We used to love bath time, the three of us, that is. We looked forward to it rather fondly. My wife and I because it signaled the moment just before “bedtime”, whereas for my son, it meant “splish splash” time when the bathroom turned into his own water park with rubber duckies, boats and such typical “bath time” paraphernalia. There was giggling and laughter. It was all very Norman Rockwell. Until last night.
Last night the spell was broken. The Fairy Godmother must have been off getting drunk with the dwarfs or something because that bath might as well have had snakes in it. I was, though, pleasantly, albeit, momentarily pleased to see that my son had miraculously learned to leap into my arms from the ground. As he sobbed rather audibly into my ear and trembled like a leaf we reassured him that although he might not think so he actually really liked taking baths. He would have none of it. So we tried the “look over there!” routine which is the first tactic most parents use on a crying child and depending on the moment and the tantrums can be more or less effective. You can’t tell your kid “look over there – a plane” when you are in the bathroom because they’ll just give you a brief and piercing “don’t be an idiot” look and continue bawling.
So there we were with a naked, semi-dripping, shaking, crying, peeing (I swear I felt a bit of a warm spot spreading), screaming child in my arms and no end in sight despite pulling out the big gun tactics (look bubbles, look daddy clapping like a seal, look dad pretending to be a chimp, and in general mom telling dad to look like this or that…). The look of self-pity we had on our faces was clearly reflected in the bathroom mirror.
We finally managed to calm him down enough to get him close to the tub to wash him without too much of a struggle, but the whimpering only subsided when we had finally wrapped him in a towel and whisked him away.
I returned to the bathroom as my wife finished preparing him for bed and observed the devastation, the bubble bottle leaking onto the floor, rubber ducky head first in the hamper, the mirror streaked with soapy liquid and so on and so forth. What was once an idyllic bathroom scene, where bath time was a family event filled with laughter and smiles, was no more – the age of bath time innocence was over.