Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children’s personal care choices.

Bath time has always been fun, playful and relaxing for us. It is a time that we have enjoyed as a whole family, but also a space reserved for Aodhan and I to reconnect – just him and I.

When Aodhan was a newborn, bath time became the half hour of the day when my arms, my body, and  my brain felt rested. Aodhan was not keen on being placed in anything other than my arms or a sling, so the weightlessness of the water, while he nursed quietly, always felt next to heaven for me in those early months.  We weren’t bathing for cleanliness, we were bathing for sanity.

As Aodhan grew and our adventures in babyled weaning began, bathing him after dinner became more of a necessity than the solace it had once been. But, it remained a warm and relaxed experience for us both. Aodhan’s dad took on the task of spraying down the entire kitchen and trying find a floor under the film of hummus or eggplant, while Aodhan and I giggled our way through a bath. I can still hear Aodhan and Kevin laughing to themselves as Aodhan played one of his first games after bathtime: “catch me dad while I crawl naked across the bed”. I know how special those moments were to Kevin; trying to be an Attachment Parenting dad isn’t always easy in the first year when boobies and mama reign supreme. But right after bath time was a time for these two to learn about each other and trust a little more with each towel-off.

These days, bath time has become less of a sacred experience and more of an extension of our family motto of “Play, Play, Love and Play”. Most often Aodhan just splashes around, plays with different sensory materials I throw into the tub or uses bath tub paint to get in a little extra creative time.

Cleanliness happens. It isn’t enforced though. We don’t insist that Aodhan wash his hair. If he has been practicing his throwing skills with a handful of sand then I will ask him if he wants it washed. If he doesn’t, I will encourage him to let me wipe his hair down with a warm wash cloth and he is always happy to oblige. We have never wanted bath time or the idea of personal cleaning to be about stress. We are honest with him and talk about being clean and how good it feels to have a splash after a long and sweaty day, but we are relaxed about it and just go with his flow.

Bathtime is a chance for Aodhan to see the important issue of body autonomy in action. We hear him when he says no and we allow him the right to do things for himself or not at all.

I am sure some readers are gagging or falling off their chairs at my poor parenting – but, cleanliness just happens for us. The idea of my son being happy and comfortable with his own body is paramount over him having dirty toes.

In the spirit of our Bathtime Play here are two recipes we have used for Bath/Body Art:

Edible Bathtime Paint
2 cups of confection sugar
4 TBS of corn syrup
8 TBS of soy/rice/almond milk

Mix vigourisly and pour into a muffin tin or paint pots. Add food colouring and mix again.
Get Painting!

Water Colour Bath Tub Paint
In muffin tins or pots squirt 4 TBS of shampoo/body wash (if you babe is still wee, make sure to use a tear free product)
Add 1 TBSP of corn starch to each pot and a smidge of food colour; mix and enjoy!
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

 

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16 Responses to Bath time: Just Another Chance to Play!

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about how laid back so many families are about bath time, etc. in this carnival! And the idea for edible body paint is sheer genius. (p.s. such beautiful pictures!!)

  2. Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet says:

    “The idea of my son being happy and comfortable with his own body is paramount over him having dirty toes.”

    I LOVE THAT!

    My son loves bath-time and hair-washing and all of it, and I think that’s partly because he has never once been forced to do any of it.

  3. I love your perspective! I’ve had to adapt our cleaning routines to mesh with what our children will allow peacefully. Though I will admit to cajoling my older one into the tub with various incentives, because he always enjoys it once he gets in! Speaking of which, I totally want to try out your recipes now!
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted..April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Caring for kids’ curlsMy Profile

  4. Sheila says:

    I agree with you — it’s not worth forcing a child to do something they’re not comfortable with just for squeaky-clean toes. “Clean enough” varies from person to person, but I think a bathtime splash, “just for fun,” usually ends up being enough to get “clean enough.” Much better to be respectful of your son’s comfort level — good for you.
    Sheila recently posted..Hygiene? What hygiene?My Profile

  5. Great post! We both have similar views and for us bathtime is also about more than just getting clean. Very cute pictures BTW :-)

  6. Oh and thanks for the great paint recipe! My kiddos would love to try something like that :-)

    • hisveganmama says:

      You are very welcome! These paints all come out in fantastic colours and are a really consistency for painting. Have fun!

  7. kadiera says:

    I love the paint recipes. Now if only we could get Acorn interested in actually doing paint type activities, this could be a lot of fun.
    kadiera recently posted..For Sensitive Kids, Less Is MoreMy Profile

  8. Kenna Lee says:

    Your writing takes me right back to when mine were so tiny. I wish I’d come across paint recipes when we were dealing with recalcitrant bathers! Though, come to think of it, why wait till they are reluctant; tweens might have just as much fun with it.

    • hisveganmama says:

      Kenna, Please PLEASE use the recipe with your kiddos and be sure to let me know how it goes! I would love to be able to look ahead to Aodhan’s tween years! Thanks for the comments and the visit!

  9. Momma Jorje says:

    I am loving your perspective! I absolutely do not feel the need to have suds touch every part of my daughter’s body… or my own for that matter.

    I do get a little pushy at times with shampooing if her hair really needs it, but I try to just let it go if she isn’t feeling it. She doesn’t usually mind.
    Momma Jorje recently posted..Playing in the RainMy Profile

  10. This is a great post and I love the bathtub paint. I am always worried about food colouring though and would probably supplement the colours with the following alternatives:
    - Blended beetroot for Red
    - Added tumeric powder for Yellow
    - Blended spinach for Green
    - Blended black grapes for Blue-Violet
    These natural colours are easy to obtain and make, and can be stored frozen in ice cube makers for conveniance.
    Your approach to bathing is so stress free – no wonder little one looks so happy!
    Ursula Ciller recently posted..Baby bath time and skin careMy Profile

    • hisveganmama says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. We also love using natural colours, but we had this batch left over from our cookie solar system, so we wanted to use it up as bathtime paint.

  11. When we used to have trouble with my toddler wanting to bathe, when he was about a year old, we bought a big bucket and would do it outside. Making it fun is key! Now he loves bathtime.
    Jennifer Fischer recently posted..Weekly Kids Co-Op: Cardboard Box CreationsMy Profile

  12. Megan says:

    I love this perspective! We only use soap about once a week, but even then, I try not to just plop them backwards and pour a cup of water over their head – who would like that? – but talk them through everything that I’m doing so they know what is going on. I’m with you – I’d hate for bathtime to become a stressful experience when it really can be so fun! Thanks for this post!

  13. [...] Bathtime: Just Another Chance to Play! — Lyndsay at Our Feminist {Play} School discusses the many reasons bath time is important – getting clean isn’t one of them. [...]

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