In fact I have discovered that bathtime my least favourite times of the day, and the job that I will most eagerly palm off on anyone else foolish enough to volunteer, or simply be in the vicinity come the washing hour. While I liked nothing more than to while away hours slicking on foamy moustaches, slopping water over the sides of the tub and splashing my poor old mum, I hate being on the receiving end of water play.
If I am in charge of bathtime it is a strictly time limited activity devoted entirely to cleaning the boys. They are in, washed and out before they can think of demanding bubbles or that I sculpt their soapy hair into outlandish punk styles. If I can fit in tooth brushing in under 10 minutes I am a happy woman. I know this is mean, but I just can't bear to witness the carnage that goes with a successful (from the boy's point of view) bathtime.
The sodden bathmat, floor swimming in soap suds, their skin prune-wrinkled after hours under water. The towels dunked in the bath, leaving a trail of drips over the landing carpet, the hair still white with soapy bubbles that despite water being flung everywhere still haven't been rinsed out. I am a bath time killjoy.
This has come as real surprise to me, as when my first son was a baby I loved bath time. When he was first born bathtime was like a religious ritual. I had had the importance of the bedtime routine drummed into me by so many parenting books nothing could disturb our schedule. I would reverentially bathe his little body, using all organic unguents, I would cuddle him up in a special fluffy towel to dry him, then anoint him with baby massage oil, and finally pop him up in his hypoallergenically laundered babygro. Of course he still screamed blue murder the moment we put him in the cot and refused to succumb to sleep, but I still quite enjoyed the whole process.
But it's just not the same with four boys to cleanse of a night. They are unruly as seals playing in the surf and a million times more messy. Gone are the peaceful days of blowing bubbles and baby massages, now it's like manning a sheep dip. Still at least it adds another useful skill to my every growing CV. `