Saturday, March 1, 2008

Squeaky clean

A nice long bath does everyone good, yes?

I, myself, used to enjoy baths until I lived with 3 children whose filth creates the need for weekly scrubbings of a tub that still never looks completely clean.

What I'm talking about is the nice long baths my children take. There's almost nothing they love more. In fact, bathtime is such a gigantic treat, that if one child is in the tub, the others appear from all corners of the house, begging to join him. That is why bathtime now means a tiny tub crammed with 3 children, one of whom is growing quite gangly and one of whom is nearly drowned by the rising of the water level when the aforementioned gangly child enters the tub. Still, they manage to make enough room to play, a task which could delight them for hours if their teeth didn't start chattering at the 30 minute mark. (There's a drought in these parts people--a person can't just add hot water to the tub willy nilly.)

But. As much as they love it, bathtime is, for me, a logistical nightmare. A grand pain in the ass. In fact, just the other day, my son and I had the following conversation in Target:

Son: Mommy, can I take a bath tonight?
Me: No. You took one yesterday.
Son: Pleeeeease?!?!?
Me: No!
Son: But, mommy, I'm so dirty! Look! Look, I stink!
Me: Not! tonight!

Afterward I realized that the shoppers around us must have been full-on judging me for refusing my child's pleas for good hygiene. Well, people of Target, I know that, in our house, bathtime has very little to do with bathing and everything to do with breaking out the Spongebob foaming shaving cream/body soap and the squirty Spiderman toys that came in the Cap'n Crunch box.

Still, though child-washing breaks my back and inspires grumbling at the gallons of water sloshed on the floor, their baths do me good, too. I'll admit it: I love my children more when they're clean. Some people get that feeling from watching their children sleep. But for me, there's nothing more adorable, more satisfying and huggable than a squeaky clean kid in fresh pajamas. It's even better when they're babies, when they climb up in your lap post-bath and you get to bury your nose in their soft, lavender-scented hair (which was, only an hour prior, crusted over with syrup and yogurt).

My freshly scrubbed children are sleeping next to me right now. And yes, their slack-jawed slumbering faces look angelic. But it's the scent of tear-free shampoo and Spongebob body soap that makes me misty.

Sigh. I can't wait until next week, when I finally let them bathe again.


cbh said...

your writing is so sincere. i love this post.

Julia said...

This is why my husband is in charge of baths in our house. Luckily when he travels he's only gone for a night or two!

Ryan Elizabeth said...

I couldn't agree more! I love great smelling children! The BEST thing is when Dad gives the bath, Mom get 20 minutes of peace and a nice smelling child crawls into your lap....AND you didn't have to do a thing!

MadMad said...

Sigh. You are wasted on blogging. No, that makes it sound like there are drugs involved. Hm.


OK, wait. I know: Your writing is too good and too funny to be available for free.

And the no you can't have a bath in the Target (again, those aren't the right words...)? Way too funny.