What’s the big deal about baths?
There seems to be an inherent assumption in our society that only adults take showers. Children up to a certain age, on the other hand, will only ever have baths.
Is it that baths are seen as a treat? Are they safer? Or is it simply that, in general, bathing a kid is less hassle because it’s easier to avoid the dreaded water/soap-in-the-eye scenario?
I have to admit that these questions only started occurring to me this week after Jack – completely unprompted – decided he wanted to have a shower instead of a bath.
At first, I was reluctant. I’ve often found myself struggling with Jack in the swimming pool changing rooms, trying to convince him to come into the shower just for a second so we can wash off all the chlorine water.
Willing to indulge this probably fleeting whim of his, I was then struck by a dilemma. How do you shower a three-year-old?
My first concern was minimising water/soap-in-the-eyes, so the first thing I did after plonking Jack in the empty bathtub was to take the showerhead off the wall.
Almost immediately though, before the water had even come on, Jack made clear this was not the shower he had in mind. He wanted the showerhead ‘up on the ceiling’ like mummy and daddy.
In anticipation of an immediate rejection of showering from Jack, I suggested he stand out of the ‘spray-line’ while I switched the water on.
Surprisingly, once the temperature had heated up, Jack was still keen, and hadn’t been deterred by the daunting wall of noisy, splashing water pummelling the tub just inches from his toes.
Instead, he proceeded to carefully select two showering companions (a toy duck, and a wind-up frog) and back himself slowly under the shower, bum-first.
The whole thing was a bit like watching a learner driver park a car for the first time: A sense of trepidation, anticipation and then relief at having succeeded.
To his credit, Jack actually really enjoyed his shower. He even agreed to get his hair wet so I could wash his hair.
But he definitely prefers baths. We haven’t been asked to give him a shower again since.