*Warning, crappy picture alert!* Today I have learnt that if my kids are dirty, I’m the one photographing them! So you are being subjected to my heinous phone pictures.
Now, don’t go thinking my children are unwashed urchins. I shower them. I do! It just doesn’t seem to work. They appear to be magnets for dirt.
They shower every night at about 6.30. Then comes the much-researched and proven phenomenon called the ‘post-shower glow.’ They gleam with cleanliness, all pink skinned and squeaky-clean. This lasts until about 6.35. Five minutes. That is all I get.
I think, or at least hope, most parents have been there. Please God, say it’s not just me! A small toddler hand reaches into yours, a rosy cheek is offered for a kiss. I mean, who doesn’t like that? But something doesn’t feel right. And that something is your kid.
There are a plethora of sensations you can get at this point. Here are a few off the top of my head: greasy, slimy, sticky, fuzzy, wet…there’s more, I know there’s more, but I appear to have blocked them from my mind. There is one thing, though, that they all have in common; they feel revolting.
And you can’t even do anything to prevent it. You can’t reject a kiss off your kid, for God’s sake. And you can’t turn round to them and say, “Hey, dude! Your skin feels freaking disgusting! Why don’t you get as far away from me as you can and get a wipe, or something?” Nope. You’re stuck there, skin crawling, wondering exactly what is being transferred onto your skin.
I’ve tried the mess avoidance approach. Believe me, I’ve tried. No sticky food except in a secure environment (the kitchen table, I meant. I’m not some kind of monster!), regular child wiping, cleaning the house. You know, the usual approaches. But I have discovered something. If they don’t find it, it finds them.
Even restricting the messy stuff doesnt always help. The day before Hallowe’en, I made a pasta bolognese. Squeak must have been feeling peckish, because she dug in straight away. I looked down at my own food for a second. It couldn’t have been more than that, it was only one bite! And well, I guess she got a bit of an itchy eye because when I looked back up, her entire face was orange. She looked, appropriately, like a pumpkin.
And it’s not just inside the house that it happens. Whether we’re at the park, the beach, a museum, my kids find the dirt and they get completely covered in it.
The photos below are Big Girl, after a regular park trip. You know, run on the grass, play on the swings, say hi to the ducks and done. Or not, as the case may be. It was a sunny day, but I guess it must have been raining at some point because BG found the biggest, deepest muddy puddle I have ever seen.
I saw her skirting around the edges of it with a curious look on her face. I thought nothing of it. Little Girl was only 18 months or so and needed a lot of supervision. I was just happy that BG had found something to occupy her. There are only so many times you can rescue a trapped child who’s fallen through a rope bridge before it just starts getting irksome.
I was chasing LG all over the place, diverting her over and over from running out of the gate when I heard it. The other adults in the park were laughing. And there was only one reason I could think of for that. Ah, shit.
BG had progressed a lot from her cautious exploration. In other words, she was sitting in the puddle. Yes, in it. Waist deep.
I suppose I could have told her to get out. From the expressions on the other parents’ faces, that was what they expected me to do. But if you’d seen her face, you’d have understood why I didn’t. She was grinning so hard that she looked like a Muppet, and her eyes shone. She was in heaven.
The walk home was unpleasant, to say the least. I may have a child who squeaks now, but back then I had a child who squelched.
Ick. And she smelled like a pigsty. I had to wash her clothes three times to get the smell out. I don’t even want to think about what was in that puddle!