Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bathtime for Mama

TONITE I'm going to soak in a hot bath and shave my legs!

I head into the bathroom, lock the door leading out into the hallway, and start my bath ritual. Having children that are still very young means I started planning this bath about 3 hours ago.

The little boys are out with their Papa reading Thomas the Tank Engine and rolling around on the expansive living room floor. They've both had their dinner, diapers changed, and been pajama'd up in preparation for a romp with Papa while Mama takes her bath.

Before I had these last two little ones, I had graduated once again to the elegant place in my life where I could take a bath every night without interruption if I wanted. My three older kids were old enough to understand my need to soak and relax and were really great about leaving me alone.

While I understood things were going to regress quite a bit (freedom-wise) with the arrival of two more little BOYS, I think I underestimated how the very simple pleasure of a nicely scented, good and hot, up to my chin bath had become such an essential part of my life and how much I'd miss it.

I mean, for me taking a relaxing bath is an integral part of life, right up there with coffee first thing in the morning, ANY type of cookies with my tea just before bed, and having a book going in nearly every room so I can snatch a few moments of reading wherever I find them. So I never thought I'd have to fight to squeeze enough time out of an evening to take my lovely bath early enough so that I did not fall asleep exhausted in it, and alone enough that I could really relax.

Silly deluded Mama.

These days, if I'm lucky, I get a chance to really soak maybe once a week (showers the rest of the time). And as I said, there is quite a bit of front-end work that goes into my being able to 'buy' a good 45 minute soak.

Tonite when I close the door and press the lock button with my thumb, the clicking sound of the lock makes me feel giddy! Almost instantly, my shoulders drop in relaxation, my face relaxes and a quiet sigh emanates from my very being. I lean over the huge soaker tub and turn on the scalding water, pull the stopper to activate the spray wand and give the tub a good rinse. After adjusting the water temp to just 'good-n-hot', I turn the knob that plugs the tub, pour in one of my assortment of bath salts, gels, or soaking bubbles and watch eagerly as the water instantly foams up. The yummy scent of papaya mango wafts up ~ delicious! I realize, not for the first time, that my sanity depends on these snatches of warm relaxation.

I can hear squeals of laughter from the living room, but I deftly tune it out. My new razor is ready on the side of the tub, new fruity scented shaving cream, (a splurge, as I usually just use whatever soap is handy), and an oversized, plush, freshly laundered towel sits on the tile shelf above the so delightfully deep tub. I'm in the middle of a new thriller crime novel, and of course it's right at the most thrilling part, so I quickly disrobe and ease myself into the water, careful not to get my reading hand wet. My sweetie has placed a freshly made cuppa mint tea and two little cookies on a plate above the bath, so I feel extra pampered tonight.

Ahhhhh! Surely Mama Heaven can't be better than this!

Sounds like I've got it all dialed in right?

Not so much.

This beautiful experience usually starts out so wonderfully that I am able to suspend my disbelief, each and every time, and actually buy into the ficticious notion that I will really GET to spend 45 minutes in uninterrupted bliss! Huh uh.

About 15-20 minutes in I'm fully engaged in my thriller. I speed read (out of necessity and years of fitting in time to read around so many kids) and the pages are whipping by. Slowly tho', a light scratching noise penetrates the corners of my consciousness, and I unwillingly let my eyes falter, and take a quick glance at the door.

As I watch, the knob is turned as far as the lock will allow first to the right, and then to the left. Liam, my three year old is quietly trying to get in. I hear giggles. He is not alone.
Having established that the door is locked, a soft knock follows accompanied by a not so soft "Mama!"
I sink down into the scented water, all the way to eye level, and pretend I don't hear anything. Maybe if I don't say anything they will go away.

Maybe not.

"Mama!" This time a little louder and immediately followed by "MaaaaMaaaa!"
I hear heavy footsteps rapidly approach the bathroom, and Craig says sternly, "Now you boys leave Mama alone!"

Complaining noises retreat to the area of the kitchen and quiet descends once again.

3-4 minutes later I am just picking the thread of the storyline back up when the whole process is repeated.
The knob is tried.
That it is STILL locked is discovered.
Another soft knock.
I still don't answer.

Quiet for just a moment and that's when I realize my mistake. Having locked the main bathroom door and closed my bedroom door, (which is attached to the master bath) I thought I had all the points of entry covered.

Uh uh.

A determined little man, Liam has moved on to his second plan of attack. I hear little feet scamper down the short hallway towards my bedroom door, that knob is turned and the door slammed open, more pattering to the bedroom entrance to the master bath, which I have locked, but to no avail. It can be opened from the bedroom side.

I lean my head way out over the edge of the tub and watch as first the lock and then the knob is turned. In pops curly haired Liam with an exhuberent "Hi Mama! Wasserdoin?"

"I'm taking a bath, LiLi and you need to go see Papa!" I say firmly.

He giggles and tilting his chin down waggles his eyebrows at me.

"Bath." He says, throwing his eyes wide open. "Water!"

I fight the urge to respond to this attack of cuteness and muster the strength to reply sternly,"Yes, Mama's bath! You need to go find Papa!"

