Muddy knees, jam-stained fingers and honey-combed hair … sometimes parenting can really stink.
After a few labour-intensive hours scrubbing, our angels with dirty faces are transformed (after a copious amount of bribery) into a pristine and clean specimen once more.
Sadly, as any parent will know, this does not last, and what seems a few seconds later, they are back caked in mud, dog mess and congealed worms.
Thankfully, there are a few products that really do what they say on the tin and make this traumatic reoccurance a distant dream, if at least for a minute or two.
Now, as a slummy mummy, I take short cuts to this parenting lark with relish.
L’Oreal may claim that its ‘no tears’ formula has been especially forumlated for toddler hair, but in my experience, it does little to tame the straw-like tendancies of my girl’s unruly hair.
In fact, washing her hair is a challenge in itself because the keen-amphibian doesn’t, er, like water on her face, despite enjoying a dunking in the pool and sea on a regular basis – toddler logic, for you.
So, yes, there are plenty of tears, and not just from my daughter. Drying and brushing is just the second part of the self-inflicted misery me and my husband have to endure while ensuring our toddler isn’t mistaken for a scare-crow.
There has to be a special routine with a special chair and special comb before we finally set to work on tackling those tricky tangles, caused by lathering up with L’Oreal’s ‘family-friendly’ shampoo.
I’d almost given up hope of a shampoo that could cut through the mangled mess that is often my daughter’s hair, until that is, I stepped into Savers and found this gem for a £1.
Created by Schwarzkopf, Supersoft kids shampoo and conditioner, may look super girly with its pretty pink fairy on the bottle, but it is tougher than it looks.
It is the only baby hair product I will shout from the rooftops and rave about happily because it actually did what it said on the tin.
It did soften her hair, and it definitely cleaned it, if her newly bright blonde mop is anything to go by. No more dull, tangled up hair, and no more tears at bedtime.
It even has a very pleasant raspberry fragrance – and of course, it is a whole lot cheaper than most of its competitors. No more tangle teaser spray for us!
If you thought washing their hair ’til it shines, free from the crumbs of yesterday’s grub, was bad then getting them to wash their mitts is another ball game altogether.
I have lost count of the times I have desperately led her to the sink to clean her mucky paws, leaning over the faucet, drenching myself in the process as she screams in fury.
Thankfully, my sister-in-law shared a beacon of hope – in the form of a sugary-incentive.
Carex have cottoned on to parents’ hell of keeping nippers clean with their literally sweet-smelling new range.
Labelled the fun edition, Carex have brought to market the likes of cola bottles, strawberry laces and love hearts in soap form.
But warning, despite smelling EXACTLY like their counterparts, they most definitely aren’t meant for eating.
Our favourite is strawberry laces, though the love heart version is very much-love din our household, thanks to keeping her clean and interested in her own personal hygience.
It also, like its other soaps, kills 99.9999 per cent of germs, so you can be sure no nasty biugs or bacteria will be left on their palms … well, at least for a second or two.