Ryan does this thing. When bathing or showering, he has to have a towel handy, so that in the event of a droplet of water splashing near his orbital eye area, he can quickly remove said droplet with extreme terry cloth force. It used to be kind of cute. He squints his eyes shut immediately and then feels blindly and frantically with his hands for the towel. I’d go so far as to say it was endearing, in a Hellen Keller sort of way.
Until our children picked it up.
Now I find myself mother to two ever-growing water wussies, who shriek and scream when water gets splashed anywhere near their faces. Max is especially dramatic, bowing his head with eyes closed and raising his arms in the air as if to beckon The Towel Gods, crying out, “MY EYES! MY EYES!”
This is the same child who, two years ago, would dump large, plastic cups of water on his own head in the bathtub over and over again.
One time I got in an argument with Christian, who was stranded in the tub with eyes shut tight. He had knocked the emergency towel off the side of the tub and onto the floor out of reach. The screaming, which pulled me away from a very important moment in a Judge Judy episode, was so frantic and desperate, I fully expected to see Osama Bin Laden hiding out in the clothes hamper.
“What’s the matter?!” I said, even though I knew the minute I saw him.
“I have water in my eyes and I can’t find the towel!” he cried.
“Is it water in your eyes or soap?”
“Open your eyes,” I said.
“Open your eyes.”
“What will happen if you open your eyes and water gets in them?”
“IT WILL HURT!”
“It will not hurt. Open your eyes.”
I don’t know about you, but I think a good, old-fashioned power struggle with a youngster is completely under-rated these days. That Super Nanny is full of crap.
Finally, he gave in.
Okay, he didn’t exactly give in. I reached in the tub and pried his eyes open with my fingers.
He opened them, blinked a few times, and looked around.
“Guess what? You’re still alive,” I said.
He smiled coyly. “I am!”
“But your dad is in serious trouble.”
Did this little learning experience have any lasting effect? I’ll tell you later. Christian’s been screaming in the shower while I’ve been writing this. His towel fell down again and I have to go get it.