Bath time routine

“Clean up, clean up

Everybody, everywhere

Clean up, clean up

Everybody do your share”

I might have the second and fourth lines switched, but the purpose of the song is the same. This is the tune they use at preschool to signal when it is time to pick up and transition to a new activity. I got to hear the song on one of the days were at the school for a meeting with the teachers. I had been using my own made-up songs for diaper changes and bath time, so I decided to incorporate this one into our evening routine.

Some times it works, some times it doesn’t.

Last night, it worked! Philip had been playing with his new cars for an hour. It was bath time, so I brought over the box and sang the song. I picked up one car and put it in the box. To my delight, Philip picked up a few of the cars and put them in the box. I repeated the song, and he continued to put away the cars. This was in stark contrast to the night before when he cried as soon as I started singing the song and went to the living room so he didn’t have to listen – or pick up his cars.

As we create and repeat routines, I’m learning perseverance. I’m trying to teach the same to Philip.

Before I took the picture above, I sat Philip down to take off his socks. He tends to give up easily if they don’t come off with a single, one-handed tug. He often has a toy in the other hand that he is unwilling to let go of long enough to take off his socks or pants. I’m still assisting him by slipping the socks over his heels, but I make him finish the job. Now if I could just get him to hand them to me instead of flinging them up in the air . . .

After the socks came off, I sang the bath time song. Philip ran to the bathroom, but made a u-turn and went back to his room. He wanted to keep playing instead of bathing.

I caught Philip long enough to get him to take off his pants and then escorted him to the bathroom. Here he is getting on the step stool to brush his teeth.

I remember reading all the advice about getting your child to brush their teeth. This has always been a struggle since Philip tends to clamp his jaw shut when an object approaches his mouth-be it a spoon with food, a medicine dropper with Tylenol or a toothbrush. And the struggle continues, but I’ve finally gotten Philip to try. We started by brushing our teeth in the bath tub. One night it just worked. I’ve since transitioned to actually using the sink.

Last night didn’t go so well. Philip didn’t want to open his mouth. I managed a few swipes of his front teeth before Philip bolted.

Captured once more, it was time to take off shirt and diaper and get in the tub. Some nights, Philip even helps me turn on the water.

For the past week, I’ve finally find a way to channel Philip’s enthusiasm for the water. He loves to splash, but I don’t enjoy all of the puddles on the floor. Last week, I used the last of his bubble bath (“lavender-scented to help your baby relax”-ha!). I showed Philip how I could fill the empty bottle with water and pour it out. Ever since, he has been using that bottle and two other containers to experiment with pouring. He likes to put the wash cloth in the one dish to watch it sink. He puts his hand in the dish to see the water get displaced. Then he fills it up again.

Once Philip is all cleaned and I have let the water out, he likes to linger. I found an older post that shows this is nothing new. However, for the past two nights, he has been saving the water in the largest of the three containers so that he can continue to play once the tub is drained. Last night, he slowly tipped it over to watch it pour down the drain.

I’m not sure how many more nights the pouring will keep Philip occupied during his bath. It doesn’t really matter. Philip has to get clean, and Mom must persevere.


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