It’s one of those little guilty mantras that whirr around my brain: ‘You’re supposed to be dealing with the hear and now chaos, but you’re also supposed to be planning ahead for the future, tomorrow’s chaos.’
It’s very important that a parent should get the balance right. If the parent fails to get the balance right, this tends to result in random attempts at catch up, no matter how inappropriately timed.
Now is as good a time as any. If I start right now, then in a year, perhaps two, they will all be capable of taking a shower and washing their own hair. I’m not quite sure how I managed to exclude this from their list of current skills, or future skills. For right now, these skills have been skipped entirely. There is an entire blank page where there should be a skill or two, either on-going, acquired, or planned.
I herd them all into the shower having explained all to briefly, the benefits of showering; to be clean, sweet smelling and germ free, not that anyone listens.
It occurs to me that the act of showering, motivated by panic, is not a good synapse to be firing. “I have germs?” he squeaks in distress, “where they are?” as he circles, a cat chasing it’s tail in search of invisible germs.
Oh dear. Perhaps I should have waited a year, or maybe even two, before starting this exercise? I persuade them to use the soap pump, to put a spoonful of soap in the palm of the hand and then rub themselves all over, especially the important bits, without thinking through this demand before uttering it.
“What are the important bits? Why are they important?” I definitely should have thought this through more thoroughly before starting. She rinses her hair, ‘is it all out?”
“No you have loads of soap left in there still.”
“How can I tell if I haven’t got a mirror?”
“Well, you can sort of tell by how it feels on your fingertips. It’s more squeaky when the soap has gone. You’ll be able to tell after a while if you keep practicing.”
There are two too many people in this shower. There are too many rapidly moving people in this shower and far too much soap.
Senior son grabs me by the forearms, to face me, a snowman of bubbles and soap suds, “hey Mum! My finger tips are telling me that it is all gone.” He blinks and his fingers tips rush to his brow to mop away the lava flows of soap suds.
“What’s on your hands dear?” He looks at the ends of his arms to where his hands, alien beings, are attached, although you can’t really tell that they are hands because of the soap suds. He startles and jumps back, deeply offended by the betrayal, “my finger tips they are lying.”