After a long day capped off by an endless witching hour complete with meltdown after meltdown and countless scoldings and lectures and at one point some flat-out begging to STOP THE WHINING FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, bedtime finally approached and I ran a bath. Peeled off shirts—blotting the 4-year-old’s tears since the shirt caught on his head for a minute oh my GOD, kid—and pants and my own clothes and lifted them into the tub with me.

During the first remodel, when we added the shop, expanded a bedroom, and relocated a bathroom, I asked for a corner soaking tub. It was to be my version of the man cave (the double garage JB built not to house cars but to hold every piece of penis gear he owns and keep it nicely coated with sawdust) and of all the many dollars and ass-pains we have invested in our little house, the tub has earned its keep and then some. I get in it every single night before bed, no exceptions, and when it’s time to bathe the kids that’s where they go too.

I sit in the tub and they sit in front of me, and the sight of them is almost too much. Dylan’s losing that babychub vealfat look, his bones are emerging and he has actual shoulders. They squiggle and splash in the water and their necks look like delicate flower stems and the backs of their fuzzy close-cropped heads are like doppler maps of hurricanes: Riley’s hair swirls uniformly clockwise, Dylan’s turns in two different directions. The nubbly bumps of their spines, the curve of their cheeks when they turn their heads to avoid my incoming washcloth, the bubbles clinging to them. Their skin so pure, like something holy.

Riley dramatically announcing he’s going to dive under the ocean, Dylan splashing in big hand-sweeps and peering at himself in the faucet’s reflection. My boys, so beautiful.

I don’t suppose we’ll be sharing baths much longer. And oh. I will miss it so much.


34 Responses to “Refresh”

  1. Victoria on October 4th, 2009 9:16 pm


  2. Melissa on October 4th, 2009 9:35 pm

    I did that with my son until the bath tub poop incident we no longer discuss.

  3. mnerva on October 4th, 2009 9:58 pm

    As always a beautiful description, Linda. Enjoy while you can.

  4. abbiebabble on October 4th, 2009 10:00 pm

    Beautiful, as always.

  5. Mama Ritchie on October 4th, 2009 10:19 pm

    Aww – I loved bathtime with C – but our new house doesn’t have the soaking tub and C can barely fit into his average-sized tub, what with all the toys he MUST HAVE with him. But the real question is – was the corner tub worth finding the lube tube?

  6. Julie on October 4th, 2009 10:28 pm

    I marvel at my girls’ bodies, too. How they have grown up before me. But I don’t bathe with them, too afraid of the floaters! :)

  7. Kate on October 4th, 2009 10:35 pm

    Yep, those are the good days. Although I was more of a shower kinda girl and loved taking my naked babies in with me. My 4 yo daughter still hops in with me but those days are waning too, I’m sure.

  8. Heidi on October 4th, 2009 11:45 pm

    Aww….I miss those days. I showered with my now eight year old until shortly after 4 yrs old. Loved it. “Two birds with one stone” and the oh-so-cuteness of her tubby little soapy body. But yeah, the day becomes painfully clear when the end is near. *sigh* Enjoy it while you can!

  9. Eric's Mommy on October 5th, 2009 4:16 am

    This is so beautiful. They grow up way too fast.

  10. Emma on October 5th, 2009 5:11 am

    Any tips for doing that without flooding the bathroom floor? My boys (1 & almost 3 yrs) maybe haven’t outgrown the splashy water buffalo stage yet…?

  11. Cookie on October 5th, 2009 5:30 am

    Love this post. Bath time is so much fun. We’ve recently started doing all their baths in our big soaking tub and they love it. This time is so sweet, so frustrating, and moving so fast.

  12. Amanda on October 5th, 2009 6:02 am

    {sigh} so wonderful!

  13. Wendy on October 5th, 2009 6:18 am

    Sigh. Yep. I get in our little tub (so jealous of your big tub) almost every night with my 16 month old son. It is almost primal how much I love seeing his little chubby belly.

    Now if I could just get him to stop drinking the soapy water…

  14. H on October 5th, 2009 6:21 am

    Ah…the double opposite hair swirl. My son has those too. God love ’em but those things make haircuts quite difficult when they get to the stage that they care about how their hair looks.

  15. Marie Green on October 5th, 2009 6:32 am

    I love that this life of raising kids comes retrofitted with these small moments. There is NO WAY I’d survive parenting without them. And they are always so well timed, no? Just when I’m about ready to grab my keys and LEAVE FOREVER there is a moment, a snuggle, a funny interlude…

    Your writing is beautiful, as always! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Teralyne on October 5th, 2009 6:39 am

    I have one of those tubs too and love it. I take my almost 4 yr old grand daughter in the tub with me when ever I have her (at least once a week) and we have a blast playing n the bubbles, love it.

  17. Maria on October 5th, 2009 6:59 am

    So beautfiul.

    I would love to take a bath with my kids, but our tub is rather small (they barely fit in it together now) and my four year old has already informed me that my bum is too big for the bath tub. Oh, the pain.

