On the rare occasion when I can give Bitty Girl as much time as she wants in the tub, I love to sit and watch her. Kids learn so much in the tub, about pouring and emptying, properties of water, floating and sinking, balance. And luckily, I've had two kids who love taking baths.
The Boy would stay in for hours as long as we kept warming up the water. Bitty Girl seems to enjoy herself more each time, but it's hard not to rush through her bath, since we can't leave her in there alone.
Monday afternoon she woke up grumpy from her nap, so I offered a bath. No one else was home, so she had undivided Mama attention. It was delicious - I only wish I had the video camera running secretly in the corner.
She filled her cups while the faucet was running, made soup and stew and cookies with her cookset, and played with the Dora the Explorer floating toys that she has recently reclaimed from The Boy's old toys under the sink. Dora has a removable life vest and flippers, which provide endless entertainment.
I can't capture with words the gleam in her eyes as she splashes and realizes that she got water on Mommy. Then she flicks water at me, and searches for something bigger to drop into the water to make a bigger splash. Bigger smile. Then she tries to pour water on my head. (Note: I'm not in the tub with her). Then she stands up, chubby thighs firmly planted, and squeezes Dora's life vest as hard as she can into a ball, gritting her teeth and clenching her muscles. "BALL!" she announces, with even a bigger smile and gleam. She drops the life vest into the water and laughs at the "plop" sound. (Note: Dora makes a SPLASH sound, not just a plop. More water too.) Then she explores how much water she can displace by stamping her feet.
At this I make her sit down and draw the shower curtain closed. Pure joy as she realizes she can SEE me through the clear curtain liner, but not get me wet. Much exploration ensues, with poking and kissing the liner. Then she leans over and blows bubbles in the water, sitting up so proudly, like she knows it's an impressive thing to be able to blow bubbles at 21 months old, and that her brother couldn't do it without inhaling half the tub.
When it was time for soap and shampoo, she insisted on taking off Dora's flippers to wash her feet, soaping up Dora's hair (as much as you can soap up the hard plastic dome that is Dora's unusually large head of hair), and brushing Dora's teeth. She also likes to float on her back like Dora, which helps to rinse her hair.
Lately, bathtime feels like much more of a chore, or something to check off the list, than anything fun. I was so happy to sit and watch her yesterday, without rushing or being distracted, and she obviously had fun, judging from the amount of water I wiped off the bathroom floor.