November 27, 1985
Pick up a magazine or watch TV and sooner or later you will have an expert tell you ways to achieve family “togetherness”. If being closer to the other members of your family is one of your goals let me suggest something that will not involve taking up a sport or renting a cabin in the woods. Just move into a house with one bathroom!
There is no better way to get to know your children than to share a bathroom. We followed the kids interests over the years as we dodged rubber ducks, then Fisher Price house boats and eventually a battleship and submarine in our bathtub. But there is something unnerving about sinking into a warm tub only to have ten little plastic people staring to you from their perch along the edge of the tub.
Of course rarely do I do this alone. The sound of water running was the signal for everyone under the age of 12 to beat on the door screaming they “Couldn’t wait.” This was after I had announced to the entire world what my intentions were and left ample time for all the last minute visits.
Nowadays it is me who is beating on the door as my teenagers stand in the shower turning into shriveled up prunes. It seems that one day I was dragging a twelve year old into the bathroom threatening all sorts of dire consequences if he didn’t take a shower and the next I was begging this same boy (now fourteen) to leave a little water for the rest of us.
There are no more rubber ducks or boats in my bath but I have to fight for a place for my toothbrush among the shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, acne cream, hair dryers, curlers, combs, brushes and wet nylons that now litter the shelves and sink top. Since the water pressure is not the best, the ultimate sin is to turn on the water in the sink while someone is taking a shower! Major battles have erupted over the rights of the one wanting to wash their hair and the one who has to have a special pair of jeans clean for tomorrow.
But if it is togetherness you want then close up those other bathrooms and see how fast you begin to communicate with your offspring. Although they don’t tell me about their love lives I have known my daughter to call me at work just to inform me she’s going to take a shower and seen my sons share (although grudgingly) the same mirror when the bus was on its way.