Thursday, October 10, 2013

Duck Fluff and Mom Guilt

Even though my first baby was born a scant three years ago, and even though I did my level best to record every conceivable moment of his life via this blog, there are many things that you forget about having a new baby in the house. Things like how unbelievably tiny they are, how their skin is so soft it feels like you are caressing air, and how freshly-laundered baby hair is as downy as duck fluff.

I was reminded of this last one the other day, when we gave BB his first official immersed-in-the-water (sort of) bath.

This experience was not much like LO's first bath:

For one thing, this time around we did not feel the need to consult a book for instructions on how to wash an infant. (Seriously, why did we need that three years ago? The instructions were basically: Place baby in water. Apply soap. Rinse. Dry. Repeat as needed throughout childhood.)

For another, we actually had a baby tub and did not have to juggle a slippery infant in a too-deep bathroom sink while also attempting to keep a camera from also falling into the drink.

But the biggest difference between these two momentous baths was how they went down. I recall LO's bath being a fun and festive affair, which J and I treated with the level of reverence it deserved as a An Important Occasion.

BB, on the other hand, got a rapid-fire, practical bathing shoehorned in between LO's bedtime and J's and my nightly passing out from fatigue. Yes, we took pictures, but they were sort of an afterthought.

Of course, that's the conundrum of having your second child. By that point, you're more seasoned and (potentially) better parents--but you no longer have the time or energy to treat milestones with the same gravity and enjoyment you did with your firstborn. And so begins the potential for sibling rivalry when your second-born realizes there is no photographic record of his childhood in between birth and first grade--when the school started taking pictures of him, while the firstborn has three separate photo albums of just of his first week alone.

As a second-born child myself, I'm already on DefCon 1 level alert for possibilities of BB feeling slighted by his birth order. We already have fewer pictures of him than we did of LO at this age. I've already blogged about him infinitely less than I did about LO at this age. (Which, quite frankly, he could be pleased about in the coming years). Considering the fact that I treated BB's first bath as a simple practical matter rather than a landmark occasion, I felt that the least we could do was take some pictures.

(And of course, looking over LO's first bath photos, it's now clear that we took less than half as many pictures this time around. Sigh).

But once BB was clean and dry and dressed in his jammies, I was delighted to see his hair dry into a familiar, yet forgotten, level-of-softness. All night, I nuzzled BB's duck fluffy head, and took a good snork of the lovely scent of new baby plus baby shampoo.

Perhaps we'll have fewer pictures of BB and blog posts about him over the coming weeks, months, and years. I've got things to do and toddlers to wrangle along with a baby to keep warm and fed and dry, which leaves a lot less time for blogging and picture taking. And as a younger sibling/Mom, I have no doubt that I will feel bad about that from time to time.

But just because BB won't have the sheer volume of digital record-keeping available for him to know that I thought he was the cat's pajamas, he will have random duck fluff moments with me--the moments when I realize that I had forgotten something about how my babies grow up, and I take the time to savor it.

With a big ol' snork of his sweet-smelling duck fluff.

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