Shampooing a child’s hair

… is like going to war.

The toilet is the battlefield. You need to find the opportune moment to attack. Shampoo is your weapon of peace destruction. There is much screaming. Your clothes are soaked, shampoo hats are discarded and there is a sudden tangle of arms in which you realise that the same head has been shampooed twice and the other gone scot free. Sometimes you’re too tired to care.

Mummy is definitely the enemy. Mostly because shampooing indicates the end of a bath – which in Bratspeak is ‘just not on’. And like war in the real world – there are casualties on both sides and you can never really say you’ve won.

The OA is yet to solve the mystery of why children stand up the minute you pour water on their heads. ‘Does the water activate some mechanism that makes them shoot up like Jack in the boxes?’ he wonders…

The other big questions of the day areΒ  – Why does shampoo always get in the eye? Why can’t they keep their hands out of their eyes? Why do they scream like stuck pigs? How long do you think it is before the neighbours complain of the routine shrieking from our house?

All very valid questions.

For now, the day is over, the war is won, err.. the bath is done. I gather up loads of bath toys, bundle up sweet smelling kids and pretend that I won’t have to go through it again the next day. After all, as that wise woman said – tomorrow is another day…


42 thoughts on “Shampooing a child’s hair

  1. So this is where you turn sneaky, and shampoo first!
    – have them do their own shampooing? You’ve said you don’t oil their heads, so shampooing themselves shouldn’t be a big deal…


    Me: maybe the brat – definitely not the bean. and definitely not till winter is over. our bathrooms are chilly cold so i try to wrap up and get out fast!

  2. Ha ha. This post is nostalgia at its best. I remember the struggles my Mom used to take. Poor soul, she died young leaving us all. Anyway, nice post. πŸ™‚ Keep Blogging!

  3. but MM,dont you use those tear proof shampoos or body wash.i use those with my kids.i wonder if i should start using the normal shampoo with my older one?

  4. I am lucky in that, I have neighbors with kids of almost same age … “No complaints” is an unspoken agreement πŸ™‚
    So the screaming ends with the bath ?? Not in our house … it continues in higher notes when I try to rub their wet heads with a towel …
    But the kids do smell lovely after their baths … don’t they ?? (some reward)

    Me: oh they doooo dont they?!! it makes all that backbreaking bath time worth it!! i can bury my nose in a freshly bathed baby and sit around for ages!

  5. hahaha… one of the solution could be no-tear shampoo! πŸ˜›

    Me: you know – that doesnt work unless you keep your darn eyes shut. my kids dont know how to do that. eyes open and generous globs of shampoo and foam rubbed in. i give up.

  6. Ha ha this is funny. I remember my mom used to ask us (me and my brother) to close eyes or hold a piece of cloth tightly closing our eyes till she is done. And we used to oblige (at least as far as i remember) as if we will be blinded if we let the shampoo go in our eyes. The same was the case when soap was applied to our faces.
    But you get those no more tears type shampoos nowadays rt? or is that only for very small babies?

  7. Would love to see photos from the war scene. No Pics??????

    Me: yes – of course. take a camera into the bathroom and (a) ruin it. (b) have the moral police bring up issues of pedophiles!

  8. Tell me about that!! I am sure you will get a lot of comments saying Me too, me too πŸ™‚

    After the struggle for shampooing throughout which my son keeps screaming for water, there is the race for drying up his hair…. he hates anything touching his hair, be it shampoo, towel or the comb.

  9. I remember when I had tried to give a bath to my niece, she made a complete fool of me with her
    Amma allows me to do this!
    Amma will not like it if I have such a short bath!

  10. hey why don’t you try johnsons baby shampoo which is no tears. I know lots of kids who don’t like getting their hair washed, even I was scared as it used to give me a drowning feeling.

  11. i can understand your situation pretty well – struggling with two kids at the same time…but sumhow my daughter does not seem to have a problem with the shampoo bit-i use tip to toe wash-which does not irritate the eyes….may be because of that…

    and if you put water on the head-when it trickles down the face-they cant breathe properly and thats why they stand up…

    and same here-at the end of the day one cant make out whether my daughter was taking a bath or me-both are equally wet…

  12. πŸ™‚

    Cubby starts hollering the moment i pour water over his haed! till then its all cool!

    and yes, rubbing eyes with soapy hands is done all the time.

    latest is he want to hold the soap the entire time he is being bathed! taking soap to get the goop over him is followed with lot of crying!

    i put the soap on the floor and then laught at his attempts to pick it up as it keeps slipping outta his hands! :p my only revenge! :p


  13. i use Johnsons ‘top to toes’ even for shampooing her hair..and it doesn’t really burn…and ya, that no tears shampoo is a sham !!

    i make her hold a mug at face level while i pour water on her head and make a game asking her to see how much water gets collected in it…depending upon her mood, it actually shifts her attention from the whole wetting hair thing.. off late, she enjoys putting water on her head by herself… again, totally depends upon her mood..she has howled at me for NOT putting water on her hair when she was sick last week… what to say now.. ha ha !!

