Friday, July 13, 2007

The Highs and Lows of Parenthood

I gave the kids a bath this evening.  They are still young enough to play together in the bathtub and, more importantly, small enough to fit together in the bathtub.  Usually, I play with the kids while they are taking a bath, but they were having such a grand time entertaining each other, I brought a book in to read while they played.

That was my first mistake.

I am fairly attuned to my children.  For example, when my daughter, who is potty training, suddenly finds a private place to stand, I know that is my cue to ask her potty related questions while sprinting towards the bathroom, child in arms.  But, with my attention focused on the book, I did not notice her sudden stillness.  I think you know where this story is going without me going into graphic detail. Seeing the "problems" floating in the tub, I immediately pulled both children out of the bathtub, grabbed the nearest trashcan, dumped all squirt toys in the trash, and waited for the water to drain - as best it could with... uh... some blockage that I did not catch.

Once most of the water was drained, I cleaned the tub as best I could, and I tried to think rationally.  I wanted to leave an impression on my daughter that this kind of behavior was not acceptable, but I had to recognize that although she is nearly potty trained, accidents happen.  I refilled the bathtub, and I put my son in the tub.  I filled the sink full of water, and I washed my daughter the old fashioned way.  She only asked me once why she wasn't in the tub, and I told her I didn't want to drain the bathtub again if she should have another accident. She told me she was sorry, and I smiled at her and said I know and thanked her.  I finished the bathing, got the kids dressed, and read a book to them.

Seeing that I was still seething but trying to maintain my calm, my son held my face in his little hands and said, "Mommy, I love you.  You do a good job." I smiled into his eyes, and he have me a huge smile in return, and I said, "Honey, thank you.  I love you too." We gave each other a big hug, and he settled into my arms for a bit. After a time, he withdrew just far enough to look at me and said, "Are you happy now?" I laughed and told him that no matter how angry I may get, I am still so happy to have the family I have.

He smiled and sprinted to his bed.  My daughter, having watched the exchange with great interest, gave me a hug and sprinted to her own bed. Children have no idea the joy they can sow, which is why it makes moments like these so special.

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