When my daughter was about 3 and I was pregnant with my son, I was running a Day Care in our home. CP wasn’t working (what else is new, right?) and I was bringing in enough money to keep the family fed and keep the electricity on. I had to put aside money each week to make the rent each month. Things were extremely tight.
While I was wrangling 5-7 kids Monday through Friday, from sometimes 6am to 6pm, CP was off visiting (or shootin’ the shit, as he called it) with his cousins. I was exhausted at the end of the day! He would come home and go to bed, sometimes without dinner, as if he was exhausted. So many nights I wanted to coldcock him upside the head with a frying pan while he slept. But that’s just not who I am. I mean, who the hell would take care of my kids if I went to prison for murder? But I digress…
One Saturday morning, I figured I’d better go get some groceries with the week’s pay because I was going to have one of my Day Care kids on Sunday morning for most of the day. My daughter wanted to stay home and her “Pop” was home so why couldn’t he watch her for an hour or so? He agreed although I’m sure he would rather be doing something else. Before I left, I asked him specifically to please not let SR play in the dirt because she just had a bath the night before. I didn’t think he needed any further explanation and he didn’t ask for one either. I left after telling SR to save the playing in the dirt for another day.
I was gone maybe an hour and a half. About the time I had finished lugging the groceries in, CP and SR came inside from the backyard. She was covered in mud. She had dirt in her hair. She was wearing semi-decent clothes that were now covered in filth. I was pissed off, to say the least.
I asked CP why he let her play in the dirt when I asked him not to. He said, “She wanted to play in the dirt and I didn’t see any harm in it.” And then he added, “I made a decision as her father.” To that I replied, “Well, since YOU are her father and YOU let her play in the dirt when I asked you not to, then YOU can give her a fucking bath!” I also explained the reason for not wanting her in the dirt was because I was exhausted and didn’t want to deal with a bath since it was my only day off that week from Day Care. He acted like I was over-reacting and that a bath wasn’t that big of a deal.
I was busy fixing dinner while he was giving SR a bath. I thought it was going smoothly, but then I heard crying. I heard CP talking sternly and then SR cried more…and then more. I stayed out of it though. I wanted HIM to take care of this. I was sick and tired of always being the one to take care of everything!
Soon SR came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and streaks of muddy water running down her face. She had gobs of shampoo still in her hair; it was all sudsy and muddy. I asked CP, “Why didn’t you finish washing her hair?” He angrily said, “I washed it but she wouldn’t let me rinse it so she can just sit in it and suffer.” He walked away. Dumbass, I thought. I took SR back into the bathroom, ran clean bathwater, and started over. Oh, I turned dinner off and decided that CP can just starve. I’ll make SR a sandwich or something after her bath. Screw dinner.
In the tub, SR was crying. I told her, “It’s ok Baby Girl. Momma will get the soap out and get you all cleaned up.” SR kept crying and saying she was sorry. I told her again, “It’s ok, Baby Girl. Pop just doesn’t know how we do it, that’s all.” She was very cooperative when washing and rinsing hair. You just have to use your brain. The way I did it was with a big cup that was always in the tub specifically for that use. I’d tell SR to “look up at the birdie” as if there was a bird up on the ceiling. She’d look up and I’d remind her to keep looking up at that birdie, as I used the cup to pour water over her hair. My hand placed upon her forehead along the hairline helped guide the water back instead of towards her face. Easy peasy. That’s how the momma does it. A washcloth quickly run over her face at the end, finished the process and she was happy as the invisible birdie on the ceiling.
After my son was born and I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-section, I had to depend on CP to take care of SR. I knew that wasn’t going to go over well with SR but I had no choice. Since my C-section was planned, I was able to make sure SR had a bath the night before, and that pajamas and clothes were laid out. I knew she’d want to come see momma and her baby brother. The morning after my surgery, in comes CP with SR and she was a mess. Her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed. She had pancake syrup on her face. She was in the clothes she had on the day before, which were covered in dirt. That fucker let her play in the dirt again! He didn’t bathe her. He didn’t put pajamas on her! He just stuck her in her clean bed even though she and her clothes were filthy. I couldn’t do anything about it because I was in no shape to do anything major for at least a week. His excuse was that she was too tired for a bath, and fell asleep before he could clean her up and put her pajamas on her. That morning, she wanted to come see momma and the baby. He told her they’d come after breakfast so after breakfast they came! He didn’t even bother to wash breakfast off of her face or change her clothes. I mean, come on!
I never, ever again asked CP to give either of our kids a bath. I never expected him to do anything regarding the care of our children. I saved myself a lot of work just doing things myself. I learned along the way that the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is absolute truth.