Bathtime Fun with Darby and Ken
When Michael and I started this having children thing, I was determined to keep our home from looking like day care gone wild. There would be no forts in the living room, no crazy swing set structure taking up the entire back yard and no toys littering every room of the house. I envisioned a Japanese minimalist approach to parenting. "Here's a box, honey. Now go play." And for a while the kids didn't know that a wooden spoon banging on Tupperware wasn't the neatest thing since drinkable yogurt.
The thing is, Michael and I didn't just renovate our house, we gayed the place up big time. Our kitchen is the perfect example of sleek, sexy lines amidst varying textures: polished granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, brushed nickle pulls on blond bamboo-like cabinetry. Thomas the Train and Dora the Explorer simply do not belong on the imported slate floor doing the Watusi.
Likewise, our bathroom is sumptuous. The chestnut wood cozying up to the creamy marble, and the steam shower... How did I survive all these years without a steam shower? At night with candles lit, you can't help but enter our bathroom with a certain reverence. It's like the Library of Congress. Hushed tones are demanded from the ceramic Asian head (pictured above) which imbues a certain intellectual, zenlike quality.
I'm sure you think I'm the most heartless Mommy around, not allowing my little tykes their cherished knickknacks. But before you judge me, you should know that I am fighting a losing battle. Doting aunties insist on doling out Barbies three at a time, and overindulgent friends who have no kids seem to think a toy is only successful if it's earsplittingly loud or the box says "82 moving parts." Needless to say, teeny weeny capri pants and brightly colored plastic pieces that mean nothing without their like parts end up scattered hither and yon. Clutter has become an all too familiar way of life.
Even the kitchen has lost its sleekness having become a repository for the forgotten, the broken, the discarded. Eighteen of the original twenty-six ABC magnets cover the stainless steel dish washer, a plastic microphone is lodged in amongst the cook books, a Doug and Melissa puzzle piece in the shape of an kangaroo cowers on the windowsill waiting to be reunited with his fellow wooden marsupials.
Let's face it, the kitchen has become a junk yard, the living room a princess costume shop, the TV room a Hotwheels parking garage, even my bed, MY BED, holds Pretty Ponies and Yugioh cards. Fine. I get it. The little ones have taken over. But I have asked, I have pleaded, "Can't our bathroom, our beautiful, austere bathroom with full length mirror and ceramic Asian head remain clutter free?"
The answer, my friends. A resounding no. And I'm to blame. I allowed a few toys for bath time: a shark, a rubber duck and snorkeling Sponge Bob. Warning: trying to explain the irony of a sponge with a snorkel, diving mask and swim fins to a three year old might lead to hysteria, even tears. But over the years, much to the ceramic Asian head's chagrin, other toys moved in and took up permanent residence. Added to the original three are two boats, two alligators, two rafts, a second rubber duck, a couple of naked plastic dolls (there seems to be an almost Biblical fanaticism to having two of each), a blue manta ray and a brontosaurus nose. I've given in, my flesh is flayed, but I do insist on one rule. You must pick up the toys after your shower and put them on the ledge.
And this is what I found the other morning...
You have to believe me, neither Michael nor I posed the phallus free boy toys. I know you're crying bullshit. But bitch's honor, I do not lie. So, either the dolls were inadvertently placed in this manner, or one or both of my kids were playing man on man action in the bathtub.
And it's unnervingly accurate, isn't it? Notice White Boy's aggressive stance, his There's Something About Mary hair, his right hand slyly inching towards Black Boy's crotch. Now, contrast that with Black Boy's stiff "not unless you've got a condom" demeanor. It's racially charged, it's top/bottom negotiations, it's afternoon delight at Darby and Ken's Bathhouse.
And what's with Ken's missing head? Was some praying mantis post-coital roll playing involved?
And if my precious innocents are into post-coital role playing, what exactly have they seen? Maybe they're not always asleep when we think they are. Maybe they tiptoe down the hallway and peek into our bedroom while Michael and I are otherwise engaged...
...That's it, we need to start locking our door at night.