I cuddle up to my younger daughter of the sofa and suggest that soon it will be time for a bath. The boys roll over on the carpet and start to groan at the prospect of forthcoming agonies.
I start preaching;
“You know, I just love baths.”
“Ya do? Why do ya like em so much?” she asks, nuzzling in closer.
“Well years and years ago when I was a little girl, about your age come to think of it, my mum used to take long baths in our tiny chilly bathroom. It was so cold that when she filled the bath with hot water the whole room filled with steam, it was like warm fog. She would wallow in the bath and I'd sit on the floor. We'd chitter chat about this and that. It was lovely.”
“But you weren't even in that bath. Whatz so fun about that?” I have no adequate answer for her pertinent query, just a misty memory with a haunting fragrance.
“I'm not sure now you mention it.”
“You don't take baths, you always have showers.” Would that it were 'always.'
“Why? Why don't you have a bath if they're so great? When DID you last have a bath?” I decide to lie because it is marginally more interesting.
“Well actually, I remember it distinctly. The last time I had a bath was when I was waiting to go to the hospital, when I was pregnant, what er….. [?] six years ago now. I lay in the bath and waited for Daddy to come home, so that we could go together.”
“Hospital!” someone squalks. Oh dear, I mentioned a trigger word. Choking noises splutter from the carpet, “we are dying in dah hospital if we are bath?”
“Not at all dear, that was all a long time ago…” the questions come thick and fast from every direction.
“Why didn't you get dressed and wait? How could you go to the hospital if you were all wet?” Sometimes you wish you'd never started. I decide that distraction is the only course of action.
“You know Granny used to buy this very extravagant bath oil from Avon, it had a wonderful perfume.” They've probably changed the recipe after 40 years.
“Oil! Not bubbles?”
“Er, right. Oil.” Be careful, this isn’t going the right way.
“To make you smell nice.”
“Y….e….s,” I answer cautiously, knowing that I am going down the wrong path. Junior's talks to the carpet, “oil floats on dah water.”
“That's right dear, so all the lovely oil slips over your skin and makes it all nice and soft.”
“Dat is dah stoopid fing! Your skin is dirty and den you are wiv oil too, yukky.”
Another little nugget quashed, but it wouldn’t do to deny his indefatigable logic.