  18. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on October 5th, 2009 7:27 am

    I just took a bath with my three year old last night. After a day filled with battles and snot and frustrations, there we were giggling and making each other’s hair into shampoo mohawks. It (almost) completely washed away the whole day.

    The only problem? My bathroom was apparently made for midgets- the tub will only fill about 10 inches deep. We desperately need a bathroom remodel and I’m putting a soaking tub on our must-have list.

  19. Christy on October 5th, 2009 7:31 am

    Loved this. My baby is turning four on Wednesday (hyperventilating *just* a little) and bath time for us is most sacred. Like you, I know we won’t be doing this much longer. But for now, I love that it is just the two of us–no iPhone or Twitter or Google reader or Facebook (sounds horrible, I know.) We just talk and play and I admire the beauty of this gorgeous little boy that I bore.

  20. Tony on October 5th, 2009 7:32 am


    “my four year old has already informed me that my bum is too big for the bath tub”

    On the plus side, she could tell you that your “bum is stinky”, like she says to me.

    Oh wait, women would rather have their bum be stinky than big, right?


  21. Lisa on October 5th, 2009 8:08 am

    Thank God for bathtime because so much that happens thoughout the day gets erased when you mix bubbles, water and children. Baths have kept me from chucking my child out the window, and instead I choose the option of reading to her in my lap while I secretly smell her justwashed hair, feeling renewed.

  22. Deb on October 5th, 2009 9:44 am

    There is a moment when my son gets out of the tub and is racing around nekkid. He always reminds me of a little frog, all skinny little arms and legs. I love them right after a bath – thier tummy’s round and full from dinner, smelling so clean and sweet…

    And now I am crying because I know these precious moments will end too soon.

  23. Lisa Rae @ smacksy on October 5th, 2009 10:41 am

    I will miss the shampoo horns and dolphin noises and possibly even the knowledge that I am bathing in someone else’s urine.

  24. Leslie on October 5th, 2009 11:31 am

    When my nephew was small, I was so in love with the nape of his neck, somehow completely different from his sister’s.

  25. Jess on October 5th, 2009 12:55 pm

    AH!,…the way you can put things into words makes me BAWL and wish I could explain things like that. How could I be sitting here blubbering about taking a bath at 3:00 in the afternoon? But yet, you write with such clarity and detail…..over A BATH. Your words are powerful and the love you have for your little dudes eminates(sp?) through everything you write.

  26. Nicole on October 5th, 2009 4:01 pm

    I have always preferred a bath to a shower. From the time Riley was old enough to hold his head up, we have bathed together – We have not missed a single bath in well over a year. It is my favorite part of the day as it is a time reserved for just us. Every night around 6:30 we sit together in shallow tepid water while I gob on conditioner and try to comb the mats out of his wispy fine hair. He tells me in his baby babble about his day and doggies and kitties and Elmo’s World. And he points and says “buba!” and lays back in my lap giggling while I blow bubbles at the ceiling. I can’t imagine a time when we have to give all of that up. I’m guessing it will get weird when he develops body hair.

  27. Pam on October 5th, 2009 4:52 pm

    So sweet. Enjoy it all.

  28. Jo on October 5th, 2009 4:59 pm

    I L.O.V.E. bathing with my kids in our soaker tub! It is a great moment… now that they are a little older, mommy wears a bathing suit but I hope that I will be able to continue to share that with them for as long as possible!

  29. Maria on October 5th, 2009 5:24 pm

    I can feel this deep down in my middle somewhere. That aching place.

    And not just because I would kill a barrel of kittens for a soaking tub.

  30. Megs on October 5th, 2009 5:42 pm

    I must have a bath every day. Sometimes I skip a day, but then that builds up a bath-debt. If many days go by with only far-inferior-showering, I end up throwing the baby at my partner, closing the door demonstratively (closing a bathroom door, like ALL THE WAY, is a dramatic act in a household when children are involved. unless you’re one of those fancies that does their business in “private”) and having a monster of a soak. Like adding new hot water multiple times and finishing a novel kind of soak.

    Oh yeah, I bathe with the baby sometimes. But as he would nurse all day and all night if I let him it’s hard to distract him from the boobs.

  31. Mom101 on October 5th, 2009 7:39 pm

    I gazed at Thalia tonight and blurted out, “you’re a girl. A beautiful girl.” She’s only 4 but the chub is yielding to cheekbones and I’m floored that I produced such a being.

    Thanks for jarring a nice memory. Beautiful post Linda, as always.

  32. erin on October 6th, 2009 12:39 pm

    what a gorgeous description. i had to laugh at the timing b/c just last night the husband tried to bathe with our 2 year old for the first time. the toddler would have nothing to do with that and asked he could instead take a bath with mommy. i’ve never done that (out of simple routine) but you make it sound so lovely i just might!

  33. MRW on October 6th, 2009 1:06 pm

    Yeah I had to stop sharing baths with my son a couple of years ago and I miss it.

  34. agb on October 6th, 2009 4:13 pm

    thanks linda, this made a long day worthwhile.

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