Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Chores

Bathing is a challenge. I accept that and know that it is a reality. Every Saturday is “hair wash” day. She argues vehemently. She doesn’t need help. She washes it every night in the shower. She doesn’t need to wash it today. Yet the reality is that she only washes it on Saturdays. By then her hair is crying out for a little soap.

She likes to do that separately from her shower so I comply. Standing in front of the sink, she leans forward to have her short white bob washed. Next she sits while her hair is brushed and dried. Years ago, she loved to have her hair brushed. Anything you would do to it would make her very happy. Now she sits and grimaces complaining that she is being tortured.

Then Sunday is even better; Shower Day. All the cajoling and negotiations from last weekend never happened and she insists that she faithfully showers every night by herself. But she has worn the same clothes all week and when she does finally get in the shower, she is hungry for someone to be very close by to help her. The final push that convinces her is after lunch. I won’t give her ice cream until she has taken the shower. She says I’m mean, I’m not her friend, I’m not her boss and that she’d never move in here if she knew I was going to be so terrible to her. At first it bothered me a bit, but not any more. I have learned that just being matter of a fact about it is the best approach. She yells at me, swears and (my favorite) sticks out her tongue.

As my mother, none of these behaviors occurred. She never swore. Her hygiene was meticulous. Her hair was never matted or greasy, but by Saturday it starts to look that way. There are moments it’s hard to believe that she is the same person.

This has to happen for her own health. I can’t let her stay in the same clothes and never bathe. I dread the days that will come where she will have toileting issues.

Maybe I’ll be lucky.

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