Tenyamc's picture
Submitted by Tenyamc on Fri, 2006-04-14 06:58

When you're expecting your first baby, you can find numerous books that include directions for bathing your new baby. New parent classes usually devote at least one session to bathing the new baby. Finally, if you feel the need for some last-minute instruction, most hospitals have videos and nurses available to advise new parents on this and many other aspects of newborn care. What these many guides fail to make adequately clear is that wet babies are very slippery, once soap is added, they are even slipperier. Further when you bathe a real live baby, you get very wet. If you bathe your child in the bathtub, it hurts your back. Added to these complications, many very young babies become frightened when placed in a tub of water.

I hadn't been a new mom very long when I decided the baby bathing instruction I had received was baloney. I took my daughter into the bathtub with me. This was a great solution. I wasn't concerned about getting wet, no back pain from leaning over a tub and it was easier to hold onto my wet, soapy infant when she was safely on my lap. My daughter enjoyed the bath far more when it was something I was doing with her rather something I was doing to her.

My youngest child, at 2 1/2 years, is still enjoying most of her baths with me. When I ask her if she'd like to take a bath, she responds affirmatively and starts up the stairs toward the bathroom. If I don't come along right away she returns to remind me of our mission. She asks me, "Bubbles?" Of course I agree that bubbles are clearly in order.

Our baths accomplish far more than mere hygiene. They are a wonderful distraction-free time we spend playing and talking together. We talk about sounds we hear and what they might be--a train, a dog, the house creaking. The bath is a great time to talk about body parts, use toys to talk about colors, numbers and animals, and experiment with filling and pouring various containers. Once we saw a spider on the ceiling. She still likes to talk about and look for the spider.

We also sing. I can't believe how many aquatic-themed ditties I know: "Boop Boop Dittem Dattem Wattem Choo" (3 Little Fishies), "Eerie Canal", countless songs about frogs, and my favorite, "King of the Road." I admit, this last is not particularly on theme, but it sounds great in the bathroom.

Our before and after bath routines give my daughter an essential feeling of independence by letting her know what's expected and giving her regular practice. "I can do this myself" is very important when you're two. Before the bath, she undresses herself, and puts her laundry in the hamper and her diaper in the garbage. She also reminds me if I seem to be forgetting a step. After the bath, she loves to be wrapped in a towel before we both dry off. She asks for her toothbrush and we brush our teeth. While I dress and straighten the room, my daughter goes to her room and gets clean clothes (or pajamas) and dresses herself. Sometimes she asks for help with dressing, but not often.

My oldest three girls are teenagers now. We haven't bathed together in many years, but my bath time is still one of their favorite to talk with me. It's still a good time to spend together without distractions. It's not unusual for me to have a 2-year-old in the bathtub with me while three teenagers sit around the bathroom discussing their ideas. In fact, when we remodeled the bathroom, I made sure to have plenty of space for "company." I do enjoy the solitude of a quiet, hot bubble bath and a book. But this truly quality time with my girls is far more satisfying.

I would love to hear others' stories about how everyday events have become prime time with your kids.

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VSD's picture

wonderful story - it perfectly describes how I feel about the 'every-day-ness' of dealing with kids and how 'special' that is / can be at the same time Smiling

Love the sink!

Prima Donna's picture

I just found one the other day of my nephew when he was just a few months old. The perfect little butt. Smiling

I'm saving it for when he's in high school. Muahahaha...

-- "The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Kitchen sink

Tenyamc's picture

Ohh, I love those kitchen sink bath pictures. There are quite a few in my extended family as well. The bird feeder outside the kitchen window sounds great. I put one outside our living room window last fall for the same reason. My daughter and the cat spent many hours watching the birds this winter.

I have to second the kitchen

I have to second the kitchen sink strategy. I recieved all of my baths until I could sit up on my own in the kitchen sink and I have given baths to my nephews pre-crawling stage in both my and my parents kitchen sink. I have to say however that it doesn't decrease the amount of water that gets splashed arround. In all its fun for the whole famliy Smiling

Bathtub Alternatives

Teresa's picture

Before my kids started walking, I would often bathe them in the kitchen sink, which was a wonderful family tradition passed from my grandmother to my mother then to me. No more bad back from leaning over the tub!
On hot days when they'd get all sticky from practically anything that came into contact with them, into the sink they'd go!
I have great pictures, too. They all loved taking a "bath in the sink!"

I had a bird feeder right outside the window which was over the kitchen sink. The feeder was always populated with some kind of wonderful bird species all through the year. I bought a bird book that identified all of the birds known to be in Michigan, and when one would land at the feeder while the kids where in the "bath," I would point it out and tell the kids what kind of bird it was. That was so much fun!

What a delightful story that sparked a pleasant memory, Tenya! Thank you!

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