Beware age restriction: Anyone between 20 and 30 without children may find this narration offensive and put them off having children forever!
I am as sick as a dog; stuffy nose, achy body, burning throat and very grumpy. It’s 5pm and I sneak into the bathroom and close the door for an hour of therapy.
I eyeball the tub. It hasn’t been cleaned since Josh bathed last night. The bottom is littered with the evidence of last night’s meal; a chop bone, a spaghetti string, a few peas, a crust of bread and a layer of oil make up the perfectly balanced meal; we are great parents!
I clean it, add Vicks Vapour rub to the water, and turn on the wall heater. The water is hot and the steam fills the room to veil my aching body. I close my eyes.
“Hallo Dad.” It’s Josh, our pet three-year-old.
“Can I bath with you dad?”
“No, I’m sick.”
“No you cannot!”
“Those are ugly words!” He grumbles.
“Daddy is not feeling well and I don’t want to make you sick my boy.” I attempt a gentler approach.
“I’m sick too Daddy!” A thick brown mucus bubble hangs out his nostril. I dry my hands and fumble for a toilet roll. “Blow . . . hard!” I command. I feel a mucus spray cover my naked hand as the toilet paper is blown across the room. I clean my hand in the bath water wishing that the hand basin was closer. Mucus to water, probably three parts per million I estimate as I eye the brimming bath. Probably meets some international standard I muse and I settle back down.
“I get you some toys Daddy,” Joshua offers, reaching for a huge plastic container of assorted bath toys.
“I don’t want any toys my boy.”
It begins to rain toys. Soon I feel as if I’m bathing among the flotsam and jetsam of a wrecked ship. I pick of one that is lying on my chest. It spews icy cold water from some forgotten era all over heaving chest. I comfort myself with “Four parts per million.”
“Which toy do you want daddy?”
“I don’t want any toys my boy.”
“What about cups?” he offers.
“I don’t want any cups my boy,” I say and close my eyes. Water starts to land on my head as Josh gives a hearty rendition of ‘Its raining, its pouring, the old man is snoring.’ ” I open my eyes to find a large cup with holes in the bottom above my head.
“I DON’T WANT TOYS!” I yell.
“Those are naughty words.” Joshua chides and tosses the cup back into the bath.
“Let’s play music,” he suggests brightly. We put together the eight pieces making up a floating xylophone. I hold it while he begins a delicate symphony of tinkley sounds. He’s talented and I may yet get something out of this human investment some day. His efforts moves towards a climax, his arms blurring as he pounds the hapless instrument – one of the sticks breaks.
“What happened Daddy?” He asks with a small frown as he examined the two pieces in his hands.
“It broke.” I announced with an element of finality totally lost on him. He tosses the two sharp pieces into the bath. I try to make a mental note of them in my foggy brain.
“Let’s paint.” He says starting a new chapter of an old, tattered and tired book.
“I don’t want to paint. Dad’s sick.”
“Here is a brush for you,” he offers me a small brush
“I don’t want to paint.”
“I’ll use the BIG one,” he announces with enthusiasm as he sets up the water colour tray on the side of the bath. Within seconds the side of bath is covered in livid bright primary colours that start to run down the sides and into the water. The brush is a blur of movement, colour and paint; also generous cleaning in my bath water, which rapidly starts to change colour.
“Ten parts per million.” I moan feebly to no-one in particular.
The red soon becomes the favourite and he eyes my chest. Lying in a sea of floating plastic toys, in water that no respectable person would bath in, I resign myself to my fate. Soon my chest is a scene from a murder movie with bright red slashes everywhere.
“Lets’ paint your winkey!” he suggests brightly.
Ok, that’s it. I’m DONE here. I stagger to my feet and start to dry myself.
“That was fun daddy!” he says beaming up at me.
“You get in and play some more,” I suggest.
“No, daddy the water is too yucky!” He says wrinkling up his nose.