When we moved into our new crib and were advised that there was no hot water, I didn’t flinch. No hot water? No problem. We could do it. The first week down here we lived in a spot that had no hot water and if I remember correctly, CK was desperately clutching onto my torso with his naked body wailing “No Mas Agua!” as I tried to peel off his arms and legs that were wrapped around me like a boa constrictor. No, this kid does not like cold showers. He probably thinks Costa Rica is some kind of bathing hell. First you take away my bath tub, and then the hot water? Dad, do you really love me?
Who was I kidding ‘no hot water, no problem’? For some reason I was confident that things would go differently this time around. Dorein, the owner, actually offered to put in a hot water attachment, but I modestly refused. Hot water is a luxury down here and if others are getting by without it, we would too. When I declined her offer, she said her son, Reese (3 years old), loves his warm showers. Doh! What have I done? Arrogant gringo. Oh well, my kid will just have to deal.
It took me a while to develop a strategy to get this kid in the ice cold water. My brother stayed with us the first two weeks we were there, and he wouldn’t stop complaining about it. He had a right to. It was cold. I’m not going to lie, but kind of refreshing considering the heat. If it was really hot out, the water pipes got blasted by the sun and if you waited until mid afternoon to take your shower, the first 45 seconds was actually quite hot before it went back to Arctic cold. Shower times were cut in half, if not more, because of the water temperature…we were taking the quickest showers ever!
CK, meanwhile, shared my brother’s frustration. To him, “vamos a banarte” just as well meant, “let’s go to the torture chamber.” I’m sure he was so confused on why I would ever make him go through such discomfort on a regular basis. The only way this was going to work was if I was in there with him. It took me a little bit of time to get used to the water myself before I would turn to my boy who had fled to the corner of the shower, crying into the tiled walls. Oh man. Let’s get this over with.
And that was the name of my first strategy “Let’s get this over with.” It took a lot of arm strength to pick him up, hold him under the shower, get him soapy and rinsed off before he kicks and screams his way out of there. I would try to do it as fast as I could, but it was never quick enough for either of us, and he would always come out with suds all over his body (we’ll just wipe those off with the towel).
“Let’s get this over with” was retired. I had to think of something else. The next strategy I tried was called “The Pass Under.” I would hold him on my side, then quickly pass him through the streaming water. He was under the water for all of a half second at a time. His tears weren’t as big as his response to “let’s get this over with,” but he still wasn’t a fan. It also was really hard for me to get him cleaned in 1/2 second intervals. We had a little more success with “The Pass Under,” but the technique still had some flaws.
The last and final strategy I came up with was a success. It was improvised when I was trying to execute the “The Pass Under.” Somehow I thought of adding some bouncing and singing to the strategy which started to make him laugh and smile. I was onto something. I followed it with a move that came a little too naturally. I put my hand under the water, smashed it against my face, and gave CK a look of complete and utter surprise. This kid started laughing so hard I could see where his gums hit his skull. After I made sure he was still breathing, I did it again. And again. Next thing I know, I was doing my best Roger Rabbit impression when he was making the villain weasels laugh so hard, they died. CK was having a ball and actually started imitating me, splashing water in his own face. Have we made a breakthrough? I was able to get him all soaped up and thoroughly cleaned off during our 10-minute (record long time) slap stick shower, and not one tear!
That shower was the beginning of the end of CK’s cold shower woes. Now instead of saying “Vamos a banarte” I say, “Let go splash some water in my face!” and he joyously agrees, ready for his ice cold shower.