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Bath Day For The Three Of Us

Has anyone ever run one of these through the washing machine?

Maybe I should start at the beginning. All three of us girls have been sick, to varying degrees, over the past few days, and we all needed a post-sickness celebratory cleaning of some kind. (I was going to say “purge,” but given the nature of my particular flu… I don’t even want to think about that word.)

Washing Abby was as easy as ever. Just filled up the tub, while she had some naked time on one of those puppy-training wee-wee pads in Penny’s crib, and then gave her a nice dunk in said tub. Well, it did get a little stressful when Penny decided she had to be in the larger tub while Abby was in the smaller one. Helping a naked toddler climb into a bathtub while you’re holding a three-month-old in a smaller bathtub is a feat Jackie Chan would blanch at. (At which Jackie Chan would blanch? Copyeditors, go ahead and spank me.)

Okay, so then Abby had some more naked time on the wee-wee pad in the crib while I put Penny in the same smaller tub. I realize that at two she is really too big for a newborn’s tub. I know this. But the kid has developed a preternatural terror of bathtime, which is so crazy because she used to looooove bathtime. So okay. Rather than succumb to having the stinkiest toddler in all the world, I let her take a step back and use Abby’s bathtub. Because the only thing stronger than a toddler’s stubborn resolve NOT to do something is that same toddler’s desire to do whatever a seemingly-favored new sibling gets to do. Can I get a witness?

Now, I do leave Penny alone in that small tub that her butt barely fits into, trusting that the only way she’d drown in there is if she decided to do a keg-stand, and I do have the door open, and I can pretty much see her in there, and if I don’t hear her for five seconds I yell “Are you OK?” and pop my head in if she doesn’t give me her usual “yeeeeah. Uhkay.” But go ahead and spank me (again)  in the comments if you want to, I can take it. (But you might want to wait till later, when things get really hairy.)

So I dressed Abby while Penny played with Turtle and Star and Duck and Pitcher in the tub. Then I popped Abby back into Penny’s crib, fully dressed and sans wee-wee pad this time, while I washed Penny’s hair and got her out of the tub.

So if you heard something this morning, around the time the World Series Cham-peen San Francisco Giants started their parade something that sounded like the death of the planet Alderaan, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, except there was no sudden silence, just more screaming? That was me rinsing her hair. Again: This used to be fun. Also: I was only using Turtle to rinse her hair. And I told her to put her hands over her eyes. And the soap really is non-stinging. And… I don’t know why she hates it so much, but she really looked like a ragamuffin as of yesterday and I had to wash it.

Afterward, we had to sit with her wrapped in her towel in my lap for a bit while she processed the experience. “Lope was sad. Lope was bathtub. Sad. Mommy all done. Lope uhkay. I did it.”

Debriefing over, we proceeded back to check on Abby, who was very happy to stare at various things from the crib. Then I got Penny dressed in her pretty new black-and-white dress. Things were so peaceful I thought I could take a shower myself.

Well. So.

I got in the shower and Penelope immediately tugged at her dress and said “Off!” I denied her request on the grounds that she had just taken a bath. This was probably dumb, as I could have at least kept an eye on her in the shower. As it was, I almost immediately heard her thumping around behind the toilet (behind the toilet! Who goes behind the toilet when there is a houseful of Duplos scattered on the floor?) and peeked out, between the suds, to see her waving a wet toilet brush around and slamming the toilet shut.

“EYUW! Did it get on your DRESS?” The answer was no. But Minnie Mouse caught some splashback; hence my question up top. Oh gross child!

“Go talk to Abby! She’s lonely in your room,” I said, desperately tossing conditioner into my hair. “Just talk to her, don’t tug on her arm or anything.” I heard her thumping out of the bathroom. Then ominous silence. Then the compound word you never want to hear from your toddler when she’s alone with your infant and you’re in the shower: “Uh-OH!”

I raced out of the shower, leaving soaking wet footprints on the carpet, and my husband came racing out of the home office when I hollered “oh SHOOT!” He was greeted by the vision of me, grossly post-partum, naked, dripping, and lifting Penny out of the crib, where she’d been standing right next to Abby’s head.

Mother of the year!!

Penny was so clearly distressed that there was no point scolding her; Abby seemed fine, but I checked her for any weird bruises or any indication that she’d undergone some sort of foot-inspired trauma. I saw none. I’m still totally paranoid. And impressed with Penny’s aim, that she managed to miss the kiddo…

Oh man. I’m going to be having horrible dreams about this, now, aren’t I? And yes, I’m ready for my third spanking. (Is Brian Wilson available?)

How do you shower with a baby and a toddler?

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