Bathtime Should Be Easy

There are certain parts of parenthood that should be easy, but they’re not. Because there are a million components to every event that you don’t even think of, and that no one could possibly tell you to expect.

Things like bathtime, which should be effortless and relatively quick. Except that it’s not.

Like, ever.

The other night I wasn’t even planning to give anyone a bath, preferring instead to keep them as dirty as possible (or at least their hair as dirty as possible, because, remember, lice like clean hair) but they were rolling around in the leaves in the front yard and so, just, you know, there could have been a spider or something in their hair. I had to wash it. Plus, I kind of felt like it might be weird to send them to school the next day with little pieces of leaves and twigs and stuff tangled up in their hair. So fine. Up to the tub for a “quick” bath.

First things first, though, the obligatory fight over who “gets” to sit in the front of the tub and who “has” to sit in the back. (Somehow bathtime seating location is, apparently, a fight to-the-death, life-altering event.)

On the bright side, the laundry is in the bathroom with the tub so I was planning to bang out two birds with one stone. Except while I was paying attention to folding someone’s skivvies, my 4-year-old dumped the entire bottle of kid soap into the tub. The bottle that I just bought the day before. Sure the overflowing bubbles were kind of cool, but I knew that trying to rinse their bodies and hair clean was going to be a nightmare of epic proportions (like it was the last time she dumped the entire bottle into the tub.) Nightmare. But whatever. Wash, wash, wash. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Done. Quick fight over who gets the “good” towel and who gets the “crappy” towel. A little crying thrown in there for good measure…and MISSION COMPLETION. The quick 15 minute bath took 45 minutes, there is water everywhere, and removing the soap scum that is left over in the tub is most likely going to be the death of me.  But they are clean. Their hair is dry, their jammies are on, and they smell yummy. Except…except…wait…what was that? What did I just hear a little voice say down the hall? Did I just hear the words “hair” and “gel” in the same sentence? Oh hell no. No. Nooooo! Run back to the bathroom, but too late. The 4-year-old, who is usually quite normal when she isn’t dumping entire bottles of soap into the tub, and who was JUST standing on the stool admiring herself in the mirror, has decided that a little hair gel might be the way to go 5 minutes before bedtime. And if a little is good, a lot is GREAT. I’m talking a handful of hair gel in the front of her hair (just the front), which is parted in a weird way (and will now be shellacked in that wierdly parted way probably forever.) And just like that, the 45 minute bath was all for nothing. There is nothing to show for it except one clean 6-year-old in the other room, a trashed bathroom, and soap scum.  Tons of soap scum. Somehow bathtime has made even more work for me to do. Because EVERYTHING makes more work in the end. That’s the part of parenthood that no one tells you. *sigh* I should have just let her go to school with sticks in her hair.

Here she is in all her gelled-up glory. I assure you, she really is quite normal…


No, seriously. She is. Oh, and did I mention that she put eye black tattoos under her eyes? And I can’t get it off?



Let’s Fight


I am happy to report that, after much careful (forced) observation this summer, I have come to the conclusion that there is not, and most likely never will be, any limit to the things that my kids will fight about. No limit. None. Phew, right?!  I mean, for a second you may have been thinking,  “What if they run out of things to argue about?” So you will sleep easy as you realize that their ability to bicker about anything and everything is limitless.

They will literally fight about anything.

Even a box of munchkins that I so lovingly bought for them as we were driving somewhere the other day. I can’t even remember where we were going, I’m so traumatized. But they all wanted munchkins so I bought a big box for them. (I know, awesome, right?) Then I told them to pass the box around, take the munchkins they wanted, and then pass the box back up. Easy. Except, not. I handed the box back into enemy territory, and immediately I realized my mistake. The one who got the box became the “one in charge of the box.” Pass it around? No chance. He was just going to hold onto the box and hand out the munchkins to each person with his (and I quote) dirty, disgusting hands. Oh, hell to the no. Chaos erupts. People start flinging themselves bodily over the back of seats in an attempt to pick their own munchkins out of the box (with their own dirty, disgusting hands). There’s screaming. There’s fighting. They are going for blood. When they FINALLY each have their own munchkins in their own hands, and they FINALLY are all sitting back in their seats, and they FINALLY have stopped threatening to lock each other out of the house when we get home… the 6-year-old discovers that in the scuffle somehow some powdered sugar has gotten on her glazed munchkin. I thought this would be cause for celebration (it is in my book) but it is only cause for a new, an quite impassioned, fight. Round 2 here we go.

The pet store can also cause an all out war. First, it should be noted that we don’t have a pet. We went to the pet store because some of the kids wanted to see the tarantulas. Cool. Whatevs. At this point in the summer I’m just trying to kill time anyways, so if you want to go to the pet store to see the tarantulas and the disgusting ferrets I’m all for it. What I’m not all for is when you get into a screaming match in the store because one of you says that she wants to get a tarantula as a pet someday. No, not just WANTS to get it, is GOING to get it. Somehow, and for some reason, in the mind of a 6-year-old when a 4-year-old says she is going to get a tarantula as a pet that makes it real. It’s really going to happen. Like, right now. And, as a 6-year-old, you have to stop this from happening in anyway possible. If that means going freaking nuts in the pet store, then so be it. And the 4-year-old, who loves a good challenge, is going to go right back at you to prove to you and the world that yes, she is, in fact, getting a tarantula as a pet. And soon.

The fights over Minecraft can get intense. My kids have set the computers up on the kitchen table like it is command central. Then they all log onto Minecraft and, I guess, can all go into the same world or something. I have no idea. All I know is that they build stuff. And they make levers and buttons, and there are cows and villagers, and once one of them made a roller coaster. Lots of times, they can co-exsist in these lands peacefully. But, apparently when you are in the same land together you can go into each others houses. And visit each others carefully built master pieces. And you can, if you are in the mood to drive your brother insane, knock each others stuff down. And steal each others treasures.  And, oh my GOD, now they are fighting virtually. Who knew that some day I would be standing in my kitchen screaming at them to “put the diamonds back into the chest that you stole them out of!” It’s completely absurd.

Its ALL completely absurd.

All of it.

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fights about who gets to open the door at Barnes & Nobles (the world’ heaviest doors)
  • Who gets sunscreen put on first when we get to the beach
  • Who stepped on your foot “by mistake”
  • Who gets to put the chocolate chips in the batter when you’re all making cookies
  • It’s also fun to fight about how someone kicked you in the head when they were climbing into the backseat (under duress, because it was NOT their turn to sit in the way back)
  • And about who gets to use the “good” cup (we have a good cup?) for their chocolate milk
  • The TV show to watch
  • The volume of said TV show
  • Who unplugged someone’s charger and plugged their own electronic into that outlet (because we only have one outlet in the house I guess)
  • Fights about someone sneezing on you (this is actually a valid fight)
  • Someone splashing water on you in the tub
  • Someone hogging the coveted goggles at the pool
  • Fights about who gets to use the only working xbox controller left in the house
  • Accusations about who drank the last of the milk
  • And who left the caps off the markers and dried them all up
  • Fights about anything and everything…and absolutely nothing at all.

Which is why I am in favor of year-round boarding school. Preferably far away. With no vacations.