Big Bad Bath Water

Pure torture

We have hit a new non-fun phase of toddlerhood.  We think it all started about 2 weeks ago.  While Landon was taking a bath, he saw lint floating around in the water and was very worried. “”Get it, mommy!” We scooped it out and went on our way. Then on vacation he saw some and immediately wanted out.  We barely had time to wash him. Then it has just gone downhill.  Earlier this week, it would seem he is so routined to take a bath that he would get ready and naked, climb into the tub and sit down. Then? FREAK THE FUCK OUT! Wants out…no washing…no nothing. He is visibly terrified of the bath tub.  We are now double teaming him at bath time just so we can get his hair washed every 4 days and wiped down.  There are a lot of tears and screams and it has taken away the lovely bedtime routine we once had. I am kinda at my wits end.  I have no idea what to do. And to prove I didn’t just throw up my arms, here is what we have tried.

  • Idea: The water is hurting his skin – We asked him repeatedly if he had an ow. 90% of the time he says no and 10% he says his toes….even when he feet weren’t in the water.  I call BS, little man. No visible rash, dry patches, ingrown toe nails(really searching), no history of skin issues.
  • Idea: Delaying bed time – Actually he is doing the opposite, he is choosing to brush his teeth and just skip the bath thus making bed time earlier. He still wants in his crib, stories and songs.
  • Idea: Trick him into playing – We went and bought tub crayons yesterday to entice him in the tub.  No go. He was happy just looking at them from across the tub.
  • Idea: He thinks he sees lint so put in bubble bath – Nope. Still wants nothing to do with it.
  • Idea: Take a shower with him – Oh HELL NO. He looked like the dog in shower with eyes of pure terror.

I think we may have figured out something last night.  When we were drying his hair off (I held him over the tub because his hair was GROSS) and his new Lightening McQueen towel left lint all over his body…and he saw it.  “DADDY GET IT!” We had a long talk about that it didn’t hurt and it was just soft lint from his towel.  We then got him to show us the lint everywhere.  He slowly started getting it off himself and at one point said “Look Daddy. It no hurt!” MAYBE we got somewhere but I have a feel we have a lot of sponge baths in our future. O well…at least I don’t have to clean the tub. Oy.


  1. SO yeah – weird things freak them out. Amelia is afraid of shiny floors – like Target floor? Or the shiny floor in the mall? Must.Be.Carried – she thinks she’s going to “fall in the water”.

    • It really is. He really is scared of VERY little. He is scared of the stuffed Rex we have at home and the bathtub. Rex IN Toy Story with his big roars and such? Loves. Stuffed toy that honks? Petrified. This is the child that loves for you to hide in dark and jump out and scare him.

  2. What if you or Kevin got in the tub with him? Maybe if mommy and daddy are fine with it then he’ll be. Ben if he just saw you bathing to let him know it’s not scary.

      • Bummer – that was going to be my suggestion. That helped when Brooke turned bath-phobic.

        We also started calling it “swimming in the bathtub”. Seemed more fun than taking a bath but I don’t know that will do much for your little guy.

        It may be one of those annoying times that people say “its just a phase, it will pass” and they’re right.

        Good luck!

  3. Thankfully Noah isn’t like this yet, but both of the girls were….it’s socks……the seam has to be just right on their toes and it can’t be too tight around their legs or feet or they would thrash like a shark out of water to get them off. I blame my husband who would wear flip flops 24/7/365 if he could….he doesn’t like the confinement of shoes 🙂

    you are crafty; why don’t you take some dryer lint and make a picture out of it so he sees it’s friendly….or better yet……make a dryer lint superhero that shows up in the bathroom at bathtime 🙂 better than having a sour kid 🙂

  4. We are just coming off the downhill side of a similar issue. Tristan HATES getting his hair washed. He doesn’t want water in his eyes. Problem is, he screamed like a banshee even if there was nothing near his eyes. I thought the neighbors would think we were beating him. We didn’t just pour water over his head all willy nilly. We actually tried everything in our power, including eye goggles. Slowly he is getting better. Hell, this past September he surprised me by getting in a swimming pool and splashing around. It’s been a long battle but it no longer takes 2 of us to bathe him when he needs his hair washed. In fact just the other night he let me trickle a little water over his head and it rolled down his nose and cheeks. But just a little.
    Good luck. Sorry I can’t be of any help, but I do feel for you and understand to an extent.

  5. Just a thought – what if you guys used a swimming pool like he plays in at the River? You could put it in the kitchen for a fun special treat. Then at least he’d be clean!

  6. I have no solution, just lots more suggestions of fun stuff to try and bribe him with (boats! glow sticks! colored water tabs!) and sympathy. Kids are such weirdos. I’m sure by the time he’s 12 he’ll take baths again.

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