The last time I wrote about my son’s penis, it ignited a firestorm in the comments.
This one isn’t about anything nearly as controversial as men who like cartoons that are made for little girls, but it does involve my son being naked. I also threw Return of the Jedi into it. So maybe the Bronies and the anti-circumcision crowd can find some common ground when I talk about…
Baths are nasty.
Women may find them relaxing, but the things that make a bath relaxing – i.e. candles; bubbles; not having a penis floating limply in front of you; listening to Kenny G – are not typically things men enjoy. For us, there are no candles or bubbles; it’s just you in a shallow, lukewarm pool of filth staring at your slowly shrinking penis while listening to Jim Rome.
Which is why I take showers.
Unfortunately for my two-year-old son, showering is not an option. Aside from the fact that most toddlers would slip and fall while wearing cleats on a football field, standing one barefoot on a slick surface as water bombards his face is not the ideal way to get them clean. So instead you fill the tub a little bit, set him down amidst a smorgasboard of distractions like toy boats and plastic sharks and Yo Gabba Gabba styrofoamy things that stick to the wall, and watch as the only thing he actually wants to play with is an empty cup he can use to throw water all over the floor/all over you while you kneel beside him, knees against the painful tile, and attempt to trick him into looking up at the ceiling so the soap and water don’t get in his eyes.
I’ve heard rumors about babies being washed in the kitchen sink, which, sure. The keyword being “babies.” My kid is two, and what was once the soft, innocent, porcelain skin of a newborn is now the rancid, reeking epidermis of a slowly-developing biped with dried shit caked on his buttocks. So yeah, I’ll be keeping the beast away from my food-preparation area.
Sink or not, I like to think I clean the kid pretty well. After two years of diaper changing I’m no longer plussed by the presence of his feces, so while he can get himself pretty dirty, poop is about the filth-ceiling. Plus, since I’ve yet to encounter a BM in the bathtub, I remain totally non-plussed by that side of things. It’s the other side of things that plusses me.
Obviously this is my kid we’re talking about, and there is nothing inappropriate about a father giving his son a bath. There are no Tarzan outfits or cameos from Gordon Jump. But cleaning someone else’s privates is not an easy thing to get used to, especially a child’s. I’m uncomfortable even writing about this. It reminds me of that scene from Big Daddy, wherein Adam Sandler steals an idiot child and proceeds to destroy any hope for said child’s development. At one point Sandler is giving the kid a bath but makes sure he wears a bathing suit because “[He doesn’t] know the rules.” That’s how I feel.
Somehow I manage to soldier through my son’s bath time, because god forbid he becomes the neighborhood Pigpen. He doesn’t mind taking a one, thank god, which means I’m usually able to get the job done with little fuss. I wash his hair, I clean between his folds and his fingers and toes, and behind his ears; it’s all very routine. Then I splash water in and around my son’s crotch without looking or touching, just to cover all the bases, before getting him out and wrapping him up in his monkey towel, which is when it all pays off.
I’ll give the little dude a bath 5 times a day if he keeps looking like the guy that trained the Rancor in Return of the Jedi.