My life is a loop, like that movie Groundhog Day. Every day. But I’m not complaining, not one bit. I like schedules. I like knowing what is around the corner, over the hill, beyond the bend. Weekdays during the school year? Wake up, get Kids C and D on the bus. Kids A and B soon follow. Sometimes Kid E goes to pre-school and I have to try very hard to keep myself out of trouble. They come home at the same time, we run the seasonal sports schedule, have dinner, clean up, give the boys baths and everyone goes to bed. Wake up. Do it all over again.
Every once in a while when I get to be somewhere by myself I wonder how it got to be Summer/ Fall/ Winter/ Spring again so fast. Then things get shaken up once more when we start a new schedule and I panic that some glitch will require me to be in three places at one time (physically impossible… I’ve tried), but somehow it all works out and we manage. It may be little, insignificant day-to-day stuff, but the end of it seems to be making me more emotional than usual.
In the past as one kid would move out of a developmental stage, there was always another one right behind her or him. We were never really done with things. I was always having another baby. Our crib has been assembled and disassembled more times than I can count (probably more times than recommended by the manufacturer – I even think I remember stripping the screws and needing to replace them).
As Kid E gets older and outgrows things and moves on to something else, I always feel like I should have some sort of ceremony or at least acknowledgement of the end of these things I will never do again. When he was done with breastfeeding or diapers or naps I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know exactly what to do. (Honestly, when he gave up naps I just wanted to cry all the time, but that’s not really what I’m talking about).
So I just decided that it was a part of life and I donated my pump and got rid of the Pull-Ups and moved on to whatever pressing issue was waiting to be dealt with next. Most recently the boys asked me to put up a shower rod and curtain in their bathroom so they could take showers instead of baths. Kid D is certainly big enough to shower on his own now, but it was just easier to draw one bath and throw both of them in it at night for a quick hose down. For some reason the end of baths is just tugging at my heartstrings.
Thinking about why brings me back to Kids A, B, and C taking baths as little girls. It seems like a lifetime ago… those pink wash cloths and Malibu Barbies and shampoo bubble hair-dos. Bath time was often tedious, but it really was such a sweet ritual to be able to spend time with all three of them lined up in a row in the tub and tell each other about our days. The girls would always ask questions about everything… sometimes profound, but mostly just silly.
I remember one time in the Pepto pink bathroom that one of the girls – most likely Kid B – asked a question about female body parts. I always have answered those questions with age-appropriate honesty, using the correct names for things whenever possible (instead of the tee-tee, gucci, and ba-jingo that I grew up calling girl parts). When I answered her, she thought I said “Cha-China” (she was in a Montessori preschool at the time, so the little smarty-pants knew her geography). She then countered that Cha-China was an odd name for it and insisted that she was going to call it her Ja-Japan. Thank goodness that didn’t last long. Weird kid.
I guess I am just so moved by the end of these little things because it is the sum of all of the tiny parts that makes up our lives on the whole. Mine is whizzing by and a break-neck speed and I want it to slow down. All of my kids are getting older and, while I look forward to each new stage and the experiences that come with them, I want to enjoy the ones we are in just a little while longer. All of our kids are still just babies with little people issues. The passing of time means that they will just get bigger and bigger issues come along with that. I don’t want them to deal with college and love and drugs and sex and jobs and real life just yet.
So today I am taking all of our bath toys and putting them out with the trash and recycling. Maybe I’ll hum “Taps” while I do it, or maybe I won’t because something new will come up in the meantime that demands my immediate attention. Or maybe I’ll go in the master bathroom and draw a bubble bath, light some candles, and turn on some spa-like relaxation music and get into the tub myself.
Except that as soon as I do that, everybody will suddenly want to take baths again.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…