Monday, June 09, 2008

Three shower Grendel

My very wise friend, ChangeJunkie, gave me some good advice a while back. When it comes to teenagers and hygiene, let peer pressure do the work for you.

Well, we gave up on making Grendel put actual shampoo on his hair. And, we've been somewhat lenient on the entire soap-while-showering thing. Until tonight. It's been in the nineties the last couple of days. So, needless to say, without the use of soap: Grendel stinks!

Grendel does condescend into taking two 'showers' a day. However, these activities typically involve him standing naked under a stream of warm water for five minutes (or more, if he's too lazy to move on).

Tonight, the running of water took less than three minutes. So, I insisted that he revisit the activity in such a way that his pits (which I sampled) didn't stink. When he came out smelling about the same (after the second shower), I told him that he had a choice:

  1. Shower WITH SOAP

  2. Bubble bath

  3. Removal of his mattress from his room (sleep on the platform or the floor)

Choice #3 comes from the fact that we bought him a (somewhat) pricey mattress last year. He is rather tall. So, we agreed to get him a comfy mattress in the full-extra long size. This size is an utter pain, since sheets are hard to come by and never discounted. So, I refuse to let him stink up the mattress with his cloud of stench. I informed him that if he was comfortable going to school smelling like a swamp, that was absolutely fine by me. However, I would not be allowing him in my car for any reason beyond the absolute necessary transport (like doctor and dentist appointments, and guitar lessons) unless he lost the green cloud that surrounds him. Nor would I allow him to ruin his mattress with his putrid stench.

He agreed to a third attempt at showering. He came out with his hair smelling like shampoo and his body reeking a bit less (still some B.O., but to a smaller degree). So, he got to keep his mattress, for now.

I am a VERY MEAN MOM. Truly, I have given up on caring what he looks like or smells like. However, I won't inconvenience my nose for the sake of his rebellion. And, someday, he might want to sleep on a mattress that doesn't reek of the homeless.

Note: I know that there are worse problems that one could have with one's teenager. However, I had an epiphany this evening. The Fates assess what each parent's bar is for "acceptable teenage behavior" and they make sure that each teenager comes in JUST under that particular bar. It is a spiritually growth opportunity for both the parent(s) and child, regardless of the level of the bar.

I pointed out to Goblin that we should be grateful that we are not poor-white-trash, with a much lower bar for our progeny. Otherwise, Grendel would be stealing cars and shooting up on the corner instead of refusing to use soap in the shower.


briwei said...

Yeah. Sometimes you have to take a stand. The rest of society will thank you. I think he won't really grok it on his own until he gets more interested in girls. They tend not to like the smelly guys.

barbie2be said...

oy! i used to have a similar problem with one of my nieces and her breath. and she always wanted to be clinging to me. i would be all "dude, you have bad breath, go brush your teeth" and she would say, "no i don't, see" and exhale a big breath of something that smelled like death right into my face and i would be all, "no really. your breath stinks. come on, let's go brush our teeth together!" GACK!

Summer said...

Hhhmmmmm, eventually he'll come around to the fact that people are avoiding him and his stench but I think my stand would have been "take a shower, use shampoo and soap or I will do it for you" but you're right, there could be worse issues.

Anonymous said...

Well... I can relate to young Grendel: it's miserably hot here and I took three showers today (but I used soap in each):

First my normal morning shower.

Next after walking around post-daycare- drop-off and before a job interview -- seemed prudent :)

Finally after running a couple errands after said (pretty good) interview.

Did I mention that it's hot here?

Anonymous said...

This is simultaneously hilarious and frightening - he seemed like a normal, bath-taking human being when last I saw him (and yet, I vaguely recall similar issues with his progenitor,years ago--maybe it is Kismet)

~ Gemin Blackmoor

Robert Goodman said...

Do you think that choice #2 (bubble bath) would actually work in lieu of soap? Seems to me that if using soap directly or at high concentration on him doesn't work that well, that diluted in all that bath water it would be useless. Or by "bubble bath" did you mean jets? I take it he wasn't interested in whichever it was anyway.

When I was a teenager, my armpits required multiple soapings. The need slowly decreased over decades.