First I had to search back to when I wrote a blog about bath time for the boys and did a double take because it was YIKES 2 years ago, almost to the day. I had a friend who had an older sister, she was about 7 years older than us which seemed so worldly, cool, where we wanted to be so desperately - no rules, boyfriends, makeup, going out places that were beyond our reach at the tender age of 13 and for which we could not wait and damn time went by sooo slooowwly. She once told us as we watched her get ready, and warned us to not touch her stuff when she left - which of course we did, that she felt like life was like a roller coaster - took forever to go up from your earliest memory as a toddler to your 20s and that is the top -- around 25 you start speeding down at a crazy speed, stomach dropping, excited but scared. She may not have been that eloquent but the rollercoaster image stuck with me. So true - it took forever to get to certain ages, days were eons long and full of "I'm bored" statements and then all of a sudden without warning the drop happened. I have been on this rollercoaster drop for the past 15 + years and yes it is exciting and my pulse is still racing but I could use a curb to slow it down here and there.
So 2 years ago I wrote how I loved bath time with the boys, when they still took 1) baths 2) let me help them 3) together. I think that changed a few months after I wrote it. Somehow the older child decided he wanted showers. This does not mean the independence it may imply. No I was not out of the bath routine thing - for one the younger child still wanted a bath for about a year. Then they both started showering alone but that statement is a bit misleading too. Let me illustrate - one night after a long day, followed by a long afternoon post work of homework that was somehow never ending, dinner making and cleaning up - well I asked my husband to assist them with their showers. To him this means something quite different than it does to me as we were about to find out. I was finishing the last of the dishes when I heard much stomping and loud voices from upstairs. Both boys saying "No .. that's not right..that's not RIGHT!!" to which poor, also long day, tired husband was yelling back "it doesn't matter just get in"....I went up. Both boys were naked and neither would get in the shower since 1) he had not put the slip proof mat down 2) he had not turned on the shower and tested it on his own hand until it was just right 3) had not lined up their shampoo/body cleanser, bath sponge from the back of the tub. It was a standoff similar to Dog Day Afternoon - Attica -- the inmates not willing to bend to the warden or the "man"... the "man" ready to throw the gas cans. I walked up wearily and they descended, all 3, talking at the same time each side unsure of how the other could not see the error their ways. I could run Congress 'cause trust me 2 naked boys and one tired father on opposing sides is a lot harder than grown men acting like boys. I did the 3 things above and peace was restored.
So bath time with the boys in my house remains something I am involved in. They can lay down their own mat, and probably could play with the water until they get it right (did I mention that they like different temps which is always another discussion depending on who goes first). I still have to sit in the bathroom to hand out towels and direct the traffic of one getting in and one getting out. I am asked to listen to them tell stories about their day - answer imaginary battles between Thor and other superheroes -- clip nails and do a quick check as there have been shampoo still in hair when getting out of the shower (which then leads to back to fixing the water because it was already changed for the other kid) or the famous "you really scrubbed -- hmm as the same mark seems to still be there" incidents. I also am bit of a lice phobe (one instance and I am still squirmy thinking about it) so poor guys have to get this lice comb done every shower (benefit no lice has ever reappeared and they get a nice "do" for a bit ) and I am also local nail cutter. I have to hold my tongue at how hard it appears to be for them to dry themselves with towel rather than have it glide over their bodies walking away still fairly wet.
I could go the "let them be independent" route - and they would get it done am sure I just don't because the talks we have in there are great and they have this amazing way of reminding me that their days are still the long, upward rollercoaster ride that still has many, many places to fly through. It is not that I couldn't it is just that I still am holding on, am sure in less than a year I may no longer be welcomed in there by the older boy and my rollercoaster ride will take a really big bump then. As much as I love watching them evolve a little bit of me still wants to use the handbrake here and there.