So Wednesday was our first warm day here in New England. The first warm day is always magical. Like all New Englanders, when we heard it was going to hit 70, we donned our [Kenny] flip-flops and promised to stay outdoors all day long.
The point of my story is that we spent the entire day outdoors. We met friends at the farm early in the morning and stayed until lunch, at which point we stopped by our favorite nature center before returning home to play in the backyard.
Our beloved Linda, as usual, came with us.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Linda is overdue for a bath. I always refer to her as “my filthy fourth child” but it’s hard to properly bathe a doll that is such a part of your family.
I’m not sure if it is more difficult to wash the doll, or to get my children to wash themselves. It’s probably a toss-up.
Anyway, I knew the day was coming.
Do you remember in high school when you swabbed door handles and water fountains and toilet seats in science class? I’m not going to lie: I sort of wanted to swab Linda. Because that would be a fun science lesson! (Does anyone know how I would do this, for future reference?)
But then, the other day, in the span of about fifteen minutes, Linda was dropped on rabbit poop, nibbled by a pig, and smooched by a cow.
And by smooched by a cow I mean that the cow licked Linda’s entire body in slow-motion. And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a cow stick its tongue out but wow. That was so not the type of bathing that Linda needed.
I wish I had caught the whole thing on camera!
I did get this shot where you can clearly see that my sweet girl was horrified.
So that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That evening, I informed the kids that Linda would need a bath in the morning and would not be available for play. There was some grumbling but they understood.
I did expect more grumbling in the morning when the reality of a day without Linda set in, but instead they woke up full of awesome.
I reminded the kids that we would be washing Linda. They decided that we should first read a stack of books with her so that she wouldn’t have a completely terrible morning. Reading aloud is important and Linda is quite possibly the most well-read doll in town.
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And then it was time for Linda’s bath (read: washing machine). And sooooo…
If You Give a Doll a Bath…
If you give a doll a bath, your children will grumble but then search for something else to play with. While you are tackling the doll’s bath and laundry, they will start playing a favorite game together.
When you give a doll a bath, the kids will remember that they got a Spa-Mazing kit for Christmas. They will ask if they can use it and you’ll think to yourself, “Fun science: check!” and nod enthusiastically.
Together, they will read about the olfactory system and essential oils. They will share random facts with you:
Mum!! Did you know that Napoleon sprayed his gloves with perfume before heading into battle?
And so you will learn something new as they learn together.
They will make bath salts and bath bombs and fill out a survey about their essential oil scent preferences. And then, DING!, Linda’s tub will be over.
Sometimes, if you give a doll a bath, the doll will still be dirty when it is over. Sometimes, you will need some dish soap, a scrub brush, a magic eraser, and some good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
If you give a doll a second bath, the kids will laugh hysterically.
Look at Linda’s bubble face! Doesn’t she look like she’s shaving?!
The bubbles will remind the kids that they haven’t made gigantic bubbles in a while. The oldest will comment that it is gray and humid today- perfect bubble weather. He has a point and, besides, you are in the middle of your fourth maple syrup boil and you can’t leave the kitchen.
And so you will say yes.
If you give your kids some bubble supplies, they will need to triple the recipe (Yay for fun math!).
While they are busy math-ing and mixing, you will finish washing the doll.
If you give a doll two baths and let your children mix some bubble juice, they will want to have a blast with those bubbles.
They will play with those bubbles, in the rain, until you tell them that the syrup is almost ready. At which point they will race inside because they all want to taste it.
After they have a sweet treat, your children will ask if the doll is dry. You will check and, although still quite damp, she’s dry enough. The children will ask to play with her.
Together, the children will ooh and ahh and talk about how beautiful Linda looks.
And, do you know what? She does!
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Do you have a filthy fourth child, too? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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