Giving bath to a baby isn`t as easy as it is made out to be. More so, when two pair of watchful eyes are prying over your shoulder. Yesterday, Rekha and I ran into each other at home and the final verdict was that I wasn`t contributing much to our baby daughter`s upkeep.
Arguing that all the clothes she wore came from my money, didn`t hold water. Apparently, in a relationship providing money alone isn`t enough. One also needs to give time and I wasn`t giving that. Maybe, that`s why when it was time to bathe our baby daughter, the over-enthusiastic me blurted out: “Do you mind if I bathe her today?”
An ear-to-ear grin was accompanied by a “Sure, why not?” The promptness with which the approval came made me wonder if I had just walked into a trap. Only because we Rajans aren`t used to backing out did I stay put and decided to go ahead with the plan.
As we all do these days, I did a quick Google search on ‘How to bath a baby` and didn`t find much. There were articles on BabyCentre.com etc, but how much can text convey? A search for ‘How to bath a baby` in Youtube.com (for videos of course) yielded 8260 results….but not a single baby taking bath was an Indian, so I didn`t gather much there as well.
Swallowing my pride, I asked Rekha: “Where is the instructional manual that came with the baby?”
“Do you remember half of our relatives telling us that Rhea looks like a Chinese doll?”
“Yes, I remember. What about that?” I was a tad irritated.
“Then, you probably also remember that Chinese versions don`t come with instructional manuals. They are imitations.”
With nothing to follow, I decided to take the plunge. After removing Rhea`s clothes, I gently rubbed Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil on her Nandita Das like skin (now don`t ask me how I know how Nandita`s skin feels).
In a way, babies are also like machines….a well oiled baby works well. As soon as the oiling was done, Rhea pissed and soiled my t-shirt and shorts. Since I was anyway going to take bath after bathing my daughter, the higher authorities in my house decided to let me stay with a urea-drenched T-shirt and shorts.
After about ten minutes, I eased the baby into a small bath tub filled with really hot water. She splashed around for a while…but when she realized that the person bathing her was a novice, she started crying. The yellow duck in the small tub didn`t help. Neither did a promise of a visit to the zoo – perhaps, because she is just one year old and doesn`t understand a zoo.
The problem with bathing a kid is that, they keep on moving. It is like competing in a best handwriting contest when your pen is tied to the leg of a hen. I tried my best, but couldn`t save the soap water from entering her eyes – after which Rhea cried as if it were my fault. She definitely gets her anger from the mother.
Midway through, I was about to give up.
“Can you take over please? I am finding it difficult.” I pleaded.
“Would you find it as difficult if she wasn`t your daughter and she was at least 25 years older?” Rekha asked.
I just gave her a wry smile and continued to bathe my daughter.
The whole exercise took ten minutes….and only for about 30 seconds was Rhea at peace. Considering the slight temperature increase in the water, I suspect she was reliving herself at that point of time.
Anyway, I emerged out of the biggest challenge fatherhood could throw at me – besides, removing soiled diapers, washing soiled baby undies, and cleaning the beanbag after the baby pukes – victorious.
If you have a baby and plan to bathe him/her…or are pregnant and might end up bathing a baby soon enough, here is a video that could be useful. 🙂