When Reindeer was a fortnight old, it was with a whole heap of nerves that we attempted to give him a proper bath for the first time.
We were meticulous in getting everything ready and checked the water umpteen times using the Elbow Technique. After drawing a collective breath, we gently lowered him into the water – he’s just spent 9-months in amniotic fluid, he’s probably missed this, we told ourselves.
It was the most we’d heard him cry to date. A quick swirl of water to clean all the necessary areas and we had him out of there in a flash, still shrieking. In case we hadn’t got the message, he chose this moment to give my husband a Golden Shower.
Taking stock of the whole sorry episode once Reindeer was asleep, my husband likened bathing him to attempting to baptise a cat.
This didn’t really bode well for future efforts and, for the next week, it was back to bed baths.
The day after this disaster I ordered a bath thermometer online. I’d been reading up on bathing overnight and, apparently, 37 degrees celsius was the golden temperature. I was pretty sure that this wasn’t what our elbows had told us so decided a thermometer would provide an unbiased second opinion.
With much trepidation we approached attempt #2; what if it went just as badly as last time? What if Reindeer just hated baths?
After checking the thermometer we slid him into the water and held our breath…
…and, nothing! In fact, he was very relaxed – he seemed happy in there.
Bath time has been one of the highlights of his day ever since. He relaxes in there; wiggles, splashes, sings, chatters, squeaks and smiles a lot. Even tonight, full of coughs and sneezes, he was just as happy as always.
Pretty soon his balance will be good enough that he can sit unaided in the bath. I’m really looking forward to this as the whole realm of bath toys will be available to us! He was given a larger baby bath, some boats and a bath book for Christmas, plus I have some old plastic ducks he can play with, a promotion from a Belgian hotel.
This time of day is special for me too – we have a lovely time together and I can sing some silly old sea songs (I grew up on the coast) which I’d like Reindeer to know too. Bath time, in fact our whole bedtime routine, actually helps me to relax – a big step forward from when we first began it and I spent the whole time trying to remember where I’d put everything and what I should be doing next! Perhaps I’m finally settling into this parent role a little?