My kids are filthy this time of year. The soundtrack to late March is the spring-loaded creaking and slamming of our purple wooden screen door, smattered with shouts of “take off your shoes when you’re inside!” Instead of reapplying footwear 25 times a day, the boys eventually go barefoot, thereby commencing their seasonal transition into muddy-footed swamp children.
My youngest, Arlo (2), is particularly careless (as he should be) when it comes to appearing as if he’s a member of civilized society. He’s had a runny nose — since birth it seems — and his compulsion for wiping it with his right forearm sleeve creates a paper mache cheek pad by 2pm. Add that to his brown, paw-like feet, and we’re all simultaneously imagining a cute little fairy tale orphan.
In order to avoid a visit from social services, the formerly sporadic bathing schedule has turned into a nightly ritual, which is a bit more hands-on than I would like. My adorable offspring will only ease himself into the warm bubbly abyss if I join him. Apparently he likes being forced into a small corner of the tub while my gigantic 6’6″ frame collapses into a 4’5″ oversized sink like a fetal pig stuffed into a beaker during biology lab.
My wife wanted to come in to look, but I’d locked the door. It’s simply too pathetic looking. Picture two small boys in the tub together– very cute. Now mentally take out Silas (40 inches and 36 pounds) and add me (80 inches, 200 pounds) –not cute. In fact, it looks like a child is being held hostage by an animatronic birch tree.
Our tub isn’t even big enough for the water to fully cover me, as if the laws of physics are trying to help identify my problem areas. I try to sit up so as to cover my unmentionables with bubbles, but there seems to be a unique slope to the tub which forces my body to slide onto it’s back. I need some kind of harness that holds me in place. It’s the only time I’ve ever thought, “Wow, I’d rather be in a papasan chair right now.”
I do enjoy the time, though. Any physical discomfort is offset by the emotional wellbeing created by the tight quarters. Add Arlo’s giddiness about his giant goofy-limbed daddy being wet just like him, and the whole thing is worth it. Now, I just need to sell a project so we can put in a “family sized” tub.