Bathtime when Olivia was a baby was pretty simple: we'd lay her down on a big sponge, give her a good scrubbing, rinse her off, add the Turtle wax and new car smell, dry her off and put her in pajamas. She didn't struggle too much, loved to kick her legs and feel the water splash around and the whole process took very little time. Now that she's older, though, boy how things have changed. 

Some nights she gets right in, but there are plenty of those where it takes convincing to get the task done. We've bought a number of toys to try and bribe her into associating bathtime with fun. Our bathroom is now stocked with floating toys, colorful things that stack and double as tools for us to rinse her hair off, a mini jet ski, dolphins from a local zoo that do pro bono work and a replica of the seaQuest DSV helmed by the ghost of Roy Scheider.

Our most recent roadblock in this process involves Olivia wanting to stay outside of the tub, drink water from the faucet and then not get in at all once the bath is ready. She'll use one of her toys as a cup, fill it up and knock it back like she's in an old west saloon. After that she goes on rants about gold prospects, gambling and finding someone named "Sweargen" to deal with all the cocksuckers in town.  

I handled bathtime responsibilities one night recently, and as usual Olivia did not disappoint. I told her it was time for her bath, grabbed her Magna Doodle and drew until she finally approved one (wakka wakkka) and then turned the water on. She grabbed a "cup," watched me throw her toys in and drank up until it was time to get down to business. She fought, struggled and twisted, but I eventually got her clothes off and started to put her in. Much to my surprise, she stuck out her arms and legs and suspended herself above the water like a cartoon cat avoiding immersion


After several pushes and pulls, I finally get Olivia in the tub. She stands straight up, looks me dead in the eye and begins peeing into the water. I panic and try to get her to stop, but then she plops right down into the Exxon Valdez oil spill she's created. Now my main focus is on getting her out of the tub, but she's changed her mind and doesn't want to leave. I yell out to Jodi, "What's the safest amount of pee you can have in the tub while your child is bathing?" After some deliberation, we decide that the amount she has deposited is small enough that it won't be terrible, but that I should keep her time in there as short as possible.

As I begin washing her I notice that she's dipping a toy into the water and bringing it up to her mouth (apparently the struggle to get into the tub had parched her). So now I'm bathing our child in pee water while trying to stop her from drinking said pee water. For the most part I get her to stop partaking of the flavored water, but I'm not always successful. I rush to get everything done and announce that it's time to get out, wondering if I needed to follow up with a Silkwood shower to fully decontaminate her. I figure she's fine and move on to the drying phase, or as it's know in our house: 'Baby Pope.'

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The towel we use to dry Olivia off is white and has a small sort of pocket at one of the corners, which you can use to help hang it or, I assume, store your child's candy cigarettes (or candy e-cigarettes if they're trying to quit). I put her head in it a long time ago and noticed that it made her look rather Catholic and geriatric. Thus, 'Baby Pope' was born. To complement the look I would turn her away from our bathroom mirror and then swing her around to gaze upon her holy visage, yelling out "Baby Pope." I have absolutely no idea why I did that, or why I felt the need to add this flourish, but sometimes you must do these things to distract your child or inject some type of fun into things to calm them down. Plus you can't give them alcohol, so your options are sort of limited.

After obliging her holiness with 5-10 rounds of swinging and yelling (which she loves to accompany me in), I move into her bedroom to finish drying and put pajamas on. The pajama phase is also hit or miss in terms of cooperation, but we've learned how to handle that part pretty well. Dried off, lotioned up and Elmo pajamas in place, we finish with her bedtime routine and she's down for the night. I breathe a sigh of relief, open up a beer and wonder if I should add a urinal cake to the assortment of bathtub toys we have for our child.