Dirty, nasty caked on dirt bellybutton... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is not enough to be considered neglect, is it?

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?

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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I don't think there is really anything you can do about it legally and if it was a case of child is going through a grimy phase I would totally leave it alone but if this is something that is affecting your DSD...

IMO your DSD needs to learn to handle her own hygeine. At 8 children should really be able to keep themselves clean (except maybe nail trimming and good ear cleaning). It seems she needs to learn some skills with a wash rag and better way to wash her hair. She may need a different shampoo but every other night washing should be enough for pretty much anyone if it's being done properly. Dried shampoo in her hair says that she does not have the skills to get the job done. If this were my child I would help to the extent they requested all the time but in your case this may only happen at your house so I would just work on empowering her to take care of her own body.

Good luck! It must be so frustrating.
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#3 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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I forgot to add that if she uses a nice bath oil (coconut/olive whatevah) it will stop the crust from forming in her belly buttom. I would actually most recommend coconut since it's antifungal.
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#4 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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I just wanted to comment on the belly button thing.

"I" have a very sensitive belly button and I can't stand to have anything touch the inside of it! Because of my sensitivity in that particular area, I seem to think "everyone" has the same issue.

I'm guessing that's not the issue with your DSD and her mother but it is something to think about.
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#5 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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Hm. Does she care that her bellybutton is dirty? Because, if she wants it clean but doesn't want to scrub it out, how about pouring peroxide in there and letting it fizz for 5 minutes?

As for the bio mom, I think all you can really do is do the best you can for the child and try not to stir the pot too much... it sounds like you're doing a good job.
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#6 of 12 Old 03-02-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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I also agree with using baby oil to remove the dirt
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#7 of 12 Old 03-02-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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Excuse me, but do we have the same step-daughter?

I swear, I going through EXACTLY what you are right down to her mother not allowing her to bathe every day and the belly button grime. DSD is also not allowed to wash her hair but twice a week and can only use shampoo-- no conditioner. She has thick, thick hair that is so oily and filled with dandruff. She is so embarrassed by it. She also begged to shave (she has armpit hair). Her mother allowed but put all these rules on it...only once a month and only her lower legs. Her armpits were off limits.

What we did was got her on board with taking care of it all herself. She would shower daily before her mom came home from work, but she started getting in trouble for that and stopped. We took her and got her a proper haircut where they thinned out her hair to make it manageable (I have trouble washing it when it isn't so it is terrible for her). Her mother gave me an earful for going against her wishes of just having it cut blunt at the bottom. I didn't apologise, though, because DSD begged for help and DH approved it. I only drove her to the salon. kwim We also bought her an electric razor to use at our home with the only rule being... your body, your choice. We also sent her home with shampoo/conditioner in one that we added tea tree oil to for the dandruff.

We really just don't understand her mother's issues with all of this. DH has tried so many times to talk with her about it and how DSD is really, really having issues with the rules. She refuses to discuss it, though. The person suffering is DSD, and it is for no reason.

I don't have any other advise other than teaching her what to do. You have no control over there. All you can do is allow her to clean up well with you, document, and be there as a support for her feelings on the matter. It sucks sometimes.

Mama to Ava (12/03) , Leila (4/06) , Violet (11/08) , and bonus mama to Madison (7/98)
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#8 of 12 Old 03-03-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ma_vie_en_rose View Post
Excuse me, but do we have the same step-daughter?

I swear, I going through EXACTLY what you are right down to her mother not allowing her to bathe every day and the belly button grime. DSD is also not allowed to wash her hair but twice a week and can only use shampoo-- no conditioner. She has thick, thick hair that is so oily and filled with dandruff. She is so embarrassed by it. She also begged to shave (she has armpit hair). Her mother allowed but put all these rules on it...only once a month and only her lower legs. Her armpits were off limits.

What we did was got her on board with taking care of it all herself. She would shower daily before her mom came home from work, but she started getting in trouble for that and stopped. We took her and got her a proper haircut where they thinned out her hair to make it manageable (I have trouble washing it when it isn't so it is terrible for her). Her mother gave me an earful for going against her wishes of just having it cut blunt at the bottom. I didn't apologise, though, because DSD begged for help and DH approved it. I only drove her to the salon. kwim We also bought her an electric razor to use at our home with the only rule being... your body, your choice. We also sent her home with shampoo/conditioner in one that we added tea tree oil to for the dandruff.

