A couple weeks ago I was in the kitchen cutting up the strawberries Qwynn had so eagerly reminded me I had promised she could have after dinner, when I heard shouts of excitement coming from the bathroom. “It’s bath time! Yay bath time!”
I smiled and sighed. She was back. Finally!
Qwynn has loved her baths pretty much since she was born. I had read somewhere that you shouldn’t shield a baby’s eyes and face from the water when you bathe them because they need to learn how to blink it out. I thought it was an interesting approach and we decided to try it.
Once her umbilical cord fell off and we were able to give her a real bath, we gave it a go. We used to set her baby tub on the counter so she was able to see in the mirror. She loved this! When we poured the water over her head, we smiled as big as we possibly could and laughed like it was the most fun thing ever! Once she blinked the water out and saw us in the mirror, she gave us a huge smile back and has been loving her baths ever since.
That is until a few months ago when Qwynn discovered floaties – the horrifying and evil specks of lint, fuzz and dirt floating in the bath water around her.
Tyson ended up becoming the “bath time parent” when Qwynn was only a few months old. They seemed to have a lot of fun and I thought it was a great opportunity for them to spend time together since Qwynn doesn’t get to see him every night during the hockey season. One day I heard Tyson and Qwynn talking about floaties. From then on bath time changed. Qwynn started refusing to get in the water and would cry, “No floaties!”
Fortunately, Tyson quickly figured out a routine where they would scoop up all the floaties with a cup and dump them in the sink before Qwynn would get in the tub. This worked for a couple weeks, but one day she got in the tub after they had removed all the floaties, and started freaking out because she saw one. She just about jumped right out of the tub. Tyson realized it was lint from her socks that had been stuck in between her toes. He tried to explain to her where these floaties were coming from and reassure her that they would definitely not hurt her, but she wasn’t having it at all.
For about two weeks after this, bath time became a team effort for Tyson and I. There were a ton of tears and it was a fight just to get Qwynn to stand in the bath, let alone sit down in the floatie infested water. None of her usual bath toys helped distract her, but then I remembered I had purchased some foam numbers from the Target Dollar Spot the week before and decided it was worth a shot.
Qwynn stood in the tub without crying the whole entire bath time. Although initially a fight and still a refusal to sit, the next couple of baths had less and less tears.
The next bath night I was by myself because Tyson had to work a game. I decided Qwynn had to start sitting in the bath again. In my profession you have to have a high tolerance for crying. You have to understand that it’s okay for kids to cry. So I found my backbone and told Qwynn she had to sit in the bath. She had to learn to share the bath with floaties. She just had to. So, I made her.
She of course fought me tooth and nail and there were lots and lots of tears, but I was eventually able to talk her through it. I explained that she had to sit in the tub because otherwise the floor would get all wet. I continued to reassure her that the floaties were harmless and it was okay that they were in the bath tub. And I kept bringing her attention back to the foam numbers and how cool it was that they stuck to the bathtub wall. The power of distraction is absolutely wonderful.
After that night, things slowly started getting better. We went from very few tears to no tears at all. Tyson no longer needed my help and him and Qwynn got their bonding time back. A few weeks ago, I even heard giggles and belly laughs. It was magical!
She still points out the floaties now and then, but we just say it’s ok and move on. Last week she even asked us to take a bath. It was truly an amazing feeling!
What irrational fears have your kids had?