Max and Miles who, to Me, Will Always be Secretly Named "Gus"

The blog about Max and his little brother, Miles. Stunningly cute boys and future leaders of the rebel forces.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tiny Bubbles in the Ocean

I don't really remember a time when I couldn't hold my breath under water. I have some weird memory of dipping underwater, face-to-face with my mom, practicing exaggerated, puff-cheeked breath-holds. I'm pretty sure, though, that that's me remembering seeing my mom do it with my sisters. Certainly, if you dug deeply enough, there's a brother there, disdainfully snorting: "For the love of pete! You don't know how to do that either?!"

Maybe we had more access to a pool; maybe our family made underwater breath-holding a priority. All I know is, Katie and I -- on the already long list of our parental failures -- feel negligent in the swimming/things-are-ok-underwater front.

Which leads us to this:

Bathtime, USA. Max and Miles are almost-floating in a very full tub of water and bubbles. You have to fill the tub waaay up with hot water during these cold snaps: the bath is on an exterior wall and it takes more water to heat up and keep the tub itself warm. The suds are courtesy of a couple of pumps of "bubble juice" (aka shampoo) and a giant, beer-fueled, dad-shaped water agitating machine.

The boys are going through their normal bathtime motions: fighting over this toy and that, thinking about splashing each other, finding ways to get water out of the tub and onto the floor. Towards the end of the bath, Max realizes the the water depth is almost swimmable. Before long, the wee skinny-dippers have turned the tub into a tiny natatorium, the two of them basically scooting through the bubbles, alternating ends of their non-olympic-sized pool.

Seizing a moment to calmly talk about swimming, I start to tell Max about when I lived near the ocean and would go swimming every night after walking down to the beach. (I left out the part about being on the lam from the federales and the endless, endless 3am dancing to the cheesiest disco ever. Un-ironic dancing!)

"You can even put your head underwater, if you want."

"Really? Yeah!" And, to my surprise, Max dips his face right into the bubbles. Unfortunately, we hadn't gotten to the "nose-plugging" stage of the whole deal and on his way to the water, he breathed in a whole bunch of bubble foam.

"Oh, oh, oh!," exclaimed Max as he pawed at his face, trying to get the bubbles out of his nasal cavity. "Hey! That doesn't feel very good, daddy!" As I wiped the suds off his face and calculated how much therapy it was going to take before he'd ever swim, Max snuffled and snorted bubbles out of his nose.

The whole time this was going on, Miles gleefully continued sloshing from end to end in the tub, giggling insanely. Max got back into the tub and Miles, inspired by his brother but unaware of the results, slapped his face into the water. All Max and I could do was watch. Miles sat up, the foam sliding down his shocked/angry/confused face. He was trying to draw in a breath to cry, but his nose and mouth were full of foam. This pissed him off even more.

Max, pouting, calmly watched this unfold and then with a hearty sigh, filled with resignation, understanding and consolation, muttered, "Yeahhhhh, that doesn't really work." As that sentence tailed off, Miles finally got his wits about him enough to start screaming.

Bathtime, USA!


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