I Guess I’m Taking Baths Now

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.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

19 comments On I Guess I’m Taking Baths Now

  • That's real love right there.

    My husband wears swim trunks in the bath with our daughter, in case that's an issue with you.

  • You gotta morph this into the Daddy shower time! Thomas ADORED showers with Daddy from 6mos until 4yrs and now is happy to take a shower himself…. Now Will is learning to do showers with me on the rare occassion a bath isn't going to work. Among other reasons my hubs was awesome and I miss him so dearly, was the fact that when the babes are so little, shower/soap time is insanely hard with a slippery mini-dolphin….. but once they can stand themselves it is super easy and everyone gets all steamy clean! Having a costco sized can of shaving cream also helped keep him interested :)

  • Why not just take showers with him? Then at least you can stand up. Seriously, this is how I bath my daughter half the time. It is the only way we can both get clean without my stuffing myself into the tiny tub.

  • Our oldest had an aversion to water. We found success in taking him into the shower with us (and now he showers on his own!). We first had to convince the oldest that it was FUN to go in the shower so we let him go in with his rain boots. Umbrella optional. We've now mastered the shower revolving door where: mom goes in with youngest, mom cleans youngest, gives youngest to dad, mom gets clean, dad sends in oldest with mom, mom gets out, dad gets in, dad cleans oldest, gives oldest to mom, dad gets clean. Another option is letting the kids play 'dolphin' in the tub/shower combo while you shower. They must get somewhat clean with the soap and water that runs off you! Going to swimming lessons counts as bathing too.

  • Yeap. Tried that with my little one. Quickly learned it was better to try this in the bigger tub in our master bath. But it's huge. So big it terrifies the little one. So there really is no winning with the kiddos, is there? Except those moments of cherishing their giggles at your obvious discomfort…I'll take what I can get sometimes.

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