A few drinks deep into the evening, a friend was telling me recently how much fun bath time is with his 4 month old. Like a true parenting party pooper, I slurred "Enjoy it now because holy-soap-on-a-rope, does it get tedious and skull-numbingly boring."
There isn't a spot for it in her Baby Book, but First Independent Bath should ABSOLUTELY be heralded. Unless you enjoy your asshole falling asleep after sitting on a hard toilet seat lid for 25 minutes every 2-3 days for 5 years, the day your kid can bathe themselves is the very definition of a Banner Day.
My bath time duties now consist of leaving the bathroom door cracked, hollering down the hall every few minutes to make sure she is ok and the 45 spluttery seconds of washing her hair and butt crack at the end of the bath. Those other 24 minutes and change are like a trip to Cuba for me. Reclaimed time. Newly discovered time. Time that is so new and unexpected I can use it to do useful adult chores or splay my body across my bed and watch movie trailers on IMDB. There is no expectation for this time. This tiny fragment of my day is free from judgment and elegance. I could stand and eat cheese over the sink and the universe wouldn't side-eye me at all. So, when anyone asks me for a highlight of 2015 (let's pretend people would actually ask me that in a real life conversation), I can direct them to this post.
It seems particularly cruel then that my euphoric bubble surrounding this time would be so powerfully popped. One evening earlier this month when I was drying her freshly tugged from the bath, her face was buried in my stomach and out of nowhere, she bit me. The nip made it through her towel and my shirt to leave a red angry mark just below my belly button.
What would you have done? I howled "OW" and ran away because:
a) it hurt
b) it surprised me
c) this was, to date, her greatest KID BETRAYAL EVER
I'm not sure how I should have reacted but here's what I did: stalked away, tagged my husband in and cooly ignored her for the rest of the evening. After I had calmed down, adjusted my will (the SPCA will now be receiving my items of value), and stopped daydreaming about hucking her Christmas gifts off the deck, I asked her "why?"
"I wanted a hug."
OK. COOL STRATEGY.
I wanted a better explanation for this turn-coatery.
"Because your skin looks like fresh mozzarella" or
"Because I love you so much I wanted to express it like Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thornton" or
"Because those bath salts were frankly delicious."
I never did get a satisfactory answer. Her little face and body were the definition of downtrodden so I eventually forgave her even though I knew damn well that due to the date on her advent calendar, she was more worried about disappointing Santa than her mother.
Other high/lowlights of 2015 that never made it to the blog:
We retired our ancient car and used transit and our legs exclusively. Other than the scum who don't wait for people to get off before they get on, and a few unexpected train meltdowns, becoming car-less was pretty easy. Until the day when I looked over at Stella beside me on the train playing with a ring on her finger. Singing a wordless tune while spinning the ring around her finger. Happy as hell and not bugging me because this ring had wholeheartedly charmed her, but upon closer inspection and after a few horrified whispered questions from my tight lips, the "ring" she'd found on her seat was actually someone's clipped hard-as-horn yellow fingernail now being treated as delicate jewellery.
There just aren't barf bags on public transit.
What else? My kid started school and is so far not making out under bleachers or pelting girls with tampons so that's good.
I grew up and now actually enjoy blue cheese.
I tried to not gnaw on my finger skin but often fail because I'm gross.
I didn't do as many sit-ups or push-ups the last half of the year but on any given week where I make choices that intentionally don't get logged in My Fitness Pal, the next week I always rebound and choose green over popcorn and ease my feet into running shoes and just run even if I'm tired and think every step is stupid and hate that bag of popcorn that was dinner the night before, but a few minutes in when my breathing steadies and my favourite song ignites tingles under my feet, I remember life isn't always doing exactly what I want to do but if I'm not a goon about it, I can choose to make the hard stuff better.
I don't have any resolutions for 2016. Frankly until the Lindt balls and individually packaged Turtles are gone, it feels fruitless. I'll get there though. Maybe I want to write more, Netflix more, cook more, learn to knit or learn to do the splits. Or I can be kind to myself and not feel bad if I choose to just colour with my kid until bedtime.
I think in 2016 any bullshittery is just gonna get a bird and a smile.