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A quiet time, when the cares of the day are soaked away by a warm, relaxing soak in the tub…

…for people without kids, that is…

* * *

When my son Michael was much younger, we used to take baths together, you know, a father-son kind of a thing…

Well, he’s gotten bigger, and unfortunately, so have I, and so getting the two of us in the tub at the same time isn’t as easy as it used to be. So I’ve taken to sitting on the edge of the tub with my feet in it, having taken my shoes and socks off and having rolled up my pants…

That said, one night, many years ago, he was taking a bath, and as is often the case, he called out, “Papa, can you come in here?” (Actually, it was “Papa, kannsch du do hehr komma, bitte?” – he still knows some of his German – Southern German to be clear.)

Sometimes he wants someone to read him a book while he’s in the tub, sometimes he just wants someone to play with.

This time, he wanted someone to play with…

Okay, I thought, what are my options? There was a TV program I was considering watching, that will probably be rerun, and I have the childhood of my little boy, which will not.

It was a no brainer…

So I went in there, and we’ve got some old shampoo bottles there (which make far better bath toys than anything else. You can make boats out of them, submarines, bombs (filling them and then dropping them into the tub – they make a pretty good splash when dropped by a creative 6 year old), and most of all, squirt guns…)

I was planning on just kneeling down beside the tub and playing with him, grabbing one of the shampoo bottles and kind of having a squirt-gun war… But when I got into the bathroom, he said, “Can you put your feet in the tub?”

Well, that would have meant taking my socks off, rolling my pants up, and in general getting ready. He would have had fun, and that would have been that.

On the other hand, I thought, “what if I just get in there with him?”

So, right after he said that, I stepped into the tub, socks, pants and all. He was looking down at the time, heard the splash of my left foot, and saw something just slightly unfamiliar at the bottom of the tub.

A foot.

With a sock on it.

At the bottom of a hole in the water.

Attached to a leg.

With pants on it.

The water splashed back, and he followed the splash and the leg up to the rest of me with this look that was a mixture of, “No, really? and “You’ve GOT to be kidding me” and “WOW!!! This is COOL!!!”

Then he started laughing that wonderful belly laugh that just makes your heart melt…

We had fun…

We found that if you have the shampoo bottles that have the little button on top to push down to get the shampoo out, you can actually take that whole unit off without taking the actual lid off and have a really good squirt gun.

So we did.

…and started squirting at the little lids that were now floating in the tub, the other stuff in the tub, and each other.

Within a minute I was significantly wetter than I’d planned on being.

We called Cindy, who had that, “Oh, you boys…” kind of look on her face…

Oh well…

So we went back to squirting each other…

Now after awhile my pants were pretty darned wet, and it was getting close to “Bedtime for Bonzo”, so I got out, and tried to take the pants off.

Now if you’ve ever tried to take wet pants off you know that it’s a bit harder than taking dry ones off, because they cling to your legs and won’t let go.

Michael watched with amusement as I made this discovery

So there I am, hopping around in the bathroom on one foot, with my very wet socks sklorching every time I hit the floor, part of one semi removed pant leg flying about, splattering water everywhere, and Michael’s laughing…

After flopping and splashing and sklorching and kicking for a very intense minute or so (it was probably less, but it sure seemed that long…) I managed to get my right foot out of the pants leg and onto the floor.

But in that last desperate kick to get my foot out and catch my balance, I very skillfully kicked the pants leg into the toilet.

This couldn’t be happening.

Michael howled.

Had he not been in the tub, he would have been rolling on the floor.

As it was, he was laughing that laugh that you just can’t get from anywhere but a small, happy child.

So, I got me dried off and changed, got him dried off and changed, and then got him bundled off into bed.

Ahh, Bathtime…

Such a relaxing time…

Tom Roush

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April 2011
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