Originally Posted by hopefulfaith
Also, if you hadn't said _not_ to bathe them, I would have likely bathed them as well; I would have thought I was doing something nice for you, particularly if we are good enough friends that you wouldn't have minded if your kids were naked around me.
For me, when I babysat, I always tried to engage in projects that caused the least amount of "damage" - Something like paint would have been a nono for me, if only because of clothing/carpet issues that could happen. I didn't want to have a dry cleaner or Stanley Steemer on speed dial, and I was always careful to be respectful of the fact I was in An Adult's Home And Was Trusted. Made me cautious.
Having said THAT, if you're leaving your child (who you know tends to challenge rules when unfamiliar adults are around, thus creating more opportunity for havoc) in super-good-awesome clothing, well...what happens happens. The clothing could just as easily have been stained by spilled food or drink, mud or grass from playing outside, or marker smears from a more-innocent art project. You also said the duo who sits for you is lower-income. They may not have thought to Spray'n'Wash the stained clothing simply because that's a product they don't use in their own household. Same goes for the use of the art supplies - if it's swanky, special-use, special-directions stuff...well, a little kid probably won't explain that clearly, and if the sitter isn't familiar with it and kiddo is saying "go ahead! fun!"...well, the sitter might be compelled to roll with it.
The part that gets me, though - and this is colored through my own life experience, as well as where I work currently - is the bath. If there was even a squiggle of a doubt in my mind about whether or not the parents wanted me to remove a child's clothing and help them or watch them wash themselves, I absolutely would NOT do it. If the kid was particularly dirty, I'd do a wipedown, or, call the parents to find out if a bath was acceptable (ie, get permission) but no way was I going to deliberately run a bath, strip a kid, and chuck them in. Nudity and how parents handle bathing (for me) goes well beyond "oh, don't use the Fels Naptha on my kids, it dries them out." You might not have been crystal clear, but there was enough of a "no" in there that, because we're dealing with someone else's kids, should cause a reasonable sitter to err on the side of caution in terms of touching and nakedness. Again, just my highly-colored-perspective.