should have given me more time in between children to establish certain standards.
For now, I’m resting all my faith in the moment they notice the opposite sex…