Tags

, , ,

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.

Advertisements