January 2010

I discovered something important about myself last week. I hate bath time.

I thought I liked it. I thought it was fun and relaxing and a great way to keep the kids occupied for a half an hour or so, while getting them clean at the same time – what a bargain!

Nope. Bath time at my house has turned into my worst nightmare. The ten month-old flaps his arms in joy as he lunges and lurches and nearly drowns every ten seconds or so. And the three year-old, oh the three year-old…she has discovered that bath time is the perfect opportunity to really REALLY push my buttons, and that I am mostly powerless to stop her.

The game starts when she first steps into the tub and refuses to sit down. She lingers, standing in the tub, pretending she can’t hear my requests to “sit flat”. Finally, when I up the ante and it becomes “sit flat or you are getting out” she sits.

Then the splashing begins. It starts out pretty sweet really, just little splashes, the kind you might watch with joy as you think about how fun bath time is for the pre-school crowd. But soon the tiny flicks of water turn into bigger splashes, whole hand splashes, and they start to find their way OUT of the tub.

That is when I realize I have already lost. I try desperately to regain control of the bath, threatening and cajoling her – as I clutch my youngest by his upper arm to keep him from going under. But my three year-old just looks at me with a glint in her eye, she is having too too much fun now, and there is no going back.

Soon she is doing full body seated leaps – throwing her entire self into the air from a sitting position and landing in the water with as much force as she can muster, sending water everywhere and drenching me and the bathroom in the process. At this point I am usually completely hysterical as I systematically remove all privileges and finally threaten that she will not be allowed to attend the senior prom if she doesn’t KNOCK IT OFF RIGHT NOW.

Usually it is around this time that the boy looks at me, then at his sister, and with a huge grin on his face, begins to copy her. And that is when, depending on the day, I either surrender and pull the shower curtain closed to preserve the patch of dry still on my clothing, letting them splash to their hearts content, or I put an end to my torture and pull them both out of the bath.

Next time, showers for us all.

I am ashamed to admit that I have mostly avoided the coverage of the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath. It was an avoidance I have been conscious of even while I haven’t been sure of the reason behind it.

Tonight, watching the Hope for Haiti Now fundraiser the reason became clear. It’s my kids. As I watched the images from Haiti and heard the stories of loss and families torn apart I realized that I have been avoiding it because I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand the knowledge of the children who have lost their parents, of the parents who have lost their children. I can’t stand the hundreds and thousands of people coping with grief, loss, hunger, fear, pain, and death. I can’t stand the thought of my own family having to face these challenges or of my children finding themselves suddenly scared and alone in the world. It’s incredibly selfish of me, but that is the truth.

Watching the coverage left me sobbing with grief – for the people of Haiti, for its children and for its future. It also left me feeling guilty that I have avoided it until now. If the people of Haiti can stand what is happening to them and can find hope in the rubble, how dare I say I can’t stand simply watching it.

We have contributed to the relief of Haiti. Now I want to wrap my arms around everyone there, especially the children, and hold them and tell them everything is going to be alright. Since I can’t do that I want to call someone and tell them that we can take in some of the children they might be sending to the US soon. Since I can’t do that, I am going to go hug my kids.

William finds a puzzle, originally uploaded by Justpowers.

In the last week William has started crawling – not just rocking back and forth anymore but full on forward motion – and cruising. He loves our coffee table because it is big and he can cruise around and around it, knocking off everything he finds. Like puzzles. Oh, and remotes. But he doesn’t so much knock those off as eat them and that is another video entirely.

STANDING!!, originally uploaded by Justpowers.

Will stood by himself for the first time today. I think I let go of his hands because my fingers were turning purple, and lo and behold he stood all by himself for at least 5 seconds before he lurched forward. It wasn’t a chance standing, it was a definite balanced-on-two-feet-holy-crap-I-can-do-this standing. When I did it again he stood for even longer and got a huge delighted grin on his face. The third time I was able to snap this photo just before he fell.

Of course I know that this is the end of the world as I know it. He has already shown that he is, and will continue to be, more interested in getting into trouble than Emma ever was. This is not a kid I can leave alone in a room for even a second. Even now, only crawling backwards, he can find any number of things to put in his mouth, pull down and rip apart in just a matter of seconds. Once the walking begins…ai ai ai…I don’t think we even own enough gates to keep him out of trouble.