Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Give a Backrub


A few nights ago, Ethan was away at a night class and I was home alone with the children (yes, an oxymoron, but it makes sense to anyone who plays single parent for any fraction of time). It was after dinner, after bathtime, after picking up...and there was still a good hour before bedtime, when I could legitimately put them in bed with any realistic expectation of them staying there.


As I lay on the floor, watching Edee (14 mos.) rifle through stuffed animals and feeling Miriam (2) crawl on my back, I realized that with all of our homeschooling and parenting, we had been amiss in one crucial area of instruction: how to give a backrub. Contemplating this, I realized that there were four pairs of hands (Edee's hands are better occupied elsewhere) that needed vital practice in this life lesson.


When I asked if any of them wanted to learn how to give a backrub, five little people excitedly yelled, "YES!" (but I ignored Edee's voice, and I am a little suspicious that perhaps she was just mimicking them anyway). Miriam even ran into my room to grab the miniature Body Shop coconut creme (oh, delicious scent!) from my nightstand (which is what you call a file cabinet with a decorative scarf draped on top). They rubbed and squeezed, doing an amazingly wonderful job on this sore back. However, I quickly ascertained that a few ground rules had to be diligently enforced:

  1. It is fine to use the ends of your fingers, as long as you are NOT using the ends of your fingernails.

  2. When Mommy says, "OW!," STOP. Do not continue. Do not laugh. Do not try to figure out how to make her say it again.

  3. It is OK to use the entire miniature tub of coconut creme, as long as you are using it on Mommy's back. It is NOT OK if you are eating it.

  4. I mean it, Abraham (2). Stop eating the coconut creme.

  5. When you run out of coconut creme, do not substitute Watkins Hand Creme. Lemongrass and chamomile do not smell good with coconut (and as a side note, Abraham, they are nowhere near as tasty).

  6. If you ever, EVER, again contemplate aloud using Mommy's back as a slip-n-slide for an Asian Beetle, you will be sent to bed immediately for the rest of your life. The awkward contortions that I had to go through in order to investigate who had the beetle and how close it was to me totally undid any therapeutic work the backrub accomplished.


And I think that's it. I've got to go get another tub of coconut creme, and then I think we'll give it another go. But this time, I'm setting bug traps and fixing Abraham a sandwich.




  1. we used to say giving backrubs is one of the first useful things children can learn.

    Better watch out for the cream eating, though...

  2. What a great story. Yes, we have had to keep the Hot and Icy up so it doesn't get mixed up with other lotions!


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