Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zoe vs. Personal Hygiene

A day spent being Zoe takes its toll. In grime.
By 7 p.m. her face is smudged with all manner of dirt, detritus, food, and mucus. Her hands are sticky. Likewise hair. Especially if it was not a ponytail day.
Did I say "day"? I meant minute. That's about as long as we can sustain a hairstyle before she destroys it. As for brushing her hair, see here.

SWMC, who enjoys smelling crayons, eating
dirt, and long walks on the beach, in search
of like-minded SWFC to live in filth.

Each day ends with a Zoe in dire need of a bath but Zoe, as you might've guessed, would prefer to keep collecting dirt on her person.
There are only two times Zoe is in favor of taking a bath: 1. when she's already in the bathtub and doesn't want to get out, or 2. when we skipped the bath because she insisted on playing through and now that Bedtime and its hours of stillness loom she'll endure any indignity to escape, even if it means becoming less sticky.
But the rest of the time it's an argument or an endless negotiation that breaks out into an argument or a mad, naked (her, not me; I'm always fully dressed in a ball gown, even when undergoing a c-section---abdominal surgery is no excuse to eschew fashion) chase through the apartment to the accompaniment of threats and warnings and bribes and promises just to get her in the tub.
Would you like to sit on the potty first? I may gently inquire. Or I may offer to let her turn the lights in the bathroom on and off five times before she has to get in the bath. Okay, six times.
Then, once she's in the tub, will the water stay in with her or will she commence dumping it on the floor?
Innocent bystander or aquatic instigator?
When she was an infant I had more control. Now I turn on the water; she turns it off. I turn off the water; she turns it on. She splashes like crazy, laughs like a hyena, then refuses to get out.
I often catch her drinking her dirty bathwater. Yet she never drinks the clean water I routinely offer. It seems the salty tang of dirty toddler was what she was after. 
"Are you drinking your dirty bath water?" I ask.
"No, I'm Zoe!" she replies without a trace of guile.
Had she thought I was calling her by her Native-American name? I'd thought that was either Tries Mommy's Patience or Says No a Lot. Or perhaps simply Refuses Peas.
Some nights bath is even more complicated.
When I can no longer pick the large pieces of food residue out of her hair, it's time to actually wash it. Her screams as I pour water over her head can burst the eardrums of grown men and small dogs. What is so awful about getting dirty bathwater in your eyes if you're willing to ingest it?
Ablutions completed, both of us ragged and shell-shocked, there's one final personal hygiene challenge to confront: the brushing of the teeth.
I used to have this little plastic tube I could fit over my thumb to rub her gums when she didn't have teeth. And when she bit me it hurt just as much as when she did get teeth. By that point I wasn't so silly as to get that close, but she's pretty quick and I'm slow. (Ball gown.)
Oh, the humanity!
Since Zoe clearly cannot be trusted with freedom, teeth brushing is done after the bath but while she's still confined in the tub. In some ways this is the hardest part for me to watch because my idea of being naughty is squeezing the toothpaste tube from the top.
So I'll hand her the toothbrush, and then, after closing the cap, I'll give her the toothpaste tube (at her insistence). She'll put the toothbrush in her mouth, give her top teeth the merest of swipes, suck off the rest of the paste, then use the brush to clean the tub before putting it back in her mouth. Cause why not?
End result: she's cleaner on the outside, but God only knows what her insides look like. 
Zoe: 28; Universe: 0


  1. Your Pigpen filth ad made me literally LOL!! My son was always pretty clean, but my daughter? TOTAL PIGPEN! And this part: "Are you drinking your dirty bath water?" I ask.
    "No, I'm Zoe!" she replies without a trace of guile." OMG...I die. That is fantastic!!! Bwahahaha! --Lisa

    1. Haha, Lisa, you'd think girls would be cleaner but I guess that's sexist, isn't it? I bought the whole puppy dog tails vs. "everything nice" nursery rhyme.

  2. Native American name bit was the funniest thing I've seen in a while!I son has a Scottish name "ClimbMe McClingerson.