Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water" *

We called them dish pans. They were enamel, rectangular or round, white with red trim or ecru with green trim. Into one a tea kettle of boiling water was poured, cooled with just enough cold water to allow for the washing of glasses and cups - always those first, followed by silverware, then plates, serving dishes and finally the pots and pans. Another dishpan held water to rinse the soap off the clean dishes before they went into the draining rack.

They were also used to bathe the baby as I'm demonstrating in the above picture taken in the summer of '44. Mom took pictures of all of us in a dish pan except maybe Ron. I don't recall seeing a picture of him being bathed.

Naturally, I continued the tradition. This is Doug in his bath March, 1963. There was probably a fire in the wood burning stove - keeping Mom's kitchen warm for his bath.
Doug's Dad left for two-week National Guard Summer Camp the morning after he was born, so Doug and I spent the first week after the hospital stay with my parents. I was lucky to have Mom there to help me learn all I needed to know about taking care of a baby. Things like using my elbow to test the water temperature before I put him in the pan.

By the time Kari was born, I had one of those little plastic seats you put the baby in and then immersed in the sink or bathtub. My kids liked splashing and playing in the bath, but they hated having water poured over their heads to wash out the shampoo.

It was a good thing my brother Ron and sister-in-law Ruth had a double kitchen sink. Their twins were able to have baths at the same time. This August, '74 picture shows Andrew Hans on the left and Lorrie Anne on the right. It is hard for me to imagine having two little ones at the same time.

A more recent picture of a baby being cleaned up is this one taken last November right after grandson Rodney enjoyed his first birthday cake. Some of the cake and frosting had already been removed at this point. Katrina has told me Rodney just loves being in the bathtub.

* This saying dates back to 1512 in Germany and is attributed to Thomas Murner. It would only apply to the first two pictures as the bath water was thrown out of the dish pans. The idiom means "do not discard something valuable in your eagerness to get rid of something useless associated with it."

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