We had a successful bath time tonight! It started off shaky but in the end, LO took a bath without a lot of crying. The biggest trick? Trickling water.
But before that, the first thing we did was decide that only one of us would bathe him and not both of us. During the past three nights, we’ve tried tag-teaming with his bath, but with a wet and screaming toddler, we just ended up miserable and arguing, which I’m betting affects the little guy’s disposition. So tonight, it was just me and LO in the bathroom.
Another change I made was to raise the temperature of the water. I’ve noticed that he would quiver his lips, and while water temperatures shouldn’t be as high as we adults would probably like it, I figured he could use some heat when taking a bath.
I also tried to keep in his clothes as much as possible, so I just removed his diaper but kept his shirt on. His little tub was back in the big tub, but it didn’t have any water in it. I tried sitting him down in the little tub but he wouldn’t budge and kept wanting to stand (or rather, get the heck out of there). So I turned on the faucet on low and let the water trickle down into the tub. If you remember, LO loves water fountains. So I chalked it up saying that it was like the water fountains at the Getty Center, the way it trickled down and would run into the tub like the streams we saw. Sure enough, this captivated him enough to calm down and sit down in the tub.
I took off his shirt at this point and spent some time hyping up his water fountain. I had his squeaky toys slide down his tub a la water slide. He even wanted to read some of his water books. The next tricky part was not to introduce the wash cloth just yet. Just the sight of any bath props (wash cloth, “tabo” or soap) would get him crying. So I soaped him up with my hands, which he didn’t seem to mind. All the while I was playing with his toys and books.
Then it was time for his hair, yikes. I just had to take my time and use my hands to wet his hair instead of pouring water out of a cup. But he didn’t mind, and I eventually shampooed his hair, careful not to show the shampoo bottle. The hardest part was having to rinse the shampoo out of his hair. I now had to introduce the washcloth. Again I hyped it up by drenching it with water and letting the water drip, and saying, “It’s like the dripping fountain at the Getty Center!” After that, the washcloth was LO-approved.
I saved the hardest task for last: washing his face. At this point I felt like LO was comfortable in the tub so I decided to use the washcloth with soap. He didn’t mind at first but gradually I noticed a wavering of wills and a little bit of fear creeping back in. So I tossed the washcloth away and used my hands again. After that, I told him he did a job well done and we toweled off.
The only thing I would change for tomorrow is to let the heater run a bit longer before he needs to take his bath. I noticed that he started getting cold towards the end. But I am so so proud of him and am so relieved that he was able to take a somewhat normal bath again. I hope tomorrow will be the same!