I’ve been thinking for two months now that I need to do something about this lousy shower. When the people downstairs use the water, our water pressure dwindles to a trickle. I try timing my morning showers to coincide with the people downstairs, but who knows exactly when that will be?
This morning the water slowly dribbled out casually as Celia played with a toy strapped into her jogging stroller. I looked at the shower head quietly, then grabbed it and held it over my hair for a good solid ten seconds just to wet it enough to shampoo.
I’ve been to Third-World countries where there’s no running water. Some of homes I’ve visited had only cold water, or showers that sputter in and out. A couple of times I’ve even been electrocuted trying to turn off the shower (they actually have an electric switch to control the hot water, even though you turn it on and off while your body is still wet. Duh! Whoever came up with such things!)
Generally, I try to take showers in less than three minutes because of my squirming daughter. That way she doesn’t get too restless sitting there. Today she started wailing after a few minutes, as expected, so I used Strategy #1; give her a new toy to play with. This worked three times, until I ran out of toys.
Then, I pulled out Strategy #2; I sang to her. Unfortunately, she was already getting herself wound up, so it only worked for about fifteen seconds before I had to employ Strategy #3; a sure-fire winner. I reached outside of the shower and opened the drawer where I keep her toothbrush.
“Ta-Da!” I declared. “Your toothbrush!”
Celia smiled as I handed it to her and I went back to my cleaning attempt.
Over the last two months, whenever the shower hasn’t quite functioned I’ve said to myself, “I have hot running water. That’s better than most of the world.” But this morning, after listening to Celia finally lose it for the last time, I looked at the pathetic drips and shouted, “I live in a First-World country!”
I shut off the water, put on my bathrobe, and took Celia into the kitchen. “Let’s eat something nice!” I figured maybe a decent breakfast would calm her down.
Celia looked at me and squirmed. I put her down and she began racing around the kitchen grunting off some agitation.
“What would you like to eat? Would you like an egg?”
Celia looked up at me happily. I grabbed the eggs out of the fridge, put them on the kitchen counter, and turned my back on her as I grabbed a pan. Next thing I heard was a series of “Splats!” I turned my head to see that Celia had grown an inch and grabbed the whole container of eggs. She was holding the container happily as all but two eggs plunked onto the floor.
“Ahh!” I grabbed the egg carton out of her hand to save the last two, and pulled her away from the eggs all over the floor. “Celia, you broke the eggs!” My mind raced. Do I throw them away? What can you do with a lot of eggs? This morning was going from bad to worse, and I could start to feel the grumbles building inside of me.
“Okay Celia, we’ll make quiche.” I scooped up the eggs and tried keeping my curious daughter out of the mess. Why make a fuss when she has no idea what she’s really doing? I’m amazed that she grew so much overnight, but I’m just thankful I learned this lesson with eggs, and not a sharp knife!
The quiche, although I mostly made it with one hand while I held Celia in the other, turned out delicious. Yes, I arrived at work twenty minutes late and without shaving, but I survived. And most important, I never did reprimand or yell at my daughter. I think there are always going to be build-up times where we start to lose it, and then when our kids push some boundary we’ll get tempted to take it out on them. I pray that I may always have the strength to treat her with love and respect, no matter the quality of the shower or timing of the quiche.