Last weekend, I took a shower.
Not that this is in and of itself stunning news. I take a lot of showers. But this wasn’t just a shower: it was a Shower. Specifically, it was a shower at a hotel, with no kids, no time limit, and no interruptions.
It was heaven.
Now the physical aspects of the shower stall left a little to be desired. The bathroom was built in the 1920s, when apparently women were a lot shorter than I am, so I had to hunch over and catch the trickling water in order to wash my hair. Plus it was small, cramped, and there wasn’t anywhere to hang my razor.
However. The emotional component of the shower– sorry, Shower— was out of this world.
Before I had the Maiden, I did not properly appreciate the joys of private bathing, private dressing, private showering, and private usage of the potty. I continued in blissful ignorance until the Maiden became mobile.
That’s when it began to unravel. I spent my showers with one eye on what the Maiden was pulling out of the vanity drawer, always ready to jump out, dripping all over the floor, to rescue the toothpaste from becoming the Maiden’s second breakfast.
I complained then, but still, I didn’t know how good I had it. It wasn’t until the Maiden began talking that my downward descent into showertime madness started in earnest.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to bathe in silence. The gushing of water from the showerhead and the low-pitched hum of the water heater provide just enough background noise to suit me, thank you very much.
The Maiden, however, has always been one to disagree. As soon as she started speaking in sentences, my shower sessions became “Oh, awesome, Mommy is trapped in this little box and can’t escape! I can now hold her prisoner with nonstop spiels, soliloquies, and other forms of endless entertainment!” sessions. I can’t run. The door is glass, so I can’t hide. If I attempt to plug my ears, my hair won’t get washed.
Maidenified water torture goes on for the first few minutes. Then as, my mumbling, half-hearted comments signal to the Maiden that my attention is elsewhere, she starts addressing me directly. Questions. Polite propositions. Demands. I spend the next few minutes fielding requests of “Can I have some candy?” (No), “Can I come in and shower too?” (No), “Mother dear, may I please I shave Hello Kitty’s legs with your razor?” (No! Are you insane?!?).
Since the Maiden became interested in letters a few years ago, we’ve added something new to the showering routine. She now prefers me to communicate via the written word. On the shower door. They say the family home is the child’s first classroom. But does my shower door really have to be my child’s first blackboard?
Just you try attempting to wash your hair while writing “The dog sat on the bug. Splat! The bug is flat!” in mirror writing on the inside of your shower door, while being careful that you don’t accidentally rub out the letters with your elbow, and praying that your kid will read the sentence fast before it fades from the door and you have to write a third time it in letters that start bleeding water droplets the second you pen them with your index finger.
Finally, I can no longer conjure up intelligible sentences that are simple enough for the Maiden to read, and appropriate enough for a 3 1/2 -year-old to be saying. I give up, get out of the shower, mutter dreadful things about people who use “shower” and “relaxing” in the same sentence, and get dressed (all with an audience, of course, who doesn’t hesitate to provide commentary where appropriate. Or, where inappropriate, as it generally is.). Then I go on to the rest of my day.
Last weekend’s Shower was uneventful. I got in. I showered. I got out. It was boring.
But it was wonderful.