Everyone’s mum has that one, special embarrassing story about their children that they like to whip out at the most inappropriate moment. Or – now that I’m a mother myself – should that be most appropriate?
Anyway, my mum likes to tell the story about the extended period in which I refused to bathe.
So the story goes, I was around six or seven, and would plead with her each night (even invoking the Lord, the good Catholic school girl that I was) not to force me into a bath. I don’t know why. I still don’t know why.
When she’d tell it, I would laugh and then shrug: “That doesn’t sound so bad”.
Fast-forward 20 years and now I’m reaping what I sowed. My darling, perfect little dirty-angel is now refusing to bathe.
It all happened very suddenly, as quick as a lightning strike. You see, my daughter loved baths. In fact, the only problem we used to have was trying to get her out of them. Then, the day after turning two, something happened.
One minute she was splish-splashing in there, and the next she was screaming and wailing and reaching out to us for dear life to get her out of there.
The first night it happened my husband and I looked at each other and thought maybe she was just tired. But then it happened again, and again. After the third night, it finally dawned on us that this had become a ‘thing’.
We searched online and found that yes, this can indeed become a 'thing' for toddlers, but there were ways to coax them back into the bath. They included lowering the water level, getting into the bath with them and making bath time 'more fun'.
We tried all of those. None of them worked.
I have a good friend, let's call her Alice. Now Alice is terrified of balloons. I'm talking petrified. Stay on the opposite side of the room kind of petrified.
Here's the thing though - as an adult it's not really a big deal. It's not a 'thing', it's just a funny little annex that floats (pun intended) in the background of your conscious. It's there but not really there. It's also kind of endearing.