I take pride in showering every morning.
This may seem like an odd statement, as showering is something most people do on a daily basis. From my experience, however, showering daily can be somewhat of a luxury for parents of young children. In the months after my toddler’s birth I showered sporadically at best. Blow drying my hair became a distant memory. I was a mess.
As time went on I got more comfortable leaving my toddler long enough to shower. Bathing actually became a habit.
My daily showering routine continued after the baby came along. Maybe I was more confident the second time around? Or maybe I had just gotten over myself, knowing the baby did not need my attention every second of the day. Either way, we had a nice little system going.
After breakfast the three of us would head upstairs to get ready for the day. My toddler hung out in our bedroom, playing with toys while watching CBC Kids or Treehouse. Since my kids are still too little to be trusted alone in the same room, the baby came into the bathroom with me, playing with bath toys on the floor while I hopped in the shower.
Ahhhh. So relaxing. Some ‘me’ time while the kids played independently.
Until recently, that is.
Since my baby learned to crawl, he loooooves exploring. No longer content to sit and play with his toys, he decided to investigate this mysterious ‘shower’ place I disappeared into each morning.
All the sudden, showering wasn’t so fun anymore.
It started with a little hand sneaking over the lip at the base of the shower. His fingers feeling under the curtain, trying to figure out what lay on the other side. Then he became bolder, trying to barge through the curtain, intent on solving the mystery.
I spent about a week trying to keep him out. Balancing on one foot, the other trying to press the curtain to the floor, making a barrier to keep him from coming all the way in.
This was beyond frustrating. Showering sucked. I was constantly annoyed and my baby showed no signs of giving up his quest.
Finally I decided I needed to take some action. Why not let him crawl in? My guess was he would hate being hit by the spray, freak out and decide that the shower wasn’t so fun after all. A perfect example of a natural consequence.
Crawl in shower = Get hit with shower spray = Hate getting wet = Never go in shower again
I had a pretty good idea that he would dislike being hit with the shower spray, making him less likely to crawl in next time. I also knew it was a bit of a risk – there was a chance he would like getting wet. Figuring I had nothing to lose I gave it a shot.
Sure enough, the next day when he crawled in the shower he lost his mind. He hated it.
It was a bit of a mess – lots of crying and lots of water everywhere. I didn’t mind, as I figured OPERATION: SHOWER was a success. The baby had learned his lesson and wouldn’t come in the shower again.
The next day everything went as planned. I stepped into the shower and the baby stayed out.
He stuck his hand under the curtain to splash in the water. No big deal. I could live with that.
A few days later, he got bolder. After splashing a bit he popped his head under the curtain. As soon as the spray hit him he retreated. His hair got wet but the rest of him was mostly dry. I decided I could live with the occasional peek.
The peeking continued for a few more days. I was getting annoyed again. He was getting wetter with each passing day.
Then it happened.
Throwing caution to the wind, he crawled all the way into the shower. His reaction was much different this time. Instead of freaking out in protest, he stood up on his knees, arms extended in the air, smiling as the spray hit him in the chest.
He was acting as if he had just found the secret of life. When he started giggling I knew it was over. OPERATION: SHOWER was a disaster. My attempted use of natural consequences resulted in him wanting to come in the shower more, not less.
Back to the drawing board.
Score one: The baby
Image Credit: winterofdiscontent