He stood precariously, hanging onto the edge of the sink, leaning over and stretching up. Yep. He had a beard just like Uncle Ralph now. Well, except Uncle Ralph's wasn't white and bubbly. And he didn't think Uncle Ralph's fizzed away like his, either.
He heard his mother coming down the hall, and quickly slid back into the tub. A little too quickly - water slurped up over the side and splashed onto the floor, along with a copious amount of precious suds. Before he could grab the towel and reach over to mop it up, his mother opened the door.
One look at her face and he slid further down into the foam. Mother didn't like messes, although she didn't get cross about it too often. Still...
"John, John, John..." Mother's tongue clicked softly as she walked over to the wet floor, pulling the towel from its hook and starting to wipe up.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to see my beard."
His mother looked up, smiling and shaking her head. "Now why would you want to cover that beautiful face of yours with a beard? Time enough for that when you're older. Besides, how many times have I told you not to stand up in that tub? You could slip and hurt yourself, and then I'd be having to do without all your help. And how would I manage without that, may I ask?"
John felt a strange mix of shame and pride. His brother often told him he was just in the way, but he liked to think he could help some, even if he was little. And the last thing he wanted to do was add more troubles to his mother's life.
He looked up as his mother reached over, grabbing a double-handful of soapy bubbles from the water. With a mischievous grin that reminded others of John's, she plopped the foam on top of his head, shaping it up into a point.
"If you're going to have a beard like Uncle Ralph's, you'd best have a top hat to match. Though what I need with two dandies in the house..."
Laughing, she stood and stepped lightly to the door. Before pulling it closed behind her, she turned and gave him a mock glare.
"And no more preening in front of the mirror. Time enough for that, too, when the girls are hanging about."
Her laughter smothered his protests as she hurriedly closed the door.