Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why I am Not a Fan of Daytime Baths for Children

Today I learned my two-year-old is really growing up. After he ate six pancakes for breakfast (one chocolate, chip, one blackberry, and four--yes, four blueberry), I was impressed.

Then within the next hour, Professor (who will be twelve next month) told me he was teaching Bean to read the words dog and cat. I knew they'd been working on 'a' sounds, and Bean already knows his alphabet and can count to twenty-nine, so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. Still, he's growing up too fast. 

An hour ago, we dropped Professor off at the library for his black light science program for the teen reading program. Then we did an errand, and came home. I called my mom, and began wandering around like I do when I'm chatting with her. 

Right after I went into the hall, I tried to open the bathroom door.

It was locked.

Hmm, I thought. It was unusual for the door to be shut when any of the kids were in there. (They forget and leave it open no matter how many times I remind them. I think they treat it like a secret spy mission--Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the bathroom without getting caught. I hope they grow out of it.)

Anyway, I had just left Lion in the living room, so I stepped two more feet down the hall, hoping to see Bean in his room with Princess. 

No such luck. Princess sat on the floor, happily playing in peace. 

I kept talking away on the phone as a trickle of dread ran down into my stomach. I unlocked the bathroom door, swung it open . . .and saw my youngest standing there, plunger in hand, with the weirdly curved-inward-so-it-holds-water operating end fully immersed in the toilet. 

Before I could stop my mouth from doing anything, I exclaimed, "BEAN!" If you're wondering why I should have not said anything, then you probably aren't around young kids much. If not, you might be snickering by now. 

As soon as I said his name, I had that sinking knowledge that I was indeed, too late, and what was in the process of happening was entirely my fault. Once that fated word was out of my mouth, Bean jerked the plunger out of the toilet, spraying water everywhere. As the droplets flew, I ran to my ickily-spattered child, and filled my mother in as I rescued the plunger. Bits of toilet paper swirling in the bowl only added to the imagery as to what my child--and my feet--were surely marinating in.

My mother's near hysterical laughter did not help much, so I said goodbye and filled the bathtub. (This is where my title comes into play, by the way. Daytime baths are usually a positive ending to some kind of messy/disgusting episode.)

I helped my precocious child take off his germy clothes, and I was in no mood for his usual screaming theatrics at getting his hair and face washed. I bent down to his level, and was deadly calm. All the seriousness I could muster was focused through my eyes to his, like laser beams of Mommy Means It. "Bean," I said, "I am going to wash your hair and your face. That means no screaming." He solemnly nodded, and I even repeated myself a couple of times just to make sure he knew. 

And amazingly? When I washed his face, I told him we'd rinse three times. He didn't scream. I washed his hair. He didn't scream.

So, yes. My little baby is definitely growing up. He eats mountains of pancakes. He is learning letter sounds. He didn't scream in the bathtub. He didn't scream in the bathtub! And someday, I'm sure he'll be a wonderful man--

The type of man who always dutifully plunges his own toilet.