Until this week, Maddie’s bedtime bath had always been full of smiles and splashes. But during this particular trip, bathtime has been a bust. Maddie has kind of spoiled us with her lack of fear for new experiences. She hit the pool for the first time yesterday like Michael Phelps. That’s why this sudden anxiety surrounding bathtime has taken her parents by complete surprise.
We’re not sure what the issue is, but Maddie seems to be afraid of the blowup tub. Bathtime has morphed into sheer chaos complete with screaming, crying and multiple early exits from the tub. Bathing the baby before bed has always been a way to soothe Maddie. Now bathtime is revving her up like a honey badger trying to remove the head from a live snake.
Take away the hard edges and confines of the hard plastic tub at home and the baby is obviously breaking down. As soon as she hits the water, she’s like a cat on the hot tin roof. She doing all she can to pivot and claw her way away from the water. The cushiony feel of the tub has Maddie believing that it might swallow her up at any moment.
So this evening we applied Jedi mind tricks to lure Maddie into the tub without having her erupt into hysterics. First we ran the tub before bringing the baby in. Second, we brought her into the bathroom with her clothes still on. And finally, once we got her undressed, I let her stand in the tub instead of lowering her into the water.
Once her feet hit the water, she went right back off the deep end. However, I kept just her feet barely in the water while assuring her that everything was under control. Realizing that she didn’t have to sit in the tub provided a great deal of relief.
The crying stopped, but she remained standing for almost a full minute. It was a very gradual process, but the baby finally trusted the tub enough to continue her normal bathing routine. She reverted back to the baby who loved bathtime right before our eyes. Hopefully we turned the corned on this little speed bump, but with Maddie, you just never know.