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Before Breakfast

The sun is shining through the windows in the bedroom. It's a perfect morning. I put my feet on the floor to begin the day and step on tufts of dog hair. It's a perfect morning to give Henrie a bath. Lauren gathers up the dog brush, the shampoo, the towel and the leash. I gather up the dog and attach her to the leash on the back patio. Claire turns on the hose.

Lauren runs water over Henrie's back. Henrie twists and pulls away from the spray. I pull her back. The black carpet that is her fur repels the water. It runs onto the patio. It soaks into my pajama bottoms. The sun is warm so I don't mind the cold water. Charlie comes outside carrying a fork and spoon. "Get me some breakfast." When he sees the hose, he drops the silverware and wants to help. Lauren hands him the hose and he turns me into a contestant for a wet tee shirt contest. I am glad for the privacy of our backyard.

Lauren unscrews the top on the shampoo bottle. Faith, Claire and Charlie reach out their hands to help work the soap into lather. Ten hands massage Henrie. She seems resigned to it. The puddle that is collecting in the low spot distracts Charlie. He wades in. He jumps. Faith and Claire join him. They kick...water sprays up and splashes over their heads.

Lauren holds the hose over Henrie. I work the soap out of her fur. Our heads are close together as we work. Twice we bump foreheads. Charlie brings a bowl over. He sets it down in front of Lauren. "I want big water!" Lauren obliges...or tries to. The force of the spray sends the bowl careening across the deck. Charlie thinks this is hysterical. He brings the bowl back, "Do it again, Lauren!"..."Again!"..."Again!"

It takes a lot of rubbing and a lot of water before Henrie's fur begins to feel clean. The hose is turned over to the little ones who take turns spraying golden arches of water over their heads. I dry the dog with a big green towel. She shakes. When I open the door to the house she rolls and slides on the carpet to dry some more.

The little ones drip to the garage to remove wet clothing. They wrap up in fluffy towels and head to the shower. I go to my end of the house to shower and change. Lauren takes maple scones out of the oven. John gets up. It is a perfect morning!

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