This is, almost literally, the flotsam of last night's kid baths. This is what I get to look at, circa 11:13 PM as I sit on the toilet before heading off to bed, except that I delay sleep a few minutes more to find my camera and document the Pokémon figurines lined up on the side of the tub. To document what may be some of the last vestiges of pure childhood.
We're in what all the parenting books and magazines call the Golden Age: when your kids sleep through the night and no longer need you to accompany them to the bathroom, but they still want to talk to you. They still want to read you every joke from their Big Book of Jokes and Laffs. They still tell you everything — consequential or not — that happens at school, converse freely with their friends in front of you, make up silly songs in the back seat of the car. This is the age when they still sit in the back seat of the car, climb in automatically. It's just occurring to them that they won't always sit there.
This is the age where they are still completely happy to carry stuffed animals and security blankets through airports, where their pajamas still have trucks and space aliens on them (actually, that's only Isaac now — already, Rowan has the logos of sports teams emblazoned across his sleepwear). There's very little that they declare themselves "too old" for, but it also never occurs to me to, say, pack up a Tupperware container of Cheerios for a car ride.
One day soon, my nine-year-old will take showers instead of baths, will no longer wage sincere imaginary battles between Pokémon figures in the tub and then line them up before saying goodnight. One day, he’ll floss his own teeth. Or maybe he won't. One day soon, he'll lock the door to the bathroom.