Tonight was a typical bath night in our house. Although they usually put up a pretty good fight about getting in the tub, once they are plopped into that warm, bubbly water, these little guys could not be happier. Eli sings to himself. Jonah tells "stories" with his bath toys. They pour and splash and slide around on their bellies. They laugh and squirt and make bubble beards and they almost never ask to get out. And yes, they do get clean, but for these little dudes, cleanliness is clearly NOT the main event; this party is all about the FUN.
As I watched Jonah and Eli splashing and swimming and singing in the bathtub tonight, I was struck with a sudden sense that, well, I can't imagine approaching my daily bathing with such zeal. First, to be honest, I don't remember that last time I actually made time for a bath. It's strictly showers here. And sure, I enjoy a good shower as much as anyone, but I don't just PLAY in there. I don't tell stories to myself or squirt myself with a toy fish or splash around just for the fun of it, and I don't remember the last time I laughed in midst of my daily shower. I am oh-so-utilitarian. I get in there to get myself clean, maybe shave my legs if it's a good day, and get out of there and on to the next thing.
At what point did I begin lose my children's incredible capacity for joy in the most mundane of daily tasks? When did the faucet cease to be something looked on with wide-eyed wonder? I'm not sure, and I fear that, if I'm really honest, I am most likely contributing to the loss of this playfulness in my little guys. I rush them around. I warn them not to splash so hard that they make a mess. I often set to work cleaning the toilet or the bathroom sink while they play in the tub, subtly and silently teaching them that there are MUCH more important things to do than giggle and float in a warm soup of Mr. Bubble.
But maybe with the help of my soaking wet boys, I'm slowly unlearning all those "rules" that convince me that every moment needs to be productive, that for adults, silly time is "wasted" time. I'm discovering that despite my grown-up agenda of toilet-cleaning and bill-paying and errand running, more often than not, a squeaky rubber duck and a shampoo mohawk in the bathtub is just what the doctor ordered.