I give Little C a bath. We’re working on the don’t-urinate-in the-tub project. My daughter refuses to bathe with him, though I am sure her skin is so urea-fortified after the last four years of sharing his bath, it wouldn’t matter.
The minute he sits down in the bathtub I know.
“Buddy, did you pee?” He does this look-down-there move, and glances in my direction to see if I catch it.
“Are you sure?” I once told him I put mystery potion in the bath that turns blue if he pees. He’s calling my bluff.
“I didn’t pee,” he replies, completely exasperated, totally poker-faced, “I already told you,” and goes back to playing with his sea animals.
Okedoke. You wanna play that way? I perch on the counter, answering emails while he turns into Jacques Cousteau. After ten minutes it’s time to raise.
“Ok, let’s get out.”
“But you didn’t wash my hair?” he says, a little too eager. I up the ante.
“That’s ok, we’ll do it tomorrow,” I dip the facecloth in the tub water and bring it towards his face. “Let’s just do your face.”
“No!” he yells, and catches himself. “That water is dirty.”
Ah-ha! Think you can outsmart me you little cheat!
“And why is it dirty, hmm?” I stand up and put my hand on my hips.
“Did you pee in the tub?”
Big dark eyes peek out through his long lashes. Slight head nod. I fold. Turning on the tap, I soak the cloth in clean water and wipe his face. He’s just too damn cute.
The reason I tell this story is because, while I sat tub-side, watching him, knowing he likely peed in it, I thought to myself: “If I could only use his real shampoo, I would totally bathe in that pee-water.”
Instead I make a hydration mask. It’s late and I want something I can whip together without turning on a stove. My skin is parched so I pick a Winter Rescue Mask. Odd that it calls for grapefruit. Not exactly something I associate with harsh winter. Must be the vitamin C.
“Are you coming to bed?” My husband puts his mug in the dishwasher as I lean on the kitchen island, reading the recipe.
“No, I have to make a mask. Feel my skin. It’s so dry!” I jut my chin forward so he can rub my cheek. He rolls his eyes and indulges me.
“Seriously, I am going to smear some cream cheese on my face.” I open the fridge to round up the ingredients.
That’s his cue. He makes his way upstairs, pronouncing on his way:
“I am only tolerating this nonsense because I’m happy you’re writing.”
“I have to fix my face!” I yell after him and grab the egg whites.
“Four days ago you had coconut flakes stuck to your face!” he responds.
“This will be different,” I shout back, picking a grapefruit from the fruit drawer.
It’s no different. Same, same: a sticky, stinky mess. I stand in the bathroom, dairy products souring on my forehead. At first, it isn’t so bad: I smell like breakfast at Bagel World. After the instructed 20 minutes of absorption, I just smell like Bagel World’s dishwasher.
Enough of this putrid hell I think, as I wash it off. For all the labour, my skin really doesn’t feel that different. Yes, for a brief moment it’s softer because it’s covered in gunk. But within ½ hour I am back to slathering an oil concoction on my cheeks.
Every day I notice my face is more blemished and bumpy. Despite all the oil it still feels dry and tight. Constantly. So not impressed with the pseudo-science of natural beauty products. I follow the directions. Read the rave reviews. But, I’m not buyin’. It’s all just one big crapshoot. What I do know is that a facial leaves my face gleaming–and I mean that in the least-gooey way possible. Ah, facial: so near, yet so far.
Have I mentioned laundry? Between the wearable food, baking soda and oils, I go through endless white towels. Everything is slick or stained. There are smudges on my mirrors, my night table, the faucets…. A thin film coats my books, the TV remote, my eyeglasses, my keyboard…. Even my contact lenses are murky. The doorknobs are slippery, and my clothes feature oil spots. Everything I touch within a one-hour timeframe of my bathroom routine, morning and night, is greasy.
I’m like a new superhero: “More powerful than Castrol oil, able to buff wood furniture with one slick forearm. It’s a mop, it’s a rag, no, it’s Lube Girl!”
Ok, maybe not.