Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TwinsDay Wednesday: It's bathtime!

By now, all of you know that we have our hands full.

Although two hands hardly ever seem like enough, when it comes time to bathe our twins, the hand shortage is clearer than ever. Wrangling two wiggly, slippery, wet, and often screaming little toddlers is no small feat.

Special Note: I do not attempt twin bathtime without a partner, and I am a trained professional. Please do not try this at home, no matter how much fun you think it looks...unless you're a twin parent, of course, in which case you have no choice. Carry on, friends...may the force be with you.

Once upon a time, they were just tiny babies. Here's how bathtime worked then- Mama helds (nursed) one baby while Daddy and SuperSam sponge bathed the other one. After the clean one was wrapped in a towel, she came back to Mama for comfort (nursing) while the other Sister had her bath. When the second bath was finished, Mama put the babies to bed (more nursing).

Basically, as in all the early Twin Activities of Daily Living, Mama nursed at least one baby at all times.

Simple enough, right?

SuperSam and Daddy give screaming Nora her first at-home sponge bath.
Tiny Lucy chills in her giant diaper and monogrammed towel- so stylish.

When they were a bit bigger, we put the baby tub in the kitchen sink and laid out all the towels and supplies on the counter. I put one baby in the exersaucer and washed the other one. Then, I switched them. It wasn't too bad unless they both got upset at once.

Nora and her Dad, a seasoned bathtime professional

When they could both sit up well, we bathed the Sisters side by side in the kitchen sink. This is how similarly-sized cousins and siblings were always bathed in my extended family, and it works so really saves your back from having to chase multiple wiggly bodies around the tub (particularly when they are both trying to stand up at once).

Before long, they outgrew the kitchen sink, too, and it was time to move to the big girl tub.

We tried them first with SuperSam for company.

A moment after this was taken, all three of them were screaming. Seriously.

Then we tried just the two Sisters. It worked...twice.

Nothing like having a Sister to shampoo your hair and wash your back...

On the third attempt, one Sister started freaking out at the mere suggestion of a bath. This trend has continued every single time since then. (Oddly enough, we couldn't ever figure out why they were upset, and it seems to rotate between them.) The bath hatred has settled with Lucy, who absolutely positively does not want to be washed for any reason. Blood-curdling screams of terror come out of her mouth if we so much as open the shower curtain and start to move the toys around.

Upon being put into the water that third time, she shrieked and tried to climb the sides of the tub, endangering herself and her previously-calm sister, who began crying and trying to climb out, as well. With both girls flopping around and trying to stand, leaning over the tub to manage them no longer felt safe. George was doing his best, but he couldn't really reach Lucy.

Desperate to ease her anxiety, I instinctively climbed into the tub (with all my clothes still on!) to help her and to manage the situation before someone got hurt.

This reminds me of a completely unrelated story in which my swimming instructor dove into the pool with all her clothes on to "save" me when I was veering off toward the deep end while doing elementary backstroke for my swimming test. I had tried unsuccessfully to convince my mother that I should skip the test, having missed the second of two weeks of class due to the chicken pox (which I had on my tenth birthday, mind you). My mom insisted that I go, reassuring all the other parents and the swimming instructor that I wasn't contagious, "just scabby." (Attentive readers may notice an unfortunate rhyme with my first name.) The swim instructor allowed me to take the test. As I began swimming what was supposed to be one width of the pool on my back, she hollered that I was going the wrong way. When I didn't respond (since my ears were under water!), she dove in, chased me down, and grabbed me, totally ruining her white leather Reebok hightops and scaring me half to death. I swallowed so much water, spluttering and coughing, that I was probably closer to drowning at the moment of rescue than just before, when I was calmly swimming, blissfully unaware of the imminent peril of the lane rope and the 10 foot end. I never really got into swimming after that.

Fortunately for me, it's no longer the 1980s, and I was barefoot when I got into the tub to save my panic-stricken daughter.

The novelty of having Mama in the tub seemed to help calm both girls down, and we played tea party together for a few minutes to distract them while I washed them both and rinsed their hair. It went so well (no one even got water up her nose!) that I have continued getting in with them both every time for the last few weeks. We will eventually run out of room, but for now, it's fun to play with them and help them wash each other's hair.

I'm grateful that we are years away from needing to convince them to take showers, which will undoubtedly be traumatizing in some new way. Until then, this is what's working.

Got any interesting bathtime stories?  Any horror stories about swimming instructors in dated footwear? How do you manage bathing multiple little ones at the same time? Or do you run them through, assembly-line style?