Ezra is generally a pretty mellow dude-monkey. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never seen him go completely bonkers about anything. Sure, he has his fits and his melt-downs, but I could always tell that he was holding back a little- that he had more “oomph” that he was choosing not to exercise…
That was, until a couple of weeks ago.
Since being home from our Christmas travels, Ezra has been terrified of the bathtub. He used to love soaking in the tub with his bubbles and his rubber duckie. He would run to the tub and wait for the water to hurry up and fill his porcelain palace so that he could climb in and talk to the little upsidedown baby smiling at him from the shiny water spout. He would try to climb in before we could finish getting all his clothes off. He would play peek-a-boo with his own toes hiding under the bubbles.
But now, oh… now. When we even mention the word “bath” to him (now lovingly referred to as the ‘B’ Word in our home), he FREAKS OUT. “No! No! No! No? No? No!”, he says as he runs to the nearest piece of furniture and tries to wedge himself behind it. After that, actually getting him in the tub is a miracle in itself, because he contorts and twists his body in ways that seem cat-like and it takes the strength and reassurance of both Chris and I to get his rubber band legs onto the water side of the tub. Once in, he screams and cries. He tries to escape. His bath has become a stressful event lasting no more than 45 seconds.
Wet. Lather. Rinse. REMOVE! REMOVE! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY! REEEMOOOVE!!
I’ve read that this is not completely abnormal. That toddlers sometimes develop fears of things such as the bath, or the potty, or going to bed.
But still, I hate to see him like this. It breaks my heart. I again find myself desperately wishing he could find his words and tell me what it is that is scary to him. Every night as we’re putting him to sleep, we pray that God would take away his fear and cause him to feel brave. We bathe him less often. We bathe with him. We try new toys, new tactics. Nothing helps. He’s fine playing beside the tub, but the second we try to put him in the water, he loses it. So, I don’t think it’s the actual bathtub that’s spooky to him, but the water itself.
I’m not sure what to do. I want to protect him from his fear, but even more than that, I want to help him conquer it.
I know, I know… welcome to motherhood, right?
Any advice? Common experiences?