Friday, October 19, 2012

Doctor visits, Baths and Haircuts Part 2

 Another source of major stress for J has been the bath. He has pretty much cried for every bath since day one. When he was an infant we would bathe him in padded baby tub in the kitchen sink. He would cry from start to finish. I always thought (hoped) that he would enjoy baths better when we were able to put him in the tub. All of my friends with small children would tell me how much their little ones loved bag time, and how it was a relaxing and enjoyable part of their bed time routine. I had hoped that we would be able to experience that with J as well. When he was 10 months old we moved to our current house which had a nice bathtub for him. I had visions of him happily splashing and playing in the water while we bathed him. Yeah, not so much. He would stiffen his body so that we couldn't even sit him in the  tub. And he would get himself so worked up he would do that cry where he doesn't breathe for a few seconds - you know the one. Eventually my husband had to get in the tub with him. He holds him in front of himself as J screams while I try to wash him as well as I can.  A far cry from an enjoyable experience. We have also tried the shower, with DH bringing him in. We didn't fare any better with that, and a screaming, writhing J is extra slippery when wet. After a few months I got the idea to bring our netbook in the bathroom and I would play Bubble Guppies. This worked for a few weeks. He would calm down enough to watch his show, and we were able to get him pretty clean. Unfortunately, and I'm not sure why, but this eventually stopped working and he went back to screaming.  Needless to say, bath time is anything but relaxing and enjoyable.
     I am having a hard time pinpointing just what it is that J hates so much about baths. We bought him a water table this summer in an effort to get him more comfortable with the water. He LOVES it. He will play in the water for half an hour, splashing away and even dumping water on his head, chest, etc. So it doesn't seem to be the water itself he is afraid of. He even shocked us this summer and walked right into a local wading pool on 2 separate occasions.  I thought maybe it was the tub itself. But one day he walked into the bathroom and tried climbing into the tub. I picked him up and put him in and he walked around playing with all of the tub toys that he won't even glance at when we are trying to bathe him. So the tub doesn't seem to be the issue. I considered that maybe he doesn't like being naked, but if he's not getting a bath he loves running around in the buff. I fill the tub when he is downstairs so he isn't hearing the water rushing in. I have tried having the water ankle height and a bit higher and have played with the temperature of the water a bit. So far the right combination eludes me. I really wish I could figure out what it is that causes J so much anxiety. I feel awful hearing him scream and cry and be so obviously stressed out. And it definitely doesn't do anything for my stress level. There are some definite sensory issues here, I just need to figure out what they are. Unfortunately, baths are not optional, the little pigpen needs to get clean.
    I have a new plan we are going to try this weekend. The shower in the master bath is a fairly large walk-in. I am going to get a rubber mat to put on the floor (to make is less slippery) and then put his water table in the shower. I figure we can do baby steps and see if he will play with the water in there. And while he is playing I will do my best to wash and rinse him. I have no idea if it will work or not, but at this point I am willing to try anything!

After one of his first baths

And the stunned aftermath

    The last thing that causes J stress and anxiety is getting a haircut. Fortunately these don't occur as frequently as baths :) To date J has had 4 haircuts. The first one was just after his first birthday. I took him to one of those kids cuts places. There was a play area with a bunch of toys. J played mostly happily, but started to get a bit cranky as we had to wait longer than expected. When it came time for his haircut they tried sitting him on a type of  horse seat, like you would ride outside of a department store. He wasn't very balanced and needless to say he hated  it. I ends up holding him on my lap. As soon as the woman tried coming towards him with the scissors he lost it. He was wiggling and crying and wound up turned facing me. Somehow the woman was able to cut his hear while he was flailing around. It was not an enjoyable experience for anyone involved. J was miserable and crying, and I was stressed that his ear would get chopped while she was cutting his hair. Luckily we all made it out in one piece. I decided I would never take him to get a haircut by myself again.

Before haircut #1

and after :)

   The second haircut happened while we were visiting my in-laws in Florida. As I was snapping pics of J on the beach it became painfully obvious that he was in need of another haircut. I found a kiddie hair cutting place and off we went. This time I had back up - my husband and mother in law. We also had out trusty net book loaded with Bubble Guppies. This salon had a little plane for J to sit in. It was a more stable seat than the horse. J actually ok for a few seconds at the beginning and I was able to distract him a bit with the Guppies. He became increasingly upset, but again he was able to get his haircut unscathed.
At the beach before haircut #2

Sitting in his plane waiting 

Swinging at the park on the way home :)

    Haircuts #3 & 4 happened at a different kids cuts place near our house, with similar results. Again, I made sure to have my husband and some Bubble Guppies on hand. There is a small toy area, so I always make sure to arrive a few minutes early so that J has some time to relax and play. This weekend when we went it was much the same as his previous visits. He is ok for the first few minutes, but gets increasingly upset as the hair cut progresses. The Bubble Guppies become a bit useless as by that point he's really not paying attention to anything but trying to get out of the chair. Luckily the woman who cuts his hair is very speedy and confident. I would be terrified of going at a flailing boy with scissors, but she is great at it. Our appointment was at 9:30 and we were in the car and on our way home by 9:38. Getting his haircut is definitely not one of J's favorite things, but luckily they only happen every few months or so.

The day before his last much needed haircut

and enjoying his post-cut sucker :)

1 comment:

  1. I think that's a great idea to try the bath with the water table. I hope he enjoys it! It's definitely worth a shot!

    Can I tell you, I am so scared to take Dylan for his first haircut. We have to bite the bullet this week because his birthday party is next Saturday, and he NEEDS one. Seeing this post makes me brave enought to attempt it!

    I just have to say, Jake has the most gorgeous smile I have ever seen on a little boy! He is so adorable!