Mr. Bubble and rubber duckies aside, I have to admit that bathtime has lost some of its charm. It’s been sliding downhill for two years, ever since Ian confused the bath (and my lap) for his diaper.
It was a blast taking baths together. My dad still brings his swimsuit when he visits, just so he can bathe with his grandson. For Christmas, Kelly’s folks gave Ian a spider that grows and grows the longer you leave it in water. Ian has long since reached that level of exponential growth, and we have a small tub. Consequently, baths have become utilitarian and administrative.
The challenge is keeping my socks dry.
But Ian loves to play in his bath. He has a bucket and watering can, and that’s enough for hours of water coldening fun. He splashes while Kelly and I relax—the bathroom is kitty-corner to the den—poking our heads in when it gets too quiet, or he asks us to watch his tricks.
Tonight he scrubbed the tub with his washcloth. It was a very important, very big-boy job.
Just before hypothermia set in, Ian started making grinding and whirring sounds as he moved his hands over the water. ‘See? It’s a water crane!’ The tiny claw opened and slipped beneath the water, trapping the washcloth in its pruny digits.
‘And this button,’ he pointed to the small of his back, ‘does this!’ Two claws rose from the bath, over Ian’s head, and they rushed together in a spray of tepid, soapy water. ‘It can crack rocks, or water, or soap!’
I pushed the button. He quickly fell into the water, thrashing on his stomach and just as suddenly coming to his knees. ‘And that. But that’s it! Only those two things.’