We really just don't understand her mother's issues with all of this. DH has tried so many times to talk with her about it and how DSD is really, really having issues with the rules. She refuses to discuss it, though. The person suffering is DSD, and it is for no reason.

I don't have any other advise other than teaching her what to do. You have no control over there. All you can do is allow her to clean up well with you, document, and be there as a support for her feelings on the matter. It sucks sometimes.
Yeah, I hear you on that! It's funny, in my stepdaughter's case, because her Mother is so neurotic about fashoin and having the best of everything- she has to buy new clothes all the time for my stepdaughter, top of the line, expensive name brand, whatever the current style is, with the "old" clothes being thrown out as soon as the next season comes along and they're no longer in style (and I mean, "green cargo pants are in this fall, but blue capris are in this summer, so first day of summer, all the green cargo pants get thrown out. ). They live in a multi million dollar house with my stepdaughter's other Grandfather, with a maid and are very "fancy smancy" there, and my stepdaughter's Mother even seems reasonably clean, but my stepdaughter often looks like a street urchin, and it's not even my stepdaughter's personal preference! Sometimes my stepdaughter's Mother doesn't let her brush her hair in the morning- "Oh, it looks fine, don't worry about it." I've seen my stepdaughter's hair in the morning. Most mornings, she wakes up looking like the female version of Einstein. It blows my mind, how someone could not care about their child's hygene, especially when it's the child herself who's begging for it!

Anyways, we cleaned her bellybutton out with peroxide (my stepdaughter was shocked to find that you COULDN'T poke a hole into your guts- apparently that's what she had been told! ) and my Hubby used a q-tip to pull the dirt out and then she showered and used coconut bath oil in her bellybutton. And we gave her "proper bellybutton care" lessons. It looked so much better! We'll have to see how it looks when she comes back Wednesday, and of course, she'll tell us if her Mother blew a gasket.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#9 of 12 Old 03-04-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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Yeah, this also sounds like her mom. She is so concerned about her appearance, but not DSD's. DH thinks that she doesn't want DSD to outshine her. I really don't get it. I have tried talking to her mom about how teaching DSD to value and care for her body will translate to so many other things when she is older, but it falls on deaf ears.

Mama to Ava (12/03) , Leila (4/06) , Violet (11/08) , and bonus mama to Madison (7/98)
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#10 of 12 Old 08-09-2012, 01:27 AM
 
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Get it all out with some tweezers it works really good believe me its nasty but itll Get the job done redface.gif
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#11 of 12 Old 08-09-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Forum crashing here. At 8 a child is old enough to learn some self care, which will take care of a lot of the problem.

If bathing at her mom's house is an issue, then teach her to do some basic hygiene. She can wash her face, armpits and private parts with a wash cloth. Teach her to braid her hair at night so it doesn't get so tangled while she sleeps. This works wonders with my daughter's very thick hair. Trim the ends when it gets too tangled. It doesn't need to be layered, just the split ends cut off. Teach her how to tell if the soap is out of her hair (does it squeak?)

Beware too that she may be feeling caught between the parents and household expectations. I don't know too many 8 year olds who are eager to bathe nightly. There's a possibility she's telling you what she thinks you want to hear. My kids often bathe less than every other day. Sometimes we forget for a week! And then when I tell them they're overdue for a bath, they look art me in real puzzlement. My kids are 8 and 11, and are starting to get body odor typo. They still prefer to bathe infrequently. I have no idea about the state of either of thejir belly buttons, as they bathe/shower independently. So while mom may not be all that attentive, I don't think it's even close to neglect.

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#12 of 12 Old 08-09-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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This thread is over 3 years old so the problem has likely been resolved in some way by now.  Also the OP is no longer involved with this child or the child's father, IIRC.

 

Hey new posters, welcome to MDC!  Feel free to start your own threads if you want to discuss a topic, rather than resurrecting old threads.

 

If you have found this site through a keyword search, take the time to check the dates of postings before you rely to them.

 

Thank you from a forum member who gets very confused when people whose issues I remember from years back suddenly turn up on the first page!
 

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