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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Off Duty

Monday, July 19, 2010

Off Duty

It's 7:02... My Beloved is working late (not expecting him until sometime between 9-11) and the children are in bed (they refused to nap again, so it's in bed an hour early for them). I've just changed into something more jammie like and took off my sneakers and socks. I'm decidedly off duty.

It's been a long hot and tiring day, but in all honesty, the last 20-30 minutes were the most stressful, the ones that took the last of what I had. It was bath time. And people wonder (ok, so maybe they would if they knew) why bath time is such a rare occurrence around our household. Sometimes I even wonder. Then I actually give baths... and then I remember.

I should first tell you that my children love baths. They ask for them several times a day. When I tell them we're going to take a bath, they go ripping down the hall asking if they can climb in. By the time I get back there (because I walked), half of their clothes are already on the floor (all would be if Sweet Pea didn't need help in the shirt department.) For as long as I'll let them, they sit and play in the tub (and we don't have exciting toys in ours either... they each get a plastic cup to play and pour with).

Then it happens... I resume the position. I fold a towel and place it carefully over the side of the tub, and I lean in. Then they know. It is time. It used to be that they would fight over who had to be first. These days we've figured out a way to make it less "painful" for Tornado and he doesn't mind going first. When he goes first, he then has time to play some more while I do Sweet Pea.

The problem is that neither of them like to have water poured over their heads. Washing their bodies isn't a problem, it's the hair. Just recently we've discovered that if Tornado has a wash cloth to hold over his eyes and face, I can pour away and he's fine. It's like a dream. A good dream. Come true!

Then it's Sweet Pea's turn. Sweet Pea... whose name is more wishful thinking these days than actual reality. We're working a sour streak out of her, but it's holding on... tight. I'd heard it said that if you do it right from the beginning, you won't have to suffer the "terrible twos". Well, if that's true, then we didn't do it right. This little two-er is very determined to have things her way and spends much of the day informing us, with attitude, crying and more, that she doesn't like it... whatever "it" may be.

As her turn was approaching and they were trading places in the tub, she began the increasingly loud job of informing me that she "don't like it though"... as is often heard around this house. I was sure this time would be easier, because a few days ago (yes, two baths in one week... crazy!, but we had a long hot day and I figured they could use it extra) I had a break through in the bath time department. A few days ago I talked her into trusting me (me... her mama... crazy thought) and laying down cradled in my arm so I could gently get her hair wet without getting any on her face. It went so well that she was even laughing at one point... giddy with delight... and there was no thrashing around trying to get away from me.

Not so tonight. As she made her way over to me I could tell this was going to go badly, so I put my hands down in the water and told her I wasn't going to wash her hair yet... just her body. She calmed down and let me do it, reminding me occasionally "not my hair though" in her sweet little baby voice. Body clean and rinsed (with lots more reminders from her), it was time. She began to freak out again, demanding that she doesn't like it though and refusing to sit down. I put my hands back in the water (not touching her, is my theory, might show her she isn't in imminent danger and she can calm down to talk to me... doesn't necessarily work) and tried to explain that we needed to wash her hair. Then I asked her if she wanted me to pour the water, or if she wanted to lay with mommy. No use... she wouldn't calm down to even think about whether there was a difference.

Finally I did something I immediately decided I shouldn't have done... I held her down (in a sitting position) and poured the water over her head as quickly as possible (so as to make it take as little time as possible). She was hysterical. I tried to fix it. I got her in a cradle position, holding her in the tub but off the bottom. She calmed down then so I could talk to her, but I couldn't actually do anything with both my hands in use (to have a very clear picture you need to remember that I'm 38 weeks pregnant and bending over the side of the tub cradling my hysterical 2 1/2 year old).

I decided that her hair was wet enough to soap up, so I told her she could sit now for the soap. She did well with that, except that she kept informing me that she doesn't like it though... meaning the rinsing part.

In the end I rinsed her hair out by standing her up and turning on the shower head. I hoped it would be different enough, but she just cried and screamed through that too. Still, I got the soap out and I think it was the best of all the options for tonight.

In the end I got her wrapped in a towel and cradled her for a long while... nearly as traumatized myself as she sounded through the whole ordeal. Somehow cradling her made me feel better. We dried off, got jammies on, sang a couple songs and tucked into bed.

And as I walked back down the hall, I decided I'm officially off duty for the night!

Though I may still clean up the kitchen and work on my latest "get it done before baby gets here" project. But it won't be official!

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At July 19, 2010 at 8:16 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

Oh! Sounds like one of those evenings where you wonder who feels it worse-- you or the kids. I have those times, too, where I am exhausted and then I remember they probably are, too, and then I feel bad for them and bad for me and the cycle continues! Praying for strength for a new tomorrow!

At July 19, 2010 at 10:05 PM , Blogger Megan said...

My girls were like that too. We got them goggles and that helped somewhat because then the water wasn't going into their eyes. I tried those visor looking things, but they didn't work as well as the goggles.

At July 20, 2010 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Nikki said...

I go "off duty" at night, too, except of course that I'm still "on call." And I have had evenings like that. Ugh!


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