• December 10, 2019

A SHARP LIFE: Parenting: Safety vs sanity - Odessa American: Opinions

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A SHARP LIFE: Parenting: Safety vs sanity

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Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2019 6:30 am

There are many aspects of parenting small children which are difficult. No doubt every parent has their own personalized list of parenting-related tasks they find frustrating, but I have to think that bath time would make a lot of lists.

At its core, bath time (even if it is technically a shower) should be a reasonably simple task. The kid is dirty, you get them clean, dry them off, and get them dressed. It all sounds so wonderfully, deceptively simple.

The reality is that bathing young children isn’t a day at the beach. When they are infants you begin bathing them scared to death because they are so small and fragile. There is also the danger that placing a baby in the water will activate the child’s “pee on my parents” system and that you’ll get more than you bargained for.

As the child gets older, you become less concerned for their safety and more worried about your sanity. Toddlers like to do things like stand up in the tub and do cannonballs in 3 inches of water which isn’t good for them, the bathtub, or the entire bathroom which is now part of the splash zone.

Toddlers have occasionally been known to, for lack of a better way of putting it, drop logs in the tub. The first time this happened to a child I was bathing, I was home with two kids while the Wonder Woman was out of the house. Imagine that, my first time navigating somebody pooping in the bathtub and I was without the brains of the operation and a hazmat suit!

Eventually kids get a little older and they get to the point that, rather than just doing their business in the tub they yell, “I’ve gotta potty!” So you carry a dripping wet kid across the bathroom so they can do their business and be returned to their bath.

When they reach this age, the biggest issue is trying to get kids to lean their head back so you can rinse the shampoo out of their hair. This is another thing which sounds simple, but for whatever reason it’s like asking a small child to do nuclear physics.

Eventually kids reach the stage that our 8-year-old is in. The stage where you tell them, “Keep it under 10 minutes and don’t flood my bathroom.” A little independence is good for everyone.

To be honest, I doubt he is leaning his head back when he rinses his hair either, but he’s old enough that it’s not my problem anymore.

Odessa, TX

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