If I'm ever a diplomat, I'll refer back to my time as a bathtub mediator as the beginning of my treaty-making and conflict resolution career. A number of rules have been established:
- First in the tub determines who sits closest to the faucet. The faucet is exciting while it's running, and the water is deeper at that end of the tub. If you push, you lose the faucet seat for the next night.
- If the second person to enter the tub wants to be closest to the faucet, he must wait until the one closest to the faucet has tired of it. And no, you may not both sit there. It's crowded and the bigger person always enjoys that more.
- Splashing can be fun, but too much splashing is not fun. Tobin is not happy when Evan splashes him in the face. Evan is not happy when Tobin splashes him in the face. And Dad is happy neither when he is splashed in the face nor when excessive water is splashed on the floor. And no, Dad doesn't think it's funny.
- Bathtub toys will be forfeited if we don't share nicely or if we throw them at each other in a way that is not helpful. Repeated violations of this rule shall result in loss of said bathtub toy. And yes, that's why the boat went bye-bye.
- Whoever leaves the tub last gets to block the drain with toys to make it drain slowly and make funny noises. If you are already out of the tub, you may not adjust said drain arrangement.
During the bath, the boys eat their gummy vitamins, a vestige of a time when I gave Evan a dropper of liquid vitamins that a) he would sometimes spit out, and b) stains cloth as turmeric might. After toweling off, both boys brush teeth at the counter. Evan eats most of his toothpaste, but likes to make spitting noises over the sink. Tobin works on his spitting distance.
From brushing teeth, we move on to pajamas. Naturally, Tobin puts his own on, though sometimes he just puts the top on and wanders the house. Evan uses a shark towel, and sometimes before I help him into his PJs, he insists on "See Mama scurry shark!" ("Go see mom as a scary shark" is my translation). Pajama time is no great obstacle, but our next requirement often presents one.
After both boys have pajamas on, it's time to clean up. Since our house is small, clean-up is important to a) make sure we find the toys we want the next day, and b) protect Mom and Dad's feet from airplanes, legos, and other miniature toys that magically seek out the arches of our bare feet after the boys have retired. Tobin understands the necessity of clean-up time, but has lately been struggling with Ev's intermittent participation. A sample conversation goes like this:
"Why isn't Ev cleaning up?"The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Hidden Hippo, and There's a Wocket in My Pocket. Often amid protest, I announce we're headed to bed after the last book. Evan kisses Tobin, Allison, and Lauren. If Lauren has already gone to bed, Evan blows a kiss through the bedroom door where she sleeps. Then, in the boys' room, Evan turns off the overhead light for me and we snuggle in the rocking chair. There I sing to him for a minute or two, then we read our last two books together: Curious George's ABCs and Goodnight Moon. He sleeps with a baby doll he's named "Baby" and a little stuffed Blue from Blue's Clues. Every night when I lay him in his crib, I say "Night night bub. I love you."
"Well, he's two and he doesn't understand it completely."
"But he does it sometimes."
"Yes. He's learning."
"Why do I have to do it all the time?"
"Because you understand it and you have more responsibilities. When you were two, you didn't have to clean up as much. I promise Evan will clean up when he's five."
"So I won't have to any more?"
Qwirkle is a recent fave), sometimes we trade simple algebraic equations on the Magna-Doodle, and sometimes we read books. When we have time, we combine those three things in different combinations. Tobin likes to read more and more on his own, so we'll often trade reading to each other. His reading interests are so varied that I couldn't tell you his favorites at the moment, though it's a safe bet that we spend significant time with Dr. Seuss every week. When we're finished, Tobin kisses Allison and I take him to bed. I tuck him in (after making sure he has his favorite duck) and kiss him goodnight: "Good night, T. Have a good sleep. I love you."