Unlike many households, bath time has never been a major event in our house. For most people, the bed and bath routine is a soothing nightly staple. Not so for us, I’m afraid, and this is partly due to my eldest’s abhorrence of anything water related – “But I don’t wike a baf!!”she would wail from around eighteen months. Indeed, from birth, her piercing wails from the moment her precious little toes plunged into the tepid water told me pretty much the same thing. Bath times, much like meal times (a topic for a later date), would serve a purely perfunctory purpose in our little abode.
I can’t place all of the blame at my daughter’s door, however. There is a strong genetic link as legend has it that her father was also less than partial to a bath back in the day. Oh yes indeedy, a self-cleaning baby was he! So much so that from around the age of ten a finger under a running shower would suffice. (If we ever get to that stage with Alizée, a bout of hypnotherapy might be in order…)
And then there is the small issue of my own abject, suffocating, intoxicating, all-consuming fear that something terrible would happen to my perfect, precious yet oh so slippery little bundle should I linger about the bathtub. So mind racing, hands trembling, I would dip, splash, wrap and go, often with a prayer muttered under my breath that my next child would somehow evolve into a self-cleaning being (just like dad 🤣) so as I might be spared the never-ending weekly ordeal!
No such luck, however! The birth of my second daughter heralded added complications. On the plus side, she was less of a fussy baby than my eldest. So at the very least, we didn’t have to endure the banshee like wails every time the tepid (yes, I did use a bath thermometer to check, people!) water touched her baby soft skin.
On the minus side, from the very moment she was born, my darling Elodie has been majorly accident prone. I swear, accidents just find her and I have absolutely no clue how… To be little and fragile and precious and slippery is one thing but to be little and fragile and precious and accident prone (and in the company of a jealous big sister!!) is a whole other level of neurosis. So definitely no loitering about the bathtub with two little ones for me!
And then my beautiful baby boy was born! A lot more laid back in nature than his sisters so there has definitely been little or no wailing from him come bath time. On the other hand, he has been little and fragile and precious and slippery to the point that Mostly Mum ended up pouring sudsy bath water into his wondrous agape mouth while attempting to wash his hair at five months old (we have a lot of hair in our family!). Naturally, Baby C (being a stereotypical constantly hungry boy) happily drank said bath water. So Mostly Mum naturally reacted by googling: “Think I poisoned baby with bath water!!!!” Was very much relieved to discover that numerous Mumsnetters had done the exact same thing and their babies were apparently unscathed so the crisis was momentarily averted….
Fast forward to tonight and to save time on a school night I reluctantly decided to bathe all three together. (A bit of a crazy idea some might say but am so exhausted that am totally beyond logic and reason…) So once the bath was run, copious amounts of bath foam added, rubber ducks in place bobbing along aimlessly through the glistening white foam, I nervously helped the older ones in before gingerly lowering their baby brother into the space between them… And that was when the magic happened…. Instead of tortured wails… glorious giggles rang out as all three children splashed their little hands and toes in unison. No fighting, no tears, no confounded accidents, no thumping hearts, just fun, laughter and luxuriating in the pure bliss of the scene. I have finally arrived, people! Bath time might actually become a nightly event in our house… Maybe, just maybe, we are normal after all!!!