I’m the bath guy, y’all. Have been for a good portion of my parenting life. That’s not to say that Caroline doesn’t administer baths. She certainly does. More than I have, if I had to guess (though I bet it’s close). Regardless, there have been little spurts here and there where I’ve been the guy in charge of all things squeaky and clean. And we’re currently in the middle of one such spurt. Which means I’m master of the washcloth, thank you very much.
I used to love giving the triplets a bath when they were Luke’s age for two primary reasons. First, I would usually bathe them individually, which meant I got to spend precious solo time with each. And second, because these baths went down during the witching hour, time was of the essence. Dilly dally too long and you’ve got yourself a meltdown fueled by overtired triplets. And that meant that I had to be quick and efficient with each bath which was a challenge. And I love challenges.
Fast forward to today and not much has changed in that I love giving Luke a bath. I think it’s my very favorite activity with him. And, as was the case with the triplets, part of the reason is because of the incredible one-on-one time I get to spend with him. But with Luke, there’s never anyone waiting on deck for his or her bath. It’s just him. So time’s never a factor.
Sure, I loved the challenge of the back-to-back-to-back baths the triplets required. But I’ve found that I love the comparatively carefree baths with Luke even more. So if he wants to take some extra time and splash around, for example?
It’s simply not a problem. He can do just that. So Have at it, I’ll tell him. Because it’s truly our time. Just the two of us, buddy. We don’t have to defer to anyone or anything! Not even a stopwatch.
Having a surprise child pop onto your radar when you have four kids already, including toddler triplets, when you’re well past 40 is a trying thing psychology. So while I was thrilled that Luke was on his way, I was also scared that we’d not be able to keep up with everything. That our pace would go from frantic to preposterous. That we’d be too taxed to do a good job with him and everyone else. That we’d be spread too thin. Too worn out.
I shared those concerns with a close friend once, and she told me that she thought Luke was a gift from God intended specifically for me because (since Alli is my stepdaughter and I didn’t know her as a baby) through him, I would finally have a chance to be with just one baby as opposed to three. So I could soak up every little thing about that child. And not constantly be looking over my shoulder. Or comparing him to the built-in measuring sticks sitting across the room.
At first I didn’t quite understand what she meant. I mean, the triplets are my people and their infancy is one of the most profound and joyous eras of my life. And it always will be. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
Even so, these baths with Luke do feel like a gift — one I could easily take for granted if I’m not careful. So careful I’ll be. Because I totally get what my friend was talking about. And, what’s more?
I think Luke does, too.