Thursday, October 25, 2012

Keep it clean

My kids love bath time, especially Mary and Anna. They like that I put a little of the baby's bedtime bath soap into the running water so their tub smells like lavender. They like pouring water out of the rinse cups, playing with bath toys, making hats out of the washcloths and "swimming like mermaids" because their hair fans out in the water.

As a parent, I do not herald bathtime with the same glee my children exhibit. For me (or Tim) it's another task to tack onto bedtime every other night, something that takes up time and keeps Lily awake as the voices of exuberant preschoolers echos off the tiles in the room that is directly across from the nursery. But for them, I try. Or, I try to pawn bathtime off onto Tim as often as possible.

"I'm with them all day," I rationalize to the man who has just walked in from twelve hours out of the house, when you factor in train time. Yes, he works and works hard, but I've just put in a full tour of duty at Camp Crazy and am ready for my day pass. "They want to spend time with you."

And he sighs and at least pretends to buy my stupid excuse and relieves me of bathtime duty. Usually he tries to save time and give them a shower instead. They protest the lack of bath but then they get over it.

Earlier this week I decided to put on my big girl pants and tackle bath time. Tim had had an especially long day and I had just bathed Lily in the sink and was therefore already drenched. I ran a bath and helped two excited little girls hop in.

I washed hair. Mary reminded me no less than 17 times to use conditioner. Anna flipped out because she's convinced the tear free shampoo still hurts, somehow. They splashed. I got a washcloth ready and scrubbed Mary down, then handed it over to her so she could "do it myself." Anna was pretending to be a frog in the tub next to her sister.

"Okay Anna, your turn," I said. "Do you want to do it yourself first, or let Mommy go first?"

"I peed," she said simply.

"You what? You peed? In the tub? Just now??"

"Yes," she said, as though I had asked her if it was dark out. "I peed. I peed IN THE TUB."

At this point I am frantically draining the tub, standing girls up and rinsing them with water from the faucet. Anna got the fastest scrub down in history.

"Where's my bath going?" she said as the water drained.

"You can't have a bath when you pee in the water!" I snapped. "You know better, Anna, that's gross. WE! PEE! IN! THE! POTTY!"

And from the dining room, my husband chimed in.

"Don't yell at her," he said.


" should probably yell at me," he said. I paused.


A pause.

"I...may have told her she could pee in the shower," he said meekly.

"THAT'S GROSS!" I said, mentally recalculating how much more often I needed to start cleaning the shower.

"It's not that bad," he said.

"THAT IS SO BAD," I said. "WE NEVER PEE IN THE TUB," I added for the girls' benefit, casting an extra long glare at my husband's back.

Tonight was bath, or rather, shower, night again. I made doubly sure they had used the potty before things got going.

"Hey, it's raining," Anna announced, looking up, clearly missing the concept of indoor plumbing.

I suppose as long as she doesn't think it's an outhouse, we're all good.

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