I’ve always said, “Marriage is the death of hygiene :-).” But after today, I think I can add another item to that list – summer. It occurred to me when I was chatting with my neighbor who was mentioning that her children’s open house is tonight and that they start school tomorrow. AND that it might be nice if the kids took a shower – AND that by the way, she couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. I, too, had to admit that my children have not exactly been one with the body wash lately. That’s not to say they are filthy –you could argue that frequent trips to the pool are a good summer substitute for a shower. And there’s no way they would hit the beach without coming home and rinsing off. (Same with my neighbor whose kids are heading back to school tomorrow.) But I have to admit to being pretty lax lately when it comes to the whole nightly bath time thing. And as long as my kids don’t have any plants growing from their limbs, 😉 (ala the girl in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle who refused to take a bath), I’m pretty much okay with that. For now. Because hygiene equals routine – and frankly, I’m not ready for that just yet.
Our summer starts to come to a close when our neighbors start flocking back from vacation. And I do mean flocking. Just like the swallows returning from Capistrano, the family whose children start school tomorrow return from their summer sojourn, heralding a new season around here. Their children are greeted back to the ‘hood like rock stars – there is lots of screaming and hugging and jumping up and down when they finally open their front door and run into the street. Before that “big rock star reveal”, my children and others on the block are under strict instruction not to knock on their door because they may be jetlagged and need their sleep. After the mini rock star reunion, there is a quick perusal of haircuts, shoe sizes, nail polish colors, silly band quotas and teeth that have grown in and teeth that have fallen out. All the things that happen in the life of a kid over the course of a summer. After checking each other out, the clock starts ticking on an almost constant play date that will only be interrupted in about a week with the realization that it will soon be necessary to get back to the shower – and back to school.
I’m grateful my kids live in a neighborhood where it’s okay to get dirty, hang out in a little pack and run in and out of each others’ homes – supervised by a group of parents who look out for the children and for each other. It’s been that way since we moved here three and a half years ago. In fact, my first introduction to what a great deal we have here was our moving day. It also happened to be my kids’ first day of school here in Savannah. (Yes, they both took baths in the hotel room the night before – I’m pretty sure at least. ;-)) Anyway, our new next door neighbor saw our moving truck drive up and came out to introduce herself to Charlotte, Jonathan and me. (Phil was at work.) She asked when Jonathan was getting home from school that day (he was in preschool at the time) and would the moving truck still be there when he returned? I said he got out at noon and that yes, the truck would still be there. She said, “bring him over to my house when he comes home from school and he can play with my kids until the truck leaves.” And yes, at this point, I’m going to mention Down syndrome for the first time in this particular post. Here was a woman who had just met Jonathan and yet she didn’t treat him any differently. She embraced him instantly as “just another kid on the street” – a new playmate for her children. I thought, “Wow, This woman is awesome! What if EVERYBODY could instantly see past the “disability?”
But right now, as MY kids get ready to head back to school (in about two weeks from now,) you’ve got to see past the dirt. J And I know it’s definitely time to get scrubbing. While my friend’s two children (all freshly showered and ready to get back in the game) headed to their open house this evening, Jonathan, Deedah and I ran a few errands. At our second to last stop, Jonathan made an announcement I’m pretty sure almost everyone in the store could hear. (Proud parental moment of the day;-))
“Mom,” he said – “I need a bath really, really bad. I’m super dirty.” No need to call Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – I’m on it. Time to get back to hygiene and back to routine – ready or not.
Posted by Brooke