Mac fact: he has asthma. It’s exercise induced but weather extremes, moisture, mold and dust can also aggravate it. We have about 87 little gray inhalers around; I keep one in my car, he has one in his truck, one in his desk, a couple in jackets, I think there’s one in the shed. Those little fuckers are everywhere, would be the salient point.
For Baby, it is Big Boy Bath Time. Instead of putting Baby in his tiny plastic tub, we thought it would be nice for me to get in the bath with him and hold him because he feels like hell. The poor little guy has a bad cold. He’s cranky, stuffy, and weird goobers are coming out of every hole in his face. I briefly considered grinding up Sudafed and putting it in his bottle, but then I remembered I’m a good mother.
Thus, the Earth Mother playbook has been opened. Massages to keep the sinuses draining, humidifiers at night, steam to loosen mucus. I’m a fan of conserving water when possible, so here was my brilliant plan: turn on the shower as hot as it can possibly go, then sit with the baby in the steam. We’ll wait on the floor while the steam loosens his congested nose. As the water goes into the tub, it will have cooled a bit and when we’re all done having our spa treatment we can sit in the tub together as the water will have become a pleasant and soothing temperature. Perfect.
So I get the kid down to his diaper and we sit, breathing in the steam of the hot shower. The door is closed and I’m taking advantage of the acoustics to belt out of some my greater hits, which includes a rousing rendition of Habenera from Carmen where all of the words are replaced with “duh duh duh DUH, duh duh-duh duh. Duh duh duh DAH, buh buh buh BUM.”
I strip down, take off baby’s diaper, and test the water. Feels great. Get in, lower the baby onto me, and then, I am guilty of only slight hyperbole here, the world ended.
The baby starts howling in a way that makes me question the existence of God. What on earth could be happening here? The water is definitely not too hot, I remembered to test it by normal human standards, not my own (because if I’m not lobster red at the end of a shower there was no point at all, hygiene and socialization be damned). There’s no soap so it can’t be in his eyes, I removed the Oscar the Grouch washcloth I loved and apparently was, in the words of one reasonable friend, “straight up terrifying.” Why is he screaming?
Well, Mac had the same question. So he runs into the bathroom, practically knocking the door off its hinges to get to his child who’s being ax-murdered in the bath. He’s within inches of heroically saving his son from the unseen nightmare that’s causing this alarm when…shit. I had been steaming the bathroom for a good 20 minutes. Mac suddenly looks like I tipped him out of his bowl for fun just to watch him flop on the carpet. He looks for the inhaler we keep in the upstairs bathroom. Naturally it’s not there, because God is mad I questioned his/her existence up there in the fourth paragraph. Mac hurls himself towards the stairs, scrambling to get the inhaler he knows he has in the downstairs bathroom. Meanwhile, the blast of cold air Mac let into the room just hit the tub and…shit.
The baby is now scared, screaming and cold. He lets loose the nastiest, foulest, most watery stream of poop you can imagine. He didn’t poop, his butt was just a conduit for waste water that never made it to the “condense/solidify” stage. And I’m in the tub covered in poo-water that’s swirling in the tub and turning my warm big boy bath into a giant germy sewage dump. Mac comes halfway up the stairs, doing his Puff the Magic Dragon act on his inhaler. He takes one look through the open bathroom door, sees the look on my face and…shit.
Mac is laughing so hard he can’t keep the damn inhaler in his mouth. All I wanted was to gently Earth-Mother-soothe my sick baby into a deep, restorative slumber using steam, a little Bizet and loving caresses in a nice warm bath. Now the baby is screaming, Mac is dramatically clinging to life on the stairs wheeze-crying and I’m soaked up to my cellulite in poop water.
Next time the baby gets ground up Sudafed in his bottle and I don’t care who know it.*
This won’t really happen.**