More eybrow action, a huge lopsided grin, and one arm comes out of his shirt as he struggles to shed his pajamas.

"Liam..." I can't help smiling at him.

"Hi Mama!" Gigantic grin now. "Bath!"

My resolve starts to weaken cause he's just so darn cute. In short order he has charmed his way into the foot of the huge bathtub and is playing with one of his many bath toys.

My legs are crowded up around my chest to make room for him. My book is abandoned. We hold a long conversation about whether the hot chocolate he makes me out of bathwater and bubbles (for whipped cream) is just right. I squeeze his bath toys and squirt water all over him.

Soon his whoops of delighted laughter draw the eighteen month old's attention. We are quickly joined by Eamonn, who has made his way through the bedroom, found the bathroom entrance breached, and taken full advantage.

A young man of few words he simply says, "In!" firmly while tugging at his pyjamas. Half a minute later he has joined us and is quickly giggling and conferring with his brother over hot chocolate preparation. "Mmmmm...Good!" he pronounces with a smile, dipping his upper lip into the bubbles and coming up with a frothy mustache.

After an indeterminate period of time, Craig wanders in sheepishly. "Aw geez... Sorry sweets," he says, leaning down to kiss the top of my hair. He has gotten caught up answering business emails and lost track of the babies.

"Never mind," I say magnanimously, tipping my head back for a proper kiss. I scoop up a bath cup, fill it with water and top it with 'whipped cream'. "You're just in time for Hot Chocolate."


Marlene said...

How divine, you will have many luxurious baths in years to come where you can sit and soak for hours uninterrupted, but the treasure of sharing that time with your wee ones will be all to fleeting.

Heather said...

what a sweet story, with a wonderful ending.....who can resist a bubbly hot chocolate...sometimes they (kids) are so hard to resist, aren't they....ah the joys of being a mommy! glad you had a nice evening...momma time and kiddy time.!

Kristin said...

Ooooh, what a wonderful scene!!! I love your description of the everyday - your bath sounds wonderful - both versions!
Thank you for your comment about that picture of Kendra - she was actually hangaing from a 6 foot bridge all by herself (with Daddy just out of range of the shot waiting to catch her!) Happy Thursday, Kristin xo

BECKY said...

Julia, this was just precious! This is the type of thing Chicken Soup for the Soul looks for! Have you ever submitted a story to them? I wanted to e-mail you about something else, and I don't remember if I have your address or not....can't find one, anyway. Will you please send me one, so I can reply? Thanks! And again...I LOVED this!

LL said...

You have such a BIG gift - no, so MANY big gifts. (Come take a bath at my place, next time!)

Anonymous said...

what a lovely and happy blog.... must come back to visit....

Tammie Lee said...

Julia, you are such a great writer! I just wish you had your entire bath time even though once you surrendered to your boys it was another kind of wonderful.

I must also tell you, I love all the art you have on your sidebar. There is a wonderfully lively joyful feeling to it all.

Anonymous said...

That was such a great write up of your enchanted 'bath' evening!

even though your 'peaceful' time-to-yourself soak was made the ending a happy one, by not begrudging your family!

they won't be with you forever after way to embrace it...and hot bath -chocolate to boot!

my kids used to want to crawl in with me too...but my water was always too hot....

ciao bella
what a pleasent read you are!

creative carmelina

Sarah said...

Oh oh oh oh I think you are my long lost twin...I live that story so often! I am smiling from ear to ear..cause I just adored the way you told sweet! The cocoa at the end...perfection!
Right down to the book and smelly fun mango stuff..yup is me!
What a wonderful post hon...delightful..delicious..loved it!! Here is a little good news...but you know this as you have older kiddos like me..someday can do this again every night. Truly it is what keeps me sane..that 30 or 45 minutes of bliss...yup!! Enjoy those sweet kiddos (love their names) they grow too quickly for me! Hugs, Sarah

shellbell said...

you have a wonderful way with words :) i share your affection for reading a great book during a good hot soak... i'm sure that if i ever have children i'll learn to appreciate it that much more :)

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Julia, this is all SO familiar!!! x

Jg. for FatScribe said...

classic post! determined is as determined does, and 3 yr-olds are indeed determined to see their mama! love it! ;)

Julia Christie said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words.
Ya gotta find a way to enjoy these moments and that is what I try to do each and every day.

(last night I took a 30 minute soak at 11:00pm AFTER the little boys were in bed - ha!)


Amalia K said...

Yes, yes, we are all so familiar with the chaos of mixing determined toddlers and leg shaving time! Hahaha... I really enjoyed this, Julia, very much familiar with the situation also! I answered your questions, by the way... :)

Anonymous said...





Relyn said...

As mothers, we may never really get the "me time" we need, but the gifts we do receive are irreplaceable, aren't they?

Rebecca Anthony said...

I agree with Carmelina, this is amazing journal material worthy of a hard copy!! So funny Julia, I was smiling so hard by the end of this story, it's so sweet and your kids will read this years from now and love the memory!!