Sunday, December 2, 2012

My complicated relationship with the bathroom and "Goodnight, Gorilla"

My relationship with bathrooms is complicated now that I have a child. I love the bathroom now, and I feel weird about that. But it's true. It's the only place where I can get a moment's peace. The bathroom has become my Fortress of Solitude.

For one, it's the only place I can do any reading. I used to read all the time, but since my son arrived I'm down to bathroom reading and books on CD while I drive to work. If I read around my son, he immediately wants to see what I'm reading. Once he realizes it's not Goodnight, Gorilla, he forcefully shuts it and hands me some blocks as if to say, “Time to play, dad. Stop neglecting me, you sorry excuse for a father.”

For two, I can make phone calls in there. My wife thinks it's gross, but I think it's super efficient. It is one of the few times in life where one can truly multitask. Plus, my son is fascinated by phones and whenever he sees me using mine he tries to grab it away from me.

For three, it's quiet in there. Sometimes I go in there when I don't even need to go, just to sit and think, “This is my life now?”

It's quiet when he goes to sleep, but that's when I get to catch up with my wife. When he's awake we spend so much time cleaning up and moving things out of his reach that when he goes to bed, it's like, “Hi, nice to meet you.”

This is the dilemma I'm running into: I want to play with my kid, but when am I supposed to have hobbies? Is it wrong to still want to have those? Or is it understood that when you have kids, you automatically give up anything fun? Am I going to go insane? If so, when?

It doesn't really matter because the bathroom won't be a safe haven much longer. When they are very little, babies don't have “object permanence,” which means they don't know that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard or touched. When he was younger, I would go into the bathroom, close the door and Junior would think, “Well, dad just ceased to exist. Bummer for him. Now what can I put in my mouth?”

But now that he's older and knows that I still exist in the bathroom, he pounds on the door like, “I know you're in there, I have object permanence! Why are you not entertaining me? Come out here this instant and read Goodnight, Gorilla!”

Anyone else hiding from their children or having a similar dilemma? Or any book suggestions for a 17-month old? Leave a comment, if you please.