Q&A: bathtime down the drain

Anonymous asked what was up with her 2-year-old suddenly screaming bloody murder in the tub and not wanting to take a bath. And how to deal with it, since no baths for the next 6 months don't seem to be an option.

Yeah, this sucks, but lots and lots of kids do it. It seems like some of it is that they're starting to figure out that they're separate from you and from their surroundings. An extreme form of that is the fear of being sucked down the drain like the water is.

Plus, they're drama queens. Being 2 is all about establishing boundaries definitely. Very definitely. Anything they can control (like, say, food) they will. Vociferously and loudly.

Layer onto that personality. If you have a kid who escalates easily (lots of kids who release tension by crying tend to escalate quickly in daily life), then they're going to get more worked up about everything, including figuring out that they might follow the water down the drain, or that not wanting to take a bath will get a reaction out of their parents.

Since it's complicated and depends on your kid's particular makeup, there's no one guaranteed solution to this problem, except for waiting it out. But while you're waiting it out, your kid still has to take a bath. Here are some things you can try, though, and see if any of them help:

1. Cut down frequency. People tend to overbathe their kids anyway, because it's usually part of a bedtime routine. But if there's too much screaming it's not an effective part of a wind-down routine any more anyway, so consider going down to a bath every 2-3 days just to reduce the number of times you have to deal with it.

2. Push through. Confession: I'm not that patient. So I just powered through it, and forced my kids to take the shortest bath we could manage that hit most of the dirty spots. I think sometimes it lasted 2 minutes or less, but relative cleanliness was achieved. Note: This is probably the plan most likely to get you, the bather, wet.

3. Reason with the child. Hahahahahaha. That was pretty much a joke, unless your child is seriously advanced for a 2-year-old.

4. Distract the child in the tub. Use whatever it takes–bath toys, a story, music, dancing, getting in with the child, etc. If you can keep your kid focused on something else, you might be able to get the bath done with a minimum of upset for anyone.

5. Empathize/defuse. If the resistance is about control and not actual fear, if you can empathize so much with the child that there's no more payoff or fun in resisting, then you might be able to defuse the emotion and short-circuit the screaming. I hear.

6. Pass it off to someone else to deal with. If you have a partner, perhaps you could trick ask them to take over baths for awhile.

That's what I can think of, but I know there are more ways to deal with it. What did you do? Did it work?

104 thoughts on “Q&A: bathtime down the drain”

  1. Switch to showers. I still shower with my kids. It’s pretty tight in there now(they are 3 and 5) but we get 3 people washed in 5/10 minutes, and the bathroom is the warmest, therefore most pleasant, room in the house.

  2. Redefine “bath.” For a while in our house, it meant, “standing in bathwater up to your ankles while Mommy or Daddy mops you off with a washcloth as fast as possible.”

  3. Get in the tub with them. I still have to do this from time to time. Definitely cut down the frequency, we do about 2 a week and don’t always wash her hair. There’s always bribery, as well. If we wash her hair we watch a cartoon after and comb out her hair. Sponge baths are an option as well. Little kids don’t sweat the way adolescents and adults do so as long as the face, hands and bum are clean you’re good to go.

  4. In Switzerland, many people bathe their kids only two times per week (some even only once). Toddlers don’t get that dirty, in my opinion.I began to shower with my older daughter when she was two, and recently, my younger daughter (20 months) wants to join us in the shower as well.

  5. The first three comments – switch to shower, switch to quick rubdown with a washcloth, and shower or bathe with them – were going to be my recommendations!For me, forcing an unwilling toddler into the bath is *not* one of the battles I find worth fighting. It’s unpleasant, and also a wee bit dangerous since it’s awkward to hold an angry toddler in the water, and slippery too. Shoes and hat to go outside, eating in his own chair, and bedtime are my three “must”s. It’s not unusual for me to only bathe my toddler once a week. Really everything but the hair can be taken care of with a quick washcloth wipe down.

  6. When we had this battle, our son ended up taking showers with us. We have one of those detachable showerhead thingees so it was easy to get him clean. Not ideal in some ways b/c who wants to have a kid in the shower with them? But at least it cut down the screaming. Of course it depends on your kid. And yeah, we don’t bathe the boy very often. He gets a bath when he’s visibly dirty or when he stinks.

  7. Such a timely post.We have resorted to “speed baths” for our 2.5 yo. They consist of running bath water with the drain open and him standing. I promise to be done with the wetting, cleaning and rinsing by the time I get through one round of ABC’s. There’s still crying but it is short lived.

  8. how about signing up for swim lessons and then engaging in the mandatory showers at the pool? This is one strategy that works for us – swimming is fun so it’s a motivator.Our strategy has been to push through it with our first. With our second, we seriously underbathe him. He doesn’t like getting wet, period, so the swimming trick doesn’t work well with him (it did yesterday though!). So he bathes voluntarily whenever the mood strikes. Usually once every week or two. It’ll be more in the summer, but we keep the dirty bits clean in between s he doesn’t stink.

  9. In a similar vein to CrazyMama’s advice, I think narrating the bath might be helpful with kids 18 mos and older, e.g. “Now we’re going to wash your hair. Scrub scrub scrub! Now momma’s going to rinse it. One, two, three, one more–okay, all done!” or “First we’re going to get wet, then mama will scrub you, then we’ll rinse you, and then we’ll get out! When we get out you can be a naked baby.”I think knowing that there is an end in sight helps kids this age power through along with us.

  10. Yep, yep and yep. Cutting down on frequency, standing in the tub for a spray down and distraction with new toys/bubble bath are the only things that seem to work. He doesn’t worry about the drain until the end of the bath when he hears the water go down and he has to be pulled out as fast as possible or he starts to panic. And I then have to fish out all of his toys so they, too, don’t go down the drain. I have explained that neither he nor the toys will fit down the drain but he doesn’t believe me yet. He also hates water in his eyes so getting his hair washed is always a battle even when he’s willingly in the bath already. He’s almost 30 months old.

  11. We did the weekly swim class + one mom-tot class. Also sponge baths.Honestly in the winter I bathed my kid about once a week. It’s different when they’re out in the dirt. However we did do face/neck/hands/arms to elbows/wipe the feet daily.

