Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mom2Mom Advice Needed (Dads Allowed, too)


Emma loves bugs. She loves to look at them. She loves to hunt them with her Daddy. She loves to kill them herself when they are in the house.

Allison is also interested in bugs - from a distance. Actual bugs don't seem to bother her much, but imagined ones are quite frightening to her.

A couple of Saturdays ago, Danny was giving the girls a bath. Allison saw a piece of lint in the bath water, pointed to it, and started saying, "Bug! Bug!" Emma picked the lint up in her hand, agreed that it was a bug and put it back in the water. That was the last time since that incident that Allison sat in bath water voluntarily. She now believes that there are always bugs in the bath water.

Giving Allison a bath at this point is a short, but gruesome experience. You have to close the door to the bathroom to keep her in (did I forget to mention the struggle to get her in the bathroom in the first place?). You have to force her undressed. In order to avoid figuring out that her toes and feet are almost as strong as you are, you have to lift her high enough over the tub so that not even a toe nail can catch the edge. Her immediate response is to throw her right leg back over the tub. It doesn't matter how much you try to soothe her, reason with her, or tell her that it's almost over. She screams. She screams bloody murder. She could vomit when you sit her down to rinse off her private areas. Then, until the child is fast asleep, much of the discussion in the house revolves around how there are or are not bugs in the bath tub.

The hope is that she will eventually forget about the bugs or get over her fear. Last night, Ally went into the bathroom while Emma was in the tub. We've separated the two for now. After she walked in, Emma, who is now grounded from candy for a week, told her that there was bugs in the water. I'm not sure if I dare to hope for a carefree bath experience again for a long time.

Have you ever had to deal with a child's fear ~ especially when an older sibling continuously adds fuel to the fire? Even if you haven't, do you have any advice? I'll try anything.


I tried Trista's suggestion and had some success. We had some Tylex (sp?) and Danny and I figured that we'd kill two birds with one stone ~ clean tub, happy toddler. Allison enjoyed spraying the tub with me. She didn't try to stop me from putting her in the tub. She stood the entire time holding the Tylex. When I asked her to put it down so I could wash her arms and hands, there were no complaints. She even let me sit her down for a minute to rinse her private area. I am happy, but not lucky. After she was dried off and dressed, she headed straight for the bathroom. The tantrum hit after I wouldn't let her have the Tylex outside of bath time. Ah well... At least we've made a little progress. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!


Trista said...

WE're fighting a fear battle in our house too - the fear of "monsters." To combat the fear, we bought special "monster-repelling" nightlights that have worked magic. If they start to wear off, we are going to "monster-repelling" spray (air freshener).

Maybe you need to buy special "bug-be-gone" bubble bath for Ally. Involve her in the process, take her to the store to pick it out, make a big deal of it. From everything I've read, it's important not to dismiss the fear as ridiculous but to acknowledge it as very real for that child.

I don't know what to do about Emma - maybe you need to have a talk with her about how she can be a great big sister by helping Ally get over her fear. Maybe Emma will be inspired to step up to the plate when she realizes that she's so much bigger than Ally and she's so brave to like bugs so much.

DWC said...

What? You mean there are bugs in our tub? No more showers for me!

Melissa said...

The ideas Tristahad are great. The other thing you can try is skipping the baths for a bit. Wash her off at the sink. If you make it a battle, it becomes not just an issue of the bugs and her fear, but of who is in control. Then after a week or two, see if she'll take a bath by herself, if not, maybe with you? You definitely ave to talk with Emma and get her to understandas big sister she should help Ally, not do tings tat scare her and hurt her. Se is old enough to understand that and her desire to have your approval should help with that. Good luck! BTW, my daughter who loves bugs, can't stand wet lint in the tub...even when she knows it is lint. Go figure!

Erinn said...

yes, we have 'bad drem spray" in my house which is just water in a spray bottle. We spray the bad dreams away.
Maybe you can have "clean bath spray" wich can be foam soap or bubbles?

Maybe she can help you "clean" the tub before the bath with a special sponge?