The Second First Bath

This past weekend we gave Gracie her first real bath. We’ve been giving her sponge baths, but she still had her little belly button nub that hadn’t fallen out yet so we couldn’t put her in a bathtub yet. But she dropped her nubby last week and so this weekend we were GO FOR BATH TIME.

(Side note: How gross is the whole newborn belly button thing, right? It looks like they’ve got an ice pop sticking out of their stomach. So weird.)

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I remember when we gave Bean his first bath. I was a wreck. I thought he was going to drown in two inches of water with both his parents standing right there next to him. I think he sensed my anxiety.

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With Gracie, I was way more prepared. That seems to be the mantra of second-time parents. In fact, I was actually excited. Gracie needed a little bath. She was starting to lose that new car smell. I mean, new baby smell.

(Side note: Why do all babies come out smelling like Johnson & Johnson? It’s one of God’s most good-smelling miracles.)

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Turns out, Gracie loves baths. Which is another trait that confirms she is indeed my child. She just cooed and sighed and for just a split second I thought she might even fall asleep.

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It was actually a lot of fun giving Gracie her first bath. I knew this time to put a wet hand towel in the bathtub to keep her from slipping around. And I knew this time to put another wet towel over the parts we weren’t washing to keep her warm.

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I felt like a professional mom. With Bean, I was still a mom. I was a pretty darn good mom, too. But I was a first time mom of a newborn. I needed training wheels. I needed a book to tell me how to do the bath. I needed a written schedule to remind me when to feed/diaper/wash. I needed a phone call from my mom every now and then telling me I was doing good. But with the second, I’ve kicked my training wheels to the curb. Yeah, I fall over sometimes. Sure, I lose my balance. And, occasionally, I crash into things. But for the most part, I’m moving and shaking all on my own.

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And it’s not that I know more now than I did then. Each baby is different and so being Gracie’s mom is just as new as it was to be Bean’s mom. But this time around, I’m trusting my instincts more. I’m more confident in myself. It really has nothing to do with the baby. It’s about how I see myself. And I think I’m doing just fine.

(Side note: Gracie doesn’t like cold water. Message received.)

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21 Thoughts to “The Second First Bath”

  1. Yep. That’s the blessing of the second baby – confidence and relaxation. I always feel a little sorry for parents of only kids because they never get that feeling.
    Of course, they have more time and money so I guess it all even out. 🙂

  2. Holey! This takes me back! My Aunt Nan gave Nate his first bath because I was a wreck. And Nate’s Mam (grandma) gave him his 2nd bath because Chad and I still couldn’t figure it out. Yes. I was convinced he would drown or slip down the drain or something else silly. Now I know much better. Way to clean up Gracie Girl, mama! I love how different she looks from Bean and yet I can see the resemblance. You guys make cute babies!!! 🙂

  3. Jen

    I’ve never commented before, but today I definitely had to speak up and just tell you how much you are helping to make me so excited for the birth of our second child (due in August). I know that things aren’t going to be easy with two, but reading all of your recent entries is making me realize that while it might not be easy, it’s POSSIBLE, and there are going to be so many moments to enjoy. So thanks for that. I really love your blog. Congratulations on your sweet boy and girl.

  4. I was just like you the first time I bathed my baby girl. She was just so darn slippery! My baby was born with tons of hair, which was starting to get icky, so we just had to do it. I am glad to read that you feel more confident this time around – I hope I do, too!

  5. Isn’t it amazing how fast all of that stuff just comes back to you the second time around? You are a total pro!

  6. Oh Godness how I studied for that first bath! I attended the hospitals Baby care class just for that reason. But I still held onto the handbook the sent me home with like the Bible itself. All I kept thinking was “baby is slippery when Wet” over and over and over. Now I got that down.

  7. I love your metaphors for parenthood 🙂

  8. AND you’re even doing service announcements for those of us soon-to-be first timers! Thanks for the wash-cloth-under-baby tip!

  9. I’m so happy Gracie loves bath time! Sullivan does too which makes our evenings so much better. He’d happily kick and play there all day if we’d let him. I’m relieved to know that it gets easier with the second one because wow is the first one a puzzle. I’m still referring to baby books and Mike yells at me to put them down. Still working on that confidence. Bean and Gracie have the same beautiful eyes 🙂

  10. Tressa

    Think of how confident you’ll feel with baby #3!!! 😉 I see some resemblance in brother and sister in these pictures! Gracie’s strawberry blonde hair is so very precious!

  11. Look at those little toes! 😉 Got to love that baby smell (the good kind, anyway). I’m storing away your tips (the washcloth over the parts you aren’t washing, etc) for when it’s my turn! Can’t wait!

  12. Angela

    I really liked this post:)
    Well written with a great metaphor.

    P.S I wish I had a whale tub like that 😉

  13. Yay for kicking off the training wheels! The phone call you needed from your mom to tell you you were doing a good job is what I look for in blogging- someone to let us know they’ve been through it, gotten through it, and you’re doing ok!

  14. Rebekah

    Reading your posts since having Gracie has me even more excited for our baby #2 coming in August than I already was. I have been a little nervous but I know its going to be so much easier since I kind of already know what I am doing (I think). Also, she is just toooo cute! Love her.

  15. Aww Gracie. I can’t believe how different yet how similar she looks like Bean-man. ps- if you put a towel on the other parts, doesn’t it get cold? Do you poor more water on? We just keep pouring new water on top…Ok, being a first time mom is hard 🙁

  16. She is adorable, I miss the newborn stage. Knowing this is the last time you’re going through all these “firsts,” does it make it harder, or make you savor it more?

  17. Amy

    Adorable! I was so excited about bathing my son- I hated the bellybutton thing, everytime towards the end, when I had to change his nappy, I gagged to look at it (great mother, huh? :P)

  18. Melissa W.

    Your current posts are cracking me up… they are reminding me of myself when I became a mommy of 2… I am definitely sooo much more confident the 2nd time around… I don’t stress about the same things I did… I am enjoying the baby stuff much more than I did the first time because I now know how fast they really do grow up… And you also know that the tougher times such as the nighttime feedings, sleepless nights, etc. are temporary and they don’t last forever! Congrats on taking the training wheels off! Enjoy this time!

  19. Jb

    Please please please just be careful…I have heard terrible things about the slings (things I don’t even want to say) but she is very young and her neck is not very strong…..they say the slings are bad and the bjorns are good, the baby is able to turn their head freely where they can’t do that in the sling. (not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just tring to keep Grace safe)

  20. JM

    Did you know the Japanese keep the belly button thingy as a tradition? My coworker from Japan said it’s to remind you of your origin- and they keep it in a small keepsake box. It even inspired me to try to keep Leo’s, but I quickly lost it without the proper accessory box! Don’t think I’ll be following that tradition anymore.. 🙂

  21. so I totally didn’t know that you were supposed to put a hand towel in the bathtub so they don’t slip…and I also didn’t know to put a towel over the parts you’re not washing to keep them warm! Guess I’ll know for round 2. And I know exactly what you mean with needing a written schedule to remember bath/diaper/feedings for the first one. I was completely swamped trying to keep up with everything I was supposed to do.

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