How To Bathe Boys [Humor]

My First Lesson

It was early spring. The morning sun cast misty shadows on the floor, as it streamed through the fingerprints on the window. Wesley bounded out of bed, leaving a trail of blankets and toys in his wake. He climbed on a chair and pressed his nose to the window for a look at the ground. The puddles were crusted over with ice, but shiny, meaning it would be another glorious day of snow melting into mud!

Stripping off his jammies, he stepped into his snow boots and headed out the door.

I watched in amazement as he cracked the ice on the first puddle and sat down in the stiff sticky mud.  A look of pure joy covered his face, as icy water saturated his soggy diaper.  His boots lost all function as he packed them with globs of mud.  The sun rose higher, melting the icy fragments who shared the puddle with him.

Kaycee, the latest to discover spring-time mud!
Kaycee, the latest to discover spring-time mud!
Wesley, my original mud-ball... taken the summer he discovered dirt.
Wesley, my original mud-ball... taken the summer he discovered dirt.

Soon the snow began to trickle and the puddle grew. Wesley moved on to a clear section of the lake, leaving his muddy boots and diaper behind.

Bacon, eggs sizzled in the pan as biscuits rose tall in the oven. Breakfast would soon be ready. I called my little son to come eat, gingerly picked him up, and took him to the tub for a quick shower. However, after a few moments, I found that some of the mud was stuck fast. My washcloth was covered in grime, its color no longer recognizable, and repeated rinsing was not helping. At. All! Grrr… “Honey! Turn off the skillet!

Glancing around, I spied my fingernail brush. Grabbing it, I began buffing his hands and face. S l o w l y the mud fell off in chunks, clogging the drain. The muddy water began to pool around his feet. Feeling, in the form of needle pricks, returned to his toes. He sent up a howl.

Cringing under his ear piercing screams, I franticly scrubbed his body. His neck and shoulders appeared, then his arms and tummy. Just as I began to perceive victory, the mud quit coming off.

I scrubbed harder. The water has now risen over his toes and feeling must have reached his knees – judging by the way his screaming increased. My poor little brush was choked with mud. My husband was at the door, a look of horror on his face and a question about breakfast on his lips.

I grabbed the blackened washcloth, fished the mud away from the drain, and lobbed chunks into the trashcan. Drenched and out of patience, I looked around for anything that would remove the remaining mud from my son’s body. Like a caveman, frantic for a hammer, my gaze swept the bathroom – the toilet brush!

Forcing the mud-ball to stay in the tub with one hand, I lunged with the other, and got my prize! The stiff brush was made just for scrubbing away gross, untouchable things -- it worked beautifully!

As pink skin appeared, I cleared the muddy chunks off of my long-handled wonder tool with a bang, cleared the drain again, and found a clean washcloth. Through the mist of victory, I realized that at some point, my husband’s screams had joined those of the baby’s….

Sensing an end, or was it the screams of his father? Wesley calmed down, allowing me to soap and polish him. As the last traces of mud disappeared from his body, he smelled the food for which he had been called, and became docile. I wrapped him in a large towel to soak the excess water from his drenched body.

Hugging him close, I could smell pure boy; despite the lavender scented shampoo. Over his sweet head I surveyed the damaged bathroom, and vowed to find a better way. In the background, like a distant memory, I could make out a man’s voice rambling incoherently… something about cold biscuits, toilet brushes not intended for bathing and the cost of replacing plumbing…

Desiring him to shut up, I inhaled lavender (it has a calming effect, you know), sighed, smiled at my husband, and asked in my sweetest, most endearing voice, “Would you prefer to bathe him next him?”

His droning turned to sputtering as he offered to reheat breakfast while I finished with the boy.

**No toilet brushes were harmed in the cleaning of this boy.**


What I Learned

This incident* took place several years ago, as Wesley just turned eight; but, that morning I came to two important conclusions:

  1. No mud before breakfast, even if it takes a deadbolt to keep the children in.
  2. Remove as much grime as possible OutSide!

*This storey has been somewhat fictionalized, for lack of thorough note taking.

