My Daughter’s Relationship with Water

Bath time with my near-one-year-old has been traumatic for everyone involved for about the first 95 percent of her life.

My husband and I tried everything: Various temperatures, the sink, the tub, a special sling for the water, laying a warm towel over her, and more. Still, every time we bathed her she screamed as if we had lit her on fire.

Eventually we took the approach of bathing her as quickly as possible to keep the mayhem to a brief five-minutes or less, and bargaining with one another to see who had to do her bath. “I’ll take out the trash, unload the dishwasher, and give the dog a bath if you bathe the girl.”

I was troubled by this: How can my child, my own flesh-and-blood, hate water? I love water. Lakes, streams, oceans, “cricks,” pools, you name it. My fantasies of family vacations spent with her on a beach somewhere or birthday parties at local pool started to go up in flames with each screaming, crying, disastrous bath experience.

Then, suddenly just in the past few weeks she changed her mind, like the flip of a switch. And just in time for bathing suit season.

Here she is enjoying a local spring this past weekend, not to mention rocking that bikini. With time and patience those rocky phases of parenting can be a mere memory.

swim

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