The children require persuading (threats, even) to have their baths and persuading (threats, even) to get out of the bath. Over a year ago, I tried to stagger bath time. It never caught on and so most nights the three of them loll around in the bath together, filling the tub with their pale bodies. They chat, sing, play, splash, push, argue, taunt, pinch, kick and wash.

Each of the children has his or her own distinctive drying routine when they are cajoled from the tub.


For most of his life, Gabe has requested a ‘bouncer-dryer’ once wrapped in a towel. L or I sit on the toilet lid with him on our laps and bump him up and down.


Eliza, less frequently and for a shorter period, has requested a ‘swinger-dryer’ from me. I pick her up, hold her like a baby, and pivot 90 degress clockwise, 180 back, 180 return and on. Eliza cackles, or shrieks, head and hair dangling downwards.


Robin accepts the towel around his shoulders and then rolls into a ball on the floor. There he stays until he’s kicked or he trips or is badgered up and into pyjamas.


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