As infants, the only difference in bathing boys and girls is the return shower option sporadically available on boys. Therefore, if you are bathing an infant boy, I recommend you hold his feet in the warm water and wait until he has blessed his diaper, before you fully undress him. After that, he is ready for his bath, and you won’t need one in return. For further information on bathing infants, see here.

As infants become babies and babies toddlers, the differences between boys and girls begin to emerge. Boys are magnets for dirt, collecting it from every source, even perfectly clean floors.

4/6/09 -- Not A Photo Op.
4/6/09 -- Not A Photo Op.
Life time member of the Polar Bear Club.
Life time member of the Polar Bear Club.
"Mom, there is a spot on my shirt!"
"Mom, there is a spot on my shirt!"

Bathing Supplies List

By the age of two, I highly recommend the following list of cleaning supplies for bathing your boy:

  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Tarp
  • Safety Goggles
  • Wire brush
  • Scrub brush
  • Goop
  • Old towel or burlap bag
  • Lye soap
  • Wash Cloths
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Bath Towel



Over the years (I have five boys under the age of 10), I have put together an effective system for bathing boys:

1. Inside, run a tub full of warm water, set out the lye soap, washcloths, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soft bath towel.

2. Outside, spread the tarp out near your back door, as a mat to protect the lawn or patio from mud.

3. Set your brushes close at hand, along with the Goop and burlap bag.

4. Attach spray nozzle to garden hose and turn on the water.

5. Call boy for bath time. Have him take off all muddy clothing, put on safety goggles, and stand on the tarp.

6. Using the garden hose, remove as much mud as possible, working from the head down. The wire brush will speed removal of clay baked to the boy by hours in the sun.**

7. When nearing the skin, switch to the scrub brush and continue hosing and scrubbing until you can tell the nationality of the boy you are scrubbing.

If, at this point, you discover you have been bathing your neighbor’s boy, send him home to his mother, and whistle again for your son.

8. If grease seems to be part of the goo attached to your son coat him in Goop.

9. Grab the burlap bag or old towel and use it to wipe the remaining mud off your son.

10. Leaving the muddy bag on the tarp for later, escort your son to the bathroom, and into the tub.

Do not allow him to touch anything along the way.

11. Begin with lye soap, and scrub until he is his god-given color. Continue as normal.

12. Your boy is clean, but before allowing him to dress, apply an ample layer of lotion to counteract the drying effects of mud and lye.

I realize this may seem excessive, but remember, not every step is needed every time. Use your own judgement, and get that boy clean!

** Avoid scrubbing too many layers off. Contrary to popular belief, boys do not enjoy bleeding.

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Comments 33 comments

Pest profile image

Pest 7 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

Awesome Hub! Look forward to reading more!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks Pest!

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

This was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time. I only have one boy, and he primarily gets coated with sand instead of clay, so we haven't yet needed a wire brush, but the other tools are all familiar . . . especially the Goop.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

I admit, the wire brush is not needed very often, but when the clay has been mixed with grass clippings, applied to the body as full armor, and allowed to bake in the sun... well, lets just say it is like scrubbing bricks! Only thing is, my goal is to remove the bricks, not polish them. It is best to get them before they have dried, much like cleaning up paint.

jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America

That was hilarious and so realistic - takes me back to a time when my son was a toddler. Thanks for sharing.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Jxb7076, I am so glad you enjoyed!  Kids are so much of fun.

Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

This was great! I have two boys...grown now...brought back funny memories....thanks! :)

Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very interesting hub thnaks

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Spring is here, and puddle stopping has become a favorite pass-time, once again. Baths everyday!

TheMindlessBrute profile image

TheMindlessBrute 7 years ago from Orlando,Florida

Wonderful and funny story.I've been raising a daughter and 2 sons since they were 1,3 and 4 and this brought back many memories and the music enhances the experience.I miss the days that left me scrubbing Spaghetti-O's off of the ceiling and tickle me elmo,now it's more like "leave me alone,I'm so Emo".

