My stepdaughter's Mother doesn't seem to be too concerned with hygene. She has my stepdaughter bathe every other night, but sometimes my stepdaughter really needs it every night. She's 8, but she's got the beginning "puberty smells", if you know what I mean. My stepdaughter WANTS to bathe every night. My stepdaughter often comes to our house smelling or with dirty hair. My stepdaughter has very thick, long hair. Even when her hair is washed every other night, she often comes to our house with dried in shampoo caked and greasy in her hair. Dandruff is also an issue, but we always seem to clear it up quickly when she's at our house for a couple days. This bother's my stepdaughter and embarrasses her, because her friends have sometimes pointed it out, but her Mother either doesn't notice or just doesn't care.
(Please note here, it's not a case of the child not wanting to bathe- she sometimes comes straight to our house and immediately asks to bathe- and it's not a case of her Mother thinking "her body, her choice"- she's told what to wear and how to wear it at her Mother's house and told how to wear her hair- down, because her Mother thinks it's "pretty" like that.)
Other personal hygene things, like clipping the nails or cleaning the earrings, have been completely up to me, since my stepdaughter was four. Last night was the last straw...
My stepdaughter is eight years old and the last six months or so, has gone from skinny to slightly chubby in the belly area. Her "slightly in" bellybutton has turned into a "so far in you can hardly see the bottom" bellybutton. At her Mother's house, she showers every other night, by herself. At our house, she either takes a shower or a bath, every night, and she likes me to come in so she has someone to talk to and someone to help her with her hair. Anyways, she was taking a bath last night and I was sitting on the floor near the bathtub and I just happened to look down and see her bellybutton- caked with black dirt all down in it, and the dirt is so ground in that even after washing with soap (she won't stick the washcloth in because her Mother told her not to stick anything in her bellybutton) and then soaking her belly, it's still very dirty in there. She'll take a bath/shower before going back to her Mother's house tonight. We're gonna try to clean it out some more, before she goes back (see my post in Health and Healing), but I'm not sure how well that will go. I'm not sure how bad it will be when she comes back on Wednsday, either. At dropoff, my Hubby plans on mentioning it to her Mother, but nothing will come of it- instead, her Mother will probably try to change the subject by making an issue about (gasp) me being in the same room when my stepdaughter is bathing. (similar situations in the past- like the day she flipped out because I dared to change her kid's earrings, even though the back of the earring was bloody andpuss covered and the skin was growing over the back of the earring. ) Any suggestions? Besides document- we've got that one down. Honestly, the way my stepdaughter's bellybutton is shaped, I'm not sure she can clean it out by herself even after we get it cleaned, at least not at first. I'm really concerned about the medical consequenses of this lack of hygene, not to mention the social side effects (bathing suit in the summer, the smell of never washed skin...). What to do?