For John Cave Osborne, father of triplets, bathtime is an adventure.
Have you ever tried to give three babies a bath at the same time? And if so, have you ever pulled it off successfully (he asked with hope)? Because if you have, my wife, Lovie, and I would like some pointers. We’ve been getting floaters more often than we’d like.
As far as we can remember, there’s no nursery rhyme that goes, “Rub-a-dub-dub, a turd in the tub.” The first time the aqua deuce reared its ugly head, my neat-freak wife nearly fainted, before finally pulling it together and embarking on a thorough, house-wide search for a biohazard suit. Alas, none could be found.
“Who did it?” I asked, as I corralled the kids while Lovie drained the tub.
“How in the world should I know? There’s three of them.”
She had a point. Figuring out which of our triplets was the defecating daredevil was, at best, a crap shoot. (Sorry.)
The next night, it happened on my watch. Though I didn’t see anything that would incriminate any of the three, I immediately ruled out my daughter, Peanut, if for no other reason than the mere thought of my sweet baby girl taking a shit in the bathtub was enough to make me move in with my therapist for the rest of my life.
So I focused on my boys. I had a feeling it was my son, Monster. His body of work was clearly that of a little joker. I tried to stare the truth out of him, but he just stared right back, with a wise-guy grin that said, Prove it, big boy. So I set my sights on Biggs. And he … splashed me in the face. I had to come to grips with one simple fact—I had no leverage.
And without leverage, I’d get no scoop on who dropped the poop.
Luckily for us, Monster, Biggs, and Peanut love baths, and the abrupt conclusions of said baths due to these unidentified poops soon rendered my investigatory efforts unnecessary. Relieved, I thought that our scatological nightmares were behind us.
Then the boys made a little discovery.
Ah, the penis. Fascinating extensions of both man and mankind, no? Without them, it’d be impossible to create any more of these little, talking poop-factories. But, perhaps even more importantly, without them, Monster and Biggs would have nothing to relentlessly yank on during bath time. Peanut? She plays with plastic a rubber Dora toy. Monster and Biggs? They play with their ding dongs, thank you very much.
One night, much to my chagrin, one of our boys—child privacy laws prohibit me from naming which one—reached down and pulled the other’s crank with the force of an Olympian anchoring a tug-o-war team. (And I thought the image of Peanut pooping in the tub would require lots of therapy … )
After the aggressor finally relented, the two seemingly made peace and spent a few more minutes playing (with toys) before we finally got them out. I dried off Biggs as Lovie went to pull Monster out of his porcelain playground.
“Look at him,” I said of our firstborn, his lips a never-before-seen shade of purple.
“He’s just cold,” said Lovie.
“I don’t know, babe,” I protested. “If my weenie was turned into Stretch Armstrong for 30 minutes, I’m pretty sure my lips would turn purple, too.”
Eventually, even the tugging of wankers ran its course, and—wouldn’t you know it?—the baths became easier to navigate. So much so that one night, Lovie felt it safe to leave me in charge of manning the tub solo.
Things were going smoothly, until I realized that I had forgotten the diaper-rash cream. It was in the kitchen. Fearful to leave the wee threesome in the tub alone, I decided to get them out and dry them before dashing to the kitchen and back to retrieve the ointment. Ten seconds. What could possibly happen?
I rushed back in the bathroom to find Biggs letting loose an impressive stream of urine. On his sister’s left foot.
So I did what any dad would do. I picked up my little girl and dunked her left leg in the toilet up to her knee.
Don’t worry, all you germ freaks out there—I chased it with a wipe.
I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to know that my harrowing bathtime experiences have not jaded my emerging and ongoing fatherhood career. But they have me thinking long and hard about showers. Seriously, comparatively speaking, don’t they sound like a layup?