Crusty Baby, Meet the BabyShrink, Part 2

So you may or may not remember that Dr. Heather, aka, the BabyShrink, held a contest where people could submit their parenting challenges, and the winner with the most votes got to participate in a parent coaching session with Dr. Heather herself. And you may remember that Sean and I were winners of that contest.


A couple of weeks ago, we gathered around the trusty iMac and logged into Skype, where we got to meet with the BabyShrink and talk through some of the iToddler's kooky bathtime quirks. It was such a cool experience and we really learned a lot.

She started by asking us to sum up our situation with the little one. Sean and I took turns piping in, and then took copious notes as Dr. Heather explained normal child development to us, and assured us that the iToddler was, in fact, remarkably normal.

As she stated it: this is a normal reaction to a normal developmental issue, and all the complexities of becoming a biped. Once the iToddler gets a grip on her new-found skills, she'll most likely get over her fears of the bath.

The fear can come and go though. Babies this age are anything but rational. In fact, once thing we were shocked to learn is that she won't really be able to understand rationale or logic until closer to her 7th birthday!

Here are some highlights of things that we learned during our session:

Mobility, simply put, rocks a baby's world. Imagine suddenly figuring out that you can fly simply by flapping your arms. Would you trust it? Would it freak you out, but still be uncontrollably alluring? Yes, of course it would be!

There is a direct correlation between the onset of mobility with a baby's emotion and attachment to its parents. Any parent could have an "AHA!" moment with this one, as we've all seen our walking toddlers all at once become fiercely independent and also desperately clingy.

Parents have a limited amount of capital to spend...choose your battles at this age based on safety, not behavior or personal preference. In other words, let her be dirty.

It's also okay to force the issue now and then, and it won't scar her for life. In fact, it's important for babies at this age to experience frustration from time to time — it teaches them patience and frustration tolerance.

Whatever you do, don't be nervous or anxious about it. It will just load the situation and make things worse. We're pretty good at this one — Sean and I are really laid back parents.

Parental confidence is huge. Sean and I call ourselves "accidental geniuses" because we get a lot of great outcomes without really knowing what we're doing. However, when we mentioned this to Dr. Heather, she was quick to encourage us not to underestimate ourselves. She said that the things we do with our kids are direct results of what we believe to be best for them. Sometimes that knowledge is completely unconscious, and more based on parental intuition. But it's not accidental. So I guess now we're going to have to start calling ourselves "unconscious geniuses".

So now what do we do with all that information when it comes to the crusty non-bather. Well, at this point it's all about patience, and we've got plenty of that. We have play time in the tub a couple times a week or so, and the iToddler never even climbs in, but still gets plenty clean. I'll climb in the tub to "wash her toys", or will let her watch me safely from the sidelines while I'm showering (she finds this absolutely fascinating!). We play with bubbles and tupperware containers and other fun toys while peeing all over the bathroom floor.

Well, *I* don't pee. { cough cough }

And in time, she'll learn to trust her land legs more and will eventually want to get back in, and might even enjoy it. But for now, we're happy just knowing that we're normal...


Taken in early July, the last time she didn't freak out in the tub.

Weighing In: why PNC is responsible for my muffintop

The Angel Gabriel

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