My kids are getting a little too big to bathe together. I know that some folks don't agree with the idea of a brother and sister in the tub together, but that's a conversation for another day. So, back to my kids ... They are just physically too large to share that same space comfortably anymore. They wiggle too much, they splash too much, and generally just annoy each other because they are getting tired and a maybe just a little cranky when bath time rolls around. But tonight was different.
I was sitting by the tub letting my daughter splash around a bit before it was time to get down to the business of scrubbing and sudsing and rinsing. My son was in his room, but came in (I assume) because little sis sounded like she was having a lot of fun. I can confirm - she was having fun. And it must be impossible to be four years old, to hear someone else having fun in another room, and resist the urge to go check things out. So, he came in and sat down alongside the tub to play, too. Then he decided he wanted to get in the tub. I was a little surprised, since he now prefers a shower, but agreed without hesitation. I have never seen a child get into the tub so fast! My daughter was thrilled with the company, and I was delighted to watch them splash and play together. After all, they are siblings - they often disagree and don't want to share or take turns. As I watched them tonight, however, I noticed how much more at ease they can be with each other than they are with me. I watched them pour cupfuls of water over each others' heads - both of them laughing all the while. Watch them when I wet their hair, and you will see them stiffen, close their eyes as if they will never let light between the lids again, screw up their mouths, and stop breathing for fear of inhaling the water - all while they are supposed to be looking up at the ceiling to direct the water away from their faces. They were taking turns this time ... with cups full of water ... and they were having fun. As a few droplets of water hung on to the tips of her brother's hair, my daughter gently (attempted) to pick them up - and he sat there, still, letting her focus on the few tiny beads. It reminded me - bear with me here - of the monkeys you see at the zoo, grooming each other. The monkeys sit so still. My monkeys were, in that moment, sitting so still and taking care of each other. They were trusting each other - yes, apparently more than they trust me. That realization had a little sting to it, but I was more pleased to realize that even though they disagree, they do love each other. And it's a lot more than I knew before bath time tonight.