Since turning all of one year old, Liam has entered into the independent, opinionated, active stage of toddlerhood. I've had to put on a new parenting hat. (Which, honestly, I've had to do every few weeks since he's been born. But this one seems a whole lot bigger.)
For the past five nights, he's outright refused to take a real bath. It started on Saturday night when we were out of town, and I chalked it up to being off schedule and in a new place. And then when it happened on Sunday night, I chalked it up to him being tired and in a new place. But then when it happened after we were back home, I was out of excuses for him.
He doesn't have a diaper rash. He's not sick. He's not too tired. The water temperature is not too hot and not too cold. I didn't switch up the time of his bath all of a sudden.
As soon as his toes hit the water, he was done. Blood-curdling-screams done.
Cue last night.
Chris was working and I was on my own to conquer the bath routine. The night before last, Chris held him while I washed his wriggly body with a soapy washrag as fast as humanly possible. My sweaty, sticky, smelly boy who plays hard, hard, hard all day long on the playground and at school desperately needed a real, in-the-tub bath.
We got up to his room and I stripped him down. I brought him into the bathroom, he took one look at the tub, and ran. Ran. Ran to the other side of the room looking back to see if I was behind him.
I scooped him up and dipped his toe in the water.
He screamed. He clung to my arm and neck and whatever he could get his body attached to. He screamed more. I tried to distract him with floating ducks and toys and the soap bottle, and he clung more.
Him clinging to me only gave me a whiff of this boy who seriously, desperately needed a good hose-down.
I pulled him out of the tub, shut the bathroom door, stepped into the tub myself, and looked straight at him.
He looked at me.
I held my hand out.
He took one step forward, two steps back.
This continued for five minutes as I sat in the tub by myself pretending that his toys were the most exciting things he could ever be privileged to own.
(Oh, and he peed on the rug at some point, but whatever.)
I eventually grabbed him and put him in the tub with me.
His clinging hands held onto my legs and his screams turned into whines. We did the bath thing as quickly as we could, and I got us both out, sopping wet.
But he was good. And bathed. (And I soon realized that I didn't think the whole me-getting-in-the-tub thing through.)
Some days, some nights, we mamas do what we have to do and it's tiring and brain-numbing and sometimes well beyond the routine and schedule, but we do it without giving it a second thought.
Next time, I'll have a towel handy.