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Bath Time Breakdown

It's official. I hate giving my child a bath lately. I didn't used to, but lately I hate it as much as I used to hate my mornings. (My mornings are so much better, by the way. I actually really enjoy them now that the Pumpkin is older. Especially when she sleeps in her crib until after 7, giving me time to get ready all by myself!)

I think part of the problem is that I've been doing the majority of her baths over the last few weeks. This is due to a combination of Londo's being extremely sick for over a week and my getting home to late to give the child dinner. We have always traded off dinners and bath time, so if Londo gives the Pumpkin dinner, then I give her the bath. When I'm home to late for her dinner, then it's only fair for me to give her the baths.

Except lately, I'm about to lose it at bath time. There is something about this age, this 18 month fussy period, this tempermental, grabby, whiny, pushing-her-boundries, run-away-from-what-she-doesn't-like-while-screaming phase that is especially pronounced for me when she's in the bath. It's probably because we don't have enough bath toys to really do a good job with distraction and because there are things I need to get done in a limited amount of time and space.

Unfortunately, all she wants to do lately is drink gross bath water, run away from me when I try to wash the shampoo out of her hair, and fling her legs out from under her so she lands in the water on her bottom with a big splash. These three things drive me absolutely nuts. Let me tell you why.

I didn't think her drinking the bath water would totally drive me crazy. I also didn't think it would be so hard to get her to stop doing it. But for some reason, she just LOVES to lean over in the tub and drink the dirty, soapy water straight from the bath. And for some reason this. makes. me. crazy. I have tried many different ways to get her to stop, including saying no firmly, distracting her with other things, playing with her, pulling her up, ending the bath, yelling, etc. It simply does not seem to matter. She laughs at it all, and goes back to drinking the water with a little smirk on her face. Grrrr.

The Pumpkin does not like water to get in her eyes, so I try to be very careful when I rinse her hair. She is great about getting is shampooed, and sometimes she is even really good about letting me rinse. However, my girl cannot sit still, so sitting still with her head leaning back and eyes closed is simply not going to happen. I end up having to chase her around the tub with the special pour cup (it has one side that is flexible to put against the forehead just so it won't get water in her eyes!), trying desparately to get her to hold still and look up. When I finally get her to pause for a second and get one pour, she's off again. I'm keep trying to grab her slippery, wet arm to get her to hold still, but it's not easy. Rarely, she actually sits down and leans her head back so I can put the soft part of the cup against her forehead and use correctly... in that moment, things are perfect and we are both happy... and then she leans forward and tries to drink the bath water.

Finally, she also basically falls on her butt from standing, making a huge splash. This is so much fun for her, and I usually find it very funny. However, it is not so funny to me when I've just been trying to get her to stop drinking the bath water or rinse her hair and am sitting so close to the tub that I get soaked. When I'm already frustrated, getting soaked and mopping up a flood of water around the tub is not so fun for me. She still thinks it is hysterical, so I let her do it. It's not worth the fight.

After writing these, they feel like such little things. So why do they combine to drive me so very crazy? I'm not exactly sure, but they do. And I hate bath time.

Luckily, after my last fit about it in which I needed him to take her so I could cool down before reading her books, he said he would do bath time for a while to give me a break. That is good, cause I really really need it.


paola said…
Do you really have to bathe her every night? My kids get one every couple of nights in winter (although they usually get one on a daily basis in summer), but they get a daily bum wash, and every time they do number twos. Otherwise they can shower with you, which is so much easier even with the two in there with me at the same time. I use the shower as a threat with the big one sometimes as he just loves the bath, but like Pumpkin, it's like I have a dolphin in there sometimes. When he has acted up one too many times...shower, next day. He eventually gets it. Might even work on the little one, but she is so much better behaved in the bath(although, she too drinks gallons of bath water)
I'm Not Skippy said…
Get a drinking cup and fill it with clean water and let her practice drinking out an adult glass. That may help the drinking bath water. . . and if it doesn't, so what, she's not THAT dirty (especially if you're bathing her once a day) so the water isn't that dirty either.

What about trying to get her to lay down on her back in the water. After he started sitting up in the regular tub I found it difficult to wash my son's unmentionables. So I lay him back on the tubs back incline to wash his naughty bits. He LOVES it. He kicks and laughs and gets the whole bathroom soaked. And as I wash his giblets (I could come up with more names all afternoon), he slides down until everything except his face is completely underwater. . . that rinses out any leftover shampoo.

What about letting her try and rinse her own hair?
Anonymous said…
I know, what is it about bath water that is so irresistibly delicious to toddlers?
Anonymous said…
It's always in the time crunch moments when the little things eat at you. That's our mornings when I have to take Monkey to daycare. Seems like it takes FOREVER to get socks on, shoes on, find sippy cups, etc. with a whiny, screamy child in the room.

Maybe wait until you have time to give her a nice leisurely bath for the next go around. Then she can play and walk around the tub as much as she wants (within reason). I'm trying to let go of certain battles but as I mentioned before it seems impossible when you've a ticking clock running in your head.

