A Laptop Naptime Mama

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Soap Gets in Your Eyes by Joanne Rendell

There are times, as a parent, when something happens which you knew was going to, but you acted that fraction of a second too late to prevent it. Like the times, when you see your little darling using a toy truck as a footstool and you open your mouth to shout “Be careful” just that millisecond too late and watch in horror as the toy truck skids away and darling one thuds, knees-first, to the ground.

Or the times, when you see a bowl of cheerios teetering on the side of the table and think to yourself, “Now, if junior runs past that now, it’s going to fall.” Only to have junior run past, knock the cheerios flying, just as the thought finishes forming in your mind.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all said, “I knew that was going to happen” as we nurse a grazed knee, pick up the pieces of a once-prized toy truck, or mop up spilt milky-cheerio mush.

There are also times, as a parent, where something happens which you just never saw coming. But as soon as it happens, you slap your head, mortified by your own stupidity, and say, “Sh*t. Of course!”

This happened to me yesterday. One of those “Sh*t. Of course” moments.

We have a small cabin in the Catskills. Sounds idyllic and rather frou-frou, no? The reality is rather different. Although we love our “shack” – our own term of endearment for our summer vacation spot – the place is rather primitive. So primitive, in fact, that we have to buy day passes at a nearby campsite so we can access hot showers and thus stay clean while we’re staying at the cabin.

Last summer, we used a kiddie pool to bathe Benny, figuring he was too young for taking a shower. This year, however, we decided he was old enough to give the showers a whirl. So yesterday, armed with towels, shampoo, and big bar of soap, Benny and I took our first campsite shower.

At first, everything went swimmingly. The water was warm, the showers were clean, and Benny was in a good, open-to-something-new, mood. I showered first and then when it was Benny’s turn, he let me soap him and even let me, very briefly, dunk his hair under the hot water.

The trouble started when I was busy shampooing his hair and, for a distraction, I handed over the bar of soap and gaily instructed Benny to “Go ahead…wash your belly.” Manhandling the slippery soap was a lot of fun, until Benny reached up to rub his dripping face.

I just didn’t see it coming. The soapy eye rub followed by heart-stopping, lung-emptying wail, I mean.

But as soon as it happened, and in the minutes which followed as poor little red-eyed Benny howled his way through the searing sting in his eyes, I thought “Sh*t. Of course.”

When you hand a three year old a bar of soap, you should warn them about the possibility of soap burn. If you want them to ever to take a shower again, that is. And if you’d like to leave a serene campsite without everyone thinking you were strangling your child in the shower stall.

I suppose it’s just another lesson at the University of Parenting. One, incidentally, I won't be forgetting too soon.

To find out more about our fabulous first time novelist Joanne Rendell, visit her blog at http://www.joannerendell.blogspot.com/.


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