Embrace the Insane: Bath Time with a Toddler

Babies are easy.

I know because I have one at the moment; my son just turned one.

My daughter is about to turn three, and she is… well, challenging is a polite way to put it.

She used to love baths, like her brother currently does. She’d sit in the couple inches of water, happily splashing, giggling, and occasionally attempting to stand and knock her noggin on the spigot.

Now, depending on her temperament, getting her into the tub can be a chore in and of itself.

Shouts of “Nooooooo! I no wanna!” sound forth from her throat like Whitman’s barbaric yawp; she protests as if the tub were filled with live snakes and not tepid bathwater. Arms and legs flail as if auditioning for The Exorcist.

Bribes may be offered, innocuous nothings like, “But it has bubbles!” and “Look at all your toys in there!” but those fail more quickly than an abstinence-only lecture on prom night.

Sometimes we attempt stern—“You are going to take a bath!”—which of course never works and only upsets her further.

In fact, nothing seems to succeed when the tears and thrashing about starts. Then, it’s all over…

…until something uniquely absurd fires across the synapses of my daughter’s wee mind.

Only when her own distinctive brand of creativity takes place does tub-time—which is like Hammer Time, only without the puffy pants—occur.

“I want bath with Kitty.”

Kitty.

Our Mini-Schnauzer.

My daughter wants to take a bath with the dog.

As a parent, you come across unreasonable demands, and reasonable-yet-awkward demands. I find this to be the latter. If I can avoid a fight, I will.

HillyKittyTub

Examine the photo; it is a tale of two faces. My daughter is overjoyed. Ecstatic. The dog… well, that’s been his look for most of my daughter’s existence: Someone call SPCA.

The dog isn’t the only creature to suffer under our roof; I too have had to “take one for the team,” so to speak.

“I want Daddy in the tub.”

Daddy.

Me.

I am 6’2” and 183 pounds of blubber. Bathtubs are not made for someone of my size. I cannot comfortably sit alone in a household bathtub, much less squeeze-easily into one with another person, even if that other person is pint-sized.

But, if it will put an end to the tantrum…

HillyMeTub

Again, look at her face. Look past the obvious joy, the ear-to-ear grin. Her hair is disheveled and her cheeks red. She is ecstatic, yes, but a mere two minutes ago the child was possessed by Satan, howling and crying like no other.

It has long been said that a person should pick and choose their battles, and when it comes to “You do not take a bath with the dog!” or “Whatever,” I’m not interested in that fight. Likewise, the “I want Daddy in the tub” war.

Toddlers are irrational little people. You can fight them, or join them.

I choose not to take arms against a sea of troubles, I let be.

.

Hey, click this button and subscribe to my scribblings.

Comedian Nathan Timmel

Why stop now? Read on...

  • October 15, 2014It’s OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad)First steps, first word, first time pooping in the bathtub... as a stand-up comedian, Nathan Timmel missed numerous milestones during the first year of his daughter’s life. Traveling from town to town, he spent his night slinging jokes […]
  • January 7, 2015TouchThere is something incredibly powerful and humbling about being able to pacify an infant simply by giving it the skin-to-skin contact of your hand. A baby may not know much, but it knows warmth, and love.
  • October 13, 2014An Anonymous TaleEverything you are about to read was told to me first-hand. Names and locations have been changed to protect the... well, I guess you’d have to say guilty parties. Or party. You can’t blame a toddler for what her daddy does.
  • May 29, 2013Worth a Thousand WordsAll I understand is: My heart lives inside my daughter.