The man has heard a report on NPR that boys who do home projects with their dads have much lower rates of juvenile delinquency. Grant is two. It is Saturday. He has exhausted his mom by being himself all week. So today, the man will do projects with him to give his mother a rest and to lower Grant’s chances of becoming a criminal.
They start in the bathroom. They shave together. The man uses his normal Gillette Sensor razor. He gives Grant an old razor with the edge covered in duct tape. This goes well.
Now it is time to clean the bathroom. This involves harsh chemicals, but it’s ok because they will work side by side. They each start with a sponge and Comet in the bathtub. The man kneels beside the tub while Grant stands and moves his sponge around, pausing to feel the texture of the gritty soap.
Next is the toilet. The man sprays bowl cleaner under the lip of the bowl and pulls out the brush. He sprays the toilet surface with a bottle of diluted bleach solution and sets the bottle on the sink.
He hands Grant a wet rag.
“Here, pal. I will clean the bowl. You start wiping down the rest of the toilet. I will help you finish once I finish the bowl.”
He starts scrubbing the bowl with the brush but doesn’t notice that Grant has not started to wipe. He finishes the bowl and flushes the toilet, then turns just in time to see Grant holding the spray bottle of diluted bleach, both hands on the trigger, the spray nozzle pointed directly at his face.
Too late. Grant pulls the trigger. A blast of bleach spray hits all over his face. He wails.
The man drops the brush and scoops him up.
“What’s wrong in there?” Lauren calls from the front room.
“Grant just sprayed himself in the face with bleach.”
“What? How did he get bleach?”
The man is now running the tap and ramming handfuls of water into Grant’s eyes.
“He was helping me clean.”
“Helping you clean? He’s TWO! Did he eat it?”
“No, he didn’t eat it. He sprayed it in his eyes.”
“Do I need to call poison control?”
“Unless he can die of bleach poison through his eyes, probably not.”
“Is he going to have eye damage? Go blind?”
Now she is standing at the door of the bathroom. Grant’s face is red and his eyes are raw, but his crying is subsiding.
“Here’s the stupid bottle,” the man says, handing her the bottle. “It says to flush his eyes with water. I’m sure that’s all there is to it.”
She glances at the bottle, then sets it down. She extends her hands to Grant.
“Come here, bubby. You wanna go watch Thomas?”
“I wanna watch Percy’s Chocolate Crunch,” he bellows.
They walk away and the man wipes off the toilet, then cleans the sink by himself.