I think baths are disgusting. They make no sense to me – they’re full of all the stuff you’re trying to wash off. I’m a shower girl all the way.

Arty, on the other hand, prefers to soak in a tepid tisane of his own sloughed skin cells, toe jam, and hair. He refuses to be persuaded that showers are a better way to make you, you know, clean. He likes to splash around and play in the water, and I guess it’s preferable to letting him scamper around entirely unwashed, though I can’t explain exactly how.

I’ve always thought that having a bunch of cool toys in the bath is a chance for him to learn about physics, and Piagetian concepts of conservation (what do you want from me? I’m a teacher who studied psychology, this is how I think!), so that’s what he got.

But the other day, in the bath, Arty was playing with one of those squeezy toys that sucks in water, and then squirts it out again. It’s one of his favourites – a pirate he’s whimsically named “spotty mushroom head” because of it’s toadstool-esque bandanna.


Spotty Mushroom Head


He gleefully squeezed it’s contents into his bath, and to my intense horror, a cloud of greyish slime blossomed out.

I immediately plucked Arty out of the water, drained the bath, then chucked every single one of his bath toys into the laundry sink for audit without mercy.


Now, I understand that I could have avoided this situation by being more meticulous about bath toy cleaning. I should have washed and/or drained Arty’s many playthings after every bath, but by the time I’ve scooped that squirming child out of the water, dried him off, wrestled him into his pyjamas, made him his warm milk, and prepared him for bed, the state of his squeezy pirate is pretty far from my mind.


So, I’m taking what I’ve learned about bath toys, and instituting a new bath toy law: only items that can be satisfactorily cleaned by a cursory rinse in the laundry sink shall be permitted.

Maybe that sounds harsh and draconian, but I don’t care.

Do you know why?

Grey slime!

Spotty Mushroom Head and his filth-belching comrades are walking the plank, and they’re being replaced by toys less likely to induce disgust.

If you’re wondering, that means some of these cool suction-cup bubbles, a little fleet of boats, and the good old fashioned whisk, mixing bowl and colander combo we all enjoyed as kids.


The child is clean(ish), and there’s not an algal bloom in sight.

Parenting win.



This post was part of the Digital Parents September 2014 blog carnival.