Fear and Loathing in the Bathtub

Not long ago, bath time was a fun and relaxing nightly routine. Claire played with her three little plastic dolphins in the bubbly, warm water. We listened to lazy music and ended up all clean and sleepy for bedtime.

Those days seem to have passed, at least for the moment. Bath time, especially since we moved to the new house in Dallas, has become a stripped down, sometimes frantic, usually unhappy affair. Gone are the bubbles; Claire does not want bubbles any more. And the favorite old “Sleepy” and “Moonlight” playlists that we had gradually worked to perfection on our iPod are no longer welcome; Claire prefers silence. The water is “too hot!” even if it is tepid. She cries and screams when we start the bath water, and she ends up running all over the house, screaming, usually naked, before we scoop her up and make her clean up. She protests, “I’m not dirty! I don’t need a bath!” The scene has at times devolved into some of the biggest fits she has ever had. We often just splash her off as she stands in the tub. She ends up going to bed mad and frustrated, but at least sort of clean. Mostly, we are trying to stick somewhat to the routine.

We have asked her why she doesn’t like baths, but she does not give us any real answer. Β It could be related to potty training, as she has had a couple of “accidents” in the bath, and they freaked her out. Or sometimes it seems like she just does not want to go to sleep, and she knows darn well that bath time means bedtime. She just wants to keep playing, even though she is obviously tired.

Last night, we had a rare fun bath time. We played and splashed and laughed. She was happy as we got her into her pajamas and off to bed. Hopefully this is the start of a trend. All three of us could use some relief from the nightly bath trauma.

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