As soon as I asked, "Do you want to go take a bath?", the baby quickly toddled away toward the stairs. After some cute and fast advertising, I tried (and failed) to auction off the opportunity to bathe the little guy. There was no response, not even eye contact, from the males populating the living room.
So, he and I went up the stairs to start the process. He was smiling and squealing and slobbering down his chin, completely overjoyed by the good times about to be had. I reach into the tub to turn on the faucet, and instantaneously, the baby gives a holler and tries to scale the side of the tub to get in the liquid fun. There's water flying and elation floats up from the baby, around the room like bubbles.
Afterward, I wrap him in a towel, carry him to his room, and lay him on the changing table. Following our normal protocol, we talk about the wall decorations, "Giraffes have a long neck. Zebras have black and whites stripes. Hippopotamus swims in the water." We get him diapered and encased in footie jammies. He's in his element, and really, so am I.
We sit on the floor, look through the books and choose The Little Blue Truck, just as every night. We read, point, moo, beep. We turn pages, right then left, then back again. He yawns and jabbers and yawns again while still paging through the book.
Finally, I say, "Ready for bed?" He looks at me with a "not really" expression, but I lift him to his bed anyway. He grabs his pacifier and blanket and looks back to me for his book. Once he has all his favorite things, he's ready to dream.
I turn off the light, say, "Good night," and close the door. As I walk back downstairs to the rest of my boys, I realize just what simple happiness I get to experience with this new little one. I know from raising my other boys that these moments are short lived. One day soon, he won't need me to give him a bath or dress him with jammies or read his books.
I take these moments for granted, but after tonight, I hope to do that a little less.