Here is the final installment of my day in May 2003. The story ends at lunchtime because after that the kids returned to normal. I still had to deal with squabbles, but they played with toys and with each other without getting quite so . . . creative.
I had achieved a moment of peace. Patches was sleeping, Link and Gleek were playing contentedly in the sandbox, now was a good time for me to grab a bite to eat and forstall the low-blood sugar crash that was looming in my future. I fixed a sandwich. Then sandwich in hand, I wandered to the window to check on Link and Gleek. Link was naked.
I abandoned my sandwich and went out to discuss this turn of events with Link. Apparently while using the newly installed drinking fountain to make swimming pools for the sandbox toys, Link’s clothes had gotten damp. Naked was better than we clothed, or so I was informed. Who knew? When I began insisting that he put his clothes back on, Link decided that rather than go to all that bother, he’d just stay naked and have a bath instead.
Baths require a significant set up effort (locating specific toys, no not that toy the other one, towels, soap, to-bubble-bath or not-to-bubble-bath, and water temperature) and a high level of supervision (making sure they don’t flood the bathroom or drown each other.) I wanted down time to eat my sandwich. Just 10 minutes. I told him No.
I returned inside to my sandwich, but remained at the window to make sure that Link’s clothes remained on. Link stood still for a moment, obviously thinking. He then walked to the sandbox, grabbed a handful of muddy-wet sand and placed it on top of his head. At our house sand-in-the-hair is automatic cause for bathing, a fact which Link apparently intended to use to his advantage. Link won. We trooped upstairs. Gleek came along because bath time is a not-to-be-missed treat. It is a mother-sanctioned chance to get naked and splash, no way she wants to miss that.
The tromping into the house awakened Patches who then demanded to be held. So following Link, toting Patches, and trailing Gleek, we all headed upstairs to the bathtub. We arrived at the tub to discover it full of this morning’s muddy boots. Running bath water and collecting bath items one handed is within my range of capability, scrubby muddy boots and muddy tub is not. The bath had to wait.
During the aftermath of that announcement Patches decided that being held wasn’t enough, he wanted fed. I returned downstairs to feed him leaving behind the whining. The whining stopped what a relief that was. And worrisome. Link and Gleek hadn’t come out of the bathroom. Then I heard water running. I cut Patches lunch short and returned upstairs to investigate. Link and Gleek had attempted to clean the mud off of their boots. Where I had muddy boots and tub in a clean bathroom, I had a muddy bathroom.
As I looked around at muddy smears on walls, floor, sink, mirror, tub, toilet, and children I failed to find the energy for anger. Instead I ushered the children out of the room and shut the door. I’d deal with the mess later, after all that had worked so well with the muddy boots.
After wiping Link and Gleek clean I sat them at the table with crackers. I put Patches in his carrier on the floor where he could watch his siblings and hopefully be sufficiently entertained. I went for a glass of water to go with my partially eaten sandwich. Then I heard giggles and Link announced: “Him wikes my feet!” Link had offered his big toe to Patches who did about the only thing a two month old can do. He stuck it in his mouth and sucked on it. My explanation that feet are dirty and don’t belong in the baby’s mouth was answered by Link holding up his foot for inspection to show how “clean” it was.
All I wanted was 10 minutes and a sandwich. Really.