Sometimes you reach a point as a parent and realize that you, unfortunately, have passed on a less-than-favorable trait to your kids.
I’ve always been high-strung. I’ve always been a typical Type-A, just-do-it-my-way-and-we-will-get-along type. It only makes sense that my kids would be the same way.
One thing that I hadn’t really anticipated was passing on some of my irrational fears. The thing about irrational fears is that they are, well, irrational. You don’t know why you are terrified of spiders but you are. If I am in a swimming pool and I have goggles on and accidentally peek into the deep end, I freak the freak out. I’m convinced that Jaws is coming after me.
Although irrational, is this a very real fear of mine? Yup.
The thing about irrational fears and children? Well, it’s basically a lose-lose because children are irrational by nature so when you try to explain to them that there is no monster in the closet, you might as well be speaking Swahili because they.don’t.get.it.
For a long time, I was terrified that I had passed a version of my water-phobia on to Adrianna. Ever since we transitioned out of the baby tub and into the big-girl tub, bathtime is like torture.
For both of us.
She screams. And cries. And clings to me. And scratches the shit out of my arms/face/neck.
She begs to not have her hair washed.
She will squat in the tub as though she is always guarded just in case you attempt to get her clean.
I had literally tried everything. I tried wetting a washcloth and using that to wet her hair. Which worked until you had to rinse out the shampoo. For as effective as that was, I might as well have pissed up a rope.
I tried just sneaking up on her and dumping the water on her head. I realize that it only made our situation worse but there are only so many days that a toddler can go without a good head-scrubbing.
I took a shower with her and showed her how much fun Mommy was having getting my hair wet! The water tickles; it doesn’t hurt! For a long time, this was about the only way she would get her head wet but some days it just wasn’t an option for me to hop in the shower with her. Greg would take a bath with her and she would do fine until he tried to wash her hair. Even Brock tried to convince her that she was safe and he would dunk his entire head underwater just to prove the point.
Do you know how it feels when you are trying to give your child a bath and she gives you the most gut-wrenching, terrified & confused look? Most days, she made me feel like a woman that makes the cover of People for drowning all of her children.
That is a shitty feeling.
But then, all of a sudden, it clicked.
I’m not sure if it was our constant reassuring her or the fact that she saw Brock day in and day out wash his hair and (shockingly) survive, but one day she looked at me and said, “I unt to wash my haiw, momma.”
So we did.
And the day after that.
And the day after that.
And now, she is brave enough that she will lie down in the tub, almost completely on her own.
I’m not entirely sure what the message here is but if my 2-year-old is brave enough to wash her hair, then surely I can face Jaws in the swimming pool.