Monday, May 24, 2010


Showers. I never really thought this made the list of "things that must be planned". That was before I had 3 children 4 and under and I husband who travels.

Tonight I successfully (so I thought) had just put all the babes to bed. I left the door to the big girls room open and told them to come and get me if the baby woke up crying.

Into the bathroom I went. I peeled of my clothes, dirty in a way they can only get from gardening with a 4 year old. I turned on the water, hot as I could stand, kicked a doll, rubber duck and shovel out of the way and let the steam relax my cares a way. I had just started the aroma therapy of shampooing my hair when I hear the bathroom door open. My stomach sinks in a way that can be rescued by the smell of expensive soap. "Mommy, Annabelle is crying".

What to do? Do I quickly rinse out my hair and go to the baby or stay and finish my much needed shower? I consider the following: my hairy legs, fuzzy pits and left over gardening-with-manour stench. At this point a shower is a requirement if I intend to ever leave the house.

"Can you just help her find her binky?" I optimistically plead with my eldest. Elie exits the bathroom on her baby soothing mission, thrilled to be out of bed and in charge. I rinse the hair and lather the leg. "Mommy, the binky is already in her mouth". Explicative, thought not vocalized because it would be repeated by one of the small children and my parenting skills would be called into question if my children walked around sounding like sailors.

"Elie do you mind patting her bottom?" Elie looks at me dubiously but isn't going to argue, after all, she is out of bed when she should be sleeping. I shave the first leg as quickly as I can and pretend I don't hear the wailing that has increased in volume. Elie returns. "Mommy it is just making her madder"

I quickly calculate the tasks that remain for me to accomplish to call this a successful shower and decide to press on. "Thanks for trying, hon, go on back to bed, I will get her in a second". I shave the second leg as quickly as I can while still maintaining skin integrity. Next for the pits, in there current condition they would make an woman of the amazon proud. Final rinse and I am out of the shower in under 2 minutes.

Towel. Not a dry one in sight. The only towel available is the one I used to dry off all 3 girls just half an hour ago. It is cold and clammy. The nice dry towels are down stairs in the massive pile of clean-but-not-folded clothing. Do I make a dash for a dry towel? The front window is open and I can hear the neighbor mowing his lawn. No one wants to end the day with a glimpse of my bright white hinny. I use the wet towel.

I throw on my pajamas, getting them slightly damp from my sub-par drying job and lack of adequate supplies. "Always be prepared" I would make a terrible boy scout and not just for the obvious reasons of being female and much to old. I just don't look that great in khaki and green and I am never prepared as can be seen by my lack of towel planning.

I rush damply into the baby's room. She is now red faced and hiccuping. I scoop her up, whispering how sorry I am she had to wait a totally of 3 minutes for my attention. The volume of wailing decreases slightly with my apologies. I try sitting in the rocking chair which sets off her internal altimeter resulting in an increase of volume. I stand up and walk the floor I have walked so many times before, amazed the carpet isn't frayed from overuse.

She calms. Her little body relaxes in degrees. Her heavy eyes start to close and her binky starts to bob rhythmical. I slowly lower myself into the chair. I rock and pat her bottom. She goes limp as her eyes close all the way and the binky ceases its metronomic rhythm. Her face is relaxed, cherubic. Her tiny frame molds itself in my arms. She smells so good, the undefinable smell of clean baby skin. Her small fist opens. I lay her in the crib.

My aromatherapy wasn't soap and shampoo, but clean baby skin. The heat wasn't from steaming water, but a small warm body with milky breath. My damp pajamas will dry, my hair won't fall out from lack of conditioning. Hot showers are over rated.


McHam Family said...

awwww. You should be a writer. With spell check. But a writer nonetheless. So heart warming.

Honeycutt Family said...

Ha, ha, ha. I just read Jenny's comment and it totally made me laugh! I agree--you are a great writer (and will be even greater with spellcheck). :)

Such a sweet memory that you captured, Gretch!

amanda said...

What an awesome post Gretchen!