  12. I second the shower idea. My 4 year child hasn’t had a bath in months. We have a nice big walk in shower and he loves to stick his foam bath toys on the glass shower doors. It’s easy to get him clean, and he can shower with mommy or daddy, or by himself with us watching.good luck!
    dot

  13. I agree with the “bathe less” option, but becasue I am a routine freak, even if the bath is not fun, I do what we call a rinse – literally sit them down, splash some water on their nether regiions, and then take them out. No soap, no washcloth, no toys – it takes about 1 minute. I don’t even bother with more than a few inches of water. Also the “stand and scrub in the tub” works.In any event, don’t be so sure it’s a “stage”. When this started happening with each of my kids it seemed to onset pretty suddenly (although at around this age, when people expect this “stage”) – it took me a few days to catch on (that it wasn’t just an isolated freakout)
    At a neutral, calm time during the day, like when sitting together at lunch or swinging at the park etc – some time when it is CLEAR that I am not going to segue from a conversation about bathtime into actually forcing them to take a bath, I talked to the kid about it –
    You know how when it’s bath time, you have a freakout? What’s up with that? (obviously in language that works for them)
    For the first, it had to do with one time getting water in her eyes when I rinsed her, she didn’t like me pouring water over her head. The other kid was not enjoying the splashing from the baby.
    THen I knew what specific thing was putting them into ALERT ALERT ALERT PANIC PANIC PANIC mode and I could just reassure them that it wouldn’t happen and also make sure that it wouldn’t happen.
    Try 9t – you may find something out.

  14. I’m just getting the beginning glimpses of not wanting a bath (showed him the shower head about a month ago and terrified him — oops).At 18 months he still fits in the kitchen sink and that is less scary so we’ve substiuted that a couple of time. We also don’t bathe him a whole lot.

  15. I like sueinithaca’s advice on swimming. We even figured–no soap, as the chlorine is the ultimate cleaner, and then you just have to rinse that off. Our community pool has the shower wand in the big family changing room, and we also let The Boy spray us to his heart’s content, rinse the swimsuits, etc. He ended up wet all over, and then it was just the hair, which I could often get done under the guise of a water fight (you spray me, AUGH! now I spray you! Ha ha ha isn’t this fun. . .). We also sometimes shower with the swim-diaper on (cloth reuseable) on the shower right next to the pool, cuz he sees a lot of people/kids doing that, and it really interests him to use the same shower.That being said, this hasn’t been one of our major battles. Came and went in a couple of months. But there are a couple, hmmm, maybe I should write Moxie to see if she or the wise and clever community there can offer me any help. . . 😉

  16. Definitly trying the showering with you or the “personal shower” where you stand them in the tub and give them a quick rinse down.If it’s a fear of going down the drain, get them out, dry them off, and send them out of the room before you pull the plug.

  17. I think all of the above are good suggestions. My ds doesn’t like showers, since one of his things is getting water in the eyes. I fix this by in the bath, I “rinse” his hair with the washcloth (he still doesn’t have much) and then put shampoo on. Then leave him to play with toys or stand or whatever gets him okay. The last thing we do is rinse with water, only three times before getting out and immediately drying his eyes. He was also cold, so I don’t put him in until the water is higher and a little bit warmer. I think the main thing is to not make it a big deal; if kid is not okay with it, just make it short. If kid is okay some days, then play, play, play and make it fun. A couple of times, he has pooped in the bath, but that is another issue…

  18. When my oldest went through her “no bath” phase, I stripped down, hopped in HER bath and had great fun playing with HER toys. Now what self-respecting 2 year old is going to put up with that? She was in there in a hot minute with no more drama. 🙂

  19. The sponge bath/quick bath (aka: “standing bath” in our house) and powering through this period worked. Also, we bathed ds every other day, max–in the winter, less frequently, but in the sweaty, humid summers when he was covered in sand from the park, every other day and sometimes a quick wipedown with a wet washcloth in between. DS has always hated the bath, even as a newborn.Even now, as a three yo, he still hates it, but we can reason/bribe/narrate our way through it. I should say that he hates the idea of it, but generally enjoys it once he’s in. His thing now is to put off the soaping up so I set the timer in the bathroom: “OK, in 5 minutes, Mummy will come to wash your hair.” Still some yelling when there’s water on the face, but no resistance or complaint when 5 minutes are up!

  20. I’m another fan of the showers. We have a stand alone shower, I would throw some toys in and turn on the water and let my son play while the water hosed him down. Then after awhile (depending on if I was reading a book or facebooking, nearby of course) I would quickly soap him up and rinse him off quickly. He still jumps in the shower with me most mornings (he is 3 now). At least I know where he is and what he is doing while I dry my hair and put on my makeup for the day.

  21. Mine both went through this and infrequent bathing helps (we’ve recently switched from once to twice a week). Right now the 3yo detests water in his eyes, so we rinse with a little tub dumped over his head and he covers his eyes, he *knows* right when it’s coming and he *knows* it’s only 3 dumps and he’s done. He still hates it and cries a bit sometimes, but knowing “just 2 more” and “last one” helps him push through it on his own.

  22. My 2 year old loves baths, but does NOT like having her hair washed. What works best for this part is to sing to her: we have some songs that are too upbeat for bedtime, and those are a special bathtime treat. The Top Hits list includes “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” and “What do you do With a Drunken Sailor” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

  23. Somewhere along the line, we figured out that my daughter is afraid of the water coming into the tub, and afraid of the water draining out of the tub. (She was also briefly afraid of bubbles but that fortunately has passed.) What we do is have me fill the tub while she watches a DVD with her daddy, then I take her to the tub for the bath, and then get her out and take her into her room for drying and dressing. Her daddy comes in and drains the tub while we’re in the other room. This cut the screaming out entirely for us. She loves her baths now.

  24. We just had our first two experiences with DS (21 months) not wanting to take a bath a couple of nights ago.He hated baths as a newborn (1st bath at hospital he gripped the rail of the bassinet with the strength of a 4 year old, I swear. Did.not.want.to.go.in.water). But since about 6 months or so, he’s loved bath time. So much that we usually have the opposite problem – he doesn’t want to get out.
    One thing I did notice is that the two days he resisted, there were no bath toys. Usually there are loads, but there have recently been a bunch of poop in the bathtub episodes, and well, I haven’t got around to sterilizing the toys.
    Put a toy (watering can) in last night, and it was all fine. I hope the other two episodes were just that. He was extra tired both nights, so that may not have helped.
    Another thought to ease bath time is to make sure the door to the bathroom is closed. DS gets really cold when it’s open, and usually asks to get out at that point. I’ve actually started opening the door now to get him out of the tub (after I give him two warnings by dimming the lights, and then letting the water out) if he’s taking forever.
    Oh, and as for toys, bubbles and balls (he tries to throw it out of the tub) are a huge hit.

  25. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my son will plop his behind on the drain (maybe to keep the water in?)I vote for sponge baths, or maybe have him give his favorite doll/truck/toy a bath in a little tub with lots of encouragement.

  26. Everyone else already said it: take them in the shower with you. Take them to swimming lessons. Bathe less. Try not to make it a power struggle.

  27. This has cropped up twice for our DS – first time when he was six months old, and then when he was 18 months old. The first time lasted for about a month, and seemed to come out of nowhere – we solved it by one of us bathing with him. The 2nd time, at least we knew it would be temporary – this time, we reduced frequency to 1 a week (ok, sometimes it’s once every 10 days!) and he’s as happy as a pig in ****!

