bath

I grew up in Casper, Wyoming in the 70’s. There wasn’t a whole lot for the teen crowd to do, so we all rode “The Strip.” The Strip included all of CY Avenue and part of Center Street and 2nd Street. Most if the kids who had access to a car or knew someone who did, were out on the Strip every Friday and Saturday night. People would show off their “ride,” if they had a cool one, and meet up with their friends. My husband, Bob Schulenberg and I had lots of good friends we hooked up with on the Strip. One of our good friends was Lana Alldredge. Lana had one of those “rides” that was one to show off…a 1970 Mustang Mach 1…Canary Yellow with black stripes. She was so proud of that car. Every night before heading out to ride the Strip, Lana took her car to the carwash for a bath, because she couldn’t stand the thought of her car being dirty when people saw it. Now Lana was out of high school, and so rode the Strip every night, while my parents wouldn’t let me go out on school nights. Nevertheless, lots of kids could go out every night, so her car was one that was well known, and had the reputation of always being clean, shiny, and tricked out. If you rode the Strip, you knew Lana’s car.

I read somewhere that in Minnetonka, Minnesota, there is a law, currently on the books that would work well for Lana, but not so much for most people. According to section 845.110 of Minnetonka, Minnesota’s city laws, there are several situations that are deemed a “public nuisance”, including but certainly not limited to ” a truck or other vehicle whose wheels or tires deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other material on any street or highway“. Now, if you ask me, that is extreme. The only way to never have dirty tires is pretty much to bathe your vehicle constantly. While someone like Lana would be ok with that in her Mach 1 years, most people can’t see the point in a daily car bath, just so they didn’t get dirt on the street…in fact, the law is simply, outrageously insane, if you ask me.

I agree with city beautification, and I can see not wanting the citizens throw shovel loads of dirt or mud onto the city streets, but lets face it…the wind probably deposits more, dirt and litter that the car tires do. Dirty tires, seem more like a relatively unavoidable consequence, rather than considering it a public nuisance, which is defined as something that disturbs peace, safety, and/or general welfare. Dirty tires are a little bit of a stretch here. On the other hand, there really aren’t many things that are less appealing than a dirty truck, especially when it has dirty tires, so maybe this law was founded on some good principles. Still, if this is a law that is still enforced, I don’t think I would want to live in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

There really is no better day in a family, than when a new baby arrives. Yesterday was just such a day for my nephew, Eric Parmely, his wife Ashley, and their daughters, Reagan and Hattie. Yesterday was the day that someone new arrived. His name is Bowen Lewis Parmely, and he made his appearance three weeks early, because his doctors felt that it would be best for him. He was a big baby boy, weighing in at 8 pounds 7.5 ounces, and he was 21¼ inches long…and everything with mommy and baby Bowen is perfect…including his appetite. Bowen is the first son for his parents, and the first grandson for his grandparents, and everyone is just as happy as they can be. He is also the first, and maybe only brother for his two big sisters, who cant wait until he can play.

As for Bowen…well, his first day was a very busy one. He was born at 8:56pm on April 24th…just when a guy should be sleeping, and they were shining bright lights in his face. Nevertheless, Bowen took it all in stride. He was handed off, first to his parents, and then to the grandparents. I’m sure he wondered how a guy could go about getting a bath around that place, but he waited patiently, and pretty soon they got him cleaned up and dressed so that he could meet his sisters…the most important people in his immediate life…after his parents that is. After all, it will be his sisters who play with him, teach him the ropes…on how to get around Mom and Dad, babysit him, and in probably, boss him around a lot. But, in all reality, while his sisters said that they wanted another sister, all that changed when they saw their brother. All thought a of a sister went out the door. Who could blame them? Little Bowen is a perfectly handsome little man, and the girls developed instant Brother Love!!

Bowen’s grandparents, like his parents, aunts, uncles, and the rest of the family, are all floating on air, now that he has arrived. Sometimes, I wonder how nine months can seem so long. When we first found out that baby Bowen was coming, and especially when we found out that he was a boy, we were all very excited. Now that he is here, the excitement is just growing. As for little Bowen, I think he figures that the future can wait for a while, because all these visitors have completely worn him out. Congratulations to Eric and Ashley Parmely. Your son is so cute. Love you guys.

