3 reasons to shower with your toddler (and 1 not to)

3 reasons to shower with your toddler (and 1 not to)

When I first started staying home with Jack, the shower became one of our daily activities.

Our morning routine was breakfast, drop off big brother, run, and shower. Jack is an excellent running partner, and has become an agreeable shower buddy. It took awhile, but he doesn’t smack me in the face anymore for putting his back under the shower stream.

Showers weren’t a part of my original Stay-At-Home-Mom plan (because I totally had one of those, right). Using up all that water just to entertain a toddler would be pretty wasteful. But, after running with a stroller for several miles under the Texas summer sun, you kind of require a shower. Like, bad. So that first day after we ran together, I plopped him in the shower with me. I got clean, he had fun, and my house wasn’t destroyed. Win-win-win!

Since running helps me keep my sanity (which can be in short supply when home alone with a toddler), it and the shower became a regular occurrence in our weeks. After awhile, I started to see some real benefits to showering with a toddler.

Enjoy a shower again!

Showers are one of the first things to go when you have small children. The risks of death, destruction, dismemberment, or just general mayhem are not worth the benefits of clean pits. Solution: bring the toddler with you! You’ll never wonder what your little angel is destroying and/or eating, because he’s right there. Throw a few toys in the mix, and you should be able to have a decent shower. Bonus points: if you time it for after a meal, you can clean two people with one shower!

Comedy gold

My son is hysterical in the shower. He makes the funniest faces when water sprays his face (I may or may not be involved in this). He has tried to punch the shower stream for getting water on him (true story). Pouring water on Mom induces fits of giggles.

Skin-to-skin time

The benefits of skin-to-skin are well-documented for newborns, but I believe older babies/toddlers benefit as well! Jack is always on the go, so I cherish the times he wants to cuddle. In the shower, I’ll hold his chest against mine and let the water fall on his back. He’ll put his head on my shoulder or press his silky-soft cheek against mine. We’ll stand there like that for a minute or two, and it’s so relaxing for both of us.

One drawback to the shower

Any breastfeeding mom will tell you that seeing a boob will remind a nursling that he/she NEEDS to nurse. NOW. And the older the nursling, the more insistent he/she is. There were a few times our shower ended abruptly because Fuss McGuss just could not handle being around a bare boob without nursing. I didn’t want to be stuck in the shower for an undetermined amount of time, so I wouldn’t let him latch. He’d pound my chest, yelling “Nuh!” I’d answer calmly, “We’re not going to nurse right now.” Repeat until I could get all the soap off us and turn the shower off. This usually occurred when the shower was close to naptime, so that may have played a role. But just beware – if you shower with a breastfed toddler, there is a good chance he’ll want to nurse!

he won...post-shower nursing
he won…post-shower nursing

Sometimes, it’s better with him.

Sometimes, it’s better with him.

Picture this: you’ve been terrorized by a miniature version of yourself all morning (in other words, a normal Friday). The typical pattern is toddler asks for something (Waffle! Bite! Milk!), and when given said item, vehemently denies ever wanting it and punishes you for your insolence with assorted fussy behaviors. This pattern continues until toddler finally, blessedly, falls asleep.

 

Jack sleep
only someone with real cojones takes a flash picture of a sleeping toddler.

Picture this: house is silent. Toddler is crashed out in the bed. You slip out and quietly fist pump over the specter of Free Time. You never know how long this toddler-free time will last, so you intend to use it wisely (HA). It’s time to recharge the batteries, bring the patience meter up from negative 47, restore calm. You browse Facebook, check your email, and revel in the fact that there aren’t any sticky little fingers trying to turn the laptop off. You decide it’s time to dust off the old blog and start writing again.

Yes. It is definitely You Time.

dance
Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/JltOMwYmioVrO

Until…

A subtle change occurs in the atmosphere. You glance down the hall and see a little face quietly peering at you around the corner. The toddler has woken up and silently come to find you. He creeps over with a look of complete joy, like he’s just been given carte blanche to write on all the walls and climb on all the tables.

Jack table

So much for You Time.

But instead of getting frustrated, you welcome him. He crawls into your lap and asks to nurse. You oblige. He nurses for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep.

