When Oliver was a newborn, I remember watching tv and a Johnson & Johnson commercial came on with a mom giving her chubby, happy baby a bath in the kitchen sink. That baby was so cute and pudgy and splashing soap suds every where. I was like, “OMG! I am SO going to take a picture of my baby doing that!!!” When my first child was kitchen-sink-bath age I wasn’t that into photography. With my 2nd, I was into photography but believed selective color and a heavy vignette were the marks of a masterpiece. But now, now it was different. I could totally see light and composition and knew how to take a decent picture. As I held brand new baby Oliver in my arms and the commercial faded to black, I nuzzled him and told him that once he was big enough to sit, smile, and slap the water we were going to have a little mommy and son photoshoot. It was going to be so beautiful and moving that Johnson & Johnson himself would be knocking on my door for rights to the digital file.
Well, I left a couple of minor details out of my pipe dream.
1. I had three kids
2. I didn’t have a dishwasher
Now, I am pretty hardcore about keeping the dishes washed. I hand-wash them after every meal and usually a couple of times in between, but I am not a fan of drying (ain’t nobody got time for that). I simply leave the dishes to air dry until the next time I am washing. Then I put the dry dishes away. Wash the new dirty dishes. Leave them to dry. And the cycle continues. As the months went on, I thought of the Johnson & Johnson happy baby commercial often. Telling myself, “Ah, tomorrow. Tomorrow when the evening light is gloriously golden, I will put the dishes away, scrub the sink, and plop my precious baby in the sudsy water. It.will.be.magical.”
A few weeks ago, Oliver moved out of his crib into a big boy bed. It was one of those bittersweet parenting moments where time felt like it was slipping through my fingers. Life was moving too quickly. As I began to replay Oliver’s baby milestones in my mind, I realized, we never did it. The bath! I never found time to fill it with lavender scented soap and watch him squeal with delight as he squished the bubbles between his chubby fingers. The next day, as the warm springtime sun was setting, I haphazardly shoved all of the dishes in the cabinets, took a magic eraser to the stainless steel, and stripped Oliver of his Batman t-shirt and diaper. I placed him in the sink, so excited about the magic that was about to happen, when I realized something was wrong.
“Er, well, just kind of turn your body this way, Oliver. Yeah, like that. Okay, now just sit down. Watch out for the faucet. Oops. No no, just sit down. It’s ok! Don’t cry. It’s ok! Just sit down! SIT DOWN!!!”
I realized I missed it. The Johnson & Johnson moment was gone. Oliver looked up at me with furiously confused puppy dog eyes, and quietly said, “Down?”