  28. We tried it all. For a while, the best thing was cutting down the frequency to every 2-3 (or 4) days and either letting her shower with me (worked great while I was pregnant with number 2!) or hubby doing the super quick wash up.Now, she does NOT want to shower with me, so I got in the bath with her instead a couple times. We’ve also started up swim classes again.
    It turns out, my daughter’s eyes are very sensitive. She hates having water in them, but won’t close them. So for us, it’s about figuring out how to rinse her hair without getting the water and shampoo in her eyes. My latest burst of genius was to use a handheld shower head and aim very carefully to rinse the hair while shielding her eyes with my other hand and getting her to help shield her eyes.
    Also, we switched back to no-tears baby shampoo and use a spray leave-in conditioner after the bath.
    Oh, and we just bought a bubble bath for sensitive skin (which she has) and bath crayons! Last night, she begged for a bath with bubbles and bath crayons.
    Tomorrow she turns 3, and we are slowly coming out of the most recent regression. I’m hoping we are done with some of these fussies for now.

  29. We had this with our 21 month old son – we weren’t sure if it was an age thing or linked to the birth of our daughter. It took 6 weeks or so to overcome – the key was to put him in the baby bathtub that we bathed our daughter in for the first few weeks. We would bathe her first, then take her out and put him straight in. He would barely fit and at first he just about tolerated it, with the odd tear. After a while it became a case of “well, if she can have a bath, so can I”. Eventually, you could see that he started to relax again at bathtime, renewed his interest in playing with toys and we were able to go back to the main bath.

  30. You forgot my favorite summertime remedy– letting them play with the hose. Seriously. They get wet enough to call it clean. Out west, we have that option from about April-October!

  31. I hundredth the shower idea and the showering with them idea and the bathing with them idea. We do any and all of these with my 2.5yo if the occasion calls for it.Plus, if it’s not too cold in the garage (Ha!), then I have let him bathe in the washtub out there. It’s where the dog gets his bath, so the novelty factor was HUGE.
    Oh! Another thing that worked was bathing DS with a friend or playmate. If we’re having a playdate or visiting friends with kids, we have been known to throw a bath into the mix, whether it’s middle of the day or dinnertime.

  32. My son went through this phase around this age. For him, I thought it was about anticipating bedtime, because his bath was right before bed. We ended up rearranging his schedule a little, moving up his bathtime and adding in some quiet time/settle down time before bed but after the bathtime. It seemed to help with bedtime, too!

  33. We went through a bath refusal phase, but earlier. Maybe at 18 months? I can’t remember. What finally fixed it: (1) a doll that could get a bath, too. (2) mommy taking a bath with her for a few nights. (3) BUBBLES!!!My almost three year old refuses to take a shower. She is freaked out by it. I wish I had introduced her to showers earlier, because she threw up Sunday night and I really, really would have preferred to give her a shower rather than a bath. The bath calmed her down, but was kind of gross, really.

  34. My son – now 2.5 – has gone through this phase on a couple of seperate occasions. We did the swimming pool thing which is great. One trip to the swimming pool and one bath per week is good enough for me. And I found shaking up bathtime a little worked – we usually bath as part of the bedtime routine, but sometimes having a morning bath would be more acceptable to him.

  35. Oh yeah…forgot to mention…For anyone who’s kid doesn’t like having their hair washed/rinsed:What I’ve found is that if I roll up a regular sized washcloth (i.e. not the itty bitty baby ones) and place it over his forehead while I rinse, it catches all the water and his face doesn’t even get wet. Of course, he still wriggles most days, but at least we can get the job done.

  36. Didn’t have time to read prev posts today.We also only bathe 2x week (Sun & Thur).
    Since we had been starting swim lessons around this time, having punkin lay on her back in the tub to get her hair wet, sit up for shampoo, then lay back down to rinse — made a significant difference in the bath routine. No more screaming about soap in her eyes, resisting hair washing, etc. Totally different kid!

  37. Can I ask a “silly” question about the logistics of introducing your toddler to the shower? I have a 13 month old and as a working mom this would a) save me from having to shower in the morning b) prevent the sporadic bathtime freakouts and c)shorten up the bedtime routine and get us both ready for bed faster. She’s aware of the shower – plays in the bathroom while I am in our stall shower (glass doors so I can see her) on the weekends and knows that Mommy is clean and warm when I get out – and she puts her cold little hands on my legs to prove it…So – do you hold them? Let them stand? Do they get startled by the spray/noise? Do they get clausterphobic? Is this all trial and error until I figure out what my kid can handle?
    I distinctly remember showering with my mom and sister when we were on vacation at the beach when I was little – I think it was easier to get all the sand off of us and saved her from living in the bathroom with us. It was always no-nonsense – get in, lather up, get out.

  38. Haven’t read all the comments yet but my 17 mth old stopped loving the night time bath which *was* part of our night routine about a month ago. He was loving hanging out in the tub up to about 15 minutes which we did every other night as part of night time routine then he just screamed and signed all done at like minute two. So we did fast bathes for a bit and then on a crabby day with nothing to do I filled the tub and he was happy as a clam so now we do daytime bathes still every other day or so and he is just fine.

  39. Nobody has mentioned using a different bathtub. We use a big garden tub (in the regular tub) for our 2.5 year old–uses less water overall, fills really fast, and no drain to worry about. A little un-stylish in the bathroom, but it works for us.Also, we really rarely wash E’s hair. It just doesn’t need it. It’s not like she’s greasy or anything. I wash it when it’s got food or dirt or vomit or whatnot in it. We often go months without a shampoo. We do this for two reasons…a) she HATES to get her head wet, and b) she has curly hair that gets quite mangled if it’s washed too frequently. I’m not yet ready for her to have dreadlocks…

  40. I WISH I had all this confirmation that less-frequent baths were ok when DD was having the hardest time with it (2-2.75 y/o). I pushed through but just not doing it would have saved a lot of screaming, crying and frustration for everyone. She’s still not a huge fan (every other day bath now) but we got one of those kiddie showers that hook up to the reg. showerhead with a long hose and a little fish on a suction cup at the end. The spray comes out of the fish mouth and hits her on the belly, not in the eyes, and she’s much happier not having to sit *in* water. It’s a ‘standing bath’ (our term too!) every night and takes about 3 minutes. Hair gets shampooed every other time she gets bathed, which amounts to about once a week.The 18-month-old would sit in the tub till his butt gets pruney, but the shower fish scares him TO. DEATH. He screams and points and quivers until I take it down and hide it in the linen closet.
    Bathtime involves a great deal of hoop-jumping at our house, as you can see.

  41. Sorry- haven’t read all the comments but besides bathing less, putting a small stool in the bathtub helped us out. It became a boat that babies got to sail in- so i guess that goes with distraction.

  42. @ the milliner -thanks for suggestion about the washcloth over the eyes. Rinsing the hair is our biggest issue.Anyone know a good way to teach a child to lay back in order to get their hair rinsed? Or what age that is even possible? Mine is 22 months.

