next to Godliness

 IGUT Muud.

My wife and I looked at each other over the pile of laundry we were currently working through. The younger one’s voice floated from the back door, through the kitchen.

IGUT Muud.

This time a little closer.

Is he saying…

My question was answered when I saw him come in from the late afternoon sun in the back yard. The first break from the rain in many, many days was greeted with total joy by the boys as evidenced in his appearance.

His white sweat shirt was hammered with dark spots, splotches of mud from the places he had fallen. His grey sweats were wet from the knees down, and his feet were caked, both the bare foot, as well as the one still clinging for dear life inside a soaked sock. He also appeared to have taken some oral samples of the fresh spring spoils.

I walked over to him in time to protect the clean couch, but too late for the freshly cleaned kitchen floor.

IGUT Muud. He said quite plainly, holding up his fat little fists clenching balls of mud for me to examine up close.

Yes, you certainly do.

Bath time.

 I distinctly remember baths as a child. Perhaps solely because they took place in a large, old, traditional claw-foot tub. I can see the old spigots filling the bath up with bubbles, the steam covering the window and mirrors. My Mother would sit next to us on a small stool with a hinged lid covering a compartment where the toys were stored. Not the toys that overwhelm the shelves of toy stores today, but the ordinary trappings of a busy household that were water proof. Old measuring cups, and the plastic spools from thread spent patching up the knees on our pants.

I Don’t want to take one with him! The older one protested. He’ll poop in the bath.

It’s fine. He won’t. Besides, you used to poop in the bath.

Really?

Yes, really.

Because of the three year difference in their age, there is a blurred line for what the older one will put up with, and visa-versa. But in general, they both love the bath. Once the water was high enough, and we had forcibly convinced them to shut the water off, there came the constant stream of splashing and play. Their bath quickly became the normal sea of debris. This was made up of not only the grime covering their bodies, but the utter number of toys and literal junk the dragged in with them. Cars. Boats. Transformers. Animals, old plastic shampoo bottles. A spaghetti fork. Cups. Bowls. Spaceships. Ducks; A sort of homage to Luke Skywalker and Han Solo trapped in the wet garbage pit in Star Wars.

 Able to monitor the both of them from the living room outside the door, my wife and I let this chaos slide. We are able to sit without either one of them for the first time in hours, and usually spend the time sitting and relaxing, cleaning up things like mud from the kitchen floor, or staring out blankly into space not saying a thing. (A form of shell shock)

My brother and I would slosh back and forth in the tub, watching the water slide up the far ends of the monster tub. The sheer force of it coming back onto us, would inevitably push our little bodies back and forth. We would squeal with total delight, until one of us would catch our head on the faucet and the game would have reached its end point. My Mom taught us that if we dipped the end of the thread spool in the bubbles, we could blow and nest of bubbles out of the end. We would pour water back and forth between cups.

Dad! I made soup for you! The older one’s voice filled every crack in our little house and snapped me awake from my dish washing meditation. I lumbered my way into the bathroom, knowing I would be called incessantly until I came to pretend to eat the bowl of bubbles, and dump it on their heads in mock disgust.

To my delight, they had managed to reduce the level of the bath, by systematically pouring cups of it onto the floor. I stared at the lake making its way across the floor and covering my feet (which, naturally, were in socks at the time) and felt a cold wet drop land on the back of my neck. I looked up to see that they had also been spraying the ceiling of the bathroom, which was now coated with large drops of water.

What are you doing? I asked somewhat rhetorically.

We’re raining! The younger one said from their pool of debris.

I stared in disbelief, picked my battle, and walked out.

Are they ok? My wife asked me stretched out on the couch.

Yup. I strode over and plunked down next to her, stared off into space

They’re just fine.

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About D.Jeinkins

a married father of two boys, trying in desparation to preserve his sanity
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