I know I am a very lucky Mama to have such a laid-back, easy-going, fun-loving child. Like most toddlers, she picks fights now and then, but her little fits and tantrums are usually pretty easy to manage and short-lived.

But there are two things that seem to suddenly be causing more distress, and I’m not sure why or what to do about them. The most difficult involves bath time. She has never really liked having her hair washed and would often complain about it, but the rest of the bath was fine. Now, she hates being bathed, and has recently been getting so upset about hair-washing it’s difficult for me to keep doing it, even though I know I must. She seems scared of bubbles, and as soon as I lather her with a washcloth she starts crying for us to get the bubbles off. And in the past week, when I lean her back to wash her hair she starts crying so hard her face turns red and her body shakes with the sobs. She even says it’s hurting her, when I can’t imagine how because it’s all baby-safe shampoo and doesn’t even get into her eyes. I’m careful to avoid splashing her face, but it doesn’t seem to matter. We bought her some new bath toys to see if we could distract her, and they helped during her last bath (until hair-washing time). But I worry that when the novelty has worn off, we’ll be back to square one.

The second thing is more of a frustration for us than an issue for her, I think. We never wanted to force her to potty train, but for months have been encouraging her to use the potty and thought we were doing well. The thing is, if we can convince her to get on the potty she’ll go nearly every time, and we have gone a whole day without a wet diaper. But we always have to beg her to go, even bribe her to go, and it has become tiresome. Recently, she’s begun resisting the potty more too, even crying when we suggest it, and since we didn’t want to force her, we’ve pretty much given up for now. But I’m frustrated because she is capable of communicating with us, and she knows how to go and where to go, but she just doesn’t want to. So I guess we should just wait?? She’ll let us know when she’s ready? How much should I push the issue?

Anyway, if any of you moms or dads out there have advice about either of these issues, I welcome the input!

5 Comments on “Puzzled

  1. Ginger, I have no advice, just a bit of empathy. We are having the same type of problems with bath time – mainly the hair-rinsing part. We’ve tried taking her out and rinsing her hair with the kitchen sink sprayer, and last night, her daddy even took of his shoes and stood in the tub to hold her under the faucet. Nothing keeps her from being upset about it. Last night’s attempt got the soap out faster than anything else we’ve tried, but she still cried about it. I’ve seen this dry-wash-no-rinse baby shampoo and soap somewhere online . . . maybe it’s worth a try . . .

  2. Not sure if this will work or not but what about having her play with water in the tub while she is outside of the tub? Like, have her fill up cups and measure with them or have her give a doll/toy a bath (“take them ‘swimming'”). I’m just thinking that her having fun near the tub might help her associate fun with the tub. It might also help to have her “wash” herself and even hold the cup, giving her some of the control. I remember when she was at our house, I sneakily rinsed her hair by having her look up at the octupus art we have hanging from the ceiling. Maybe you could get crazy and hang a picture she drew on the ceiling somewhere. (Temporary of course!) I don’t know – I’m really going out there! I’m so sorry you all have to go through this.
    As for the potty thing, we still have a hard time getting Nia to go and she’s almost 6! She will hold it all day long if I don’t tell her to go. It drives me crazy! Nate hates it too. I sometimes pretend it’s a race and I’m going to win if I get to the potty first. I felt the same way about the bribery too – like he was candy trained, not potty trained. I wish I could help more! Hang in there buddy! You’re an awesome mommy!

  3. Obviously I’m not there yet, but when we were at Jody’s house earlier this month, she had Allee lean back in the tub and “count the stars” on the ceiling. They just pretended there were stars up there. She also had her lie down flat in the tub at the very end of the bath when the water was almost out of the tub and could rinse her hair that way.
    Good luck! Elliot hates having her hair washed too so I’m interested in what works because I’m sure the freak outs are just ahead for us.

  4. Hey Ginger! Here are my thoughts…
    #1 – When Logan (the oldest) was almost 3, people were pressuring me a lot regarding potty training. (makinge me feel like I wasn’t doing my mommy job right…) So, I started the process. And although he had been going potty before bathtime for about a year, the potty training was not progressing quickly. So, I started using M&M’s as “incentives.” (aka Bribery) Well, it went ok for a while, but he wasn’t really making progress.
    And then I really started stressing out of my perceived “failure” of being able to train him. We’d try undies and one time it would go well, the next time it would be accident after accident. Well, the more I pushed, the worse it got. We were both feeling the pressure. And eventually, he was miserable and I was miserable and one day as he was crying in the bathroom….I realized…..it was SO NOT WORTH IT!
    AND I STOPPED. Completely stopped. I promised him that day I would no longer push, beg or bribe. I told him he could decide and to tell mommy when he wanted to wear big boys undies, not diapers.
    And weeks went by. Then a month or two. And one day out of the blue he asked for “big boy underwear” and from that day on he wore them, no accidents ever….even at night. He was completely trained on his own. It was his time. His decision. And it was the easiest thing ever. He trained a bit before he was 3 1/2.
    And, so I did the same thing w/ Jensen and Griffin. And there’s was just as easy.
    With Marinne I had high hopes that she would train earlier. (everyone told me girls train sooner than boys) Well, this was not my experience at all. She was over 3 before she trained. But, she did it the same way as the boys. On her own time table. And it was SO EASY! No accidents. And trained at night, too.
    Believe me, after changing diapers for almost a straight 12 years…believe me, I wanted her to train ASAP. But, I learned my lesson the first time around and I let her do it on her own.
    And do you know, we NEVER used Pull-Up at night! There was never a need. And that saved some major cash!!!!!
    *First, what type of shampoo are you using? For this economy and the sheer amount of baby shampoo we were going through with all these kids, I switched to a “store brand” baby shampoo to save money. And while store brands work just as well in most things, the major difference was that the store brand actually stung and even though it was labeled “tear free”…it WAS NOT.
    So, we went back to Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo real quick!! It’s expensive, but it is reliable!
    *You could also make sure she has a dry washcloth for wiping water/soap off. I personally hate the feeling of the water on my face. Although, most of the kids didn’t have a problem with this….Griffin does. He’s just like me and he never had a peaceful bath until I gave him a dry washcloth to use as he wished. Then it was smooth sailing!
    *This sounds weird, maybe, but why don’t you get in the tub w/ her and let her wash your hair and rinse it. Kinda make it a game. You do hers and she does yours.
    Maybe she’ll think it’s fun.
    Then, you get out and you brush out her hair and she brushes yours.
    Good modeling…..and it might just work.
    *You could wash her hair at the kitchen sink, laying her across the cabinet, kinda the same idea as when they wash your hair at the salon. It would ensure that water would not get in her face. Although, if she’s scared of heights, this will not work.
    *They have these little “hat” things that goes around the head like a sun-visor and the hair goes out the top of it. And it’s supposed to allow you to wash the hair and rinse, w/out water/soap getting in her eyes. You could try that…I have no idea if it works or not.
    *Get a huge cup or water pitcher for rinsing. The more water at a time, the faster the rinsing will go. At least it doesn’t last forever!
    *It sounds a bit harsh, but it has to be done. So, even if she wails and cries, etc. Just do it. Move fast and let her cry it out. She’ll get thru it and it won’t kill her. She’ll eventually outgrow this stage.

  5. Thanks guys – these are all great suggestions and I plan to try them. I also really appreciate the empathy! It’s nice to know we’re not the first parents to be perplexed by this. Thanks a ton!

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