Two from the Bafroom


Julia's morning and evening toothbrushing usually goes well. She actually likes the "big kid" aspect of holding her (Tigger-adorned) brush and the taste of the toothpaste, which she sometimes compares to flowers or ice cream. We've worked out a pretty good little routine: I put the paste on the brush, wet it all down, and hand it to her as she repeats her cryptic summary of  toothbrush turn-taking: "Julia first, then Julia," which actually means, "Julia first, then Daddy." She brushes, more or less, until it gets boring, and then she stands there, brush wedged in her maw, and says, "Daddyth's turnth." When I take over, I say, "ABCDees!" and she starts to rattle off the alphabet song.

Here, the train can run off the rails: I must not change my facial expression at all while she recites and I brush. Even though her peepy little toddler voice is never more adorable than when it's reciting the alphabet, I cannot raise my eyebrows, crack a smile, nod my head in time, murmur "N" when she skips it (as she does every time), or - god forbid - join in. If I do any of these things, she spits the toothbrush out and snaps, "Julia don't like that! Daddy, no singing/smiling/making that face." Once I'm appropriately affect-less, she allows the brushing to continue until she gets to "Next dyme won't you sing with me?" At this point, I am allowed to say, "I sure will!" unless she chirps it first. Then the brush is expelled, any spit-and-paste spills are blotted on the towel, and we're off.


Julia usually loves her baths, and usually treats them as (literally) immersive experiences. She likes making shampoo and soap suds; she likes washing and rinsing herself with her hands, washcloths, and little toy cups; she likes "being a wormy/snake/shark" by lolling on her stomach in the tub; and she especially likes "plashing," which was also once called "ocean." She's never seen the ocean, but when the waves get my shirt wet, all's right in the world.

The one facet of bathing of which she's not too fond is rinsing her shampooed hair. Not only is it annoying to have the water trickle into her face (no matter how carefully we tip her head back or how well I have the washcloth covering her forehead), but her shampoo mascot adds insult to injury by ceaselessly flashing his doped-up smile. "Julia don't like that snail!" she whines. "Daddy, turn bottle around!" she commands. Shampooing starts again when the Strawberry Swirl snail kisses the wall.

email: christopher at tassava dot com