Small children are truly disgusting. And scary.
You don’t see a monkey plastering its face with its own food. Even a pig, the traditional benchmark of grossness, rarely gets its dinner on its own forehead. My daughter, the ginger whirlwind, the bulldozer, the nearly two year old pretender to the thrown of brutal over lord of the household, is far, far worse at meal times than a pig. I regularly have to scrape baked beans from behind her ears. Comb her eyebrows for breadcrumbs. Work clots of humus out of her shining, coppery locks, her face still glowing with an orange self-tan of ketchup residue. Mess never bothers her. Quite the opposite. She revels in it. And wants to share it with you. Especially if you’re wearing a suit. The wedding-cupcake-crotch incident is still seared into my memory.
It was a pleasant surprise, then, that she started to show an interest as we tried to train our son to wash his grubby hands.
“Washie hands?” She asks sweetly. “How nice” you think. You help her wash her hands, then dry them. A playfull desire to copy her brother’s hand washing could never become, I don’t know, scary at all.
“Washie hands.” She tells us the next time, less a question, more an expectation.
“Washie hands!” She demands the next, getting a bit shouty.
From there on, it’s out of control. “Washie hands!” She demands, moments after she has just washed her hands.
“Washie hands!!” She bellows, barging in on me while I’m on the toilet.
“Wash-ie-haaaaaaaaands!” She roars as she roams the house looking for a tap like a tiny, pudgy Lady Macbeth. I want to hide.
At the end of an ice-cream/ sandpit afternoon, her hands look like she’s wearing a pair of sand paper gloves.
“Washie hands?” I suggest.
She glowers at me, incensed that I would try to sully her favourite pastime by using it to remove dirt. “No.” she says, rubbing her hands on my leg. Removing dirt’s what my trousers are for.