Sunday, 22 January 2012
Rub a dub dub, three kids in a tub...
There must be a relatively large amount of things a hot bath won't cure, but I can't seem to name any of them offhand. I remember those far-off days when a good bath was better than anything I can mention in polite company. I used to make a ritual of it: the scented bath salts, gentle foamy water, a good book, candles if I felt like the effort, a face mask on the odd occasion and sometimes even a glass of wine. I could lie there until the water got cold and my fingers and toes more resembled prunes than anything human. Upon which I would simply top up the hot water by turning on the tap with my toes, and was good to go for at least another hour. Then I would wander into my room and flop down into my bed, blissfully relaxed and ready to sleep a full nine-hour night.
Boy, are those days gone! Our bath is huge, and when the boys were little, we decided it would be better to have a bath all at the same time, and thereby all get clean, but also spend some quality skin-on-skin time with the little ones (as was fervently recommended by our midwife at the time). The boys grew, and then Little Miss Snoopy joined us, and an already full bath became even more crowded. And so wild! The boys and Little Miss Snoopy are really not into the whole "quiet, relaxing bath" thing. The bathtub always has to have at least a fleet of ships, as well as several assorted cars, most of whose sharp bits I manage to sit on at some stage during the bathing process (I am never totally sure whether it is only the kids who put these into the bath - the Sweetpea seems to derive an inordinate amount of pleasure from their presence in the tub too - hmmm, suspicious that...). The bath is a hive of frenzied activity, with various vehicles going to the rescue along the edge of the bath, or driving up various human appendages like arms and legs. Water sloshes over the whole of the bathroom floor, causing more than one person to inquire whether we have let the bath overflow, because there seems to be water flowing into the bedroom. The bathmats are always soaked, toilet rolls that dangle close to the tiled floor are always in danger, and clothing left on the floor always ends up damp.
But by far the worst is the range of items to be found in the water at times which were really never intended for co-bathing. The obvious one (or should I rather say number two?) has luckily only happened once or twice while we were bathing with the kids, for which I am sincerely grateful. However, there are less obvious ones that can serve to make a bath no less disgusting, and they are somewhat surprising. I cannot quite describe how dreadful it was to bath in a tub of water that has also been used as a swimming pool for a bread roll. All the bits of bread broke up, and it was almost as though the miracle of the five loaves had happened right there in the tub - there seemed to be enough bread floating around in there to feed all the five thousand. I cannot quite describe what it feels like to have a bath in that glutinous, ticklish mass of bread dough.
Another winner of the Worst Bath Ever prize was when someone decided that it would be a good idea to see what would happen if a toilet roll was thrown into the water. As an experiment, it was probably a good one - I for one would certainly never have predicted that the paper would break up into so many small, and impossible to remove, pieces of floating debris. In the toilet it seems to stay in single, easily flushed bits. Not so in the bath - it took simply ages to remove all of it.
Battlefield Bath it may be: the quiet baths are a thing of the past. And when these little ones have grown up, and are too old to be in the bath with us anymore, I will probably give anything just to have one more bath with them again - even if it is a Bread-roll Bath.
Hmmm, on second thoughts, maybe not!