I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Splish Splash

One of the things which commenters on this blog (and other parents I know in real life) llooovveee to harass me about is the whole "bath night" thing. For some reason they all find it offensive and weird and gross and dirty that my kids have specific bath nights. "Don't they get dirty on other days?" "It's disgusting not to shower every day!" and "You seriously only let your kids shower on certain days? Don't they smell?" are pretty common comments - although some have been far more rude than that... I'll just address this by answering WHY we have bath nights (as in more than one.)

Firstly, let me just say that if my kids wanted to shower EVERY night, they would be more than welcome to. It's not like we build a barricade around the showers or charge an entry fee. Secondly, if we all went rolling in mud but it was not a bath night, its not as though I'd say, "Whoah there kiddos! No washing today! It's not bath night! Much better to get in your beds covered in animal shit!" And thirdly, I'm fairly certain that a majority of the free world does not shower every single day, and there are several reasons not to (not great for your hair, skin, or the drought.) So not showing every day does not make ANY of us freaks of nature or society.

Seriously, people. Give me a little bit of credit here.

Imagine, if you will, what life with three babies is like. Three screaming, shitting, crying, eating, spitting, yelling, not sleeping babies. Babies who, while adorable, are very loud and very demanding. Then add a BIG MASSIVE incision right above your hoo-haa, and pack it with gauze and stuff and forget about taking any pain medication. I also want you to attach mechanical nipple-stretchers to your boobs several times a day. Then I want you to imagine you're just falling asleep when WWAAAAHHHH you get woken up by one or more of said babies. Hmmm. Now imagine trying to keep track of all those babies eating, sleeping, shitting, and bathing habits...especially when all those damn babies kinda look alike in the dark and you have no idea if today is Tuesday or not, or when the last time you ate anything was.

Not so easy.

The best advice we ever got from other parents of multiples was to put our kids into a routine from the minute they were born. It was advice that we clung to like Titanic survivors on a life raft as we negotiated our kids' early babyhood - and advice that we still follow even today. Having a routine makes your life and their life much easier to handle - everyone knows what's coming next, there are no battles over routine activities, and in general you end up with a happier and healthier family all around. So that's what we did - we developed a routine, and this routine includes specific Bath Nights. Not because we think you only get dirty on Mondays, but because that way, we KNEW that if we had built in 3 baths a week to the routine, there was no chance of anyone forgetting to do it. We had (and have) bath nights for one reason and one reason only: it saved us our sanity. Literally, DH and I were falling through those days and nights of babyhood - I'm talking thousands of diapers, hundreds of bottles in any given week. So if we knew certain things had to get done on certain days, well, it made everything a lot simpler.

Some of you reading this will wonder why, at 9 years old, we still have the bath night routine built in. Surely they are older and our life is more organised now? Here's why: I have no desire to get into a power struggle with my kids. I feel no need to beg, plead, cajole, demand, or even ASK NICELY 4 times for them to get washed. They just know it needs to get done, and they do it without ever being asked. This is a very far cry from a vast majority of my friends, many of whom need to remind, nag, beg, plead, and bribe their kids to take a shower. In our house, it's just a given.

There are plenty of times when I will ask one or more of them to take extra showers or baths, and generally speaking they don't argue about that either. With bath night, they know and I know what is expected and what's going to happen. We all maintain our standards and then some as needed. Simple. No arguing. I'm not sweating the small stuff, and neither are they. It's why we maintain the routine - so that everyone is always on the same page, and I can spend my life as a Mum enjoying my kids rather than having to feel like the fishwife.

The routine is also the reason why my kids don't watch heaps of TV, have (and complete) chores every single day, love to do non-screen time activities, and take responsibility for their pet, their home, their belongings and their lives in general. I'd gladly take ALL of that in exchange for one less shower a week.

And to those of you who, for whatever reason, still think our way of life is disgusting... tell me, how did you manage it with YOUR triplets?


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

You are not alone!!!

I do not have triplets.

My kids only bathe, on average, twice a week, unless they are really grubby for some reason.

I myself only shower every second day, and no I don't look dirty or smell.

It has only been "normal" to bathe every day since the end of the second world war, when society became pretty obsessed with all things science and "hygiene" related.

I think to bathe every day is a waste of good water, and not actually necessarily good for your skin or hair.

I actually really enjoy a long hot shower, and find it difficult to wash my long, and very thick hair in 4 minutes. Having a shower every second day also makes me feel better about the fact that my showers are longer (probably 8 minutes).

International readers (Hi all Em Gee Zee's Yankee Friends) might find this more shocking than local readers - Melbourne has had 10 years of drought and our water supply has been steadily dropping during that time. It is currently at 33.2%

Rant over, but Em, I am so with you!

Oh, and welcome back to blog-land. :-)

Kristin Ann said...

We never bathe our twins every day, never have. For the most part, we have 3 specific nights a week that are "bath nights." My one son has eczema, so daily bathing isn't good for his skin anyway.

Even now, at 5 1/2 years old, it is still a chore to bathe the boys, and it is one that I don't have the patience and energy to do every single day. So I completely understand!

And, yes, if they spend a non-bath day rolling around in mud, they get an extra bath that week :)

Rachel said...

Well I'm in the UK and I never bathed my kids every day either. My eldest at almost 13 does need to shower more frequently now, but my 7 yr old is bathed maybe twice a week, and there is always a good wash with a flannel morning and night. I agree with Claire, I don't think daily showering is particularly good for your skin, although when it's really hot and sticky (as it is here now) you do certainly feel like showering more often.

Christine said...

HAHA - love your last sentence. When I read about the critics I was thinking "Spoken like someone who does not have multiples." When our triplets were infants they got 1 bath a week. That's what they did in the NICU so I figured it was good enough for us. When they started crawling around and eating solid food and generally getting messier we started bathing them more frequently. Now they are 4 and get 2-3 baths a week depending on what they've been doing or how messy they get. Now that it's summer here it will definitely be 3 baths (at least) because they are playing outside and getting dirty and sweaty and sticky with sunscreen. I'm sorry but it is a LOT of work bathing 3 little kids. I will do it as much as is necessary, of course, but I just don't think every day is necessary!