"Don't forget... you need to wash the baby before you go to bed!"
So says Ellen, She Who Must be Obeyed. Nina and Richie, her siblings, were taking mommy out to see a concert, and that meant daddy was Home Alone. After three or four worried looks and six or seven times through the thirty-step instruction manual ("here's the number of the doctor, and the emergency number, and our number, and the ambulance, and here's the 911 number just in case...") mommy went on her merry, if worried way.
Eventually 9 p.m. rolled around and it was time to Wash the Baby, which I had not been allowed to do before. Hmm... I could just spray her with air freshener a few times and say I washed her. On careful consideration (and a second reading of the WARNINGS on the can), I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't be able to pull that off. So, upstairs we went.
An aside... Ellen ranks bathing just under chocolate and several steps above a husband on the enjoyment scale. To save time, she'd long since resorted to washing the baby at the same time she washed herself. Splashing and giggling and silly bubble bath hairstyles had become part of our nightly ritual. It also meant the actual baby bath had been squirreled away in the same place women hide all the rest of the stuff men only start looking for after their wives have left for a trip. So we were going to have to wash Olivia Ellen-style, which meant everyone was going to get a washing.
How to wash the baby in 25 easy steps:
- Endure 2 hours of being reminded You are Not Mommy. Chalk it up to early husband domestication practice.
- Go upstairs to gather up all essential bathing tools. Note complainant tones change from "You are Not Mommy!" to "Hey, come back here! You are Not Mommy!"
- Check off list: diaper, new clothes, baby wrap, baby towel, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby brush.
- Start water
- Retrieve complainant from Swing Chair of Doom. Make sure to observe proper shin-to-chair clearance as previous encounter was Unpleasant.
- Note miraculous transformation of complainant into MegaCuteHappyGrinningBabytm once running bath water is heard.
- Place baby on soft towel on floor. Note in amazement that this does not pull the pin, but in fact causes baby to simply wait patiently.
- Remember Empress's comment, "I keep the temperature just under what I like it at." Note Empress usually exits bath with skin same color as well-boiled lobster. Note this is several dozen degrees above tepid wimpy-man bath water temperature. Observe visibly excited but barely shivering MegaCuteHappyGrinningBabytm. Turn temperature up.
- Undress baby. Enter magic "naked baby!!!" time, involving many expressions of HappyGrin #6 and SillyGiggle #4.
- Undress self.
- Face Bathing Paradox #1: Who goes in first? If self is placed in tub first, baby is out of range. Remember, from observing bath time with Ellen, baby is only slightly less buoyant than glazed brick, so baby cannot go in first. Observe Ellen has scrubbed bathtub to teflon-like sheen during manic bathtub cleaning previous day, so dual-entry is not recommended.
- Solve Paradox #1 by placing self in tub, then dragging towel on which HappyNakedBaby is burbling on into range, then hoisting baby into tub.
- Observe bemused "you are definitely Not Mommy" look on baby's face as she thumps chest experimentally several times. Keep expecting her to say, "[phut] [phut] [phut]... is this thing on?!?"
- Note Ellen wasn't kidding... wet baby only slightly less slippery than crisco-covered watermelon. Remember to use two hands at all times.
- Observe plethora of bath
paraphernalia arranged attractively on tub edge. Remember the various squirt bottles, brushes, pads, and soaps are all used in proper washing of baby, in a specific order.
- Observe salamander-slick baby squirming merrily between clenched fingers.
- Use hands to wash baby.
- Teach baby new game of "baby torpedo!!!" Note bathtime can actually be fun.
- Face Bathing Paradox #2: Who gets out first? If self gets out first, baby does brick imitation. If baby gets out first, risk BlueBaby. If both get out first, risk first father-daughter gymnastics demonstration.
- Solve Bathing Paradox #2 by placing baby on towel and then quickly exiting tub, dripping warm water on baby.
- Use daddy's towel to dry baby
- Use baby's towel to dry daddy
- Observe surprised "certainly Not Mommy" look on baby's face. Become very grateful long-term memory formation will not occur for some time hence.
- Play "boobaBUUBBAbooba" game while dressing baby to distract from fact that naked time is now over.
- Finish bathing ritual by giving baby night-time feeding.
Pretty good for a first time effort, even if I did use three times as many towels as Ellen does!