Jack nurse

You could get up and take him back to bed. You might be able to scrape out a little more You Time, maybe even craft that blog post that’s suddenly percolating.

But instead, you let him sleep in your arms. You smile at his little baby snores and memorize his sleeping face. He must have known you both needed this. The two of you sit silently on the couch, his little body sprawled out over your arm and lap, while you type your thoughts on your phone instead of the laptop.

Sometimes You Time is better with him. Sometimes what you – I – need isn’t time without him; its peaceful time with him. I need the reminder that it won’t always be like this – the good and the bad. He may always drive me nuts in one way or another, but he won’t always be able to snuggle into my lap for a midafternoon nurse ‘n nap. So for today, I welcome him into my You Time.

Colt vs. Dirt

I love taking my son to the park. If one or both of us is having a bad day, off to the park we go. We always have a silly good time, even in the rain.

This kid was born in England...he owns the rain
This kid was born in England…he owns the rain

He has a blasty, driving the “California train” (play structure), going down the fireman pole, chasing Mama around the plastic rock climbing wall, swinging, kicking his soccer ball in the field…until he gets dirty. This child hates to be dirty. It makes bath time a no-brainer (Colt, we need to get the sugar off your teeth. It’s icky! Promptly opens mouth…score one for Mom) but makes playtime hilarious and slightly confusing.

Thus, I give you this:

I only hope he’s this eager to be clean when he’s a teenager.

Dinosaur Train…for adults

My son has recently become obsessed with Dinosaur Train, a cartoon on PBS. I’m cool with it, because 1) I don’t really obsess over his screen time and 2) it feels like a “win” because it’s an educational cartoon. As far as kid shows go, it’s really not that bad, but after watching 32 half-hour episodes in the last 6 days (thank you, Netflix), the adult mind starts to wander and entertain itself. So I give you the 10 ways you know you’ve watched too much Dinosaur Train:

  1. You start to question Mrs. Pteranodon’s morals. I want to know exactly how that flying dinosaur came to lay a Tyrannosaurus Rex egg.
  2. You quietly dub the dialogue with your own snarky comments [if I had any kind of video editing skills, I’d totally dub whole episodes. Just checked and there’s nothing on YouTube. Someone get on that, stat].
    Buddy: I have a hypothesis!
    Tiny: Oh big effing surprise, Buddy has another hypothesis [eye roll].
  3. You realize Mr. Pteranodon has a major man-crush on Hank Ankylosaurus and perhaps wants to take it further
  4. After figuring out #1 and #3, you conclude that pteranodons were superfreaks, superfreaks, they’re super freaky, yeah!
  5. You breathlessly wait for the day that the eternally cheerful Mr. Conductor will snap and eat one of the kiddo dinosaurs with his sharp troodon teeth.
  6. You find yourself complaining about the fact that the carnivores eat meat of undetermined origin. All the show says is they eat meat, and every carnivore seems to always have a pile of fresh meat, but NO ONE EVER SAYS WHERE THAT MEAT COMES FROM. It comes from your family, Buddy. You are supposed to eat your pteranodon family and all the dinosaurs you meet on the Dinosaur Train.
  7. This show has created its own, special species of dinosaur called Predator and this annoys you. These vaguely T. rex-like dinosaurs have no names and no talents other than trying to eat anything that moves and being really dumb. I mean, really? The tiny Eugene Euoplocephalus swings his little club tail twice and the huge dinosaur with lots of ginsu-knife teeth screams like a ninny and runs off? Riiiiigggghhhhhtttt.
  8. You find yourself wishing Tank Triceratops would sit on Tiny whenever she starts bitching about som eone being tinier than her. Shut your tiny mouth and just be grateful your T. rex brother hasn’t eaten you yet.
  9. When the Pteranodon children dress up as other dinosaurs and their parents chuckle, you imagine they’re all just being assholes and making fun of all the other dinosaurs. Then you start making fun of Don Pteranodon for having an underbite.
  10. You realize you’ve just written a blog post about Dinosaur Train when your child is asleep and you could be doing literally anything else.

Maybe next time I’ll write about the 7 reasons your child shouldn’t watch/read Curious George (here’s a preview: CG creates the mess, then gets rewarded for “fixing” it. What the hell??? That’s not what I want to teach my kid).