One of the key differences in having a baby here in Florida as opposed to our experience in England is that over here, Daniel got his very first bath when only a couple of hours old in the hospital. A nurse took him away and with a basin of water and some baby soap, she sponged him down thoroughly, wrapped him in a towel, and made sure he was clean. Dexter never got such treatment, and as a result, his hair was stiff with blood and other fluids for a solid week after we brought him home.
I’ll be honest, though – part of me was a bit frustrated that we weren’t given the option to wash him ourselves. It seemed like it should be something the parents are given a chance to do for their child. But I guess in the end, it’s not a huge deal because it was more of a glorified sponge bath than a proper immersion.
As such, and as was the case with Dexter, Baby Daniel’s first official bath was given to him by his excited Daddy and Grandma in the kitchen sink.
I knew how much it meant to Mark to be the one to give the first bath, and while we had to wait several days for the umbilical cord to fall off, I promised him over and over that I would let him be the one to do it. Since I get to feed the baby, it feels right that Mark should get to take care of him in a very personal way. Changing diapers and clothing isn’t really enough to form that extra bond, but holding your naked infant son in a warm bath while cleansing his body of all impurities might just be.
And maybe it’s just the hormones that run through me at all times, but seeing the love and admiration on his face as he locked eyes with his son made me love that man all the more. Mark truly is an INVOLVED daddy, always wanting to be a part of things. Even as I may be laying on the couch cuddling our little guy, I notice the longing glances being thrown my way before he finally speaks up and asks tentatively, “Can I hold Daniel?”
My heart melts with love. For all of them really. Because I can see how much he wants to be a good father, and it brings me utter joy. My boys have the best daddy in the world.
Finally, bath time ended, and grandma got the honor of drying the baby off, while daddy emptied the sink. We don’t have any baby towels, so Daniel was wrapped up in Dexter’s monkey bath towel and swaddled up while I picked out an outfit.
As grandma took the opportunity for a few close cuddles, I readied a small area where I could lotion him up, put on his diaper and get him dressed. (There are no pictures of that, though, because like most moms, I’m the only one who ever thinks to document these things.)
In the end, after such a wonderful experience, Daniel was worn out. Warm and clean in his cradle, he slept solidly for about four hours afterward and it made us all feel good about the parts we played in this particular milestone.