  43. @Elaine- Hubby just told our daughter to lean back. I think that started working sometime after she turned 2. I was pregnant at the time, and had given myself a pass on toddler baths, so I am afraid I don’t really know when she “got it”.@MrsHaley- kids shower attachment??? Why did I not know about these? I must investigate….

  44. @Elaine- I taught “chin up.” My DD went through a fairly long phase of hating having her hair shampooed/conditoned/rinsed, but has now come to be perfectly amenable to it. I think what helped was her hanging out in the bathroom while I showered, and she saw me abuse myself in the same way with no complaint.DD never developed a fear of the bath, but did develop a liking for the shower. We give her the choice now.

  45. My son screamed like his leg was in a bear clamp anytime we took a bath between 17-24 months. The whole time. Baths were quick, as infrequent as possible and I got very wet. Eventually, hysterics were restricted to hair washing. So we just powered through hair washing about twice a week and the rest was all about bath toys, bubbles, singing songs (I sometimes sit next to the tub and play guitar) and lots of cuddles in the towel afterward.Eventually he learned to learned to lie down on his back with me holding him so we could wash his hair w/o drama… he didn’t get this until about 2.75 y.o. Now he’s almost 3 y.o. and I’d say we bathe 3-4 times a week, max (in the depths of winter when he wasn’t going outside much, we were down to about 2x per week). He really enjoys taking a bath now, so it is definitely possible for your child to grow out of his bath hatred.

  46. My 2 year old DD has had severe eczema since she was 6 weeks old, which has been under control more or less since she was 8 months old. As in control by rigorous preventative care.That means the daily longer bath, twice daily full coating in emollient, top ups of said emollient and RX creams on developing patches at night which require twenty minutes of restraint so she can’t rub the steroid in her eyes.
    She’s spirited and of course none of this is always pleasant, so we’ve had huge roof-raising tantrums about all the above processes at different points of development.
    I’ve noticed that the dermatologist’s nurse always looks a bit funny at me as I’ve persevered with all the treatments. It’s good as my little girl’s skin is much the better for it, and much better than other affected toddlers’ skin where the parents give up, but I think she’s imagining that I’m an iron disciplinarian or have hand-cuffs.
    I am in the sense that when it comes to it I do hold her down to apply her creams, and I have also held her firmly in the bath while pouring water over her ( not her head) so she got the twenty minutes of hydration. The brittle smile of ” for your own good” .
    Severe tantrums have meant much holding and restraining, as in gently but firmly and allowing her to keep her dignity as much as I can. But they fizzled out as they got no result.
    But mostly I use timing, as in the points of the day when she’s most tolerant for things. First thing in the morning and after her bath at night.
    Nappy changing and top up emollient still is often a tantrum though.
    With the bath she has a sense of control as she can take the stopper out and in, which she likes to do, as well as toys she picked out and sponges and pouring games. Once she’s had enough she stands up and I immediately help her out.
    With the emollient I hand her a small tube of cream and she puts that on her face in imitation of mummy.
    I have found that if I tell her to do something it gets the mother of all tantrums, but if something is a routine, as in we always do this, she will fall into line more or less.
    I’m a SAHM so during the day I let her set the pace and the direction of her daily walk. That takes a very long time but she gets to make the choices. That really has helped her be more cooperative at home.
    When we’re in the small shopping centre I negotiate where we go first and let her set the pace.
    We’ve lots of lifts( elevators) and escalators and buttons to open doors nearby too, so we ride them and she can press all the buttons.
    It’s a trade-off of not letting her win on tooth-brushing or skin-care but letting her ” win” as often as I can elsewhere.
    If I decreased the frequency of baths or treatments she’d soon be resisting them all. She needs her boundaries or it’s more than three public tantrums a day. Which is an average day.

  47. How about using the portable DVD player in the bathroom with a favorite video? For the past two years, my son (age 4) has loved to act out the action in the tub while the Backyardigans are on the little screen atop the toilet seat.

  48. @MerrilyNJ – When my girl was into taking showers with me, she was over a year and a half. She had seen me and knew what it was about. We would just step into the stall shower with the water already running, I’d show her a good place to sit so the water wouldn’t get in her eyes, and she would sit at my feet and play with all the bottles and suction cups and loofahs. While she played, I washed my hair and body. Then, I would sit down with her and wash her hair and body (she would help).I would put a face cloth over her eyes and face when it was time to rinse out her hair (I’d forgotten about that! Thanks @the milliner!). I’d hold her up to wash off her body in the shower, being careful not to get her face in the water. She thought it was great fun… until she didn’t.
    It’s important to use no-tears shampoo so that if it does get in the kid’s eyes, at least it doesn’t sting.
    @Mrs. Haley – I MUST check out these shower attachments! That sounds perfect!

  49. I haven’t read all the comments, but the suggestions for less frequently and showering/bathing with the kid sound good to me.Another suggestion is an inflatable bathtub. We have one that is like an inflatable kiddy pool, but small enough to fit in the regular tub. We use it because it’s soft for our baby if she tips over and requires less water to fill, but it might work for a kid who is afraid of the drain. You could even set it outiside of the tub.

  50. We only do twice-weekly baths these days (kids are almost 4 and a 16 months), and often the baby is eager to get in and then screams blue murder as soon as she’s there. She hates having her hair washed but is fine with the rest so far.An easy way to give back some control if they’re afraid of the water swirling down the drain is to ask if they want to come out first or pull the plug first, and then (if they want to stay in) ask if they want to pull the plug or have you do it. If they stall, have a race to see who can find it first.

  51. At around age two my son was terrified of the noise that the water made as it filled the tub. He was also terrified of the gurgling sound that the drain made as the tub emptied. It helped a lot to fill and empty the tub when he was in another room.We also did the little bathtub in the big bathtub thing and that really helped. It was actually a large plastic tub that I found at Target that was intended to be used for ice and drinks on the patio.
    We also only bathed the kids 2 or 3 times a week when they were that little.

  52. My daughter just started to hate the bath too, and she used to love it. I think the problem is tied to starting potty training. She’s very aware of when she’s peeing and pooping, but is not yet ready to use the potty. The last few times I’ve given her a bath, she stands in the water, clutching the side of the tub, chanting “diaper on! diaper on!”. The last time I gave her a bath (were down to once per week) she peed while standing in the bath, and I think it upset her to see urine shooting out of her. I think she’s anxious about having to pee, and having nowhere to put it when she isn’t wearing a diaper. Anyone else think this is the cause of their toddler’s new-onset bath fury?I was considering putting her in a reusable swim diaper for bath time, just for show. But I’m afraid that would evolve into a REQUIREMENT to bathe while partially clothed. Don’t want to go there.

  53. Two things worked for us: showers and then bathtub crayons. She was so excited for the crayons, she completely forgot she didn’t like the tub.

