This morning, Ian’s head popped from his pillow the instant I opened his door. ‘Good morning!’ He’s not always so bushy-tailed. He told me that his dragon and his kitty—both of which, moments before, had been crushed under his unconcious dead weight—were meeting each other. He told me that he’d thrown his puppy on the floor, and pointed to make sure I noticed. He was in a wonderful mood.
Until we got to the kitchen, when I asked him to use the bathroom.
‘You need to help me,’ he insisted. His held his arm out, rigid; his finger pointed toward the true biological north.
‘You don’t need me, kiddo.’ He really didn’t…doesn’t…and I still needed to make my lunch. In the mornings, time is always of the essence.
Have you ever tripped, and then looked back to see what had caused your stumble?
Ian clenched his fists at his side and his face crumpled. He threw his head back and started dancing on his toes, like Sally Brown. He went on and on, crying and shouting, that he needed my help.
Because he didn’t want to wash his hands.
Yet again, this is entirely my fault. When Ian first started using the bathroom, I, of course, did most of the work. And, if we’re not at home, I still do. Public toilets usually aren’t scaled to three-year-old stature, and the urgency of the moment is such that we often can’t afford to wait for him to disrobe.
I yank, I lift, he fires.
So I wouldn’t make him wash his hands. Lessons in personal hygene aside, I just didn’t like spending time in the mensroom; besides, my food was usually getting cold. As Ian grew, it became more and more difficult to lift him to the sink without pulling something. The informal rule was that if he didn’t touch, he didn’t wash. I know, I know.
This has never been the case at home, yet he’s made it a rule by association. Because he so often uses public restrooms, and because Daddy usually takes him, the hands-free doctrine should prevail. It’s a matter of convenience. If he has to use the toilet by himself, he has to touch. If he touches, he has to wash.
Now I know how lawyers feel. Stupid precedence.