I like to think that my son looks a little like my dad. sometimes, I think he acts like him too. for instance, he has always loved baths. his grandpa (my dad) would be proud to know that his heritage of steeping in a daily bath is being carried on by his grandson. I am always careful not to mention the word “bath” because if Joel hears it, if anything at any time reminds him that baths are a thing and are even a remote possibility, boy, you won’t hear the end of it.
not that he always gets super clean in said baths. though he enjoys a good hearty steep in the tub, that’s not to say he’s the most compliant person when it comes to soap and shampoo usage. still, a good rinse is good for superficial dirt, keeps the pores open and the circulation flowing, I say.
he likes everything about baths. being naked. that’s a big one. taking in toys, bath toys and non-bath toys alike. he doesn’t discriminate. sitting under the faucet. and splashing. jumping and crashing down into the tub, though I have a firm (yeah right) “no standing in the bath tub” rule.
this morning was no exception. greg had gone out to do meals on wheels, ruth was still asleep, the baby was dozy after a diaper change and feeding, and, as usual, joel and I were the only two up in the house, greeting the day together, me standing, cup at the ready, waiting for the coffee to finish perking. joel was wandering around with a soggy diaper on, talking to himself and playing with some errant toys left on the kitchen floor from the day before. suddenly, he gasped and said, “mommy? I want a bath!” as though he’d just come up with the greatest idea since the world wide web and, clearly, I should be just as excited.
I avoided the subject, went in the other room, offered other suggestions, the usual tricks you can sometimes play on a two-year-old to make them forget what it is they are asking for. it didn’t work. “ok, joel. let me just get my coffee and i’ll give you a bath.” “YAY!!” then the bath couldn’t happen fast enough. every other second he was reminding me about the bath, asking me for the bath, pleading with me, whining at me, “mommy, I wanna take a bath right now!” finally, after what must have seemed a lifetime to joel but what I swear was not more than five minutes, we sauntered into the bathroom and I began filling up the tub. he bounded in, happy as a clam and I found my perch on the toilet lid with my cup of coffee steaming in my hand. my saving grace.
suddenly greg was home, announcing a doughnut delivery and, thinking I had read of someone doing this somewhere and feeling very smart and crafty, I offered joel his doughnut while he was still in the bath. great idea. get the healthy, nutritious (ahem) breakfast out of the way while he’s in the tub and all the crumbs will be contained in the bath and then down the drain instead of all over the living room floor like usual. pat on the back, me. I handed it to him.
it started out fine. but he’s not the most fastidious of kids, being two, and, not paying attention, he let the doughnut get drenched by the faucet water once. then twice. I was a little distraught to see a glossy sheen spreading over the top of the bath water, crumbs floating around, peppering the bath water and clouding it up. “hmm,” I thought, “maybe this wasn’t such a grand idea.” joel sure was enjoying it. what could be better? a fresh, soggy doughnut in a nice warm morning bath? the doughnut kept falling apart and eventually I had to save the last pieces from dissolving completely in the water.
eventually the bath ended, it was time to move on to more fun things, the life of a two-year-old is super busy. they can’t spare a minute from play. I scooped joel out of the tub and toweled him off. “you smell like a doughnut,” I said. he laughed and ran away. “this bath defeated it’s purpose!” I yelled to greg, “joel is dirtier now than before he went in….he’s coated in doughnut grease!” I heard greg chortle in the other room (yeah, that’s right. he chortled). I gave a sideways glance to the tub with floaters and pulled the plug, hoping for the best, but dreading what it would look like once the water drained. “nothing a little vinegar can’t cut through,” I reasoned and walked away.