Maddie’s parents finally made the move from the mini-tub to the real deal on Sunday evening. It was a switch that had come with some trepidation, but it had to be done.
For two weeks now, bath time has taken on a whole new challenge. This is because Maddie keeps trying to stand up in the tub. That’s a hazardous activity for anybody, but especially a precocious 10-month-old with a sense of adventure and a will of iron.
So tonight when we made the move tonight, we were actually quite curious as to how Maddie would react to the new surroundings. For Maddie it seemed to be a real non-event. We filled up the tub, plopped the baby in and she handled the whole event with great aplomb.
Her boldness seems to expand geometrically day by day. She splashed around a little in the tub and then began beating on the mechanism that controls the tub drain. She also tried to stand up again, but this is much easier for us to manage in a full size tub.
Once the bath was over, Maddie hopped out of the tub and started flossing her teeth while flipping through the International Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties. This was just a little light reading for the princess before she headed off to bed.
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.
As Maddie has become more and more accustomed to solid food, it was finally time for us to up the ante. Earlier this week we added a little solid food brunch to the baby’s repertoire. At the time, we didn’t really anticipate some of the double duties that sneak up on you once your baby starts doubling down with the solids.
If you have a problem with the word “double” or if you hated the Doublemint Gum song, this article is NOT for you!
The first double duty we ran into was trying to preserve Maddie’s wardrobe. The baby loves her food so much that she almost always chooses to share it with whatever she happens to be wearing. Even with the bib on, Maddie likes spreading her food around the neck of her shirt. She has also become quite proficient at sharing healthy doses of solid mush with both of her sleeves.
Maddie is also well aware of the skin benefits associated with rubbing various solids all over her legs and when possible, her feet as well. We have quickly learned that these clothes must be soaked in water almost immediately. That is unless we prefer some of the more exotic stains that come with sweet potatoes, carrots and even those nasty peas.
Also, double the solid food leads to more diapers packed with secret and unspeakable treasures. Wait, that’s not entirely true – the treasure is actually tainted. For the past couple of months, we have only encountered one really messy diaper per day. Now, one must be ready at any given moment with the frightening potential of back-to-back dirty diaper episodes.
Last but certainly not least is the double bath time duties. As the diapers grow more and more unruly, so does the need for extra trips to the bathtub. These new duties are not a hardship at all – but they can be rather time consuming. It’s also interesting that we are now learning a great deal more about the cause and effect relationship as it relates to the actions you undertake with your child.
One of the enduring gifts Maddie’s grandparents left with her was a new desire to bang on multiple flat surfaces like a bongo drum. Since that time, the baby has banged on cans, counter tops and even her dear old dad. But as you might have guessed from the title of this article, Maddie is now drumming water right out of the tub.
There’s always been a great deal of kicking that automatically came with bath time. However, with the recent addition of repeatedly smacking her flat hands on the surface of the water, bath time is now more like a day at the water park.
The entire smacking of the water is on par with the way a beaver warns other varmints that danger is near. The beaver takes its large flat tail and pounds it into the water before submerging. This tail meets water action sends up a large plume of water very similar to what Maddie is achieving in the bathtub.
So how does one defeat a Varmint? In Caddyshack, the wise and wily Bill Murray spoke about the difficulties of dealing with Varmints, “My enemy is a varmint and a varmint will never quit. They’re like the Vietcong. The varmint kong! You gotta fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence.”
Since neither of those attributes are at my disposal, I obviously have a slew of long wet days ahead of me. Once Maddie watches that water rain down around her and the person tasked with bathing her, the fun for her is just beginning. Even though she’s inadvertently firing sharp blasts of water into her own eyes and nose, Maddie continues to smack at the water again and again (Honey Badger don’t care!)
At this point, I’m only making things worse. Every time the baby busts the water and douses us, we both laugh with unfettered delight. This is no doubt encouraging the problem rather than solving it. It may get old at some point, but for now, I’m more than content to participate in Maddie’s Water Games.