He was pouting, lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling. Seven going on seventeen.
You see, the world was coming to an end: we, his horrible parents, were practically ruining his life by insisting that there was only time for a quick shower before bed, rather than the preferred bath. Oh, the horror!
His younger brother was already in the shower, happy as a little clam, but I could not figure out how to get this boy in there. At a loss, I used one of my favorite stalling tactics.
“You’re pretty angry about this shower thing, huh?” I asked, sitting next to him. “Yeah,” he said, looking at me, his face stony. “Hmm. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being not mad at all and 5 being the maddest you’ve ever been, where would you say this falls?” He considered for a moment and then answered, “3.”
“Okay.” I thought for a minute. “What would we have to do to get that down to a 2?” After a while, he said, “You do it with me.” Bingo. Easy. “Sure, Daddy’s helping Lyle so I can help you with yours. That’s fine.” He started to relax. “Now. Can we get it down to a 1?” He couldn’t think of anything.
After a long while and many suggestions, including him wearing a swimsuit and goggles, me doing a crazy song and dance routine (I actually did offer this), or playing his favorite song on the cd player while he showers, we were still at a 2 and Lyle was done. It was time, so I had to come up with something good.
I looked at him seriously. “I think I’ve got it. How about if you brush your teeth in the shower and I’ll let you spit?” He stared. “I can spit IN THE SHOWER??” I had him. “Yup, you can.”
He jumped off the bed and dashed into the bathroom, shouting, “YES!!! I can’t believe Mommy’s letting me spit in the shower!!”
A few people, including my mother, told me after I had Lyle that they’d always visualized me only having boys. I’m beginning to understand that.