Bathtubs, Bubbles and Belief

by Jennifer on July 8, 2015

The smell of baby soap mingled with the sounds of bath water lapping against the sides of the tub, Baby E’s feet rhythmically slapping the water’s surface and the squeaking of Little Boy S’s skin as he wiggled around in his water-bound confinement.

I watched their faces, so very alike, hers a reminder of what his looked like just a few short years ago.

I tackled Little Boy S’s hair first, pouring water over his head from the Eskimo Joe’s cup my friend Sarah brought us from Oklahoma, then soap, and more water.  Baby E looked on, fingers firmly planted in her mouth, her feet periodically beating against the side of the bath seat.

When the squirming and dripping and a cursory drying were complete, S turned to look at Baby E and there was a noticeable shift in his mood as he settled and became much more calm.  Picking up the tiny, waterlogged, heart-print washcloth, he began to squeeze out the excess water.

“I need to wash Baby Elizabeth.”

I smiled and nodded that it was okay.

I watched while that four-year-old boy, having just finished massacring zombies in his play room before throwing down his knight armor and proudly declaring, “I’m a mad man!”, calmly and lovingly washed his baby sister’s belly, arm (just one) and leg (again, just one).

I never cease to be amazed by the sibling relationship.  It is something I never really expected while pregnant with S and something I worried about continuously while pregnant with E.  I worried that the boys would resent the addition of a new baby, with all the requisite noise and inconveniences and parental attention that would now be divided by three.

I worried S would begrudge her the need she would have of me and her constant presence in his Mommy’s arms, a space that was firmly his own territory from birth.

“We need soap for her belly button. I need to clean her belly button.”

I poured the soap into his hand and he gently rubbed in on her belly before taking the washcloth and scrubbing it into her belly button.

E looked up at his face, her giggles bubbling throughout the bathroom.

Sometimes our children surprise us in the most wonderful ways.  What we think, or rather expect…what we believe will be true…It is a prideful mistake to believe our expectations about the behavior of another human being bear merit beyond the confines of our our own imagination.

“Mommy, I love Elizabeth.”

“I know you do, baby.”


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Mamarific July 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm

I love this, sniff, sniff! It’s wonderful how our kids surprise us in these tender ways.
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