Tristan’s First Bath


So he’s 3 weeks old, and it can’t be his “first” bath, but Saturday Dec. 19 was the first time I bathed my first grandson, Tristan Sebers.

I think I can safely say one of us enjoyed it more than the other—one of us cried the whole time, while the other did not mind the experience at all.

Tres Ninos

The girls--Liz and Nikayla--seem to be rejecting the one boy, Tristan. A photo from Dec. 19.

I think there is a balance to tolerating a baby’s cries. On the one hand, nobody should want another human, particularly the smallest, most vulnerable ones, to suffer needlessly. On the other hand, I think a new parent will go quickly insane, develop nervous tics and ulcers and have a generally miserable time if he or she doesn’t learn that crying is normal and OK.

Tristan crying in the tub is OK, as long as grandpa was careful and checked the water temperature (he was) and was careful on the type and amount of soap used (very mild stuff made for bathing newborns, and no, I didn’t squirt it in his eyes).

The crying was pro forma, the kind of crying a parent with experience hears and says “hmm, Tristan’s getting a bath” rather than “oh my God, are rats eating my child?”

Even if it involved a short, tearfully noisy interlude, the bath ended up with one of the nicest things available on this planet—a freshly bathed baby. Little else smells so nice (and we all know babies don’t ALWAYS smell nice) or is as much fun to hold.

Tristan lived up to the baby imperative—he was uber cute following the bath.

So, first bath was OK. It was a contrast with his older sister’s bath which had immediately preceded it—Nikayla loves to splash and play in the water, and rather than crying, her baths involve chuckles, splooshes and the occasional non-stop almost wordless soliloquy she specializes in.

Anyway, Tristan’s “first” bath got me thinking of how many first’s lie ahead of this infant boy whom Katy, his mother, calls “little man.”

Someday, he’ll look back on his first:

• Time that he rolled over.
• Word. “Dada” could be a strong contender, but so is “Optimus Prime.”
• Spontaneous chuckle. He’s not grinning as much as his older cousin Liz, yet, but Liz is a 2-month old. A 3-week old is a relative newborn by comparison, and even if he can’t match Elizabeth smile for smile, he definitely flashes a grin fairly often.
• Step. What a surprise that will be, and the start of a bruising time period in his life.
• Situation in which Nikayla manages to blame him for some thing she did. Like Theresa deciding to write or carve “Katy.” Or Amanda testing the theory that a stolen pacifier=an entertainingly noisy younger sister.
• First deliberate animal noise. He already squeaks a lot, like a little toy hippo or maybe it’s a sound that many young mammals make, but his older sister can meow like a cat, bark like a dog or roar like a fearless dragon. Someday, in the not terribly distant future, Tristan will too. Probably at and with Nikayla.
• First crush, first love, first date, first child … the whole “circle of life” adventure. It makes me think, for some reason, of the line in “Love Actually” when the stepfather and stepson are talking and the stepson admits that one reason for his sadness is he has fallen in love with a girl at school. To which, the stepfather says he is relieved because he though it was something more serious, and the stepson says something like: “More serious that the total agony of love?”

Anyway, there’s a whole world of adventures awaiting the little man. All in good time.

For now, it’s enough for him to smell sweet after a noisy bath. Today, Dec. 20, I got to hold Tristan while Audrey put Nikayla to bed. The little man sacked out. It’s awfully nice to cuddle with a warm sleeping baby, and I almost nodded off myself.

Last summer, when I occasionally babysat Nikayla in the afternoon, she and I would sometimes end up reading a few books on the family room couch and them snoozing there.

She was an excellent nap buddy.

Somehow, I bet next summer Tristan will be, too. Another adventure to look forward to.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Tristan’s First Bath

  1. Ah, the first bath. Remember bathing our niece, Barbara? As I recall there was a turning upside down to rinse her hair incident, and of course there was the electrical tape. And yet she still survives. Strange that she moved to a whole other continent …
    You were the original “carve your sister’s name into some surface to get her in trouble” child. I didn’t get blamed though, because you misspelled my name. Some things never change.
    Your grandchildren are definitely cute, and a collection of joys to behold. Mine aren’t babies anymore, but they’re still awfully cute.

  2. Pat

    Ah, the electrical tape!

    Hey, do any of you remember the old porcelain-top table that used to be used as a changing table? One of my very early memories was being laid on it to have my diaper changed, and how shockingly cold it was against my skin. I’ve got the table top in my garage now.

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