Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Child De-griming process

I recall one morning, a few years ago, when thing #1 woke up and announced that she still had shampoo in her hair, left over from the previous night's shower. She also announced that this was entirely her father's fault, because said father should have checked her hair before she got out of the shower.

Okay, let's back up a moment.

Thing #1 is ten years old at the time. For the previous three years before that, kid-degriming process in this household was as follows:

1. Parent tells child to get undressed for shower.
2. Parent turns on water and adjusts temperature.
3. Child takes off socks, but gets distracted by dog/ipod/dust bunny during undressing period.
4. Parents investigates whereabouts of child, and finds child mostly dressed, on floor playing with dog/ipod/dust bunny.
5. Parent announces child is wasting water, and to get butt undressed and into the bathroom.
6. Child finishes undressing, runs into bathroom, and decides she needs to pee.
7. Child accidentally flushes, causing shower to be too hot to use for next two minutes.
8. Parent adjusts water again.
9. Child enters shower, proceeds to slowly and gently soap various areas of body for next 18 minutes, eventually entering a hot-water induced zombie-like trance.
10. Parent asks, "Are you done yet?"
11. Child returns to reality, announces, "not yet!" and puts head partially under water.
12. Child shampoos partially wet hair, missing three quarters of it.
13. Child moves head partially under water again, re-entering trance and failing to remove 90% of shampoo, standing there for another 18 minutes. Front of hair remains dry.
14. Parent asks, "what in gods name is taking so long," opens curtain, grabs shower nozzle, and hoses off child's head while child ducks for cover and screams due to the possible risk of getting water in her ear or eyes. Parent switches shower massage output to "shotgun mode" in hopes of getting more shampoo out and distracting child from her fears through silliness of water spray. Water collects on floor and leaks to ceiling below, causing stain on kitchen ceiling to become ever-larger.
15. Parent shuts water, removes child from shower, and dries floor with available hand towels.
16. Parent complains to spouse, asking why, in ten years, child hasn't figured out how to shower herself yet.
17. Spouse says "see above."

Now let's fast-forward three years. Thing #1 is well entrenched in her early teen years, and as a result of a home renovation now has her own shower. At this age and in this situation, the kid-degriming process seems to be as follows:

1. Child announces she's going up for a shower.
2. Parents see child disappear upstairs, and hear shower turn on
3. A half hour elapses, and sound of shower is still heard. Parent trudges up the steps and opens bathroom door, hearing the distinctive sound of a child sitting in a tub filled several inches with water, swishing her body back and forth to create a small wave pool.
4. Parent startles the bejeebers out of kid by exclaiming, "why the heck are you still in the shower???"
5. Child finishes shower, then spends next half hour in parents' bathroom with the flatiron, getting her hair as Marcia Brady-flat as possible.
6. A few hours elapse, and parent enters master bathroom as part of bedtime ritual, promptly burning his or her hand upon discovery that child never unplugged the flatiron.
7. Repeat daily.