  54. My little guy was afraid of the ceiling fan in my parents’ bathroom and that spilled over to all bath times in any tub anywhere. I’d cover the fan with a piece of paper and eventually he got over it.Bubbles also work. He doesn’t like the shower because of spray in the face. Also doesn’t like it at the pool. Bath time visitors have also helped i.e. if we have company, they visit him in the bath as he’s getting ready for bed.

  55. Lots of great bathtime suggestions! I read with curiosity since we are at 2.5 and there are some things that need to be done that he does not. want. to. do. Is there always the equivalent of a shower? I set expectations, make games of things, have consequences and rewards when there are reasonable ones, but I am at a loss for the things I have to ask him to do 50 times before he does them.Sorry if this is a hijack – it seems somewhat topical at least.

  56. @Danielle – I am right there with you. 2 was such a delightful age. 2.5 is kicking my ass. The old standard problems (eating and sleeping) are no longer problems, but the tantrums! the wilfullness! the “mine!”, the “I do it!”. Sometimes, I find myself just making him do things, to hell with the accompanying tantrum – but I wish there was an easier way.

  57. If the problem is the sensation of water, then showers or swimming pools may be even worse than baths. That was our experience when our boy was 1.All the other same-age kids in mothers group were fine with showers and swimming, but our kid screamed like we must be trying to kill him if we took him in either.
    We always had bubbles & toys, filled & emptied the water while he was out of the room, didn’t bath every day, rarely shampoo, often had morning baths, bathed with him when he was under 1yr, and he STILL went thru those phases.
    He’s approaching 2 1/2 and still throws the random bath freakout, but not regularly. I find for us it is more likely to happen at night because a) it means the dreaded bedtime is approaching so the tantrum is more about what the bath leads to than the bath itself and b) he’s already tired so more prone to losing it for no reason. So morning baths (while I have my shower in the separate stall) every other day is what works for us to prevent most tantrums before they start, and I find it’s much less annoying for me to have him get clean when I do instead of it being another thing to do in the evening when we all have shorter tempers.

  58. Our pediatrician told us 2x per week from the beginning, so that’s all it’s ever been at our house.We always gave a choice. At two, I found both my kids quite reasonable (by which I mean I could reason with them) as long as they had choices. So perhaps choice 1 == bath, choice 2 == shower. No budging no negotiating, no bribery, no delay tactics. This is my general parenting technique and it seems to work well for my kids. YMMV, of course.
    If you truly think it’s get-sucked-down-the-drain fear, you might find an illustrated book about plumbing and do a fieldtrip to Home Depot to demonstrate the physical impossibility of such a thing. Again, this would have worked on my kids.
    If you’re not as much of a bitch as I am and you’re inclined toward letting your kid wait ’til he’s ready to brave the tub, I recommend a weekly swim class to get him clean. And after that, you might be able to sell the bathtub better if you let him bathe in his swimsuit a la “pool in our bathroom”.

  59. What about a bath in the kitchen sink? I know the water goes down too but it’s smaller and since kids see the dishes going in, being washed and coming out again unharmed they may feel more comfortable??This is a case of now that I know I’m a separate individual from my parent, which is what the 2 yr. old phase is processing, my safety is unsure. With this new awareness they may feel as if an imaginary cord has been cut and now they actually could be sucked down the drain?
    Hard to know as 2 yr. olds can’t really tell you their psychological dilemma! Sure would make things easier of they could!

  60. Oooo Sharon, I forgot about the bath in the sink–that works, too, and our 2.5 asks for it, as he sees us doing it with the Bitsy.And I’m jealous of Jan and all the rest of you whose kids are reasonable if you give them choices. My kid seems to get crazy if you give choices too often, or not enough, or anything–he pushes me until I can’t take any more, then I lose my marbles (at him or just in general), and then he’s an angel. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    I just don’t know what to do–today I lost it and spanked him (oh dear Gd am I admitting that?) out of desperation, b/c he was deliberately hurting the sleeping baby sister, and nothing I was doing would stop him.
    I don’t mean to hijack, but I’m sick inside, and all the dozens of books I’ve read about HOW to do the gentle discipline seem meaningless right now. He’s so rude and disrespectful, and mean. Nothing from the books seems to work. I don’t even like to be around him. Sigh.

  61. @Jan, what do you do if you don’t budge, etc? I aspire to this, and it seems so reasonable, but how do you handle the resulting crying, tantrums, refusals, and so forth? I’m actually writing this from the bathroom in which I’ve locked the wailing 3 year old and myself. I don’t know what parents did before iPhones.

  62. Well, color me a bad mother, but actually it is possible to let your child go without taking a bath (or a shower) for months.I know this isn’t necessarily a good argument for doing something, but I figure throughout most of human history that was the norm.
    We went from September of last year into February of this one with perhaps two baths, some sponging/spot washing, and regular trips (say 3/week) to the swimming pool (not for the cleansing effect per se, but an hour in a pool leaves one pretty much soaked clean). I don’t shower my 2 y.o. before he gets into the pool; honestly, I figure the main concern on pool cleanliness is dirty hands and poop, and please do rest assured that, no-baths aside, I keep his bottom clean with wipes and washcloths as needed (and have him wash his hands).
    His hair did get yucky, but every now and again I put olive oil in it and then combed/blotted it out. We survived. He wasn’t unhappy and wasn’t having skin problems.
    Before and after this six (!) month interval, he’s been an enthusiastic bath taker. I’m glad he’s back into it, as it gives us a peaceful nighttime activity that can eat up an hour if we allow it to. But honestly, I didn’t care enough about his taking a bath when he wasn’t into it to require it.

  63. stillbecoming,Don’t be too hard on yourself, so much more easily said than done, about the desperation induced one-off spanking. I’ve not had a second baby and I’m the only target of my toddler’s considerable aggression during tantrums and to be honest it drives me nuts with fury sometimes. And I am big!
    If that aggression were directed at my little baby I’d lose it too.
    Choices don’t work for my spirited DD. As in letting her lead the way when walking yes- but that doesn’t stop her throwing an enormous paddy when we go into a shop she doesn’t like.
    Saying blue or red shoes type of choice only lights the blue touch paper with her. I’m then liable to have both pairs of shoes sailing past me launched in fury. Seriously, choice infuriates sometimes.
    She has a very hard time with transitions and offering choice may seem like more change to her. I don’t know.
    Removal of toddler from situation is all that works for me sometimes. She’s only two but three feet tall and weighs over thirty pounds now and proportionately she is stronger than I am with her sturdy build. She can pretty much pull me over.
    She’s not Godzilla devastating a city, but she doesn’t cope with emotional stress well. My DH travels a lot and I spend five days and nights alone with her a lot, and she misses him.So do I.
    It gives her night terrors and also makes for big meltdowns over small things in the daytime.
    I let her rant and rave but I don’t let her kick and punch other people’s possessions or their toddlers. She used to be a whirling dervish doing damage accidentally but I’ve noticed at two years and two months that it’s becoming much more deliberate. Which I’m sure is developmental progress for lack of a better phrase.
    I’ve wrestled her into the stroller and I’ve carried her off rugby-hold style too. Depending on where and what.
    The thing is that often she then calms right down. I feel like the world’s worst mother at such moments, but I don’t think it is a good idea to let a toddler hurt others.Or themselves.
    I’ve no experience at all, but if your DS wants to be bathed like the baby he may need you to tell him that he’s still your baby.
    No matter what the behaviour, and that includes her hurting me, after it’s over I always try to give her a hug and always tell her that I love her and that’s she’s my baby. Because it’s true.
    But I do remove her from the situation if there’s aggression happening.
    I’m sure that mums with more children will have lots of better advice for you. Just wanted to say that choice is not the magic bullet for me either.

