Bathtime Gets Heavy

T was arranging toys in a line on the edge of the bathtub when he looked up at me. “I tell people that you and Dad hit me and poke me in the eye.”

Me, “What?”


Yup. That is what I thought he said. But I was stalling for time.

After a very long pause in which I attempted to collect my thoughts…..”Do Dad or I ever hit you or poke you in the eye?” (Poke him in the eye??? Who are we? The Three Stooges?”)


“Here’s the deal. You cannot say stuff like that. Do you know why? Someone could hear you and they could think you were serious and they would be really worried that we were hurting you. They might call the police. And the police want to help. So the police would come over. They might believe your story. And if they thought Daddy and I were hurting you they would take you away so you could be somewhere they thought was safe.”

He was listening so carefully. I saw he was scared and I felt like I fucked up. Shit. I did not want to scare him. But how do I explain this? How do I let him know how grave this topic is without terrifying him?

“I won’t say it again.”

“Baby. There are things we can joke about and things we can’t joke about. You being hit is serious. It isn’t funny. We can’t make up stories about it. And listen. Police are the good guys. You need to go to them for help. But they trust us to be honest. If we tell them stories that aren’t true they will probably believe us and try to help us. Here’s the deal. If someone is hurting you you do need to speak up. And we will get you help. But you can never ever make up stories about being hit.”

Jesus christ. Deep, relaxing breaths. I am sorry he got scared. I do not want to threaten my child. He was testing limits, seeing what would happen when he made up a story. But this kind of make believe can backfire badly. Ugh. Some days I really feel like I am not equipped to deal with this job, this responsibility of raising another human. My blood pressure was through the roof. I needed a laugh or a stiff drink. Of course he provided me with the former just moments later.

He laid in my lap wrapped in his towel as I brushed his teeth. Yes, I insist on brushing them before his turn. He is not as thorough as I would like. His towel fell open and like every male in the universe his hand went right for his junk. “I want to make babies.”

“What?” (Again, I was stalling for time.)

“I want to make babies!”

“Um…….with whom?”

“With the little things in the big thing below my penis!”

Oh. Several weeks ago he was asking about making babies and the hows and whys and all that jazz. I told him that someday he will make sperm in his testicals that could combine with an egg in the belly of a woman to make a baby. It was his consolation prize after I had to break it to him that he couldn’t get pregnant.

“Sweet boy. You cannot make babies with those little things yet because you don’t have any little things. And you couldn’t support a baby right now. Babies are expensive. Where would you get the money? I want you to have babies some day if that is what you want. But not for a while. Your body isn’t mature yet.”

“But Mommy!” he wailed “I’m sure! I’m sure!”

I had to bury my face in his hair so he wouldn’t see me choking back the laughter. Of course he didn’t understand what mature meant. He is only four. But is my pronunciation that bad? Does it really sound like “I’m sure” when I say it? Maybe C’s speech therapist needs to work with me….

Also, parenthood should be renamed “Emotional Whiplash”.

sleepy boy

This sweet kid. He challenges me every day. Then he makes me laugh.

weird dad

So does his crazy Dad. Back off, ladies. He is all mine.

no eyes C

This little monkey was aimlessly wandering around the kitchen. I was hastily collecting stuff so we could head out the door and finally looked over at him. I did pull the hat off of his eyes after I took the picture. Because, you know, I care.


12 thoughts on “Bathtime Gets Heavy

  1. Lena likes to tell us to “stop it. You’re hurting me”. When we are doing something she doesn’t like. You know, like changing her diaper. In a public bathroom. Don’t worry. It’s not awkward.

  2. The making babies comment is so cute. I’m sure I would have laughed too. Although my daughter would have thrust her hand out and demanded not to be laughed at!
    As far as saying that either myself or her daddy hit her, she has done this also. It’s shocking what comes out of their mouths. Unfortunately my little lady isn’t quite 3 yet, so won’t understand the consequences of saying things like that to well meant people! We endeavour to explain the difference between telling the truth and lying.

  3. My brother used to drop to the ground and cry “Stop hitting me!!” Full on screaming that my mother was abusing him if she suggested that he do something heinous like hurry up and get in the car. I love this post, Karen. Everything about it. It is a perfect example of how insane parenting can be…

    • I can see your Mom rolling her eyes at strangers as he freaked out.

      And yup. Some mornings I wake up and wonder what unimaginably bizarre conversations I’ll have that day. Life was a hell of a lot more straightforward before having them. And it is a hell of a lot more fun now that they are here.

  4. Karen,
    It’s our daughter’s favourite line: “stop hurting me.” A month ago, my wife picked up Tiny Geek, by the wrists, and popped her elbow out. We went to the ER (for what we latter learned was called a nursemaid’s elbow), The doctor asked us what happened, and Tiny Geek simply said that her mother punched her. Yup… And she went on to tell everyone we saw afterwards that her mum punches her and hurts her. We would ground her for life, but we’re afraid she will pull out the torture card…
    Le Clown

  5. My friend’s little boy, after making him leave Borders before he wanted to, screamed and screamed and then (as he was being carried out of the store) grabbed the security guard’s arm, looked at him seriously and said, “Help me.”

    Luckily, his son looks exactly like him and they could tell he probably wasn’t being kidnapped.

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