I have been following this exciting new blog by a mom who does a lot of outdoor play with her son and has some great tips for places to visit in the Bay area. I have already been inspired to visit the Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate park while the cherry blossoms are in season (which I have not yet done, as I want to wake up early to make the free first hour between 9 – 10 am on Mo, We and Fr, but that still has not occurred), also have found out about letter-boxing (that is looking for clues hidden everywhere), which sounds like a great adventure to take Oliver one, considering his birthday treasure hunt success (he still wants to look for clues in the Sutro park). So, here is the link to the blog. Enjoy!
I just googled “Does your child shower in the evening or night?” I was doing this mostly because I wanted to find out when parents in the US, which is a very shower obsessed (have you seen the tiny tubs here???? they are definitely not meant for a comfortable bath) nation, switch their kids from a bath to a shower, as it is a common knowledge that most newborn babies are bathed and most often in the evening before going to sleep. In fact, it is one of the things baby experts suggest in order for the child to develop a routine. I was also interested in when American kids switch from an evening to morning bathing/showering. So… please share your experience! When did you or your kids start showering instead of bathing? I am curious…
Now… bathing is a very cultural matter. It is also historically specific, as it was much harder to bathe and wash before the modern advance in technologies that pump and heat up water. That means that what was considered clean or smelly was very different before too. Just read any good medieval novel (Roberta Gellis, a good historic romance and mystery author, for example) and it will be clear that the sense of smell was very different back then. Regular bathing is also something taken for granted by the privileged nations such as the Americans or Latvians, privileged by the way that the water is readily available and does not have to be fetched in a big bucket and carried on the head like in some other parts of the world. Washing hair twice a day (or even once a day, with two uses of shampoo which when you think about it hard, is just another marketing strategy of the shampoo selling companies) is most certainly a privilege and btw it makes your skin and hair much more oily in a long run. Children definitely do not need to wash their hair once a day. I don’t have any evidence based research to adhere to, but I can attest that my kids hair (which gets washed very occasionally) does not get oily the way adults (my own… sigh) does. Even my hair did not get that oily when I was pregnant with Aleksandra and swimming in the sea twice a day. But … here it is… oily hair (which in some cultures is even achieved by putting extra oil into the hair) is a sign of poor hygiene and neglect in the modern West.
As a kid, I grew up in a communal house, where the bathroom was shared by several families. Those who know Soviet history, will know how common this arrangement was. In addition, we had to heat up the wooden stove in order to have our once a weekend big bath (the water of which had to be saved, so that either my mother or grandparents could use it afterwards, which meant that my sister and I had to suffer through a very hot bath without being allowed to open the tap of cold water). We did take a bath a day, often in a plastic tub upstairs in our apartment, in the winter time, the tub was placed so close to the stove handle, that I had to watch out or I would burn my back. Bathing was a lot of work.
My most influential and daily American example, i.e. my husband prefers to take a morning shower. I, on the other hand, cannot imagine going to bed dirty (I need to wash my feet at least). Not that anyone’s college experience, can be taken for an indication of how things are in life, but I do remember my college roommate and many of my American friends showering in the morning or even more than once a day. As of now, my kids do bathe/play in the tub together every night. It is more a bed time ritual than anything else. And as I am currently listening to my husband bossing them around in the tub (they do tend to get violently happy in there sometimes), I am wondering when will they insist on showering or when will they start shampooing their hair every day, all this cultural tidbits that nobody can be immune to …. until they grow up and decide for themselves…. to be or not to be … the one with the oily hair today.
I have a writer’s block. Maybe it is because we are finally doing the touristy things around here (my mom is visiting) and there is an overproduction of experiences which coupled with my newest addiction to a Korean soap opera/TV show called My lovely Sam-soon is definitely straining my possibilities to write and reflect.
Normally, I do not watch TV, probably because I have an addictive edge when it comes to a good plot (which this show has btw, it is about a chubby (relatively speaking) woman who is 30 and unmarried in Korea, but has a sparkling personality and bakes cakes for living). I can as well get addicted to a good plot in a book. I just need to know what will happen (which pre-kids meant I could stay reading in my pajamas the whole day, post-kids it sometimes means that they have a very unresponsive mom who is constantly trying to sneak away to her book).
This I learn can be inherited, because my mom reads books the same way. She needs to know what the end will be before she starts reading the book in depth (see – word by word), because how else would you know it is a good book to read? This might seem ludicrous to a lot of people (my husband included), but I am sure there are some people out there, who will understand me (and my mom). I generally do not like to know the end before I start a book or a movie, but it is certainly the plot development that I am interested at first, which is why we both skim books until we know what will happen and them we re-read them. I know people who will never re-read a book, but not I. If there is a good book, I will re-read it many times, as each reading can provide a new insight into it. it is not so with life though, we cannot skip forward to see what the plot development will lead us to, so we just have to go on in good faith that all will work out well at the end.
In this stage of my having been replanted or rather having chosen to be replanted to the Bay area, which I self-assess as the stage when the plants roots are still very shallow and have not reached the necessary depth for any real nutrition but the most superficial, I am very eager to know how the plot of my new life will develop, as I have many doubts and fears with a a huge dose of homesickness (for my life in Latvia) on top. The older I get, the harder I find the process of moving from one place to another. Upon replying to a friends inquest about a possible summer nanny job in the Bay area, i just realized that I have not met almost any other moms here that I can even ask about it. So, if there is anybody out there, who needs a student nanny in July and August from Latvia with plenty of baby-sitting experience, let me know.
But as for the plot of my life, I will for now commit to enjoying the details: the elephant seals we saw yesterday, the oyster’s we ate in Tomales bay with friends and my mom, the famous San Francisco cable car I took after freezing for at least an hour in a line with Oliver, whose eyes lit up on the ride, and my mom… the date we went out with Sherwin to the neighborhood cafe that had live music on a Monday night performed by a jazz trio (of which two of the performers were over 60 years old, distinguished gray men and very good)….. etc. etc…..