Need some advise…

Whilst being a mother is without a doubt one of the best things that has ever happened in my life, I have to admit that there are times when things are hard.  Each developmental stage is so different and they each come with their own set of challenges and frustrations.

Something is happening with my child that is driving me absolutely batshit crazy and I have no idea what is causing it and what to do to fix this situation.  Kade is 15 months old now (sidebar – how the frigging heck did THAT happen??)  and I don’t know if this is an age thing or what but something has got to give and considering I’m no longer a drinker it can’t be a bottle of wine giving me solace…

So.  We went away for a weekend about two months ago.  When we got back Kade went thru a patch where he (who used to absolutely LOVE bath time) would cry if we put him in the bath for bath time.  We asked my mom if he’d slipped in the bath whilst with her and she said no.  We asked Thembi if perhaps he’d fallen into the bath whilst at home during the say – she said no.  He’d cling to us and lets just say that bath time was unpleasant and slightly stressful.  This seemed to blow over after about 2 weeks and we soon went back to a happy bath time.

Until about a week and a half ago.

He’s started this again.  Except it’s worse.  WAY, WAY worse.  He screams blue murder and cries uncontrollably and even tries to climb out the bath.  He is one hundred percent fine whilst we run the bath.  He likes to watch us prep the bath and chats (babbles) away to us.  But as soon as we start to undress him he starts freaking out.  And by freaking out I mean FREAKING OUT.  Screaming and crying and kicking his legs.  I’m sure the neighbors must think we are murdering him.  Its getting so bad that we literally have to restrain him to get him bathed and it’s becoming a fight every night.

We’ve made sure the water temperature is 100% perfect. We’ve tried to sit in the bath with him to show him he’s safe.  We’ve tried to distract him with a funky new bath toy.  We’ve tried holding him close to give him a sense of security.  We’ve tried reasoning with him (well as much as one can with a 15 month old).  We’ve tried being stern with him.  We’ve created a character called Captain Bathtub (the shower rinser thingi) that “calls” him to tell him to not be scared/angry in the bath.

Honestly I am at my wits end.

Bath time is becoming too stressful and not at all the happy family time that it used to be.  What frustrates me to no end is he cannot TELL me what the heck is freaking him out.  I cannot figure out what is causing this.  I don’t want my child to HATE bath time.  I want it to be a fun time for him – as indeed it used to be.

Has anyone had this happen to them?  What did you do to fix it?



9 thoughts on “Need some advise…

  1. Ok, I have my adult time to get to this.

    Xavier did pretty much the same thing round about the same age. We also asked the school if they had played with water that day, if he had slipped, etc. But there was nothing. He just didn’t want to get into the bath, when we got him in he didn’t want to stay in the bath or sit down and he was rather afraid.

    We decided that week not to push him or make him more afraid, so we weren’t going to force it. I ran a bath for him, he came to play with the water, but when it came time to take his clothes off, he wouldn’t have it! Even less did he want to get in. But, we put him in and washed him quick and took him out.

    The following day I ran the bath water an hour earlier, he didn’t really even want to play, but I sat by the bath and played with toys, talking to the toys to try and make him feel it was more inviting and that it was OK to bath. I sat and played for AN HOUR by myself! He did come in every now and then, but I couldn’t get his clothes off or anything. Eventually after the hour passed, he let me take off his clothes – but he fought me and didn’t want to get in the bath. So, I took a cloth and soap and washed him on the bathroom floor.

    I wasn’t willing to budge on his bath time. Bedtime routine I feel is important and he needed to understand that bath time is bath time. (without feeling forced into an uncomfortable situation).

    The next few days/week (I can’t remember how long it lasted) I just use to bath with him. He was OK (not great) with being in the bath with us – but he wouldn’t get off my lap.

    Eventually we reached a point where he would get into the bath, but by hook or by crook he would NOT sit down or lie down for hair washes. We had to do everything while he was standing – of course this posed a new hurdle because if he slipped a little (never fell, we always held him tight) it would set him off completely into a crying fit and him wanting to get out.