Glad to hear Londo will be taking over a little to give you a break.
- Dana said…
Oh gosh, our little girl is the same with the bath water! Yuck! I get her to drink less of it by telling her to drink only "FRESH WATER". I turn the spout on really low and let her catch it with a cup... she blows bubbles and drinks that. If she's going to drink something, I figure that's better. Plus it entertains her while I rinse her hair. Lately I've been giving her the washcloth and she likes cleaning all her parts as I call each one out. It's the whole independence thing. I'm learning the more I let her do herself, the less resistance I get. It's hard to let go of doing everything for her.

I've been learning a lot from her new Montessori school. They have good advise for parents even. I just still can't believe she sits down to eat snacks, waits for the other kids to sit until she starts eating, takes her dish to the sink when she's done, and then cleans it! I wish we had a mini sink in our home. Haha.
OneHappyCow said…
I, too, have a bath water guzzling fiend. Gross! But what is funny is that look she gives as she does it, like "I know you don't want me too, but see how cute I am, and how good this is?". Anyways, you are lucky. My monkey has never let me get her head back to rinse or wet, so I just warn and dump it over. There is crying and then I wipe up her eyes and face, and we are pretty much good. I wish I could get it through to her that it is so much easier to just tip her effing head back! Luckily for us, she doesn't know about walking in the tub yet, so mainly it is sitting or standing with me holding on. Anyways, funny this age, we are all having similar issues...
Cloud said…
We give our Pumpkin a cup and fill it with fresh water, too. That mostly keeps her away from the bath water. But I do get tired of filling that cup sometimes.

One idea I've read about for rinsing hair is to buy a plastic visor and use it to keep the water out of her eyes. Our Pumpkin splutters indignantly when I douse her too vigorously, but usually lets us rinse her head, so I haven't tried this trick yet. I'm saving it for when I really need it... but it sounds like you might be getting there!
Yeah, le Petit drinks the bath water, too. And I care about it a lot less than I probably should.

We just switched him to the big bathtub from the little Ikea model in an attempt to keep the nightly deluge somewhat contained. Last night, despite our vigilance, he did a face plant in the water while trying to grab a shampoo bottle just beyond his reach. We fished him out in a split second but it ended with two soaked parents and one hysterical child.

I still don't dare try to bathe him by myself. He's too squirmy and too intent on standing up all the time, so one adult is needed to shampoo and soap while the other stands ready to catch. Since we fight the bath battle together, it makes it easier for my husband and I to laugh about it when the evening finishes with a forest of soaked towels draped about the bathroom.
Becoming Mommy said…
OMG…I know it’s wrong, but that’s actually kind of funny.
We have something similar, but bathtime actually doesn’t bother me. Not even the fact that he’s discovered that a certain part of his anatomy can be used to “firehose” the bathroom.
It bothers Hubby though. A lot.
limboland la la said…
nice that L's taking your place. i wld love to commrnt but currently learning how ti type one handed with babe in arm.. it's driving me nuts. too slow
we dont do baths every night, but we are almost always in there with him. our tub is BIG (i can fully submerge myself in it, so hanging over the side does not work). He loves to have running water so I leave a little water running, or just take a shower. I let some water fill up in the bottom while the shower is going.

he splashes and plays, and the running water rinses him off.

the 'silly little thing' that just drives me crazy is that he grabs my food and then mashes it on the floor or table. It just spikes my blood pressure!
Anonymous said…
Caramama, I'm with you on the baths. I used to be ever so careful not to get water into my daughter's eyes (she's two), but then one day I realized that she will complain no matter how I try to get the shampoo out of her hair. She will complain and wiggle away from my grasp and it will take me forever to accomplish a very simple task. So, now I take a cup of water and literally pour it over her head. While I am doing it, I have a washcloth ready so that as soon as I move the cup away, I can wipe her face dry. It is not a scream-free event, but it's super quick. And she's OK after I dry her face with the washcloth. She also loved to drink bath water until just very recently when she turned two. It grossed me out to no end and I would tell her to stop, but she just couldn't. So, I figured that she probably gets many more germs into her body from other sources throughout the day and eventually she was going to stop liking the taste of bathwater.
Ironically, I have now gladly passed the nightly book reading duties to my husband since reading the same 10 or so books over and over again drive me nuts. Oh how the times have changed!
Oh, and taking breaks from one type of task is DEFINITELY a way save your sanity.
ImpostorMom said…
I can totally sympathize! I hate baths as well. Unfortunately we don't trade off because of my husband's skin. Overexposure to Boog's bath water causes his finger tips to breakout in a painful rash. Lucky me. (on a side note, I'm thinking of buying him long rubber gloves so that he might partake in the joy that is bathtime again)

Boog starts to get upset when I start washing him. It's cause he knows what's coming. We have the same cup you have but I have given up on that. I've given up trying to keep water out of his eyes as well. I use the hand-held shower and just try to get the soap off him as fast as I can. He's gonna cry and pitch a fit anyway so I just try and make it as short as possible.

This results in EVERY. SINGLE. BATH. ending as if I am murdering my child in the tub. It's awesome. truly awesome.

The hubs does always do the post-bath lotion and pjs ritual but lately Boog has been pitching a fit and screaming for me during this as well. It's as if his father is rubbing battery acid on him or something. And you would think after just being dunked by me he'd want to be away from me. Nope, only mommy will do.

Oh yes I CAN sympathize. The bathtime ritual is so very fun these days.

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