Unless you are an only child, chances are you’ve got a picture of yourself and a sibling (or two) in the tub with you. You are cute and adorable with your shampoo mohawks and bubble mustaches. After you had kids of your own, if you are like me, you thought, “Wow. Bathing the kids together. What a model of convenience and efficiency.” Yeah. Not.
Let’s just take a glimpse, m’kay, into what bath time at my house looks like. I have three kids: Boy/girl twins who are 17 months old and a son who is 3 years old. Since none of them are really questioning their parts just yet, I toss them all into the tub together. In many ways, it is easier. In many ways, it’s so not. Here’s how it goes.
First, I have to get the water to the exact right temperature. My oldest son will FREAK if it’s not just right. I have to goad him into the tub in the first place, so if the temp is off…oh boy. Three-year-olds can whine like no one’s business, “Mommy, it’s too hot! Mommy, it’s too cold! I don’t like it! I don’t like it!”. We’re talking a difference of a degree or two here. He’s like a human thermometer. So, after getting the temp just right, I put them all in the tub. According to pictures of my brother and I in the tub as kids, they should now commence adorable “photo-op moment” playing. Aw, look, a rubber duck! A squirty toy! A water wheel! Fun! Fun! FUN! Again. Not.
My daughter HATES baths. Hates them. Hates them like I hate live fish (read HERE for a reminder on that one). I set her in the water and she immediately tries to claw her way out of the tub like a cat. Hmmm. I wonder if there’s something to that? Maybe my daughter is part cat? Anyway. She’s SCREAMING and I have yet to put a drop of soap on her. My strategy is to wash her first, take her out and let the boys play. Seems simple, right?
Except, my daughter has eczema. Which means after she gets out of the tub I have to rub the thickest lotion EVER on her skin (before I even dry her) to try to lock every bit of moisture back in. Which makes her a greased pig when she rolls away from me and runs before I can get her diaper properly fastened. Which means trying to capture her as she runs out the door is hard (why didn’t I close it???). I get her back to the bathroom, properly diapered, and then she just has to wait while her brothers finish up. Which would be fine. Except 17-month-olds don’t really get waiting. So she just gets into stuff.
“No pulling the toilet paper!”
“No playing with the toilet bolts!”
“Don’t put your paci in your brother’s potty chair!” (Ew, ew, ew!)
“No playing in the trash!”
“Don’t throw the poopy diaper!”
You had no idea a single bathroom had so many hazards, did you? And we baby proof! And her reactions give me visions of what it will be like to raise her when she is 16: “God. You never let me do ANYTHING!”
In the meantime, her twin brother has decided standing up and walking across the tub is SUPER fun. Like, the Best.Game.Ever. And my reaction of, “Oh! Sit down!” only registers giggles. Now it’s a game: let’s make Mommy react again. Until he falls. And rolls over face first into the water. And comes up gagging. Commence screaming kid number two. And it only gets worse as I wash and rinse him because heaven forbid I pour more water on a kid who is ALREADY WET! Then I take him out and do the dry and diaper- up routine. Now I have two kids who want to play in the toilet.
Now my 3-year-old is alone in the tub. And he wants to stay there. Despite the fact that the other two are now driving me nuts, I can’t really take them anywhere and leave my son in the tub alone, I have to help him wash and get out. And that means more protests, “But I don’t wanna get out! I wanna keep playing!”…from the kid who needed convincing to get in the tub to begin with. Three-year-olds are nothing if not contrary. So he tells me, “You can wash me, but not my head. No scrubbing my head.” Um, no, buddy. You poured sand in your hair while playing outside. Because you thought it was like pouring sparkles on yourself. Now you need to wash it out. I must say, I’m pretty good at rinsing shampoo away, it always flows backward. Despite the fact that not a single drop of water gets in his eyes he cries, “My eye hurts! My eye hurts!” I do my best to wash away the fake eye-hurting substance, but I still get screaming kid number three.
And now I’m so friggin’ tired I just want a nap. But, alas, there’s no time for that. Because in Mommy land someone always needs fed, something always needs cleaned, etc., etc. Ah well, someday they may get to a stage where I can take cute pics of them all in the bathtub. Or I’ll just have to accept that my kids are cute doing other things, just not baths.