  64. Whoa… did I send this email in my sleep, because I was about to write it! Not baths so much as hairwashing, with one half of our 2.5 year old twin girls. She never really liked it, but in the last month or so she really flips out over leaning back to rinse her hair. After several experiments (skipping hair for a bath or two, just using a washcloth, buying one of those cups with the soft rim that presses up against the forehead) I settled upon just washing the back/sides and rinsing with a cup as much as I can while she’s sitting upright. Based on her comments, I think she doesn’t realize I’m washing it at all!We love bathtime though, and it is part of our nightly bedtime ritual.

  65. This happened with both of my kids. The good news was that it eventually passed. We did a lot of stand up baths and then eventually dipped various body parts in so they could be rinsed. The reason for not wanting to get in, I believe, was related to some poop in the bath episodes (it was probably a bit shocking to suddenly be yanked out of the bath because of the floater). I think they were both frightened that they couldn’t control a poop coming out and so refused to get in.

  66. @Alexicographer: yeah, now *that’s* what I call spacing out the baths. Right there with you — I think of my daughter as having a medieval suspicion of overly frequent contact with water. It’s bad for the constitution.Anyway, we’ve gone through this phase a couple times now (first at 18 months, then again at two-ish and then a brief flare-up a few weeks ago), and at least now I know that it’ll pass, and then we’ll be back in the phase where the crying happens when it’s time to get out of the bath. Whee! In the meantime, we wipe her down regularly, aim for an actual bath every couple weeks, and comfort ourselves with the thought that this is a battle we can probably afford let her win, which means that she may be more cheerful about less negotiable arrangements — car seat, toothbrushing, bedtime.
    As far as ending the bath strike goes, it’s been lots of trial and error, and something different works every time (probably she’s just ready to be over it). Getting in with her (and nursing, when that was still an option) almost always helps; recently, so has allowing her to bring in a toy that isn’t usually a bath toy (the latest strike ended when my husband suggested a tea party in the bath).
    Finally, should you find yourself catching a whiff of your kid and thinking, “huh, maybe it’s time for the quarterly scrub-down, tantrum be damned,” you won’t be the first.

  67. Thanks, Wilhelmina. A lot of good insights/commiseration. Sometimes this feels so lonely, doesn’t it?I have gone the route of saying he’s still my baby, but that can lead to a meltdown b/c it has to end eventually. Do you ever feel like you walk on eggshells all the time?
    HO boy. Thanks for your kind words to. I can get through this.

  68. OMG..I had to ask myself if I sent in this question because I am going through the exact same thing with my 2yr old daughter. All of a sudden, out of the blue, baths were no longer fun for her. An annoying stage but yes-we restrict them to 3/week so the drama isn’t all too much.

  69. @ stillbecoming – Right, I’m going to go out on a limb here, because I think you need to hear it: I have smacked my 3-year-old too. In desperation. In sheer, utter, ‘my body is reacting before my mind can jump in and stop it’. In a blind, seeing-red, rage. And I am not a parent who spanks. Yes, that makes me sound like a hypocrite, but I do mean it, I am not a parent who spanks, I don’t agree with spanking as a punishment, I don’t think spanking does any good or serves any good purpose except to teach a child that hitting is ok. And yet I have smacked my child. I don’t ever try to justify it, and I used to give myself endless grief over it. But I read three things, two here, and one in Haim Ginott’s “Between Parent and Child” that made me yes, regret the smack, and yes, want to work on fixing whatever it is in me that reacted that way, but not feel constant guilt. One thing I read here, and I’m sorry I can’t remember who wrote it, was that being a non-violent parent is a practice, like meditating or doing yoga is a practice. You don’t suddenly get to a point in meditation or yoga where you say, ok, I’m done, I know how to do this, I don’t need to do it any more. You do it every day, you choose to do it every day. Every day, I have to choose to be a non-violent parent. And sometimes I don’t succeed in my practice. And then I try again.Also, I seem to remember Hedra telling a story about one of her kids (Hedra, chime in if this is ringing bells) biting her (? or something) and she just reacted *instantly* by smacking the child away. And (even after Hedra sorted out the situation in her inimitable way, I don’t remember the details of what she said to the child, but there was a lot of careful mending) the child still spent the next four hours following her around and saying, plaintively, “But Mom, we don’t hit!” We don’t. And we don’t. And we keep don’t-ing. Even after sometimes we do.
    And last, there’s a lovely section on spanking in Ginott’s book. He starts by saying “Hitting children should be as unacceptable as car accidents are. Yet car accidents do happen. But a driver’s license does not give advance permission for car accidents. It does not state, “You’re sure to have some car accidents, so don’t drive carefully.” On the contrary, we are admonished to drive carefully. Neither should hitting children be a prescribed method for disciplining them, even though accidental hitting cannot always be avoided.” (p.131). It was important to me that he said both things: Sometimes hitting happens. That doesn’t give you a license to hit.
    For me, the most important thing, when I smacked my boy, was to immediately get down on the floor and pick him up and hug him and say, “I’m sorry. I hit you, and that was the wrong thing to do. You bit me, and that hurt me and took me by surprise, and I hit you, and that was the wrong decision for me to make.” I do want him to know both that hitting is the wrong choice, *and* that mummy is not perfect or infallible and sometimes she makes the wrong choice.
    Oh blah — this is sounding like I’m trying to convince everyone that the occasional spanking is ok. I’m so not. It’s so not. If I had managed to never, ever spank my child, I would be a very happy person. What I’m trying to say is, I didn’t manage that. I try all the time, but I didn’t manage it. And I’m not going to hide and pretend that I did, because I know that there are mums out there who have been pushed beyond their absolute limit and have snapped and are killing themselves with guilt and grief who need to hear that other mums have been pushed that far too. And it doesn’t mean you’ve turned into a monster. It just means you’ve reached the end of your rope, and you need to get some more rope — get help, get out, get some rest, get a big, squishy brownie and an expensive latte. Whatever. You can do it. And you can do it again tomorrow.

