Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble | April 26, 2023

Kyle has been traveling quite a bit for work lately; in the last five days I’ve seen him for approximately 15 hours (a MAGICAL 15 hours, though, filled with laundry and sleeping romance).  Back when our babies were still babies, Kyle would have returned home after a single overnight to an emotional and physical apocalyptic landscape.  As an example, when our oldest was four and our youngest a newborn, Four and I awakened – in the middle of the country during a blizzard – with raging cases of pinkeye.  I scraped my eyelids open wide enough to drive the pile of us to Urgent Care – from the country during a blizzard – and then inched back through mountainous drifts of snow to find the power out.  Fortunately, two of us couldn’t see anyway and the third only had about a twenty-foot distance perception so we kept ourselves busy by sitting under a pile of blankets and crying.

Now, however, the boys are pretty self-sufficient (Seven told Kyle he wasn’t planning on getting married anytime soon but he’d “let us know if anything changed”) and, of course, this ain’t our first rodeo.  Obviously, we’d greatly prefer it if Kyle were here; but at this point we have a standard checklist of things that happen when Dad’s out of town, including eating all the foods Kyle hates and we love (it’s basically a bacchanal of spaghetti and meatballs and shrimp fried rice the moment his car leaves the garage).

On Kyle’s recent trip, I had cleaned up after an early dinner of spaghetti and meatballs topped with shrimp fried rice and realized I had nothing pressing to do for one whole entire hour.  I went down to the basement where Eleven was playing on the Oculus and Seven was re-re-re-re-watching the movie Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.

“Would anyone like to hang out with me?”  I asked.

“No, thanks,” Eleven said.

“You can make me some popcorn if you want,”  Seven said, graciously, without looking away from the television.

I stood there for a beat.

“Well,” I said slowly, “Maybe I’ll go take a bath.”

“Sounds good,” Eleven said.

“Okay, but popcorn first,” Seven said.

I don’t want to brag, but I am substantially great at baths.  I’m so great at baths that if I wrote a weekly story I’d use it to brag the crap out of my baths.  I’ve spent the past 43 years amassing a collection of candles, soaps, salts, scrubs, masks, musical playlists, and bath pillows, which I combine with a scientific knowledge of the ideal water temperature and room lighting to create a *swoops hand for a dramatic chef’s kiss* bathing experience for the ages.

Since there isn’t any actual BATHING in my baths – I dump so much stuff in the water one could argue a person comes out less clean than when they went in – I don’t take them very often.  So, when I do, I make sure everything is so perfecto that the memory of its amazingness carries me until I can do it again.

It took me a solid fifteen minutes to get everything set up (and remind the not-yet-married Seven that he could make his own popcorn).  For my final step, I went to lock the bathroom door…and remembered that I was the lone adult in the house. 

“A good parent would leave the door unlocked in case of emergencies,” I thought – hesitated, and left the door unlocked.

I stepped into a Shangri-la of bubbles.  I leaned back, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes.

“Mom,” A Voice said.

I opened my eyes.  Eleven was sitting on the side of the tub.

“I have to tell you the funniest thing that just happened,” he said.  “I was playing Monkey Tag and this kid jumped onto the wall and…”

The story had a lot of ups and downs and vocal inflections and took an eternity.  At the end of it, he said,

“Isn’t that funny?”

“Yes,” I said, even though I wasn’t 100% sure which part was the funny part.  Eleven, pleased with my answer, surveyed the room.

“How’s your bath?”  He said, and then, “Okay, I have to get back to my game.  They are waiting for me.”

“Okay, buddy,” I said.  “Close the door.”

He shut the door.  I fluffed the bubbles, turned up the music, closed my eyes.

“Hi, Mommy!”  The door swung open and Seven appeared with a fistful of popcorn.

“Do you want some popcorn?”  He asked.

“No, thank you,” I said.  “Sweetheart, would you let me finish my bath, please?”

“Yes,” he exclaimed, and then whispered, “Yes.”  He shoved the popcorn in his mouth and made a big show of tiptoeing out of the room.

“Have a good bath, Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy,” he whispered through the crack in the door.

Ninety seconds later, Seven was back.  He brought with a little battery-powered fairy light nightlight he and his dad crafted the weekend before.

“This is for you,” he said, turning it on and setting it on the counter.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Now your bath is good,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Can I have a bath?”  He asked.

“Yes,” I said, “If you let me finish my bath.”

“Okay,” he said.  He sat down on the edge of the tub.

“Love,” I said.  “Go back to your movie and I’ll come get you when I’m done.”

“I’ll miss you too much,” he said, popping a bubble.

“I don’t think you’ll miss me for such a short amount of time,”  I said.

“No, I will,” he said.  He gave a deep sigh.

“Wait!  I have a great idea,” he said.  “I could get into the bath WITH you.  We can share!”

I, too, gave a deep sigh, and grabbed a towel.  Seven was undressed and in the tub before I was totally out.  He leaned back.

“Mmm,” he said.  “This bath is perfect.”

“Yes, I know,” I said.

I couldn’t come up with a good existing photo for this story so I decided to take a quick selfie in my bathtub. As you can see by the photo above, Seven walked in juuust as I had sat down and I opted to use this picture as proof that I can’t even take a clothes-on-pretend bath without group participation.

Gilby’s Molly Dickson is one of The Hollywood Reporter‘s 25 Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood. (Grand Forks Herald)

Grand Forks’ Allyssa Johnson finished eighth in the nation at the USA Wrestling Women’s National Championship. (Grand Forks Herald)

Fargo’s Parker Swenningsen got the tour of his ten-year-old lifetime. (Fargo Forum)

Bismarck Century students have a reason to say gracias with the addition of a new scholarship in memory of a long-time Spanish teacher. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Dr. Gabe Dahl, named North Dakota’s Assistant Principal of the Year. (Facebook)

Beep beep!  The West Fargo Public Library’s Little Red Reading Bus is on the road again! (Valley News Live)

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