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Fatherhood: Bath Time by Ray Printer Friendly

Before I had a kid, I knew next to nothing about children; in fact, even after having a kid, I know next to nothing about children. When we were expecting, people would always say stuff like, "You have no idea what you're in for," and "One thing about kids, they'll always surprise you."

And I had no reason to doubt people who said things like that, because they weren't telling me anything I didn't absolutely already know. Of course I had no idea what I was in for--when you're talking about creating, raising, and molding an actual human being, you'd have to be a stone-cold idiot to think you know what you're in for. And of course the kid is always going to surprise me, because I have basically nothing to use as a comparison tool. My baby yells in my face when he's hungry and poops his pants when he's done being hungry...who does that?

So, yeah, I knew I'd be surprised. What I didn't understand were the ways that I'd be surprised. For example, I never imagined I'd have another human being stand on one of my testicles. Sure, maybe it wouldn't have shocked me if you'd told me that was a possibility back in my twenties; but once I cleared thirty, I thought I was in the safety zone, as far as wacky crotch-related incidents were concerned.

Now, look: I've already blown the punchline to this story. It's not like you're asking yourself, "Did someone stand on his testicle?" Because clearly, the answer is yes. And because of my elaborate lead-in discussion about my child, I think I'm probably safe in the assumption that you realize the human being doing said testicle-standing was my little boy. So there's no twist ending here, no shocking end revelation.

But it's not about the destination, it's about the journey, so let's travel this road together, shall we? Don't worry, it's a short one.

I've tried numerous times to give my boy a bath, with varying degrees of failure each time. I owe most of this failure to the fact that I stay outside of the tub while I try to clean a slippery, squirmy baby. I finally realized that if I was to ever triumph in the bath time arena, I was going to have to get in the tub with the baby.

This made me uncomfortable for several reasons, not the least of which is my near-debilitating body issues. I know he's just a baby, but I still don't like another human being to see me without a shirt on, all hunched in a bathtub. Plus--and this is actually much higher on the "making me uncomfortable" list--the boy's a grabber.

He doesn't grab anything in particular, just whatever catches his eye for a moment, and is within reach. Now, I'm not positive that he'd make an attempt to snag my guy-parts, but it's something I wasn't in a hurry to find out. I mean, he grabbed my ear one time, I thought he was going to literally rip it from my head.

That's another surprise, by the way: super baby strength. I'm assuming all babies have this, but I've never really heard anyone talk about it, so maybe my kid just has super powers or something, I don't know.

Anyway, I wear shorts in the tub. When I take a bath with the baby, I mean; not just every time I take a bath--my body issues aren't quite that bad, yet. As far as safety precautions, I figured that was plenty.

I was wrong.

Things were going pretty well--neither of us had been sprayed in the face with water, there was no visible evacuation of bodily fluids or solids, and I hadn't even gotten any soap in any eyes.

I suppose it was my confidence that made me careless. We were done with the washing and the rinsing, and mere moments from getting out of the bath. And I decided to zoom him around the tub a little. I'm guessing you don't know what that means, so allow me to explain this simple activity: I hold him under the armpits, and he puts his legs out in front of his body, and then I just...zoom him around in circles. You know, like a squishy little speed boat. Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!

It was on the turnaround that things went sour. He managed to get his feet under him, and before I knew it, he had straightened his legs to the bottom of the tub, and he was suddenly standing. But as we already know, his feet didn't find purchase on the tub bottom. Instead, they came to rest on one of my testicles. Not both, mind you...one.

He's a baby, so he doesn't weigh all that much to begin with, and although he was partially above-water, the part of him that was submerged still had a bit of buoyancy, which made him feel like he weighed even less. But when it comes to someone standing on your family jewels, pretty much any weight is too much.

I did my best not to scream, but I couldn't control the contortion of my face as I lifted him off of my crotch. The baby saw this facial contortion, and assumed it was all part of the game, I guess. He immediately got excited. Sometimes he laughs when he gets excited. Other times, he clenches and unclenches his little hands rapidly while waving his arms around. And still other times, he kicks his legs.

In this instance, he went with the legs, lightening fast, stomping my crotch about twenty-five million times before I could get him out of range. Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that many times, but it felt like it. On both testicles, this time--I still don't know if that made it better or worse.

I managed to keep from hurling him across the bathroom--which I feel speaks volumes for my fatherhood capabilities--and even squeaked out a weak laugh so he didn't get worried.

As soon as I could get enough breath, I called his mom in to take him to get dressed and ready for bed, and then I powered my way through a shower. Visible or not, I always assume there's at least a little baby pee in the bathwater, so the first thing I do when he gets out is take a grown-up shower and wash at least one outer layer of skin off.

I'm not even going to pretend that I know enough about being a parent to give advice, but here's what I will tell any expectant fathers out there. And it's not any of that generic garbage about how they'll surprise you.

It's this: "There's a good chance that the little human you create will stand on your scrotum at some point. Be ready for that."

Posted under The Rants on 3/22/16


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