Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life in our Home, in an Unexpected Place

Kelle Hampton encouraged readers to think this week about where life occurs in their homes, celebrating lively places through pictures and words. So I started to do just that, thinking about our daily routines and exploring my photo files. And our lively place kind of surprised me.

Because it’s the bathroom, a room Brian and I have hated ever since we moved into our house. Hated it for the crummy, can’t-scrub-the-mildew-stains-out-of-the-cracks tub; the old and so, so 70’s linoleum floor; the, umm … interesting, lamps hanging from chains above the sink; and the frustratingly mismatched hardware all over the place – antique bronze tub and sink fixtures, cheap silver cabinet knobs and black vanity door handles, to name a few.

I know, I know, there’s some potty-humor (pun intended) statistic about how long the average person spends in the bathroom, but our bathroom time over the past eight-plus months is more than that.

Our bathroom has become a comfortable – albeit in need of renovation – home to daily routines and rituals that bring smiles to our faces, laughter to our lives and joy to our hearts.

Each day, after the morning’s first snuggle-snack (the best of which are still occasionally enjoyed belly-to-belly in bed), Chicken and I head to the bathroom. First we say good morning to the impressively cute baby and the needs-some-cleaning-up Mama in the mirror, admiring each other as we wish our reflections a good morning and a fun-filled day. Then there in the bathroom I prop my little one in his rocker, as I have nearly every morning since he was just a few weeks old, where he sits while I prepare for the day. In the early days he’s simply fall asleep, lulled to dreamland by the hum of the bathroom fan and drumming water. In recent months, however, our routine starts with me plying my little boy with an assortment of toys. Excitedly introducing each, one at a time, with a big smile, silly faces and playful encouragement. Once my boy is covered with four or five toy options, I figure I have a window of ten minutes or so where I can disappear behind the shower curtain and he can entertain himself.

But without fail each morning, I hear the toys drop – one by one, a minute or two between each thump or klunk or knock – until they are all on the floor, just out of reach of the little boy strapped to his chair. So then we chat. We play games of call and response through the shower curtain, where each of Cayden’s coos, shouts, syllable-strings, grunts, songs and shrieks are met with maternal replies that are as close as I can get them to the original.

So the bathroom hears an interesting serenade most mornings.

Then, as I put on my face and watch my hair air dry (I still can’t get back into my pre-natal hair straightening or curling habits), we continue our chatter until Chicken has simply had enough sitting still to warm up his day.

And our days proceed through various locations, errands, work schedules, social opportunities and chores. But Mama or Daddy usually returns a couple of times a day to that special room, to admire baby poop – the way only two first-time parents can, still trying to wrap their heads around the fact that they made a little person; a person who eats and grows and chatters and now poops some darned impressive ploppable poops – before disposing of it in the toilet.

After dinner (the baby’s, that is; Daddy works on the big-kid vittles during the bedtime routine) and before jammies, my son and I return to that annoyingly ugly yet oh-so-special collection of walls for bath-time giggles and rubber-froggy splashes and tooth-brushing smiles. Unless we have company over, of course, in which case a cast of characters crowds into those few square feet to peek over shoulders and around elbows to catch a glimpse or two of the Chicken in his boisterous and naked glory. And the Chicken, of course regularly satisfyies his eager audience with a bath time performance cranked up a notch or two from his Mama-and-me splash battles and conversation.

Inevitably through all that fun-having, the Sand Man sneaks in, and Cayden starts getting sleepy. And he rubs his water-laden eyelashes with clean, pruny little hands and lets escape a big little-boy yawn or two. So Mama quickly does the last of the buns and berries washing (very important, according to Daddy), and wraps the Chicken up in his hooded towel for one more look in the mirror.

There we stand, drinking each other in again in the third person, wondering aloud what wonderful dreams those two have in store for the night ahead.

So that’s it: our hideous bathroom is a heretofore unappreciated place of liveliness, magic and delight in our home. A place as interwoven into our daily routine as any other, and a place that, despite its unattractive appearance, is home to loveliness and the beauty of young life every day.

1 comment:

Mayday28 said...

Did you enter this in KH's givaway competition? I thought about it too, but yours is so sweet.,..what a beautiful expression of your lovely place!
I love her blog, i read it every day and every day it makes me smile!