Touch of spice

Boys and girls are from the same planet

Two people in the grocery store told me what a good little boy I had.

I said "yes, I got pretty lucky."

The rest wasn't worth the energy or the embarrassment.

I've accepted it'll be awhile before strangers recognize Katie as a girl, it's three-year-old cousin Isiac who I'm directing my lessons to right now.

"Where is Katie? Where is he," he asks.

"She."

"She," he says. "Where is he?"

He's nowhere near understanding the difference between boys and girls a point he shared, along with a mild case of conjunctivitis, the last time he spent the night.

When I took off Katie's diaper his eyes grew wide and he inhaled sharply.

"He's broke!"

"He's broke, see," he said as he started to strip to show me just which part Katie was missing, before looking around wildly at the floor to see if he could find it and, I guess, jam it back on.

Thank God, he didn't press for an explanation. I'm still working out socially acceptable yet not totally childish words for all the body parts, so occasionally a "what's that?" stumps me.

BC (before children) I swore I would always answer every question to the best of my ability and not dodge the tough ones.

AC, I realized I don't have as many answers or solutions as I thought I would.

I put the three kids in the bathtub when you have children, there's a lot of focus on the bathtub especially when they reach the age where they enjoy it.

They just don't always enjoy it together, nor do they enjoy it alone. It's a double-edged sword.

Isiac is a wild man, showing off by putting his face underwater and blowing bubbles.

Katie tried, but sucked in instead of blowing out and bath time was put on pause as she was pulled out dripping wet for some strong pats on the back that ended with her screaming because she was out of the tub and missing all the action.

So much for my being a hero.

She got back in and did the exact same thing.

In the meantime, Nikki, who at 14 months still has no inclination to walk, pulled herself up on the side of the tub and lifted her leg to the ledge which was somewhere near her ear in an attempt to climb in, showing a flexibility years of training can't provide.

She added a whole new dynamic, although she's not near fun enough for Isiac to even notice that she, too, is "broke."

What Nikki does is splash. She's got a pretty good aim, too.

Unfortunately, Katie doesn't agree. She usually gets a face full.

She cries, Nikki laughs and mom is torn between making it better for Katie or laughing with Nikki.

She doesn't laugh that hard very often, so it really was a tough decision.

I did fix it though. It turns out Isiac doesn't mind being splashed.

Everyone is happy.

For about two seconds.

Katie had the blue washcloth, which Nikki wanted. There was a lot of screaming and crying while the washcloth went from hand to hand, nearly upending them both with the power of their pulls.

In comes mom to the rescue with a white washcloth so they'd each have their own.

But no-ooo, a white washcloth wasn't good enough. Katie wanted Nikki's blue (which she called orange) washcloth.

And the fight continued.

Mom is distracted because she's digging through the dirty laundry looking for the matching blue washcloth.

Success!

In goes the blue washcloth and they each have their own.

The second I mean the very second the second washcloth appears they both lose interest.

Evidently it's no fun if someone else has the exact same one.

Really, bathtime is much more fun for them than it is for me.

I sit in the chair, armed with a book.

That's fairly pointless.

"Nikki, sit down."

"Nikki, sit down."

Even Katie chimes in "Icky sit!"

Then I get up and Nikki sits.

We play that game 35 times a bath.

At the same time, Isiac is throwing dripping wet washcloths onto the floor and dragging the dry towel in to cover Katie's head while encouraging her to jump up and down in the tub to make waves.

And she's doing it.

I have pictures that will embarrass both of them in a few years (and I'm not afraid to use them).

It won't be long before they're mortified at the thought that they once shared the bathtub.

For now, it's the best fun (at the cheapest price) they can think of and doing it together doubles the fun.

See, at the ages of 2 and 3, there's not that much difference between boys and girls.

They're both exploring their world and their boundaries. They both question everything and they both create as much havoc as possible.

Isiac is at the age where he doesn't mind that his favorite playmate is "broke" and Katie is happy playing with cars and action figures.

It won't be long before they both have cooties, so until then, despite the stress, they can be bath buddies all they want.

I just wish it was in his mom's bathroom instead of mine!

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