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5:46 a.m. - 2002-10-17

IF MY SON WAS A DOG, THIS WOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM

Last night I gave Andrew a bath by myself for the first time since....well...ever.

When he was a tiny baby, we both bathed him in his little plastic tub on the kitchen counter. He would lay there and Susie would wash from the waist up, while I washed from the waist down.

At the time, there really wasn't much to wash. His pecker and ass. Since he wasn't really doing anything strange with either of them, both usually got swabbed during the diaper changes, so they were both fairly clean each time he got a bath. It was usually just a wipe and a swipe and I was done with him.

Last night, Susie goes to choir practice, leaving the two of us alone.

"I'll be home in an hour," she says at 8 p.m.

"I hope so," I said, knowing damned good and well she wouldn't be. "Your son needs a bath tonight."

At 9 p.m., she wasn't home. As I stated ... this was hardly a shock. The only thing my wife can do in less than an hour is clean house and that's only because she gets distracted by the television and ends up sitting down in front of the TV, leaving the house in shambles.

So it was up to me to bathe the kid.

I could DO this.

I psyched myself up by singing the "Bathtime" song that we've been singing to him since he popped out of the womb at breakneck speeds.

"Iiiiiiiit's bathtime! For Andrew! On Wednesday night! On Wednesday night! It's bathtime! For Andrew! On Weh-heh-heh-dnesday Niiiiiiight!!!"

I have no idea what tune it is. It's just something we made up. We use the same tune to sing "It's time to go see Miss Robin" every morning. He recognizes the tune and gets all giddy when we sing it.

Anyway, I get the kid stripped down and in the tub. He seems cool with this. I grab a washcloth and start washing his chest.

I apparently picked the wrong washcloth. I was washing his chest with the washcloth he sucks on while he gets bathed.

Okay.

So I let him suck all the water out of this washcloth and grab another washcloth.

He snatches the second washcloth out of my hand and jams it into his mouth.

I can sense that this is going to be a problem. I can keep pulling washcloths out of the linen closet and trying to wash his body, but he's going to keep stuffing them in his mouth and sucking on them.

So I decide to just use my hand.

This goes okay until it gets to be private parts time.

I can't recall ever touching my son's pecker without something in my hand. Either a washcloth or a Baby Wipe. I've never had straight-up-hand-to-baby-pecker contact with the kid.

I go to pull one of the washcloths out of his mouth.

No go.

I sit for a minute and wait for Susie to come walking through the door.

No go.

I stare at the kid.

He stares back. Almost like he wants me to do it.

I bite the bullet.

I scoop some bubbles out of his bathtub, reach down there and gently massage his pecker as quickly as possible.

As soon as I touch it, the little bastard gets an erection.

And he grins. He knew what he was doing.

He stands up in the tub, moves his baby belly out of the way and grins at his shiny new baby erection.

He plays with it. It's pointing upwards.

As I reach for a cup and take my eye off the kid for a second, I'm hit with a warm spray of urine.

Apparently, peeing on Daddy is one of the funniest things this kid has ever seen. He's laughing hysterically as I shield the pee with my hand, trying to avert the pee from getting all over me back into the tub.

Now his tub is full of a mixture of warm water, bubbles and baby urine.

And I still haven't washed his hair.

I know that I wouldn't want to use urine water to wash my own hair. I didn't want Miss Robin at daycare to be holding him tomorrow, take a whiff of his hair and call the authorities, telling them I wash my kid's hair with urine.

So I let the water out of his tub. Yes, he's almost two and still bathes in his baby tub. We tried to get him to bathe in the big tub and he wants no part of it. He feels secure in the baby tub.

All his water is drained out of the tub. I plug it back up and start running fresh warm water back in it. For good measure, I put some bubbles in there, because the kid goes ga-ga for bubbles.

Everything's back to normal. Fresh water. Fresh bubbles. Happy boy.

I soap up his hair with baby shampoo and make shampoo horns for him. Naturally, I'm the only one getting a kick out of this because he can't see what's going on. I debate on running to get the camera, but I've seen enough "Dateline NBC" episodes to know that if you turn your back for a split second, a kid can drown in the tub. I certainly didn't need that on my hands when the wife got home.

SUSIE: "Where's Andrew?"

ME: "Dead in the tub. I'm going to bed."

So his hair's all soaped up, I grab the cup off the counter, fill it with water and gently pour it over his head.

Wrong, daddy. Wrong.

My kid doesn't freak out much. But this was a genuine freak out.

As I learned later when the wife FINALLY got home, you take a wet washcloth and gently smooth it over his hair, removing the soap that way.

Andrew hasn't really figured out how to close his eyes. I mean ... the damned bottle says "No More Tears" right on the label. You'd think if a company was going to be so bold as to guarantee that your kid's not going to break into hysterics when using their product, they'd halfway know what the hell they were talking about.

Nope.

There were more tears shed in that baby bathtub then all the tears at Princess Di's funeral combined.

So, I'm playing Mr. Gentle Caring Father now.

"You're fiiiiine," I said. "Quit yer whining."

He's dancing in the tub now like he's going blind and screeching, rubbing his eyes.

His tub isn't really built for dancing.

Before I know it, one of his feet slips and he falls back into the tub.

He didn't hit his head or anything. He just plopped back into the water, splashing it all up in his face.

...Causing more pandemonium.

Something as innocent as washing the kid's hair had now turned into a really bad Saturday Night Live skit.

I figured at this point, the kid wanted to be held. Screw the soap in the hair. He was freaking out and soapy hair took back seat to needing to be held.

So I grab his towel, swaddle him in that and take him in his bedroom, drying him off. I brush his hair and remove most of the soap with that. He calms down eventually, we read his two favorite books ("My Dad Is Awesome" and "Baby Faces")and I laid him down to snuggle with his Mama Bear.

I go get in bed and Susie gets home.

"So ... what'd you guys do tonight?" she asked.

Rather than go through the whole story of almost blinding our child, touching his penis for the first time and getting urinated on, I just said the smart thing.

"Nothing. Good night."

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