Monday, January 25, 2016

Giving the Baby a Bath

It's a humble task, this bathing of a baby.
There's nothing glamorous about leaning over a tub, perhaps with an aching back, to pour water on your baby and rub him gently with baby soap and rinse him off, all while holding his head up so he doesn't drown.  Nobody notices, or thanks you, or puts your name in the newspaper for performing such a lowly duty.
But when you give a baby a bath, you join an extraordinarily long line of people--mostly women--who have bathed their babies.  Jesus of Nazareth was bathed.  So were Moses, Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Galileo, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, and Henry Ford.  Maybe not as often as I bathe my little one; but at some point, someone--mother, nurse, nanny, grandmother--cleaned the bodies of the tiny babies who grew up to be those big, important people.
I'm feeling a little extra nostalgic today because this morning, I gave Benjamin a bath.  In the middle of all the excitement recently of a big snowfall and fun times of sledding with the neighbors, of puppies and the joy of naming them and watching them grow, of more time at home as a family and Jeff and the boys playing Ticket to Ride while I pop popcorn and cut up the middle of all of that, a baby still needs to be bathed--and fed and changed and all of the tasks that give and support life for the smallest human in our household.
But today, for the first time, I gave him a bath in a bath ring that he can sit up in.  It would seem that my days of bathing babies in this blue infant tub are over.
And so, to memorialize this time of my life when I stooped over a tub to wash a precious tiny body and to honor the other bath-givers, including my own mother, who so carefully keep or kept little ones safe while they get clean, I post these pictures from a month or two (or more?) ago.
Benjamin, it is an honor to be the one to wash you; and your fresh, clean scent is the best reward I could ever desire for doing such an unpretentious task.  I love you, my clean boy!  And I will love you when you're dirty, and I will wash you again, and you will be clean!  :)

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