I like to think we’re picking up on this parenting thing pretty quickly. I can change a diaper in low light at 3am without getting sprayed with shit. Meg can aim her boobs with sniper like precision when it comes to feeding. I’ve perfected sitting her on my lap while either on the computer or playing XBox and only dropped her once in the process. This baby stuff really isn’t all that hard.

But this bath thing is kicking our asses.

In the beginning, things were easy. Before her cord fell off, we were forced into giving her sponge baths. Those went fine; even the one time she shit on the kitchen counter wasn’t difficult to recover from. She’d happily kick and coo and grunt, and Meg and I were able to quickly move around each other to get it done.

Based on how the nurses, pediatricians, and books phrased it, the fact that we weren’t allowed to submerge her in water until after the cord fell off made it sound like a bath was the ideal venue for washing her. So it should come as no surprise that once her belly button was fully healed, we were more than excited to break out the bath (and for my enjoyment, the bath toys) and finally give the child a real bath.

Our excitement didn’t last long. Let me see if I can properly describe the situation. The bath we have has an incline on one side, at the bottom of which is a stump. The idea, or so I would have assumed, is that the kid lays on the incline, with the stump stopping her butt from sliding further down the tub and fully submerging her.

This is all in theory.

Realistically, the child, who can’t even crawl yet, can maneuver herself around the stump, sliding all over the damn place. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that once her butt has been soaped up, she’s got even less friction to keep her in place. She managed to swivel her hips enough to slide out to one of the sides of the stump and down the ramp. To those of you who understand jiu-jitsu, realize she’s going to be scary good at swiveling into an arm bar from guard.

Naturally, all of our frantic attempts to keep Leanne’s head above water prolong the length of the bath. That works against us; time is not our friend in bath time.

Sunday night, for instance, we were almost completely done with the bath. We had her whole body good and clean, as well as washing her hair. By the way, I tried to get pictures of a little shampoo mohawk, but her hair just doesn’t have the thickness. Yet. The minute I can, you can bet your ass there’s going to be a full gallery of shampoo mohawk pictures on this site.

I had just finished lifting Leanne up so Meg could wash the shampoo out of the back of her hair when I heard a very loud, very bass driven noise emanate from the tub. Meg, showing some restraint, says “Damnit.” I already knew the story before she told it to me. I quickly take Leanne out of the increasingly yellow/brown water and frantically look around for the closest place to sit her to protect against further expulsions. With no luck, I took off my shirt and wrapped it around her bottom; easier to wash a shirt than wipe shit off the refrigerator, stove, cabinets, and ceiling. It also didn’t matter because at bath time, Meg and I end up almost having taken a full bath anyway, so the shirt was already soaked.

This is the second bath in a row that ended up back on the kitchen counter as a sponge bath. And in case you haven’t already figured it out, the first time was due to the exact same reason.

So we’re on a research mission. Maybe she’s too small to be trying bathtub baths so soon. To all the mothers who have been commenting on the site, we’re looking for advice. I’m convinced the answer comes in the form of a cork, but Meg didn’t like that. And I’m not even going to tell you about the beating I got when I suggested using Achilles as an model for giving a bath. So both comments or using the contact link at the top are appreciated.

This past weekend was easily my favorite since Leanne was born for one simple reason: we didn’t schedule any visitors. It wasn’t due to lack of interest, in fact, taking this weekend off padded the queue a little bit further. Instead, it was largely due to my fleeting patience with people. As I learned a while ago, I’m very much an introvert, and the constant invasion of perpetually late visitors was taking a serious toll on me.

Actually, saying we had no visitors isn’t exactly accurate. My mom called on Friday night.

“Hey, I was thinking that I didn’t have to just come down during the day during the week. I could come on weekends. Like Saturdays. Hey, isn’t tomorrow a Saturday? I could come tomorrow night and you and Meg could go out.”