  70. -rolled towel over eyes AND ears.-shower attachment on a hose (with a softer spray adjustment).
    -standing bath with drain open (standing on a small towel also helps for the slippery/unstable feeling).
    -close the door to keep the room warm.
    -bath toys, especially scoop/pour toys and sponges.
    -infrequent baths (2x/week max – Dr recommended infrequent bathing for Mr G due to skin irritation)
    -frequent (daily or 2x/daily) but short tepid soapless baths (for the one with eczema, doctor recommended no more than a couple of minutes long, water rinse only unless particularly grimy)
    -story time in the bath
    -bath salts – epsom salts, usually (pour! mix!)
    Over time, all of those have worked, and we’re now to showers for the eldest (12), usually baths but sometimes showers for the next (8), and baths with periodic screaming about shampooing for the other two (5). Still not daily, though we’re ramping up toward that for Mr G, who is headed hard into puberty and is greasing up accordingly… and becoming more aromatic along with. (Oy!)

  71. Could it be a sensory thing? I plan to read through all posts, but that happened w us w our older son … temp of bath was key, in the end, and he has a role in making it “just perfect.”

  72. @cassieblanca, yep, that was me and Mr G…We get up the next day and try again. My kids know that parenting is hard. That’s not a bad thing – they are sympathetic to the struggles *I* face as a parent, and at least in concept understand that as they grow, *I* have to learn how to respond to their growing self. It is my job to do it, but they are aware that I am working to keep up, rather than just ‘knowing it all already and declining to do it right’.
    That allows them to forgive me daily, instead of having to wait for adulthood to figure out that I make mistakes, and have to try again, and that this is human and normal. It also allows me to forgive myself. Normal parents mess up. We evolved with normal parents. Functionally, our OPTIMAL parents are then normal humans who are not perfect. Which then applies to us, too.
    Nothing better proved that this is workable than the day Mr G (at I think 7 years old) looked at me with compassion and kindness and said, ‘you really struggle with this parenting thing, don’t you?’ – and yes, I do. And I should, because I am not psychic, and he grows without notifying me of who he now is, today. I have to work to keep up, and sometimes that is a struggle. But it is a fine struggle to have. It models that we are normal, expect to make mistakes at times, and how to handle the mistakes – yes, we feel bad, no we don’t shut down or destroy ourselves over the mistake, we don’t get stuck in ruminating on how we fail, but instead be kind to ourselves while trying to learn to NOT do that again. And sometimes that takes time, and sometimes it takes outside help, and sometimes it takes teamwork, and so forth.
    I like that my kids SEE this, because I work with so many people who panic when they make a mistake, because they hit the shame/guilt wall and have no mechanism for getting past it and growing without killing themselves over it (okay, I struggle with this, too, but I’m getting better at this, too).

  73. Danielle, Jac, Stillbecoming (love that username)–you are absolutely not alone. There are many days I don’t even want to come home from work because my 2.5 year old makes me so miserable. And this after being so desperate to have a child for so long. The tantrums, the willfulness, the deliberate mean-spiritedness–it really drags me down. Not to mention I’m seven-ish weeks away from having another child. But hearing that others have spirited kids (mine from BIRTH, honestly), and just trying to keep a perspective, is so helpful. Ironically, bath time is one of the only activities that doesn’t involve a power struggle. Thank you for hi-jacking–I needed this today.

  74. Stillbecoming,I kind of knew that DD was spirited while she was still in the womb. She kicked so hard and so violently that I had very bad pains in the ribs and sides. Really looked like someone trapped in my belly and fighting her way out.
    The post-natal ward was terribly busy and had about twenty mums and babies on each wing, with curtains between. All mums exhausted and few staff. I had the baby who kept everyone up. My DH had to leave as per the rules at 8PM and it was a very brutal introduction to motherhood.
    The adjective of choice was ” alert” and she always is. Horrendous colic too and the no sleeping that never went away.
    She’s cute, really, but it’s tough going. I wouldn’t call it walking on eggshells really. Because I associate that more with my late father who was a war veteran. If a door slammed or something small went wrong he wasn’t violent but nevertheless very intimidating.
    I’m not afraid of DD but who am I kidding, I am of her tantrums as I never know when the crash comes. Until it’s underway. I’m also uneasy about how helpless and angry she makes me feel when she’s having a melt-down or lashes out at me.
    At the dermatologist they kind of treat her as an unexploded bomb. One nurse does the bubble and distraction thing and the other tries to do as much of the weighing and measuring things as she can. If DD becomes agitated they stop. And there are two of them with lots of experience.
    The public tantrums get very negative reactions. Not that strangers worry me overmuch but there’s parenting advice of course, loud intoning of never having seen such a….., comparing her to an air raid siren ( astonishingly loud voice) and even a couple who laughed nastily like it was a big joke while I was trying to get her in her stroller at a coffee shop where I had hoped to meet a friend for a chat.
    She’s persistent and goal oriented and often really sweet. Drive and determination and a strong sense of what she likes and doesn’t. Very expressive.
    And I love her intensely.She has her good times, many of them. I can’t predict though when they end and the other begins.
    But it is very lonely.Monday night she had a flare-up of eczema on her leg which woke her up, and I was bending down to get her RX cream after a stormy start that calmed down.
    Next thing I knew she kicked me deliberately and caught me right in the bosom.Which is one of those no, she doesn’t mean it in the adult sense, but wow! it hurts in several ways.
    Next morning she woke up happy and had quite a good day. But I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. When she’s happy she is totally enthusiastic and adorable. But it can switch of course.
    I remember when she was about 6 months and overjoyed shaking her marraccas at Gymboree. Looked like an advert. One grandmother present told me that my ” next one might not be so easy”.
    I’m sorry about the hijack of the subject, and yes, I get isolated alone with her for days and nights on end and then I see things more darkly. Then it does feel like I am continuously appeasing herrather than trying to keep her as happy and at ease as I can because I’m her mother.

  75. @stillbecoming- go over to Isabel’s blog and read her posts about discipline at your 2 year old (which is really your 2.5 year old, because there is some major cognitive development going on at 2.5, and yeah, they are little terrors). Here is the link to what I think was the first post, but then you can step your way forward for more posts:http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2010/01/effective-discipline-strategies-for-toddlers.html
    And stop beating yourself up. One spanking incident isn’t going to destroy your child!
    We’ve had problems with our toddler bothering our baby and refusing to stop, too. I agree that none of the usual techniques seem to work. All that works for us is to physically remove one of them from the situation- it works best if it is the baby we remove, because she doesn’t kick and scream. But if she is sleeping, we have to move the toddler. She kicks, screams, and I pull out all the stops trying to come up with a distraction. Fun times.

  76. Oh, and Pumpkin is almost 3, and we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on the tantrums. But there are still times when we do what I call the “parenting relay” because I just cannot handle her attitude for another minute. I walk away and Hubby goes in until he cracks, and then we switch again.

