Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bath Time and Bribery

Bath time makes me want to slit my wrists. I always envisioned bath time as a blissful little bonding period where children splashed merrily about and I cheerily washed their hair without issue. HELLO.

Oh, sure, she looks perfectly pleasant here but only because I promised we'd go upstairs and have a treat if she was good in the bath. And by good I mean just screamed for half the time instead of the whole thing. Are baths that unpleasant? In the summer I demand a bath nightly, because, well, I don't like pungent odors. In the winter I compromise with every other night and they act like I'm water boarding them.

I always brace myself before announcing it's bath time. (Breathe in and then faux exuberance): "Girls! Let's go have fun in the bath!" Lately the response is such: "How bout Friday?" Whenever they don't want to do something, they suggest we reschedule for Friday. Why Friday? I don't know -- why the hell not? They're crazy, that's why. My favorite is when they use this argument on Friday and I feel an inexplicable sense of superiority. "It is Friday," I inform them condescendingly.

When we finally get out of the bath, they go ballistic that they're freezing, even though I have a (probably illegal and dangerous) space heater blaring at 90 degrees and I'm sweating like a pig who was forced to do a spin class during summertime at the zoo. They yell "I cold!" over and over as if I sent them to Antarctica naked to sit on an emperor penguin egg. Sheesh.

So my answer to this has been, of course, bribery -- my favorite and most effective parenting tool to date. They received new (VERY WARM) Pottery Barn animal towels (above, which I will dock from their lunch money come grade school), lollipops and Dora coloring books with nifty little sparkly stickers. I'm thinking of buying them each a Ferrari and calling it a day.

Or I may just let them be filthy and pretty soon maybe they'll realize the human population will recoil in their presence. Oh, right, they'll like that because they hate humans. And speaking of which, the skinny, orange one just asked for a dog. She said, "I want puppy RIGHT NOW" so I gave her the pink stuffed one she got for Valentine's Day. She threw it back at me and yelled, "No, I want real puppy RIGHT NOW!" Because I think my kids are adults I asked, "Who will walk it and clean up its poop?" to which she informed me that Mommy would. Right, and Suri Cruise is coming to your third birthday party. Beat it.

Is it 2026 yet? Because I think that's when they leave for college.


  1. Hi!
    I just wanted to say that I love your blogg and that bathtime is the same notsowonderfullexperience in my family. Yesterday two of my three kids took a bath together under the constant threats that I would pull the plug (of the bathtub..) and send them to bed hungry. Sorry if I spell everything wrong, I live in Sweden and my swedish is a bit better...

  2. Bath time is a struggle in our household for the opposite reason - the little dude loves it so much that he won't get out! His standard line is, "call me done", which came from my "call me when you're done" & means I'll call you when I'm done (next week). Sigh.

  3. I mean, you're really funny...

  4. I mean, you're really funny...

  5. I hate bathtime. The kids love it, but it always seems to involve a lot of "don't wash me yet!" and "I don't want to get clean!" and "for the love of God, you don't jump in the bathtub!" (That last one from me.) Plus I end up soaked. Maybe I need one of those Pottery Barn towels, and then I won't care so much when my sleeves and the front of my shirt are dripping wet and they're insisting it's not time to get out.

  6. Wow, there must be something in the handbook that tells them "Friday" is a good stalling tactic. I just about spit my coffee out when I read this cause my daughter says the same thing!!! Every time she doesn't want to do something, she says "on Friday"! That must mean "f off" in toddler speak!

  7. Bath time is working my last nerve. My almost four year old has a stroke everytime I was her hair, even though I have this visor thing that redirects water away from her eyes. But no, she still has to scream about it. Every.single.time.

    And pets, don't even get me started. She's starting to ask for a kitty. No effing way!

  8. Some days with my youngest, I just give in on whatever will help her to be quiet. Great parenting, I know. Demanding a cookie and chocolate milk box as I run through Starbucks at 8:00 am-Sure! Why not? Just hush until Mommy drinks her coffee.

  9. Two words. Bubble machine. They make several but we have the fisher price octopus thing, it eats batteries like there's no tomorrow. But you set it on the counter and let it blow bubbles over the tub - oh magic. Now we don't talk about baths at our house, just going to play bubbles, which you have to do in the bath. This tactic doesn't always work, but hell I've been milking it for 9-10 months now. Any little bit of sanity in the storm of child-rearing.