Why is it we tend to make things more difficult than they need to be?
Camden, my 3 year old, hates to take baths.
I don’t know why.
He has never had a fall or traumatic incident in the bathtub, or been traumatized by water that is too hot, but bath time is a time of stress for him.
He works himself up before the tub is even filled, and cries and screams the entire time he is in it.
And I’m not talking just an average cry. We are talking the snot bubbles and drool down the chest kind of crying.
I have tried all your typical parenting tricks with him…talking with him about it, letting him bring in a special toy, bribing him with a treat (don’t judge me, we’ve all done it. lol).
So bath time typically turns into a shit show having to fight to get him clean, water going everywhere, all the while he is creaming his head off like I invented a new kind of torture.
It is 5 minutes of hell for both of us.
A couple weeks ago, I had hockey, so instead of me giving the kids baths like I usually do, my wife is giving them baths, but she is armed with a secret weapon…a new toy.
It is this super cool rain cloud that you dip in the water and when you lift it up water comes out of it like rain.
Before I leave, I go to give Camden a kiss and he is on the couch excitedly holding his new toy. I am am hopeful, but skeptical. Unfortunately I don’t have time to see how he does, so off to the arena I go.
When I get off the ice after my game, I check my phone to make sure the world is still in one piece and I see I have a text message from my wife and a video attached.
As I play it, there is Camden smiling and laughing, dipping his new rain cloud in the water and holding it up in the air. He is even letting the water cascade over his head.
I am in shock and disbelief. I have never seen this child so happy to be in a bathtub.
But then I notice something.
Katie has the tub filled about ankle deep.
Usually I have the tub more full because my oldest takes a bath first, and then I think back to this Summer at the pool. Camden would only go in the water up to his ankles. Any deeper and he would get upset.
Has this been the issue all along? Something so simple as I had the water too deep for his liking was preventing him from feeling safe and enjoying bath time.
There is only one way to find out. Experiment time.
The next bath time goes as usual. I draw a bath and Callan goes first, then Camden.
When it is Camden’s turn he is excited for bath, but when I put him in the tub he starts to get upset and wants to get out. So I take him out, drain some water out so that it is about ankle deep and put him back in.
The clouds part, angels sing, and Camden is happy and playing in the tub again.
Who knew something as simple as the level of the water was preventing Camden from enjoying bath time. Part of me feels a little stupid for not realizing this sooner.
I learned a lesson that day.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and really observe the situation when trying to figure out a solution to a problem. Often times the solution can be as simple as just letting out some water.
With his new found joy of bath time, a new issue has arisen…Independence. Now Camden insists on washing himself and refuses to let me help him or teach him what to do. And just like that, bath time has become a struggle again.