Sunday, May 07, 2006
Tub time ... Trials & Tribulations
Bath time is a BIG event at our house.
In the early days, we would bathe the babies ... one at a time, in an infant tub that rested on the kitchen counter. William was the first baby home from the hospital and his initial "bathing" experience was a call for *all hands on deck*. It took three adults ... Charlie, Noni and myself, to bathe one, 4.5-pound infant. I have to give a lot of credit to Noni (my mom) ... had she not been here, I doubt Charlie and I would have had the courage to bathe our newborn son. We probably would have opted for sponge baths until he was old enough to shower on his own.
Even with the experience of Noni, our first bath wasn't a seamless event. We had lots of crying and fretting by a new mom (to the point of hysteria) as to whether my preemie was stable enough in what appeared to be a HUGE infant tub. Was the water too hot, too cold ... and how in the world were we suppose to wash the hair atop his tiny head? Needless to say, William didn't care too much for his first aquatic experience at home - and neither did I.
With time and lots of practice, we became more proficient at bathing babies. The infant tub was moved from the counter to our oversized sink, where it fit perfectly. We invested in a foam pad that went inside the infant tub which helped to keep the babies stable and made bath time a more comfortable endeavor.
Like everything else in our lives, we had an assembly line in place to assist with our bath time production. Every other night, I'd bathe a baby and get them dried off, lotioned and dressed on our kitchen counter - while Charlie entertained the other two babies. When one was finished - they'd get a bottle from Dad, while I moved on to the next baby in que. Everyone loved bath time. Mom, Dad ... baby 1, 2 and 3.
But as the babies grew, so did their desire to sit up and look at the world around them. Reclining in an infant tub held about as much appeal as having their nose suctioned.
Around this time, we picked up a few bath rings that we thought might truly simplify our lives. Not only would the babies get to increase their "tub time", they would have the opportunity to splash with each other, and we would have the advantage of bathing all three babies ... at once. This was efficiency at it's finest!
Our communal bathing experience was great ... for a while. After two months of unbridled glee in the tub, William was struck by a sudden and unexplained fear of water. Actually, in hindsight, I think his fear could be attributed to the absence of his tub ring. (Once the babies were trying to stand up in the rings, we agreed the time had come to pack them away).
Charlie and I had fallen in to the (bad) habit of getting the babies ready, all at once, for their bath. Clothes and diapers would be removed and we'd let them stand by the side of the tub watching it fill with water. One fateful night in January, we had a particularly messy spaghetti dinner. On this particular night, William was loaded in to the tub first. He no sooner touched the water when he started to screech. I came running in from the kitchen (where I was trying to clean up from the particularly messy spaghetti dinner) and attempted to assist. William was beyond consolation. So ... I stripped down and jumped in the tub with him. (What else was I to do?) As I was trying to calm William down, I looked up and noticed that Carolyn sprung a leak ... right there on the bathroom floor. Charlie scooped her up and put her in the tub with us ... and as he was turning to pick up Elizabeth ... she sprung a leak, too. (Shame on us for leaving them standing in the bathroom without any diapers and the sounds of a tub filling with water!!).
I managed to wash all three babies with one hand - because the other hand was tied up holding William. Without the tub rings, I had babies slipping and sliding all over the place. After everyone was thoroughly cleaned, Charlie came in and plucked Carolyn and Elizabeth out of the tub to towel off and dress them. In the midst of this, but before he was removed from the tub, a laxative that I had given to William earlier in the day - kicked in. I quickly hopped out of the tub with a soaking, pooping baby in my arms ... and directly in to a puddle of who-knows-what.
After this experience ... we reconsidered communal tub time.
The challenge lately has been that our babies LOVE taking a bath. There is no better way to calm down a fussy baby then to stick them in a sink full of warm, soapy water. On the flip side ... there is no better way to send a baby over the edge and in to a complete tantrum ... then to take them out of a sink full of warm, soapy water.
Since William developed a fear of the big bath tub (and the ring-free-lifestyle), we had opted to bathe everyone in the sink again. This time without their reclining infant tub or tub ring ... figuring this would be a good way for them to practice their stability and balance.
Owing to the fact that bath time is often the highlight of our babies' day ... we have been trying to maximize their bathing time. If we could fit three babies in our kitchen sink, we'd do it. But because we can't ... the picture usually involves two babies that are soaking happily, while the third stands beneath the sink and screams at the bathers and the bathee.
Tonight, we decided that the time was ripe for another communal bathing experience, and ... it went splendidly. (Whether or not communal bathing continues to go so well is yet to be seen. Stay tuned).
We discovered that the key is to leave the babies' diapers on until the very last possible moment. That way, we don't have any leaks sprung unexpectedly ... resulting in numerous puddles appearing around the bathroom floor. Everyone had the advantage of soaking for a longer period of time, at the same time, and there were smiles ... all around. Until it was time to come out.