Submitted by Danny Grubb, Seattle, WA
Whenever we gave our kids a bath they were so excited to get in and splash around. They had their little cups and would play with the water while we washed them. They cried sometimes when they were too tired or when we washed their hair, but often they were calm. It was at the end of bath time that brought out the real fight in them.
Bath Time Wrestling Matches
If you've never had the opportunity to wrestle with a slippery, screaming toddler who is hell bent on staying in the bath then you have an adventure to look forward to. Trying to juggle a wet child is easily one of the more terrifying moments in parenting.
This went on every time we reached for the towel. The fireworks began and we would find ourselves barely grabbing ankles and wrists as our twins were falling head first towards the toilet or sink... did I mention it's hard to hold on to wet kids? They screamed, we yelled and so it was that bath time was one of the most dreaded times of the day.
Choices Are Awesome
Sometimes you really don't notice your kids growing up. Especially when they are still not quite at the point of being able to communicate with you. That doesn't mean that they don't understand what's going on. When you finally figure it out you wonder for how long your children have had these abilities... are you the last to know?
One day while giving one of the twins a bath she was playing with the bath toys and having a good time. When it was time to get out of the bath I asked her a question. This wasn't unusual, but what happened next was.
"Are you ready to go?"
I asked her a question, she replied appropriately. This was definitely new. I gave her another minute to play and then with the towel on my shoulder I stretched out my arms but didn't pick her up. I gave her yet another, but this time non-verbal choice. She stood up, lifted up her arms so I could pick her up and said "Dadu" (Translated: "Thank you"). I said "You're Welcome" and she gave me a huge smile.
Learning To Talk Isn't Easy
The great thing about that experience is that it was the first time that I really felt I was having a conversation with one of my kids. Sure they knew a few words, but they didn't really know how to use them in context. Whenever we have these little conversations now I make sure that they feel proud of their accomplishment. I say "Thank you for telling me" or "Good choice."
I have to remember that they didn't come by this talent lightly. It took months of intently listening to the incomprehensible babble of their burned out, exhausted and over-caffeinated parents. Anyone who can learn language in those circumstances deserves a medal... or an extra minute in the bath.