The Baby and The Bathwater


Ozzy is eight months old, and we take a Christmas bath in the deep tub at his grandparents’ house.

He is a slick terror, this wet, naked baby, excited about water. He arches back, takes a deep inhale of his bathwater, and comes up baffled. I am horrified, utterly responsible.

I dip my neck to level our faces. Ozzy coughs at me a few times, staring hard with red eyes. Then he turns away and resumes splashing.

I call at his dad with my heart in my mouth.

“Look up dry drowning.” I say.


“Dry drowning. It’s a thing. I am freaking out.”

Brad consults the appropriate search engine results, and assures me that dry drowning is very rare, and much more dramatic. Ozzy looks fine, he says.

Still. Do you see the feathers on his soft baby head? The way his neck bunches up on itself?

His skin, and his squeaks, and his fat splashing hands, have me praying the Parent Prayer Universal.

Keep breathing tiny baby. Keep breathing. Forever and ever, amen.

10 thoughts on “The Baby and The Bathwater

  1. I received a book for Christmas, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and after I read a chapter and a half last night I went to bed pleading that universal parent prayer. I don’t think my mom knows how that book starts out.


  2. I teared up reading this because YES. I’ve got a 3 month old and it is terrifying how fragile his little life is. Mama love is strong and miraculous and scary all at the same time.


  3. Omg yes. This post is exactly me. Just look at those sweet feathers and neck roll(s). Worry for our babes is such a double edged sword – keeps us sharp to keep them safe, but too. many. gray. hairs.


  4. I love this picture. I have two preschoolers and probably a year or so ago I asked my FB friends when you stop worrying when they sleep late. “Are they still alive?” And one of my friends who is a long-time grandma replied “Never.”


  5. I am with you, Maggie. 14 weeks in and I have learned that prayer well. I spend most of my days terrified of fucking up and the other tiny portion so enamored with this tiny creature that it makes me cry. Beautiful, honest post. Thank you.


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