  77. @Wilhelmina–wow, I can’t imagine doing it all alone, thought I often wish I had waited longer for the 2nd child. Oh and the appeasing thing–I’m with you. I just get so tired and afraid of the insane melt-downs (that’s what I mean by eggshells), that I lose my compass, you know? I’ll just do anything to avoid dealing with one. And if I retain the compass, I don’t have the strength sometimes to follow it; I just don’t.@ Cloud–Love the relay idea, will have to steal it. But what do you do when there’s only 1 of you? My infant had just gone to sleep ON me in the carrier, so there was no way to remove anyone–believe me, I even tried to just move away from the toddler. . .I was basically running and swatting away his hands, and holding him away with a foot (arms not long enough)–it was totally absurd. I’ve been at the ‘remove someone’ technique for some time now, with verbal reinforcement, but it just isn’t getting through. . .what am I doing wrong here? Also, if removing toddler results in enough hubbub to wake the baby, I just don’t see the point anymore.

  78. @Cloud–I just read that post. I wanted to cry and laugh; that’s the content of the 2 dozen books I’ve read (literally over 20). Believe me I am working like mad to try to do all those things. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to work at all. I’ve been doing those things since DS was very tiny (pulling up, signing etc) and I guess it’s just the dysequilibrium kicking in–dunno. I’ve just been working so hard for so long, and all that stuff seems to have just bounced off–discouraging. Oh, plus we’ve been sick for about 2 months straight, so I’m worn to a frazzle from that. Anyway, I assume it will just magically get better, kind of like the sleep and teething stuff does eventually.AND it’s reminding me now that our goal should not be to “fix” behaviors or our kid, but to teach them to help themselves within the context of their inner world. I just haven’t adjusted well to managing that in the context of siblings.

  79. @stillbecoming- I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. It is just a tough age combined with new baby. I think the big developmental leap at 2.5 is jealousy, so it is like a perfect recipe for suckiness.Now you see my secret- I am very rarely alone with both kids, since I work and Hubby doesn’t travel. We’ll do the solo parenting thing for at most a few hours.
    I am also lucky that the baby is pretty easy going. In the situation you describe, I think I would pull out the double stroller and go for a walk (see, I am also lucky in that I live someplace where that is almost always possible). Petunia would fall back asleep in the stroller, and the walk would distract Pumpkin.
    I am alone with both when we get home from work/day care, because Hubby comes home later. It is not for long, but it is an often challenging time- I need to start dinner, everyone is wanting to reconnect…. so I offer up Dora on the TV for Pumpkin. I am so completely over feeling even the least bit bad about that. She watches Dora, and really just needs me to reappear to do the “we did it” dance with her. Petunia sits in her bouncy chair and “talks” to me while I start dinner and mostly it works.
    So maybe if you know you need some time to let the baby nap on you, you could set up some pre-planned distraction for your older kid? I forget who said this on the thread for the mom of twins who was feeling bad about using swings, but it is genius: there are no crutches. Just currently necessary tools.

  80. @stillbecoming- you don’t have time to read a slew of posts and comments now, so I’ll just tell you: if you step forward on Isabel’s blog, you’d find posts with comments full of other moms admitting to “appeasement” (I love that word to describe how we’ll bend over backwards to avoid a tantrum) and other discipline issues.We’ve been sick for a solid two months, too. What is it with the colds that just will not end? Ugh.
    I think I would have totally lost my cool many, many times if I had been at home all day alone with my 2.5 year old and newborn.
    Like I said in one of the earlier comments, we’ve been noticing an improvement recently, as we near the 3 year mark (Pumpkin’s birthday is in early April). Hang in there. Is there anyone who can take at least one of the kids and give you a little break? It sounds like your mommy batteries need recharging.
    I think parenting is so hard because you work really hard at it, and try to do things right, and the feedback on that is so delayed. You’ll see the results of all of your good parenting years from now. It is hard to see it now.

  81. @ Cloud – we have identical lives – DS watches Dora while I make dinner, which I time very well to make sure nothing will burn while we do the “we did it” dance. So funny!

  82. It’s been a while since I posted here, life and business have been all consuming. As Martha says, it’s a good thing! Even now I don’t have time to post BUT I never want moms to feel bad or do without an answer.My tip is really just a reminder. Take it one moment at a time and do not beat yourself up. Many of us have, including me, hit our kids when we were overwhelmed, raw or taken by surprise. Those events also remind us that this is not how we want to parent. The horror and guilt we have after doing something like that spurs us on to find another way.
    The way I like to suggest parents handle wee ones is my Correcting Toddlers seminar, sorry for the shameless plug but I know it works. There are a bunch of moms who read Ask Moxie who’ve tried it and loved it, speak up ladies so others know there is help out there and don’t have to listen to me.
    It works really well for a long time and then depending on the phase a child may begin to laugh at you when you do it. My nephew is laughing at his mom. If that happens-you just keep doing it. It sends the message, you’re not allowed to hit, throw, bite, whatever. It stops the child and also points out what they need to do instead and insists they try again.
    We all know when a child is not that verbal they’re frustrated. What they long for is consistency from you. They want to rely on the fact that you will handle things the same way each time, no matter how much they change. This too shall pass. And then they’ll enter the world of 3 and a whole new set of fun opens up!
    Hope this helps.

  83. Thankfully, my daughter hasn’t yet gone through this stage, but she does seem to prefer jumping in the shower with me some days. I actually find it easier when I’m in the mood (hey, sometimes you just need 10 minutes to yourself and the shower is the only place you’re gonna get it – but you all know that, don’t you?) because she can play with her toys and I don’t have to fight to rinse her hair because she runs back and forth under the water anyhow. 🙂 She also LOVES it when either my husband or myself take a bath with her (though we haven’t done that in awhile)

  84. @ Cloud – The Wall Street Journal Blog – “The Juggle”, had a recent post on exercising with toddlers – the general consensus over there seemed to be that dancing was the way to go. Boogie away!

  85. I usually have a bath with my daughter (26 months). Quite a time saver and we have a nice chat. If anything she’s hard to get OUT of the bath. On the other hand always being in my PJs at 7pm is a bit odd!

  86. we went through the bath “fear” a couple of months ago. What helped is that one day I decided it was a “pool” day to get over the cold, winter day. We went to the store and I had DD pick out some new “pool” toys and then we went home to get into the “pool” We put on our bathing suits, sun glasses and sun hats! I cut out a sun to put on the bathroom wall and we both went into the ‘pool”. We had so much fun splashing around that she started asking to go swimming every day! For about a week I had to put us in our bathing suits before the bath, but eventually we got back into the bathtub “normally”.Now, we have the fear of wind phase, and she doesn’t want to go outside. anyone go through this?!

  87. This has probably already been mentioned, but when my daughter started this out of the blue at 15 months, we were able to quickly resolve it by first her seeing me take a bath and then her joining me.

  88. Incredible montag of images, as regular. Who wouldn’t be commencing to obtain while in the mood for fall along with the amazing climate here these days?!Thanks as usually for that inspiration.

  89. The level of resistance is about management and not real worry, if you can sympathies so much with the kid that there’s no more benefit or fun in fighting off, then you might be able to prevent the sentiment and short-circuit the crying.

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