The hours between four and six pm used to be called ‘Arsenic Hour’ when the kids were little.
My memories of those days are distant now and somewhat clouded – because of the years that have passed or perhaps the wine. Oh, the gallons of wine! I used to wonder idly – wine glass in hand – as I shampooed Dark Princess’ hair (not disemboweled her as it no doubt sounded to the neighbours) whether the arsenic was for me or them.
Or perhaps it was for the long-suffering neighbours?
But although the years of coral-ling kids through the dinner-bath-bed-production line have long passed we had a moment this evening that reeked of those long-gone crazy days.
Son bathed the dog.
Now, on the face of it, there’s nothing funny about that. We had one big brown dog (38 kgs of cute) marinated in fox pooh and icky-brown-smelly-bits-of-English-countryside, one tall dark 18 year old Son and a shower head.
What could be funny about that?
It started with a half-jokey conversation between my Englishman and Son. I’d asked Son earlier in the day to help me out by bathing the dog and he had replied positively, as he usually does, and then promptly put it on the bottom of his mental ‘do-it-just-before-I-die’ list.
We are a family of passive aggressives!
By six pm it still hadn’t happened and the poor dog was scratching and itching as if she might claw out her own kidneys for selling on the black market for a decent flea shampoo! My Englishman had had enough. He grabbed his finest stern expression and demanded Son make good on his promise to me. Son attempted to negotiate more favourable terms that included access to the freshly procured bagels my Englishman had brought home from the supermarket.
They argued for a millennia until I felt the very last vapour of patience waft out of my head and I screamed ‘Please go and bath the dog.’
So, he did. (By the way dearest, that’s how you get the kids to do anything. You scream. You know all that positive parenting stuff? Yeah, doesn’t work!)
And this is where it gets funny. First thing is Son has never washed the dog before, so he doesn’t know about the shake thing that she does in the middle of the bath when you take your eye off her for a moment! Nor does he know about the big wet cuddle bit where she wipes all the excess water off her coat by squashing you against the wall and rubbing.
The potential for amusement was high. The scene was set.
Son asked how to work the shower (You read correctly!) In his defence it has been on the blink lately and I assume he was wanting to check if the hot water was still working.
Son: How do you work the shower?
Miss Flissy (12 yrs) You turn it on and then wait for it to warm up.
Genius! Cue guffaws from the chorus – my Englishman and I – in the wings.
I walked into the bathroom to oversee progress and found Son reaching over Bailey the dog maintaining a seriously safe distance. You’d think he’d rolled in nuclear waste! Bailey the dog, not Son! He wasn’t pleased when I reminded him that he needed to wash behind her ears, under her tum and around her tail and bum.
I left him mouth gaped open and I assume he got on with the task.
Imagine how surprised I was when next thing I heard was “hmm at least it smells nice!”
He was definitely talking about the shampoo.