The Gift of Baths

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.

Too old.

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.

This post is sponsored by DisneyBaby. I’ll be joining the DisneyBaby blogging team this month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories with you over there — stay tuned for more details.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • neal call

    Also, there’s nothing quite like a sink bath, and it looks like you’ve got a pretty sweet set-up there. You don’t have to do the crouching, hunching, knee destroying thing that happens in a bathtub. He clearly loves it.

    • John Cave Osborne

      neal — true all that re: the sink set up. with you 100%. it’s actually such a good set up that we still, every now and then, bathe the triplets in it and they’re almost five! hey, hope you got the comment i left you on the post you wrote for DadCentric. very thoughtful, well written stuff. you’re an excellent writer and that’s my #1 thing. so, well done, indeed. 

      • neal call

        Thanks for looking it up! Just checked over there. Writing’s a thankless job 99% of the time. And then someone somewhere says something that puts you on the top of the world and keeps you going. Now if I could just get myself one of those sinks…

  • Jenn

    That photo at the end is the cutest I’ve seen in months! 
    My husband was (is) the bath guy at our house too. When the kids were younger, he would always say that it was his favorite time with them, since it gave him a chance to bond.

    • John Cave Osborne

      it is a chance to bond and good for your husband for realizing just that and making the most of it.

  • Rvangundy

    Love these posts about your relationship with your youngest. Just comparing the photos of this latest post with your previous one Luke has definately grown up. Babies sure do change every day it seems and I can see how after a week you feel like he’s so different in many ways.

    • John Cave Osborne

      yes, robin, isn’t it crazy that he’s changed so much in just two months? i can’t believe his birthday is coming up. (7/21 — a GREAT football date, no?)

  • Becca

     So cute!! Bath time is a bonding time. Just like my hubby he used to bath
    my kids. Enjoy the bath time John 😉

    • John Cave Osborne

      i totally agree that bath time is bonding time. forgot how much i loved giving the triplets a bath and so glad Luke’s reminded me. thanks for stopping by!