When I was a kid, it seemed my Mum, and every mum I read about in my storybooks, was concerned that children had to be diligent about washing one particular area thoroughly. I didn't question it at the time – who does? But for some odd reason, I've been wondering whether we all eventually completely forget about washing there if mum's not still giving us a daily reminder.
By "there," I mean behind your ears. As in, "...and remember to wash behind your ears!" Cue little-kid *eye-roll* and a groaning "yes, Mum" while dramatically dragging yourself off to the shower, away from the thing you'd much rather be doing. (Me: reading, usually something Enid Blyton – Adventures of The Wishing Chair, Secret Seven, Famous Five with the "five find-outers and dog.")
Why am I thinking about this? 🤷🏻♀️ Probably saw something in a Christmas movie that involved unruly young children, or maybe Emily Blunt said it in Mary Poppins Returns. Dunno. Whatever the spark, I realized I hadn't heard the directive in years and wondered a) whether parents still instruct their little ones to wash behind their ears, and b) whether adults still actually wash behind their ears – I'm sure there are some who fell out of the habit even before they were done at high school.
Obviously washing behind the ears serves a purpose. It's a tricky area that can collect dirt and bacteria, and isn't as easy to rinse as, say, shoulders or forearms. A quick google reveals that in some instances, an odour can develop, one that the Internet likens to stinky cheese. 😝 And this boston.com piece gives the instruction an historical context with literary references. Really, it was good grooming advice from mum.
So, when you were a kid, did it seem important to your mother that you wash behind your ears? (Bonus points if your mum still tells you to do it.) Have you ever said it to your kids/nieces/nephews/anyone? Have you even ever thought about this?? 🤨