“Thinly veiled” doesn’t do justice to her motivations. Beyond simply trying to procure some more granddaughter time, her calculated offer not only guaranteed uninterrupted face time, but granted her a reason to feed Leanne a bottle. I smiled at both my mother’s transparency as well as the prospect of getting a little time out with just Meg. Besides, my parents’ visits are 98% for the baby, so if I was doing something else when they showed up, I didn’t have to immediately drop it and put on my “glad to see you, please come invade my house” face I do with most other guests.

“Deal. We’ll see you at 5.”

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time we’ve left Leanne with my mom (and in this case, grandpa came too). In fact, Meg and I were both shocked to find ourselves so willing to leave Leanne a mere two weeks after she was born. In either case we didn’t go far, but neither of us felt the fear of leaving our newborn with a babysitter.

I kissed Leanne goodbye and looked at my parents on our couch. It had a very weird deja vu feeling of being 17 and going out on a date. Not only wouldn’t I have been surprised if my mom asked when I was going to get home, but I probably would have answered her before realizing the flashback nature of the question. The deja vu was lessened by the look of sheer happiness on my parents’ faces, largely from having time with Leanne, but I’m sure deep down there’s a primal parental relief in not having a fear of the date resulting in pregnancy.

Pre-baby, quite a few different sources said to not talk about the baby. Indeed we did have other things to talk about; now that I’m done with my Masters, we’re talking about how I’m going to undertake my next step while balancing baby and budget. That’s not to say we didn’t talk about Leanne. We both agreed it wasn’t in an unhealthy “we can’t stop talking about the baby” sort of way, but the fact is that she’s the majority of what’s going on in our lives right now and naturally a conversation point.

We didn’t go far on our date. We started at dinner, both laughing at our good fortune in being carded for drinks. That was done early and, with the very real prospect of my mom not letting us back in the house so soon, we headed to the mall. Having both been reminded as to why we never go to the mall on Saturday nights and getting our fill of obnoxious, inappropriately dressed teenagers, we went to Rita’s for dessert and headed home.

We didn’t have a single worry the entire night; I’m a walking resume for my parents’ qualifications to babysit. We arrived home to find Leanne in one piece, just a bit overstimulated as the two grandparents jockeyed for rights to hold her. A thousand kisses and goodbyes to Leanne later, the grandparents set off for home. They pulled out of the driveway and I was hit with a moment of sadness; I could feel Leanne’s diaper leak through her onesie and realized it was too late to make grandma change her.

I figured having a kid would give me some great blog fodder. I’m sure it will in the future, but for now Leanne has pretty much resolved herself to: Eat, Sleep, Poop.

We did have some firsts for her over the past week. We have a picture of the first time she held a rattle on her own. That was a prelude to her latest trick, which is to pull on the shirt collar of whoever is holding her. It’s cute, except when we go too long between cutting her nails. I’m amazed at both the rate at which her nails grow as well as their relative sharpness. It’s no wonder the kid always has red scratches on her face, she leaves them on my chest too.

I managed to feed her her first bottle last week. It was a taxing experience for both of us, but after daddy realized to stop angling the bottle so he can watch and instead actually put it straight into her mouth, we were golden. We were also covered with milk by the end of it. I had to suppress the urge to freak the hell out at the feeling of Leanne’s neck sticking to my arm because of breast milk. Yuck.

Last Saturday was baby’s first cage fights. My gym was holding a tournament in which most of my friends were competing. More importantly, Kristy said she was bringing her 9 month old girl, Ryan. So instead of heading straight to the mats to help my friends warm up, I hung out with the other parents in the kids section. I realize that I’m at a very different point than the 20 year old guys I train with, and I’m fine with that. Still, there going to be some beatings given out tonight just to convince myself that I can still keep up with the young guys.

Talking to Kristy, I didn’t realize how alike Ryan and Leanne were at birth. Both were born at 8lbs, 1/2 ounce. Ryan was a mere 1/2 inch shorter than Leanne, which is a very acceptable margin of error given they are measuring a kicking, screaming baby. It was weird to see how big Ryan is at 9 months, and I can already see that by that time, I’ll be wanting another newborn around the house.