    X has only this year sat down in the bath again by himself. (That would mean for about 2years he wouldn’t sit – unless it was on my lap as my lap was above the water level)

    Now, you know that X has his challenges and I’m by no means saying Kade has any issues. I think the bath thing CAN be an age thing as I see many parents go through similar experiences at around the same age.

    The other thing is that, only since we’ve addressed X’s spatial awareness have we managed to get him to sit in the water. He’s even lying in the bath now and really just enjoying it so much more than he ever has.

    So, the not wanting to bath thing may have been age appropriate, but the not wanting to sit part was possibly caused by his spatial awareness which I think we are unaware of when the are babies and can only sit in the water. X however from an early age didn’t like to lie down in the bath – so hair washing was always tricky. Sitting on my lap worked for him because he knew where his body was at that point.

    I would say, don’t stress yourself out too much about it. Don’t stress Kade out too much about it. Bath him outside the bath for a while if that’s how he’ll accept it. Or try the shower(this may be scary). Try not fight with him at bath time. Make him understand that bath time is important and it WILL happen, but it can be more comfortable for him and part of it can be on ‘his’ terms and what he’s comfortable with.

    Heck, even try a blowup pool in the bathroom and see if it works.

    I think what’s so difficult is that he was in someone else’s care and while I don’t see that they would lie to you, there may have been an incident that really has just slipped their mind – or it is just as they say and nothing did happen to set him off.

    With X it was just that instant. One day he was fine, the next he was a mess.

    If Kade won’t have any bathing then I think the best is to acknowledge how he feels and just get the job done as fast as possible (which I’m sure you’re doing). Don’t let yourself get stressed because he’ll pick up on it. Make it a non-event until he starts enjoying it again.

    Jeez, I think I’m done typing now!


  2. Maybe dress him waaaay before giving him the bath? So that he watches all the preparations buck-naked?
    Also, maybe not bathe him every night? Just to quiet things down a bit…


  3. Gosh I hate it when stuff like this happens – its a guessing game and then suddenly it all goes back to normal!

    Maybe put him in the bath with his clothes on and see what he does then? Then you know if its a water thing or not. Jack hates bubbles in the bath – he freaks out if we put bubbles in – so it may be as simple as something in the bath?

    Or maybe run the bath and leave him – just say Kade the water is in – tell mom when you are ready?

    Or try the shower?

    Flip Sam I don’t know though my friend – hope you guys can figure it out!


  4. Burrito and Tamale have each hated and loved bath at different times. At Kade’s age through 2 1/2, both of them were fine with the bath itself but cried and cried when their hair got washed. What worked best was to let them play in the water for a few minutes with their bath toys before doing any washing.

    Our other big solution has been to do bathtime very infrequently, just for my own sanity’s sake!

    More recently one of them was having a particularly hard time but was covered in blood from a terrible nosebleed and there was no way she would tolerate a bath without screaming to the point where she couldn’t breathe. I got into the bath with her and just sat there with her playing for a while and then eventually washed off the blood. Ever since that day, she has loved bath time.


  5. Fortunately never had this problem but have you tried showering with him for something different? A mom at school mentioned this week her 2,5 year old screams blue murder (and tries to hang onto his clothes so they can’t take them off) before getting in the bath but then screams blue murder when he has to get out, so obviously just a 2 year old I don’t want to do what you want me to do kind of thing. If all else fails offer smarties???


  6. Hi Sam, Zoé also had a sudden hate for bath time during summer. I finally got it that her skin was oversensitive (because of a bit of eczema) and so needed to shower/bath her less and with almost cool water. And also I noticed that the days she had played in the pool or lake, she kind of had enough of water.

    Perhaps bath him less frequently and let’s believe that at this age, things change very rapidly with our LOs !!

    Good luck, sophie


  7. Gosh, I hate when stuff like this happens. Especially if they are not really able to verbalise and say what they are afraid of. I don’t have any experience of this but I have heard of it happening. I would say, don’t make a big deal of it – it will pass.
    Good luck.xx


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