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November 08, 2002

Jitterbug Perfume

Ngnat stunk this morning. She wasn't gassy, she was dirty. She had a nauseating sweet smell that conjured a memory of sweat socks left in the locker under a damp towel all weekend.

I tried to ignore it, but the way we dress her in the morning prevented it. I sit with legs akimbo on her big-girl bed, which is really just the twin mattress and box springs from my bachelor days, and she leans against me for balance while I pull on her pants. This puts my nose in close proximity to her neck, which is nice but is not normally something I think about. Today a sour reek emanated from her, so that I had the choice of either not breathing, or sending her to day-care half naked.

"Jesus, honey. You smell like poor people. " I told her.

We do bathe the child every now and then, but we'd skipped a night in the schedule because the sainted wife was knee deep in head cold goo, and the responsibility of bathing the Ngnat has fallen to her over time. Yes, I could have bathed her, but I didn't really want to. I don't have enough familiarity with the bathtime ritual, and if some bit of minutia in her expected schedule gets overlooked, Ngnat gets snippy at a decibel level that would cause disdain for my parenting skills in most single people. It's handy for clearing a room of cats, though.

Also, she thinks drinking her own bath water is good for giggles, which grosses me out no end. Her mother drinks after the cats, so I suppose she comes by it naturally.

I made another half-hearted attempt at pulling up her tights. After all, once I got her to day care it didn't really matter what she smelled like, as far as I was concerned. My next whiff convinced me that wasn't going to work, as any neutral sniffer would classify her as a foster care candidate once they got within a foot or two.

What the hell. I work in IT. My schedule is pretty much mine to make.

"Time for a bath, Missy Stink."

You would have thought I was sticking needles in her eyes. It's one thing to have Daddy not know what the hell is supposed to happen next at the regular bath time. It's quite another to stick one into the morning schedule without even a warning memo.

"DON WANNA BATH!!" she screamed, and burst into tears.

She lay on the floor and cried while the bath was drawing. She sat in the bath and cried while I washed her hair. She stood in the bath and cried while I scrubbed her. Nothing would console her. She screamed as if the tepid water I rinsed her with was boiling hot. This was not right, this was not how the world was meant to be, and dammit, the world was going to hear about it. Finally we were done.

She looked up at me from the tub, tears leaking of her red eyes, lower lip still trembling. "I wan get out, daddy."

So we got out and got dry and got dressed and had another minor bout of unpleasantness with the hairdryer, as she normally gets to let her hair air-dry. And we went downstairs and ate a cold pretzel that mommy had forgotten before she went to work and got in the car and just barely made it to daycare in time for morning snack. I sat her down and took her coat and Rosa put her juice and brown-sugar Poptart in front of her and I leaned over and kissed her goodbye.

She smelled great.

Posted by Bigwig at November 8, 2002 12:48 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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