Sunday, 4 October 2009

Bathtime blues

I need your help here, folks. Charlie's not yet two, but he's already flexing those little independence muscles. The other afternoon I made the big mistake of asking him - repeatedly - if it was time for his afternoon nap. 'Noh,' he kept on saying as he brummed his cars along the windowsill. 'Noh coh (cot).... noh duh-duh (dummy).' All this is normal developmental stuff, I know. I can cope. We can negotiate. And when negotiating's not an option, I can tell him (or he can tell me) what we're going to do. I've been here before.
The real problem, though, is bathtime. Charlie's never really liked having his hair washed. And he hates the shower. But by and large he's quite enjoyed the ritual of bathtime. He starts by pushing all his plastic toys in while the water's running. And by the time that he's undressed he's (usually) all for climbing straight into the bath all by himself. And once in, he's always been quite happy playing with his toys, sucking all the water from his flannel and allowing himself to be washed (as long as it doesn't interfere too much with what he's doing). He's even been brushing his teeth (which you can see in action here). Bathtime has always been a happy and reasonably successful time of day. Until now.
In the last few weeks things have changed. The pre-bath ritual is pretty much the same. The toys get thrown in and Charlie seems perfectly happy as the bath is run. But when it's time to get in, disaster strikes. He wails, He flails. He refuses to sit down. He cries throughout and tries his best to climb out. He makes it as clear as possible that actually being in the bath, and being wet, is hateful to him. Suddenly, bath-time has gone from being a pleasant and relaxing pre-bed ritual to an ordeal. It wasn't always thus. And here's a photograph to prove it. But the question is, what can we do? Has anyone had similar problems? Can anyone suggest any solutions? Most things pass, and I'm sure this will too, in time. But if anyone's got any tips for speeding things along, then we - and our next-door neightbours - would be very grateful!
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