Since the day Ben first had a bath, it was […]
Since the day Ben first had a bath, it was pretty clear that he loves them. His first bath was the first time I saw him straighten his little legs, the first time I saw a hint of what would become his beautiful smile, the first time I saw a little of who he is as an individual. It has always calmed him, and he’s loves the warm water suspending him.
But bathtime has always consisted of either of us holding his tiny little body while leaning over the tub—or one of us in the bath with him, holding him. So although it has always been a lovely time for him, he’s not been able to enjoy it on his own. However, because he is growing so fast and getting so big, my partner thought of a new idea of how to bath him, and it’s made bathtime so much more fun for all of us. It may be the best part of his day now; it certainly is mine.
But what is this new idea, I hear you ask?
Well this revolutionary genius idea that I wish I could claim but clearly cannot is this: Instead of filling the bath to a waist high depth when he is sat up and we hold him as he floats or one of us is sitting in with him, keep it shallow, really shallow (like just up to the back of his ear as he lies down), and let him wiggle without being constantly supported. The reason my other half thought it might work is because Ben loves his own space sometimes, so he can stretch and kick about and be his own person—and he loves bathtime. She thought if he could have his own space in the bath he might be even happier, and yet again she was absolutely spot on.
It still amazes me how natural she is as a mummy.
It sounds like such a simple idea to just lay him on the bottom and let go but as all us new(ish) parents know, letting go of our little ones is not so easy. I’m not saying we were going to leave him too it, we still sit beside him, talking to him, but he would have more freedom to move unrestricted.
So, last week we tried it. We ran a warm, shallow bath and laid the little man in it, his head resting on the bottom, our hands hovering close by in case he decided it was the perfect moment to roll over. What happened was nothing short of amazing.
He started to kick in the water like he would do if lying on his playmat, and then he started to splash using his hands, first gently as we could see it all felt very new him, having a bit of freedom. But before we knew it he was flicking water everywhere and giggling like crazy. He looked like a bad dancer busting some moves—a bit like his daddy might on a night out, which of course made us laugh. Now every bathtime has become a move-busting extravaganza, which makes all three of us laugh every time.
If you have a baby at a similar age to ours, why not try it? It might be amazing for you, too. But please, just to be clear, don’t leave them unattended; we still keep our hands very close, just in case.
I find it incredible how this tiny 5-month-old baby of mine can make me laugh and see joy in the smallest things, like having a bath. He is the funniest person I have ever met, and he still shows me how to enjoy the little things.