Lipreading Mom is No Match for the Little Debater

“Mom, why do I have to take a bath?”

My four-year-old son asked this question for the fourth time. It had become a nightly ritual of explaining how the shampoo made his hair clean and how the bubble bath kept his body from being dirty.

“You don’t want to go to preschool smelling stinky, do you?” I said in a diplomatic voice. Actually, I was hoping to avoid another 45 minutes of debating the pros of cons of bath time on a school night.

Instead of satisfying his curiosity, he shot me one of his stubborn gazes and announced, “BUT I DON’T WANT TO TAKE A BATH!”

“You have to,” I reasoned, trying to pry his Batman shirt off him while the bathwater began rising higher and higher. “If you don’t take a bath, I’ll be really sad.”

He wrapped his iron arms around himself, preventing the T-shirt from gliding off him.

“Aaahhh!” he belted out as I forced his arms up in the air and removed the shirt in one quick motion. “Don’t do that!”

My patience began to wear as thin as the soap bubbles now threatening to tower over the side of the bathtub. Any minute these clusters of white suds—and my sanity—were bound to pop, disappearing in an instant.

“What is the problem? Why don’t you want to take a bath?”

He wrinkled his forehead at my questions until I was sure his furrowed eyebrows would fall off, crashing to the linoleum floor.

My hand was attached to one of his pants legs while he held onto the other side, refusing to let go.

“Mom!” he shouted. “I don’t want to take a bath because … because … I want to take a SHOWER!”

This incident reminded me of all the arguments I have with God over little things in my life: “Why can’t you grant every wish I have? How come I have to be patient and wait on your timing?”

I learned something valuable through my son’s bathroom tantrum. God knows what is right for me. I just need to quit debating him.


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