Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: When is the last time they had a bath? 1

Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: When is the last time they had a bath?

Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: When is the last time they had a bath?

I don’t know.

What month is it?

I am not a bad mom.  I consider myself an adequate mom. I think I will get a mug: “World’s Most Adequate Mom.”

And I do love the smell of freshly bathed, lotioned, and jammied up small people, but the fact is washing them is a lot of work. We closed the pool about a month ago. There were two days last week that I casually ignored them when they turned on the hose.  I pretended that I was on the phone when they stripped naked. Then I texted my husband to make sure he wasn’t going to be home right away and broke out the baby shampoo. So, it wasn’t a bath per say, but there was water and soap involved. When Justin got home, I joined him in chastising them for getting into the water hose.

They looked confused, but I just transferred $100 extra to each of their counseling funds.  They can blame me, I don’t mind. As I tuck them in at night, I just remind them, “Tell your psychiatrist it was my fault, as long as I don’t have to give you a bath.”

There are so many factors involved. The two youngest boys, who we call the vandals, will jump in the pool 2,000 times. But if I dump a cup of bath water over their head they scream like I am trying to kill them. What is that?  There are days I am just not up for the battle. And then there is the smell. Around here we call it “Buffalo Boy.” I actually kind of like the smell of their sweaty little-sunkissed heads. I love to look out the window of our ranch house and see their naked little bodies, with their cowboy boots on, of course, playing in the sandbox, or chasing the cat with a golf club.  Such dear memories.

But the fact is when you add water to the Buffalo Boy smell it turns into hot buzzard breath with a hint of burning mesquite and armpit.  Vandals should come with a warning label: DO NOT ADD WATER.

If we are being blatantly honest I have a rebellious streak that was instilled in me by my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace.  Iris and I had our ups and downs. One of the more prevalent downs was the time she reported me to child protective services for failing to bathe the children after they had been swimming all day.

Is it just me?  This seemed passive aggressive, oh, and also like an enormous waste of water. They’d literally been in the pool all day, soaking wet.  And I argued that the chlorine was more effective than soap, and she’d deny it, but she did in fact bleach the children. Every chance she got she would give them a bath with a half a cup of bleach. I caught her once… she faked dementia.  But I knew what she was up to.

As far as the ups?  Iris died of cancer in our home, that wasn’t the up… the up was having her in our home.

Those last few weeks are some of the fondest memories we have together. My husband would push her up and down the sidewalk in her wheelchair while she held Sam.  The kids would climb in her hospital bed with her, and she would love on them, tell them stories, and slowly drift to sleep. But she never let the bath thing go. Before she slipped into a coma, she had two last statements. First, she asked for “Natalie,” her granddaughter. And then she said, “Did you bathe the kids?”

I lied and whispered, “Yes, ma’am.

Personally, I think the bathing of children has grown in excess. That and toothbrushing.  And yes, I know they can get cavities, and we try our darndest and thank God they all have had great check-ups. But at the one-year-old’s check up the dentist said to me, “Make sure that if the baby has a bottle in the middle of the night, you take a warm wet cloth and wipe down her little tooth buds and then immediately give her a drink of filtered fluoridated water.”

I LOL’ed. And then said.“Immediately? I can’t do it immediately. I have to take our pet unicorn out to graze after I put the baby back to sleep… but I will clean her mouth out right after that.”

He didn’t laugh.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I have to put our pet #uniorn out to graze first…” quote=”I have to put our pet #uniorn out to graze first…”]

And I promise I will get nasty emails about the importance of infant dental health, but I am pretty sure that the pioneers weren’t wiping down the mouths of their babies and the human species has survived.  I haven’t slept through the night since 1995.  The goal of a bottle in the middle of the night is to put the baby back to sleep. Otherwise, I would be … that’s right – ASLEEP!!!!

So in lieu of the 3:00 am feeding with fluoride treatment I am opting for the 3:00 am feeding with a quick, “Jesus protect her teeth and please grant me two more hours of uninterrupted sleep… Amen.”  I am confident since the Lord never grants my request for the sleep, He is busy protecting the baby’s teeth from decay.

I am also positive the Lord would not condone me shoving a washcloth in a sleeping child’s mouth, it is one of the commandments.  Thou shall not wake a sleeping baby.  I can’t deny my God for Dental Law, it would be a sin. Furthermore, I don’t feel that submersion in a bathtub is the only option for ‘bathing” the children. There’s wipes, hand sanitizer (which you can buy by the gallon at Sam’s Club), and never ever forget the power of mom spit.

So in honor of this post, I can answer truthfully, “They had a bath tonight.”

But I beg you, don’t ask me again… and don’t judge me. Obviously, I have enough problems, and the psychotherapy budget is maxed out on the children.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I must tend to the unicorn.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

“Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”  Matthew 23:26

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  1. Jessica on October 21, 2016 at 5:28 am

    No condemnation from this mom … I have blatantly allowed the pack to strip and play in the hose …

  2. Tara on October 21, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Yes! We are mourning the closing of the pool as well.

  3. Kimberly on October 21, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Finally bathed my littles after having to sit next to one of them in the car and smelled that “buffalo boy” smell! It was actually attacking my nose. …I yelled at him and told him he MUST shower, then yelled at everyone in the car, no one would leave the house again, EVER!! IF THEY DON’T bath immediately. ….. not one of my most proud moments, bit you are not alone sister. 😉

    • jami_amerine on October 21, 2016 at 6:33 am


  4. Jennifer on October 21, 2016 at 6:46 am

    It’s hilarious that you have a “therapy fund” for the kids. I mention ours all of the times. Rarely gets a laugh so I had to laugh with you instead. Thank you for your real and raw. It’s refreshing.

    • jami_amerine on October 21, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Therapy is funny… even if only you and I think so. #solidarity

  5. Edith on October 21, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I could handle “sweaty little boy” smell, but “post-football practice adolescent boy” was a bit much….especially times three…..

    • jami_amerine on October 21, 2016 at 7:06 am

      Yeah. It’s not as endearing.

  6. Candy on October 21, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I distinctly remember as a child that Saturday night was deemed bath night whether we needed it or not. #bringitback But we’ve already established that I’m a lot older than you. I’m looking forward to Justin pushing me in my wheelchair. I guess I should get to know him better.

    • jami_amerine on October 21, 2016 at 7:30 am


  7. Glenna McKelvie on October 21, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I distinctly remember your Dad (when ya’ll were little and he was still a fireman) that at the firehouse they mop the floor after ever meal! Being a Christian I didn’t tell him where he could put the mop, nor did I ask him if he mopped with three kids hanging off him… but the look on my face said it all! —

  8. Julie on October 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    In our house swimming and playing with the hose equal baths.
    Never had a name for the sweaty heads of babes… truth be told, I kinda like it, but my older kids say it smells like cheese.
    Love you writing! I get such validation that we’re normal over here:)

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