Happy Valentines Day, HH readers! I know today is supposed to be about hearts and flowers and love, but on this Monday, like every Monday, I'm still a mom. So welcome to Mommy Mondays. If you're just insistent about the holiday, check out last week's chocolate fountain.
The most basic of parenting principles you just have to learn yourself.
As long as we could wash Pigtail in our large farm sink, everyone loved bathtime. From infancy, she would get still as a mouse and let the warm water roll over her. We moved and she outgrew the sink around the same time.
For months I have despised bathtime. At first I blamed it on the awkward bathtub shower in Pigtail's bathroom, but when we replaced the cumbersome shower doors with a curtain, the task instantly became more accessible. But still I dreaded the ritual. I don't even like washing my own hair, let alone my daughters. Bathtime got shorter and shorter until we were in and out in five minutes.
Recently - and seemingly out of the blue - Pigtail started hating bathtime. It couldn't be the water, she loves to swim. She always had plenty of bathtoys. But a month or so ago she started screaming when I tried to put her in the bath. I always had that moment of terror that I'd made the water too hot, but that was never the case. She would scream and cry the whole 5 3 minutes it took to give her a good scrub.
Last week, The Gorilla had an evening screening and I canceled dinner plans with a friend. After Pigtail goes to bed is when I usually write or create and it's often my busiest time of the day. But that night I was in a crummy mood and just wanted to stay at home in my sweats. I gave myself full permission not to get one single productive thing done. Pigtail and I had dinner together and then I took her upstairs for her speedracer bath. Since I had penciled in an evening of nothing, I wasn't in a hurry. For no reason at all I belted a rousing rendition of "Rubber Ducky" as we prepared to get clean.
I braced myself a little for the screaming to begin, but I kept singing as I lowered Pigtail into the water. She laughed and splashed. I made her little froggy spit water onto her belly. We both giggled and I sang intermittently and there wasn't an ounce of protest when I washed her hair. Bathtime lasted fifteen minutes and neither of us hated it.
After she was safely tucked in bed, I wondered what the difference had been. Was it the song? Was it a fluke? But it was obvious to me even though I hated to admit it. The Gorilla and I have noticed lately that Pigtail is so much more aware of everything. And I know that she had picked up on my attitude towards the bath (grumpy, hasty, and potentially with sharp words involved) and was reflecting it back at me. As a parent, my attitude matters.
I think attitude matters in life, not just as a parent. But I forgot. Or rather, I didn't think it mattered to a fifteen-month-old. But it does. Rubber Ducky proved it.