Olympic Speed Showering

When I was eleven, I had a jolting realization:  It was too late for me to begin training to earn my way to the Olympics.  I watched Team USA’s fourteen and fifteen year-old gymnasts gracefully outscore other teenagers on the uneven parallel bars, and I knew.  For the first time in my life I was too old for something.
I’d like to suggest that the USOC take on a new event that plays to my strengths, even though I’m pushing 40.  Speed showering while home alone with two children.  I know that naysayers will deny that this is a real sport, but I respectfully disagree.  During those first months with a new baby, showers and general hygiene are rare. You will often look like you have escaped from a mental institution– wild eyed, in pajamas and mismatched shoes, hair in an unwashed bird’s nest.  The rarity of the shower means that those who master it can truly be called athletes.
Training for speed showering starts around the sixth month of pregnancy, when you lose the ability to see and/or reach everything you want to wash and possibly shave.  Three months of that and you’re ready for the main event:  showering while home alone with two very small children.  The event looks something like a deranged decathlon:
  1. Put the bouncy seat in the bathroom where it can been seen easily when peeking out from behind the shower curtain.
  2. Make sure the newborn doesn’t need food or changing, and strap him into the bouncy.  Be sure to turn on vibration mode and music, lest he get restless and fussy while you are soaping up.
  3. Drag the exersaucer from the living room into the bathroom doorway.  It won’t fit through the doorway, so wedge it in as best you can.  Make sure toddler is already inside the bathroom with you.  Otherwise, you will have to vault over the exersaucer while holding the toddler.  Not advisable.
  4. Rapidly disrobe and step into the shower.  Grab soap and get going.  Peek out to check on the boys every 10 seconds to make sure no one has run off or burst into uncontrollable tears.
  5. Use the warm water to deaden the pain you feel from sleep deprivation (which, by the way, becomes a real physical ache by the time you’re down to 4 hours or less a night).
  6. Be thankful that you can now see and reach everything that you want to wash and/or shave.  Fail to realize that you are so tired that you will miss an entire leg when shaving.
  7. Soap, shampoo, perhaps throw some conditioner in there.
  8. Scrub face in a vain attempt to reinvigorate your brain.
  9. Turn off water.  Check on boys again.  Towel off and wrap the towel around your drippy hair, still slick with the conditioner you forgot to rinse out.
  10. Unwedge the exersaucer and drag it back to the living room with the toddler still inside. Whee!  It’s like the luge, only without the ice.  Return to the bathroom to fetch the newborn, who is now crying because he was left alone for 20 seconds.  You may or may not do this tenth step naked.

Rejoice!  You have showered in record time.

There are rapidly aging bath scrubs and other relaxing niceties in my bathroom closet.  They will likely stay unopened until the kids are in high school. But when Cade puts my ponytail holder in his mouth and goes “Grrrrr” like a dog with a chew toy, I laugh too much to care whether I smell like lavender and mountain dewdrops.

Ready, Olympians?  On your mark, get set, GO!

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