Breakfast was ending, the peach oats in Peanut’s bowl having been devoured in record time, and both kids needed to get a bath. I remember when all I had to do was mention the word “bath” and they’d both go running happily to the tub. But now they both have their own ideas, and sometimes they’d rather play cars, get into the craft cabinet, or just run around the house chasing the dog, so I’ve been coming up with ways to entice them into getting clean.
Sometimes mentioning bath crayons works, especially for Monkey, who loves to draw. Sometimes I ask Peanut what color water they’d like, and then I use a few drops of food coloring to make it pink, blue, purple, or whatever color she suggests. Today neither of those options worked magic, so I tried the latest and greatest with the 3 ½ year old: taking a shower.
The first few times she got into the shower stall I gave her a bath crayon, sat her on the little seat we have in the shower, and stayed with her. After a few tentative attempts to touch the water with her hand, while keeping her face as far from the water as possible, she fell in love. The last time I got in with her I couldn’t get her out, and I let her have a few minutes alone in the water while I got myself dressed. But she had never had a shower completely by herself before, and we had never gotten in it together without Daddy being home to keep an eye on our youngest. Suggesting she take a shower while I had Monkey in the bathtub in the other bathroom was just asking for trouble, but once you suggest something to a preschooler, you better hold up your end of the deal
So there I was, stuck with the choice I had presented. Now a smarter mommy might have put one in the tub and waited to put the other in the shower until the bathtub experience was over, but I was trying to save time so I could do things other than was kids all day, so I got the water running in the bathtub and then I went to turn on the shower. Now I was smart enough to take all the soap, shampoo, and conditioner out of the shower stall; after all, I know what Peanut does when she is alone with that stuff… I got the water to a good temperature and she stepped in. I gave her the bath crayon and reminded her that I was just in the other room washing Monkey and that I’d be back to check on her.
Then I went to put Monkey in the tub, who by that time was going ballistic trying to figure out how to get his jammies off so he could get into the tub, which was rapidly filling with water. (I’m sure he was thinking something along the lines of, “How dare Mommy turn on the water and not get me in right away?”) I had just started soaping him up when I heard the dreaded screams coming from the other bathroom.
Did she accidentally hit the handle and make the water too hot? Did she slip and fall? Why did I leave my baby in there alone? My mind was racing as I rushed to the shower stall to check on her
Thankfully she was fine, just a little scared. “Mommy, you come in, too,” she said. I explained again that Mommy couldn’t come in and leave her brother alone in the bathtub, and since there’s just one mommy, I suggested maybe she should come take a bath with him. Stubborn as she is, she refused and decided to stay in the shower. I showed her how to open the sliding shower door and told her she could get out on her own if she needed to, and then I went to finish rinsing off Monkey and wash his hair
Soap was covering the little guy’s hair, slipping down his ears, when I heard bawling from the other bathroom. This time I took the time to rinse him off some before checking on his big sister, figuring she was physically okay and I didn’t want the soap in his eyes. When I got to her she was sitting on the bath mat, soaking wet and cold and bawling. I wrapped her up in a towel and said, “I think we need to finish this in the tub…” Thankfully she agreed this time
The rest of bath time went much more smoothly. I think we’ll hold off on any future showers on her own, and I’ll be more careful in what I suggest from now on!