Simplify Bath Time by Hittin' the Bar
From Seaweed and Skinned Knees
by Coleen Carusi McCoy
Simplify bath time by hittin' the bar. As a stay at home mom I would be lying if I said bath time is a magical time of bonding and bubbles. The reality is after a day of cutting grapes, wiping bottoms and keeping the peace, the last thing I want to do is linger over an extended bath time and prolong the exhaustion. I want the boys clean, warm, and ready for bed since nap times have never existed for us. Bath time usually falls at about 6:00 which is smack dab in the middle of the good old “witching hours” as our grandmothers called them, which is an exceptionally vulnerable time to be a parent. So you can imagine my fury when I happened to reread a label on my teeny, tiny twenty dollar baby shampoo bottle and found sodium benzoate. I called to my husband and asked him to go get the old bottle that I had just thrown in the recycling. Curiously enough the old bottle, which I now noticed was bigger, did not contain sodium benzoate. I was so mad that I had to imagine myself sipping a margarita (on the rocks with salt) on a beach in Mexico (mainland west coast) just in order to refrain from spewing various profanities as my little gems bathed in front of me. For those of you just having your “what is in my bath products” awakening, start off by avoiding the nasty 5; fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, triclosan, and anything ending with the word paraben. The second step would be to enroll in chemistry classes and start learning about various compounds. Just kidding or am I? Most days I feel like I have read so much, or researched so many chemicals that I am well on my way to at least a Bachelors of Science. However, I refuse to let this particular endeavor overtake my life. I have spent so much money on brands like California Baby that I'm determined to find a different, easier, dare I say cheaper way! As in most of my quests to find the road less paved with chemicals, I start off at the ewg.org website. That website is such an amazing place of helpful, useful information that if I ever meet the creators of it I will kiss them. Head right to their consumer guides section and type in the name of a product and voila!~ you can read the ingredients, the hazards, the good the bad and the ugly. Great products get a zero score and the less desirable the product the more the score raises. It's brilliant and easy! In addition to the nasty five, I also wanted to avoid sodium benzoate, anything starting in meth, and dyes. Sometimes you can find an “organic” product but it contains a synthetic dye and that I find extremely frustrating. I had used Earth Mama Angel Baby in the past and was very satisfied with it aside from the fact it is expensive and it didn't always leave my muddy, smelly, bug touching boys fully clean. I went through various other names of products, ingredients, shampoos, and soaps and didn't find anything that had me convinced of a less expensive, easier solution. So after exhausting ewg.org I did what I always do, I picked up the bat phone and called my team of specialists; my mother and two sisters. They are the ultimate test group of products, foods, vitamins you name it; the Charlie's Angels of all things natural and inexpensive. What my group of Nancy Drew's did was remind me to get back to basics. My mother reminded me that we rarely used anything except bar soap as kids and my sister added, “I have no time or money to go hunting down all that and we just use Dr. Bronner's for everything.” So there was my bonk on the head wake up call to forgo the quest for something new and just go back to what I know. A bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap for things like hand wash, stain remover and shampoo, and a bar of Dr. Bronner’s baby soap for the kids in the tub. It was a little weird at first converting back to the bar after the baby years of liquid soap. The bar seemed to go really fast and then I realized it was because I let the boys play with it too long. Once we got our routine down of lathering a washcloth for each child with the bar and then putting the bar directly back on the shelf we were golden. I found myself saying , “bath time- time to hit the bar” to my kids and while that is probably grossly inappropriate it is exactly the lightheartedness I need at 6 pm on any given night. Granted the bar of soap is around 3 dollars but it does last a good two weeks and we all feel really clean. I even just shampoo their hair with the bar sometimes; after all lice love overly clean hair so I really have no issue being just a tiny bit greasy. Once we switched to the bar I began to see the butterfly effect take place right in our humble bath room. No liquid soap meant no plastic bottle, no plastic bottle meant no B.P.A. Furthermore I took a look into the Dr. Bronner's company and they recently donated a million dollars to the campaign to label g.m.o's, they are a fair trade company that is also passionate about zero animal cruelty. Someone ring the victory bell for me! A moment of bath time frustration turned into a total money saving, environmentally friendly win all by “hittin' the bar”.