A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Bath Night

December 10th, 2001

Tonight was bath night for the girls. Just like every other bath night.

It begins with them in their high chairs. Goldfish crackers in the crease of their shirts and peaches in their hair. Sweet, sticky faces with baby tooth grins. They signal dinner is over by backhanding their mostly empty sippy cups onto the floor. Palmer the Eskimo Dog sits at anxious attention waiting for his chance to clean up any leftover chicken nuggets they might throw his direction.

I run the water. Not too hot. Not too cold. Make sure their bath chairs are securely suctioned to the bottom of the tub. Get the supplies. Towels, soap and pear scented baby shampoo, a gift from their friend Andra. Wash cloths, one green and one pink. And from the bag o’ tub toys toss some of their favorites into the water. The blue octopus and the red crab. A yellow rubber duck and some blue foam stars.

Returning to the holding pen that is the family room, the stripping process begins. Pants and one sock. Who knows where the other one is. A turtle neck that was white when the day started. Annie helps. All she needs is a one sleeve start and she does the rest. Her sister is wiggly. Take off the pants, catch Emma and bring her back. Take off the shirt, catch Emma and bring her back. Finally we’re down to diapers. Two 13-month old squealing babies circling the coffee table like chairs at a cakewalk, waiting for the water games to begin.

Annie and Emma know the routine. They find their way to the gate. I pull it out of the doorway and give the command, “Release the hounds!” With happy shrieks they head toward the bathroom, Emma running and Annie doing her best Frankenstein walk. A minute and a fall or two later, they’re leaned up against the tub. Annie was born a minute later than her sister but thinks “first” is her birthright. She bends my eardrum but good when I put Emma in before her. Emma grabs the green wash cloth, lets out a belly laugh and drapes it over her head. Annie takes a quick breath when she feels the water, latches on to the pink washcloth and promptly splashes water all over my glasses. Daddy wanted to stay dry. Twins win.

Twin babies in the tub. Two silly baby sisters. Emma is fascinated with the wash cloth. Wraps it behind her neck and stretches like a self-administered chiropractic treatment. Annie just wants to splash. Both hands flat slapping the water like a beaver’s tail. Suck the water out of the pink washcloth. Pull the green washcloth away from Emma and suck the water out of it. Emma looks at me with her big eyes and lets loose her unique “it sounds like I’m coughing but I’m laughing” laugh and splashes water up her nose. Coughing, not laughing.

The red hook on the yellow plastic fishing pole in Emma’s grip catches Annie’s attention. Tug of war in the tub. Grunting. Pulling. They both look at me, yelling something in baby talk that loosely translated means, “Mine!” Soap and shampoo break up the dispute. The rinse off, a Rubio’s plastic tumbler of water over the head, gets their attention. Annie sneezes. Emma laughs. Annie points at Emma’s hair, overhead rinsed straight down over her nose, and giggles.

Towel time. Wrapped up like a couple of terrycloth burritos, we carry them down the hall, their little popcorn toes dripping water all the way into the family room. Preferring to run naked if given the chance, they are confined under protest to the couch. Dried off and Lubriderm lotioned, it’s diaper time. Emma executes a reverse kick escape that would make Dan Gable proud. Annie practices her drama queen routine, this night’s scene on the injustice of being stuffed and snapped into a cotton sleeper. Emma follows Mom around the house as she picks up the wet towels before nuzzling in on Mom’s lap with her bottle. Ears cleaned, hair brushed, and dressed for dreaming, Annie kicks back on her Daddy’s chest at a Lazy-Boy angle and grabs her bottle.

At the 4 ounce level, she pauses to talk to me. I can only guess what she said. Whatever it was, it sounded pretty well thought out. Reflective even. She punctuated her point by one-handing her bottle, tilting her head back and patting my face with her free hand. Then it was back to the bottle and watching ESPN Classic. Game 7 of the 1987 World Series. St. Louis and Minnesota. Annie falls asleep just before Kent Hrbek makes the last out. Twins win.

Tonight was bath night for the girls. Just like every other bath night. Except it used to begin at the kitchen sink with water in a tray no bigger than a Tupperware bowl. Tonight was just like every other bath night. Except that just three months ago their little diaper butts crawled down the hall to the bathtub. Tonight was just like every other bath night. Except that by the next one they’ll be two days removed from splashing water on Daddy’s glasses and two days closer to growing up.

Tonight was bath night for the girls. Just like every other bath night. Just like every other bath night on December 10, 2001 at 8:12 PM Mountain Standard Time in Chandler, Arizona, USA.

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” -Psalm 39:4