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Spaghetti-O's on the ceiling, or anywhere else, are no fun; but, Emo has got to be worse! Did you know that clay will stick to the ceiling too, when rolled into mud balls and tossed upward?

ralwus 7 years ago

This hub is a real hoot. ROFLMAO, haha very funny and so true too, in a sense. You have a gift for writing. I remember my owm Mom scrubbing me like that until I was raw. I have Cherokee blood in me and of 8 kids I was the only one to have brown eyes and dark skin. Mom and Dad hated that because it didn't look proper. She finally came to the realization that it was only my everdarkening skin not dirt that she was trying to scrub away. That was very painful for me and I hated bath time, still do. LOL thanks for a good read

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

You poor thing Ralwus! Though, I have to admit, that ever darkening skin got me last summer. I thought Wesley was developing a very nice tan on his neck and legs, until he got hurt, and the blood washed away the dirt that had escaped multiple baths! I guess my kids don't tan like I do. He thought returning to normal was painful too.

ralwus 7 years ago

Haha, poor kid. Moms are like that sometimes. My Mom used to tell my story to people and how she'd scrub me raw, she really felt bad after discovering the truth. LOL I have vivid memories of that I tell ya. thanks

nazishnasim 7 years ago

You have excellent writing skills. I could almost see your baby boy there! :) . Such an adorable and awesome hub! :D

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks nazishanasim!

LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 7 years ago from Plains of Colorado

How glad I am that I raised kids in sand country instead of where the clay lies thick! I remember two little children sitting in the yard in their snowsuits, covering themselves with mud from stem to stern. Those same two had the privilege of scrubbing those snowsuits on the wooden scrub board, with the aid of a pail of water on the step, and I don't recall that they ever again chose to make quite such friends with the mud. However, they were not both boys! I enjoyed this tremendously--thanks.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks LiftedUp, I love your word picture -- snowsuits and stem to stern! A scrub board has come in handy around here too, on many occasions.

dennisematt 7 years ago

I have 3 girls. They are just as hard to wash. I loved this. It was so funny and true...

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

This is great! I can relate to everything that you've said!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Dennisematt, I think my mother would agree. She says my sisters and I got just as dirty as my brother did. Thanks for reading.

Thanks Beth! Glad you stopped by.

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

The toilet brush was a stroke of genius! The whole cleaning system is a crackup!

If it helps, fast-forward another 6-14 years and your boys will be washing themselves. At least, that's what I assume my son is doing in the shower for 20 minutes each morning and night (and "toilet brush" will be replaced by "toiletries" like Axe spray). Hold that thought...

Very entertaining hub and extremely practical advice for parents.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Boys are such peculiar creatures! I just love them... Thanks for the look into the future Mighty Mom.

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 7 years ago

We have two grandsons. Our oldesrt almost 3 love the mud.

Robert Putz Ballard

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Hooray! So you get to enjoy the mud all over again. Have fun with those grandsons. :)

Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

I really smiled here! This is so funny! Yes, boys love mud. I don't have kids but I envy anyone who does, and who could fill a book with endless anecdotes about raising the little critters. Just like this hub! Cheers! : )

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thanks so much, Cheeky Girl. Kids are a load of fun, and keeping one's sanity requires having a sense of humor.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Ivorwen, I don't know which I like best, the hilarious narrative or the fact that you let them do it. Your five boys are lucky to have such a fun mom. Wonderful!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Thank you so much, Winsome. Each spring I seriously think about moving someplace dry, but then I look at how much they have already grown and realize they will be big too soon. This afternoon the older ones are making wooden weapons, while the two year old is alternating between the mud and a snow cave. Luckily, he doesn't strip!

samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

I saw you in the meet and greet forum. I am so glad I did. This was a great read. I have two teenage boys of my own. This brought back some funny memories.

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

Samboiam, I bet you have some stories of your own and are creating more all the time.

Gerg profile image

Gerg 5 years ago from California

This was a bit of guilty fun to read; happy to hear time has now cast this in a funny light. I really need to comb through the depths of memories with my kids to get their stories down in writing as well. Great hub!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 5 years ago from Hither and Yonder Author

I love my muddy little boys, even if it does take a power washer to get them clean in the spring time. :)

Thanks for stopping by, Gerg.

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