Mason loves to take baths. We call them “tubbies.” It’s one of the few words he recognizes. Say “tubby” and Mason runs for the bathroom. Nice hot (but not too hot) water, suds and squirt toys resembling ocean life…who wouldn’t love a frolic in bath land? It’s one of Mason’s favorite activities…and one of ours as well. We both play with him and get him washed up, and even the cats stop by to say hello now and then. Tubby time is family time. When it comes to getting a tubby ready, however, there is a specific protocol that must be followed in our house to prevent tantrums and screaming…and it still doesn’t work.
Mason is very akin to sounds. The garbage can creaking open, the refrigerator opening…the bathtub faucet being turned on. It makes him run for the sound’s origin so he can get involved. The issue is, it takes the tub a while to fill, and our water heating system is somewhat inconsistent. Mason’s bath water gets its perfect temperature from letting extremely hot water cool down as the boiler needs to work harder, and then adding a spot of water that’s been heated on the stove. You can see the issue as the initially superheated water starts flowing, and Mason rushes to the bathroom to get his hands wet. Of course, removing him from the situation, no matter how justified the reason, results in screaming and the cycle of doom (see this prior post).
The solution to this dilemma is to provide an ample distraction for the boy when it’s time to start the tub water. Examples of these distractions include Special Agent Oso, his Camaro model that moves and makes noise, or a surprise visit from the Tickle Monster. Usually, the diversion begins a minute or so before the tub starts to fill. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In many cases, Mason’s cat-like ears immediately pick up on “tubby water” and he’s off.
The other problem arises when it’s time to add the boiling water from the stove to perfect the water temperature. In order to carry the pot, I need two hands, which means I can’t open the door, which means the door must be ajar, which means Mason wants to be there, which means Holly needs to distract him. Mason knows adding the pot of water is the last step before tubby time, so there’s no convincing him to do anything else. Scream, scream, scream. Of course, the story has a happy ending. Once the stove water is added, the tub is at the right temp and Mason can play with all the squirting sea creatures and bubbles.
It’s so funny how everything has turned into a process since Mason blessingly came into our lives. I never knew strategy and military-like regimens would play this large a role, especially for something as simple as a bath. Thank you, Admiral Mason, for making tubby time fun and full of structure and policy!