So then…she puts her foot down – literally…and loudly.
Loudly because the foot is encased in a cast, thanks to the fracture Chloe sustained at her 6th Grade Field Day.
So now Chloe, age 11, is sitting on her bed, already two weeks into the cast — and I’m trying to explain that her little “bird baths” of patting her skin with damp washcloths are just not adequate, in the most polite terms possible.
“You stink, Chloe. You stink to High Heaven. You need to take a shower right now.”
“No! The plastic bags don’t cover the cast well enough. The water will still get inside my cast and then the skin will be all disgusting like that photo on the wall at the doctor’s office! Did you see that kid’s skin, Mom, did you?” Her voice becomes a little high-pitched and I can tell we’re headed for a meltdown.
“OK, Chloe, fine, no shower, but at least a bath.” I duck into the bathroom adjoining her room, push down the plug, and turn on the warm water. “You can just stick your left leg out of the bath and we’ll get the rest of your body covered in soapy water then rinse – and you’ll finally be clean.”
“Whaddaya mean ‘no?’ Yes, yes, most definitely yes.” I say, grabbing soap and washcloths.
“No, Mom, that bathtub is filthy. Have you seen it? I’m not getting in there!”
I clench my teeth. The bathtub is not filthy, but Chloe has a slight OCD issue, so I pop into the bathroom a moment and return with a flourish. “OK, all clean. I just cleaned it! Now let’s get you in there.”
She folds her arms. “No, I’m not taking a bath. I.hate.baths.”
It infuriates me when she takes such a stubborn stance – it’s so, so, so – like me.
“WHY do you hate baths?”
“Because you’re dirty and then the water becomes dirty, so you’re lying there in your own filth!” she says.
I sigh. “Chloe, it won’t be filthy. We just need to get your body submerged in the water and soap you up then you can get out right away. Now come on.”
She begrudgingly trudges into the bathroom. I lower her in, the cast dangling out the side. I wash her hair, manage to get her all soaped up, and rinsed off – which are major feats of endurance on my behalf since she is squealing, complaining, and caterwauling the whole time.
She is terrified of getting the cast wet and apparently the only possible prevention is YELLING at me nonstop.
Finally, finally, she is ready to be pulled out of the bathtub.
She puts her other leg over the side of the tub to join the cast leg — her buttocks still submerged in the water. I grab a towel so that I can hold her hands and leverage her up and out of the bath without getting the cast wet.
“See, it wasn’t so bad,” I say. “You weren’t lying in your own filth. We got you nice and cle—“
“Errrr-Oh,” she utters, with a surprised look on her face.
I freeze. “What? What?”
“Warm water makes me have to—” She looks down, and there — spreading throughout the tub water is a golden liquid I can only describe as urine. URINE, PEOPLE!
It is all over her body — and because her hair is so long, the golden liquid is now swirling all through the hair that I just washed.
I give her a withering glare.
She gives me a giggle. Then a chortle and snort.
And before you know it, we’re laughing our asses off.
Yes, we have to drain the tub and start all over again to wash her hair and her body.
And yes, she prophetically predicted she would be lying in her own filth – and indeed she was.
But this time around, we’re laughing so much at nature’s little surprise that the washing goes pretty quick and easy.
In this latest Battle of Wills –
Mother Nature: 1
— Darcy Perdu
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Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdbury
(Any examples of stubbornness from your kids? Any bathtub oopsies? If you agree that casts are the WORST, let me know!)