    Me: 😦 yeah. i dont always have the time for that now. particularly since its cold. but i did when i had only one child and no full time job 😦

  14. Been reading Gone with the wind, lately?

    Your wise woman is Scarlett-o-hara, ain’t she?

    This is the first time I have heard someone call her wise.

    In fact, something about her reminds me of you. The fighting spirit?

    Me: the foolish choices?! sigh…

    and yes of course its her. and i believe that was her only bit of wisdom πŸ™‚ but oh what a life she lived!!!

  15. For my little one, hair bath is a breeze. It is brushing teeth that do me in. She will close her mouth and refuse to open it, no matter what I do. Dental hygiene is getting to be an issue now 😦

  16. >> a) ruin it. (b) have the moral police bring up issues of pedophiles!

    c) Give the kids an iron-clad reason to hate me when they turn into angsty teenagers.

    Me: LOL! @ a & b
    but C – well they’d be covered in bubbles and not hate me much more than all those Johnsons babies and the kids in any other soap advt. but then we know what the moral police is like anyway…

  17. Hello, Mm,

    Sometimes I really wish I knew your name.

    I know you don’t review books on your blog, but I want to send you a copy of my novel anyway, as I am sending it to all my friends.

    So if you send me an address (with or without your name), I would love to ship you a copy of A Grasshopper’s Pilgrimage.

    Me: Deleted your email id … thanks πŸ™‚
    would you believe it? have been hunting for your book everywhere.
    I used to do a lot of reviews on my old blog and now know too many authors to risk offending anyone – so have stopped. will mail you!

  18. Now, when did you peep into my bathroom?

    But seriously, these no tears shampoos don’t work. May be they do, but the feeling of water running down the face is enough for both of mine to bolt up and fall on me.

  19. Sigh, it’s the story of my life! My three year old screams so much that the neighbours ask why she was crying!!

  20. Our bathroom is littered with old soap dispensers, water whistles,3 plastic mugs and endless shower/spray/squeezy thingies to distract when we go about our hair rinsing business. And also I have a rule that unless eyes and mouth are tightly shut , I will not be rinsing the soap/shampoo off. So he’s figured he might as well tilt his head back and get it over with.

  21. Hey MadMomma,
    Your blog is the first thing I read every morning … I am currently reading all your old posts from the old url πŸ™‚
    I am in looooveee with the brat and the bean …Would love to meet them πŸ™‚


  22. Sigh – I can see my future through your post. As it is – my son gets squiggly when I start shampooing. I first wipe off the shampoo with a washcloth and then just before I take him out, I pour a couple of mugs of water and rinse it properly. Before he has time to react…we are out and drying him. I wonder how long that’s gonna last!

    I love the baby washed smell too…makes them smell like …dew drops and babies!

  23. after reading this post, i just pray my son enjoys his shampoos as he does now.. finger crossed.

    Me: hah! wait till he grows older. they love everything at this age!

  24. I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I have to..sorry. Give them a small folded towel to hold over their eyes when you pour water on their heads. It usually works.

    Me: πŸ™‚ advice is always nice. good ideas like this even better… i’ll try it. but its what Ro and I agreed on. they both hate water on their heads. like cats! just shoot up and go mad twisting around and that ruins everything else!

  25. haha..sigh.. you hold a picture to what my future will be like. At 3 months, my baby enjoys his baths – or maybe he just likes clinging to me.. I just hold him close to me and ‘bathe him’. At the end, you cant tell who had a bath – him or me πŸ™‚

  26. Ah yes, the major headache.

    There was a parenthack tip that I found very helpful with Apya at the age of about 3 – when her screaming bloody murder was at its maximum at washing-hair time.

    Lemme dig it out for you and send you the link.

    Do you have any of those bath visors that prevent the shampoo and water from getting into the eyes? They are helpful when kids will wear them.

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