Bath time might be my least favorite of the parenting duties. Yup, I said it, out loud! For a long time, I felt badly that I disliked this task so much. You hear new moms talk about how cute it was watching their baby splash in the tub and how much fun it was…that wasn’t me. I loved other parts of the baby stage, but not baths. I think the reason I disliked it so much is that you’d get all the bath supplies ready, and that teeny tiny tub all filled up with warm (but not too hot water) and you’d get your baby undressed and wash them up and then into their pajamas AND THEN you did it ALL… OVER… AGAIN. I think that’s what kept me from truly enjoying this supposedly adored parenting task, the fact that you couldn’t really enjoy it because you felt rushed by the fact that there was one more baby in waiting. Mine were usually mad that you had left them in their swing/playpen/play mat/bouncy seat to go bathe their twin. The second bather was usually any angry bather.
Then when our girls were older, they could sit up and I could bathe them together. But it never failed, something would derail the plans. Someone would poop in the tub, someone would pee all over the floor while you dried off her sister, one twin would develop a completely new (and FUN!) fear of the water and scream through the whole ordeal. Yup, these are the many reasons why I dislike baths and still pass off that task WHENEVER I can to my hubby. I’ll volunteer to do the dishes and clean the whole kitchen, and vacuum while he gives the girls a bath JUST so I don’t have to do it!
Regardless of my dislike for this task, it did get easier as the girls got older. They could help more, cry less, and there were far fewer poop/pee incidents. So here are a few tasks that helped me survive bath time over the last 3 years. Most of these apply to babies and toddlers.
Get your supplies ready
• Figure out anything you might need and have it within reach and set everything where you can reach it. The list can be lengthy but think through the process so you don’t miss anything.
• Towels – At least one per kiddo, and an extra for the floor or yourself (or both). I especially like the hooded towels because it kept them bundled when they are little and now (at almost 3) they run around being Super Girl, occupying them for a few minutes and giving them a chance to dry off and air out.
• Wash cloths – At least one per kid and one extra. Mine like to play with them and “wash myself!” while I wash them with a third wash cloth.
• Soap/Shampoo – Tear free kinds are helpful. If your kiddo seems to have dry skin, check with your doctor (there are lots of gentle brands).
• A stack of disposable plastic cups – If the worst should occur and there is poop in the tub, you can fish it out with the cup and dump it into the toilet. All while you pull half-washed children from the tub and drain and sanitize it – ew ew ew! As much as you can, wash out your bath cups. It would still gross me out to know that I had used a toy cup to scoop out poop! Bonus – these double as fun (and cheap) bath toys!
• Toys – Good distractions for all ages!
• Bath accessories – We used that little sling in the baby bath tub for a while to hold toys. I’ve seen people use laundry tubs to keep the toys nearby. We only survived baths from the 6mo-1 year stage due to our bath visors (allowing you to rinse the child’s hair without a complete meltdown because mine ALWAYS looked down when you rinsed their hair!)
• Pjs and nighttime diapers close by.
Get the tub ready!
It is much easier to check water temperature when you aren’t multitasking and having little hands “help”. There are these great little rubber ducks that have a sensor on the bottom to help you get the right temp for the littlest little ones.
Don’t leave for any reason!
This seems to be common sense nowadays, but there are too many sad stories about parents who stepped out just to grab something and came back to tragedy. Worst case scenario, you forget the towel! Drain the tub and let your kiddo sit in the empty tub while you grab a towel for them.
Do what works for you.
When they were little it worked best to do baths one at a time, but now they play well together and I go back and forth washing one twin, then the other. I found that once the girls could sit up easily I used those bath seats that stick to the tub, that worked best for me. Both girls were upright and couldn’t just tip over and dunk herself while I washing her sister’s hair. Before we had these, one twin was in the walker/bouncy seat/swing while I gave her sister a bath. Other families of multiples also enjoy using a laundry basket lined with a soft towel. (Twiniversity Tip: The Tubby Table is great for twins!)
Try not to rush it or stress.
When our girls were little we lived and died by our schedule. We corralled the girls into napping (or at least resting) at the same time and sleeping was a challenge in itself, so bedtimes were strictly adhered to. But as with anything, from bath time to grocery shopping, when I rush and try to get something done quickly I find that I get cranky with the kids and myself. Try not to sweat the small stuff. We try to keep the water (mostly) in the tub, but it isn’t a tragedy if we have to dry up the floor a little after bath time. It’s ok if it takes 30 minutes instead of 15 and they are in bed at 8:45 instead of 8:30. The goal is two clean (and happy is a perk!) children and a relativity dry bathroom.
Stephanie Cleland is a high school teacher who traded in her teen students for adorable twin toddlers and now spends her days entertaining her almost 3 year old “twinadoes”. She married her college sweet heart, Kirk, and her hobbies include scrapbooking and other creative projects. She also is working on a blog ilovemytwinadoes.weebly.com.
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