Tin Bath TubCCI06282012_00022_editeddaIn the days before running water in homes, people had to go to river to bath, or bring water into the house from the river, creek, or well, and heat it on the stove so the family could bathe. Since families were usually large, the whole process took time, and heating water over and over again was not really feasible. What that meant was that the family pretty much all bathed in the same bath water. For the last guy, that had to be…well, disgusting, but that was the way it was done back in the old west, and even in more recent times when there was no running water in homes. For the little kids, however, I seriously doubt if it mattered. Getting wet was getting wet, and it really just didn’t matter what the water looked like…at least to the little boys. Girls might have felt differently. I think I would have.

Personally, if I had a river or creek available, I think I would use that…in the summer anyway. Then again, there is very little privacy in a river or creek…and you can’t exactly put up a curtain around a river. I can’t really imagine how they lived that way exactly. I guess in that way I’m a modern girl, and don’t try to take my shower away from me. Maybe that’s why Bob and I don’t go camping…no running water, or if there is, it’s very inconvenient. As I have said before, I love hiking and being outdoors, but I like the modern conveniences of a hotel room afterward.

Of course, when homes got running water, bathing in an old tin bath tub went the way of all things old west. Nevertheless, for babies…it doesn’t matter if they are bathing or just playing in a bucket, pan, or clothes Lazy QuincyAmy in a Shoe Boxbasket. Kids just like to play in them. I don’t think there is anything so amazing about that, like a throwback to the old west days of bathing in a barrel, but rather that kids just like finding different places to play. Things like an old box, barrel, or clothes basket are perfect. In that way, they remind me of cats. If you have ever watched a cat, you will find that they see a space, and if it looks fairly close to a good fit, in they dive. Babies tend to be that way too…but, the thing that is the funniest about that is when the baby tries to fit into a box that is seriously too small. Nevertheless, it’s a baby or cat thing.

Amy Illene SchulenbergWading Pool FunKids have always been…well, a little more open and free with their thoughts on things like the need to wear clothes. With summer upon us, people begin to think about things like the lake, the town pool, or for the little kids, the wading pool. If the kids are little enough, they can get away with swimming in just their underwear, and nobody cares. Of course, later on, things are a bit different…at least for the girls. The boys could practically swim in the underwear most of them wear today, because boxers look a lot like swim trunks.

To little kids, however, I’m not so sure that it is just swimming that makes them think that clothes are strictly optional. It seems to me that just about every kid decides that the moments after a bath are the perfect moment for them to become a little streaker. Back in the seventies, when I was in high school, some of the students even tried their hand a streaking. Of course, most of us either didn’t dare, or weren’t so inclined to running around naked. Little kids, however, have no such inhibitions…in fact, being in the buff is pretty much their favorite thing. I can’t say that I would like to be so free again, but little kids do have a great time trying to get away with as little clothing as possible.

I have known several parents who have talked about their own little streakers, and it would seem that at some point, every parent finds themselves with one of these little rebels. It’s hard not to laugh at them, even as you are trying to catch them. One of the funniest things though, is when your little streaker decides that the best time to make a run for it, is when you have company at the house. Even though many of these parents have been in the same position, they still can’t help but laugh when it is someone else in that position.
Corrie and Amy going for a swimscan0208
Of course, as they get older, most kids stop the full streak habit, but for many of them, it is real easy to stay in the partial streak mode…especially the men. I mean really, and be honest here, how many men still love to sit around the house in their underwear? More of them than will want to admit it, I’m sure. I guess the truth be told, there is a little bit of the Streak in all of us, but some of us just don’t ever outgrow it.

Eating SunglassesHave you ever noticed that when babies are given a toy to play with…it goes directly to their mouth. I know, everyone will tell you that they are learning about textures and such, and that is probably right, but nevertheless, odd. We all did this, of course, but when I think back on that as an adult, I know I would be very grossed out. Oh, I know that we still do stick stuff in our mouths now and then, but it still seems like a really bad habit. Of course, my grand niece, Aleesia was not really planning to eat her sunglasses, and may have even seen other people do that with them, so she thought it was the thing to do, but there have been people who have chewed on their sunglasses to the point of ruining them.

