I had a moment.
It was one of those moments where you can see into the future.
And the future is sassy.
Three or four nights a week, I do Sophia’s bath. The main goal of bath time is for Sophia to move large quantities of water from the tub out onto the floor of the bathroom. Her mother and I, in our infinite wisdom, have seen fit to give her several brightly colored plastic toys, such as cups and buckets, that serve to greatly amplify her ability to move that much water. Every once in a while, she pauses just long enough for me to quickly scrub down some part of her with soap, then she’s off again making a tub-tsunami.
One of her favorite bath-time games is “Ducky Bombs”. This is a very complicated game, which I will try to explain simply, so that you can understand the subtlety and complexity. Sophia pics up her rubber ducky. She holds it high over her head, and looks expectantly at daddy. Daddy then, in a very loud and very, very silly voice, yells out, “DUUUUUCKYYY BOOOOMMMMBS!” This is Sophia’s cue to thrown the rubber ducky down into the water with as much force as her little 1 year old arms can muster (hint: a lot of force. A surprising amount of force. Like she’s a robot-child or something). When the ducky hits the water, daddy does his very best explosion sound, and we both fall over laughing. Rinse. Repeat. Maybe 5 or 6 hundred times in a single bath.
So, I say this just to let you know that bath-time is silly time, completely unrestrained, joyful play time. One of the other games we play is called “Putting things on my head”. Again, within this game there is a subtle interplay of meaning and motion to rival even the oldest Noh play. Basically, it works like this: Sophia takes something, and puts it on her head. Sometimes, she can’t quite figure out how to get it to stay on her head, so daddy puts it on her head for her.
She loved this game. She would play it endlessly, with anything that was within her grasp. She even got the shampoo bottle to stay on her head for a second or two, to our great delight. For a while, this was her favorite game – even more than ducky bombs, if you can image such a thing! Then, suddenly, two nights ago, something changed, and I saw into the future.
We were doing bath time. We were playing “move the water out of the tub”. We were playing “Ducky Bombs”. We were playing a new game that she just made up, called “I pull the drain plug out and daddy has to put it back in 50 times”. Then, I reached into the tub, grabbed a plastic fish-cup (the red one), and I put it on her head.
Everything stopped. My daughter looked at me, fish-cup still on her head, and said, “Dad, that is so lame. I mean, who puts things on their head anymore? I’m 14 months old now, you know, not some little baby who likes to put things on her head.” The fact that she said all of this with just a look in no way diminished her ability to clearly communicate her meaning.
Suddenly, I was transported 12 years into the future, and I was standing in the doorway to her bedroom holding tickets to go see a band that had stopped being cool, like, weeks ago, thinking how I was the awesome dad that was going to drive and chaperone her and her friends to the concert, and she’s thinking about how she’s going to have to explain to her friends that the mildly retarded ape-man in the front seat is just the chauffeur, and in no way actually related to her.
I, of course, will not be allowed to speak during the evening.