Friday, June 10, 2011

The Importance of Communication, or How My Kid Went Six Days Without Bathing

Let me preface this post by stating that, for the most part, my wife and I consider ourselves decent parents. Let me also state that my child was in the pool a lot during the week in question, and although she did not get a bath, she was at least "rinsed." I feel that this topic is worth sharing because it is A. Hilarious and B. Helpful. Let's proceed.

Last Friday, around 6pm my wife and I made a startling discovery. The setting is after dinner.  Dad is on his way to attempt to grocery shop without mom's supervision.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Okay, I've got my list for Wal-Mart. I have the coupons. I have the reusable bags.  I'll see you in a few hours.

Wife (holding daughter after dinner): Don't buy anything crazy! Did she get a bath last night?

Me: No. But she was in the pool this morning; close enough, right?

Wife (now thinking...): No, that's not soap and water. Well, I didn't give her one on Wednesday night...

Me (covering my rear): You didn't? I thought you would since I was out of the house... (like that matters)

Wife: When did she have one last? Tuesday was softball... Monday was the Memorial Day party and she was in the pool, but no bath... Sunday we were cleaning for the party...

Me (now amazed that I can even remember back this far): She hasn't had a bath since Saturday night? Holy crap!

Wife: I thought you would give her one during the day...

Me: I thought you liked to give them before bed so you can feel like you bonded... (where did I come up with that?)

Wife: Six days without a bath... are we terrible parents?

Me: No... she was in the pool a lot this week...

Wife (suddenly agreeing):  Yeah she was... she's probably okay, right?

Me: Oh yeah, she's fine.


The preceding conversation has been brought to you by the Communication Department at Messiah College, where I got my Bachelor's degree.

I'm not sure if anyone else has had moments like this.  My wife and I honestly fell into an "I thought you did it" scenario that usually happens on TV and we laugh at the characters and say, "That's totally something we would do!"  Only now, it is totally something we have DONE.  Maybe you more experienced parents can help me out and make me feel like I'm not a terrible person.  Then again, maybe you don't want to admit it to the world.

This scenario just goes to show how important it is to communicate with your spouse, even about the little things like bath time.  When one partner is out of the child's routine during the day, it is easy for them to assume that the at-home partner took care of everything necessary for the well-being of the child; however, it is equally as easy for the at-home parent to assume that the working parent did things while the at-home parent was out of the house going 4 for 4 with 3 runs and 2 RBI's at a church softball game, I'm just sayin'.

To families where parents both work, you kind of have it easy.  If someone else takes care of your child while you both work, you have some sort of idea what they will and will not do.  Daycare will change diapers, but they don't do bath time (if they do, you should probably change daycare).  If grandma or grandpa watches the kid, they have lived long enough to know that they need to tell you what happened during the day to prepare you for the evening.  They're just wise like that.  You are both working, so when you get home, neither one has a complete picture of what is going on, so you are forced to communicate.

Families with one at-home parent and one working parent are always in transition.  Someone is coming or going and each will, at some point, fall into the trap and assume that the other has taken care of something that needed to be done.  We could go days, six days to be more exact, without noticing that the other partner has not done what we assumed they had done.  This is no one's fault but our own for not communicating.

After realizing this horrible blunder, my wife and I are getting better at talking about what needs to be done.  Though it is mostly her talking to me about how the dishes are piling up, it's a start.  I am committed to using my college degree for the betterment of my daughter.  And speaking of communication, the next time your kid smells a little funny, ask yourself, "Have I talked to my partner recently?"  You may be surprised to find that your child hasn't bathed for six days.  

1 comment:

  1. no wonder the bird died in the kiddie pool!



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