When babies a really little, they use their mouth as part of playing with their toys, and by the time they are done, the toy is a slobbery mess, and needs a bath of its own…yuck. Even when my girls were little, I remember picking up a toy they had been playing with before they fell asleep, only to find it all wet and gross. I’m not squeamish or anything, but Maybe, it's a crackerI’m not fond of having other people’s saliva all over my hand either…not even my kids. It just felt icky!!

Well, thankfully babies grow up a little, and they quit sticking so much stuff in their mouths. Pretty soon they even get to a point where mostly, it is food that goes into their mouths. Of course, the food isn’t always less messy, but it seems different somehow to see a baby with a food mess on their face than it does a slobbery toy. There isn’t anything more fun than to see a baby on their first birthday, covered with cake, and happy as a clam. After all, these are the messy years, and parents just have to deal with it.

Real CowboysWe have all watched old Western shows, and the cowboys always seem to look very romantic…at least for the period of history they lived in, but the reality was not exactly like that.  Now, I can’t say for sure that none of the cowboys of that day looked like that, but the majority of those men were hard working homesteaders, who lived in an era where there was no running water, and all too often the water they had was needed for crops. The land was hard and dry, and tough to work, because it had never had crops planted in it before. There were rocks to be removed before the land could even be tilled. This was the world our ancestors lived in…if they came out to the wild west, like mine did.

Now don’t get me wrong…they did their best to clean up, when they cleaned up, and they looked real good, but the daily shower that we take for granted, was not possible in those days. Often the same water was used for more than one person, and you had to hope that you weren’t going to be the last one. The cowboys of the old west took a weekly bath and washed their hair every couple of weeks…most of the time…or sometimes anyway. They did not understand hygiene, because no one really knew anything about that then. Off to TownAnd they couldn’t have done much about it if they had, without any running water.

The roads were dirt, the land was dusty, the sun was hot, and the people…well, the people were as clean as they could be under the circumstances, but since the only odor improving items were the perfumes that the women used very sparingly, people just got used to the odors that existed. They were around horses and cows all day, and they had to clean up after those animals. It wasn’t their fault, and there really was nothing that they could have done about it in most cases…it was just the way it really was in the old west, and they were the real cowboys.

Some babies…and even older kids, absolutely hate to take a bath. I suppose this applies to boys more than girls. Boys don’t seem to have time to take out of their busy day to do something so silly as take a bath. I mean, what is a little dirt anyway. Of course, it might be more fun when there are 2 or 3 in the tub. At least then a guy has friends to play with…making it more like swimming. Still, most of the little boys I have been around would much rather play in a mud puddle than take a bath.

My girls both loved their bath time. They would splash and giggle…as long as you didn’t get soap in their eyes. Washing their hair wasn’t their favorite thing, mostly because of the whole water and soap in their eyes thing, but the rest of the bath was great…especially if there were bath toys to play with. As for me, I loved their bath time. Watching them giggle and play was so cute. Those little baby days go by so fast that a mother has to hang onto the memories, because before you know it, that is all that remains of those baby days.

My girls favorite thing to do as they got a little older was to take bubble baths. It was always so funny to watch them making beards or fancy hairstyles out of the bubbles, or just blowing them off of their hands. It was a great way for little ones to have fun. And it took me back to my own childhood days. When taking a bath meant a good half hour or more of playing in the water. Making boat sounds with my face partly underwater, and seeing the water churn like a propeller, or seeing how long I could hold my breath were always fun things to do in the bath tub. My mind wandered as I bathed my girls, wishing that these baby years could last forever.

Then coming back to reality, I would lift my clean little daughters out of the water and wrap the snugly in a towel, before putting on their pajamas, the day’s dirt gone, and tucking them in their bed, because one of the nicest things about bath time is that it relaxed the baby and got her ready for bed. After their baths, my girls would just snuggle down and go right to sleep…awwwww, peace!!

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