As a mother, my heart swells with pride when I witness the kids behaving thoughtfully, with no prodding whatsoever. Especially when it involves one of their siblings. This morning was one such occurrence as they were getting ready for school. Well, sort of.
Gone are the days I could just plop all 3 of them in the tub at one time and scrub them down. Bath time at our house has never been a relaxing, nor bonding experience of any kind. Oh, we bought the sweet lavender-smelling soap with calming capabilities after seeing the sweet toddler on the commercial peacefully getting bathed, nary a splash, then promptly falling right to sleep after his bath. But I just slathered it on as quickly as possible and scrubbed down all their little cracks and crevices, grabbed the bottle from one child trying to pour it out to make more bubbles, then turned right around and pulled it away from Tate before he could drink more than a few teaspoonsful. And watch out if it was David's turn to do the baths! From my spot on the couch where I was thanking the Lord that I had a night off from giving baths, I could hear the kids squealing as as he dumped cupfuls of water directly onto their little heads, without shielding their faces and eyes from the monsoon.
No sir, bath time was anything but calm. It was simply a "how can we get this done as quickly and painlessly as possible so you'll smell good for church" activity. One, because they are all three so close in age. And, two, we were bathing them all the time! Syrup in their hair, marker on their face, and other unbelievably messy undertakings. Like eating. Eating anything. We used to buy these little baby biscuits for Reese that were supposed to help her grasping skills because her chubby little hand could hold them all by itself. They would easily entertain her for a few minutes while I tried to get some sort of supper thrown together. Those were the absolute grossest things I have ever encountered. They turned to mush instantly and she would be a mushy biscuit-covered mess 30 seconds into the ordeal. Her grasping practice would have to wait. We ceased buying those.
I knew we had to bid farewell to collective bath times, when they began to outgrow the tub together. Legs would be dangling over the side, the pushing and the shoving began, and I was wetter than they were by the end of it. So we graduated to collective shower times. We discovered the tiny shower in our room was the best bet. They have a full tub with a shower curtain in their bathroom and the floor would be a wading pool when all was said and done.
Our shower has a door we can pull shut. Hallelujah! Of course, our floor still becomes a semi-wading pool when they leave that door open to holler something out to us. But our shower is so tiny, that only two kids could fit at a time. Most of the time, we'd throw the girls in together, I'd soap up their hair, then leave them to their giggling, soaping up the walls, or whatever else they would do, until I would holler into the bathroom that they were going to need to get a job to pay for our water bill. The faucet would promptly shut off.
So now, obviously, they are way too old to shower together, so now we take the revolving door approach. Or the automatic car wash approach if you will. I just don't have time to keep track of who showered when, so they just do it back to back. If one of them needs to shower, well, they're just all three going to. And because of the girls oh-so-lovely curly locks, it's necessary that they shower in the morning. That is, if they want their hair to do anything but rat up and stick out in all directions for school. And because Tate likes to wear remnants of his last meal on his face, his hands, etc. it's best to just always shower him right before we go, well, anywhere.
He always goes last. Because he's the boy. And he just has to run his hand over his hair once, and he's ready for the day. It's usually Reese, Drue, then Tate. Age order. Just another battle we don't have to fight with "who went first last time?". They can't remember where they just took off their shoes. But, by golly, they'll remember who went first in the shower last, or who sat in the back of the van last Tuesday.
And so begins the herding. When Reese is finished, she gets out and covers up with her towel, then we send Drue in, while the water is still running. Then Tate, after Drue gets out and toweled up. It's just our routine. And they have it down pat. So much so, that if one of them does happen to need an extra shower at some point, and I'm not making the other two take one also, they'll still holler out, "Is someone else coming in?" before turning off the water.
So, yes, that was a loooooong explanation of our showering practices, to get to this morning's event. Reese was getting ready at my bathroom sink/mirror while Tate was in the shower. We heard a loud crash come from the shower. Without any prodding to check on her brother, Reese hollered out concerned, "Are you ok?!"
Thus the swelling of my heart began.
Silence (other than the running water).
"Hello?!" she hollered again, growing more concerned.
They really do love each other, I thought.
My heart began to deflate at a rapid rate, when after she still didn't get an answer, she resumed brushing her hair, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "Oh well."