Wednesday, August 11, 2010

no. no. no. ? ? ?

Bath time with my 10 month old has become quite a chore.  With #4 we forwent a baby bath tub, we have simply (and cautiously) bathed her in our bath tub.  She loves her bath and it is extra special the nights her sisters join her.   Here is the problem, she just will not stay on her bottom!  Standing up simply is not an option, and I am forced to communicate this-over, and over-and over...

How do I do it?  Well I simply say "No, no.  Sit on your bottom." and gently sit her back down.  No sooner do I sit her down and up again she goes.  She stands up.  I sit her down.  Repeat scenario about 15 times and then I take her out.   This has been going on about a week.  At this point I could say, "I give up! There is no way she is going to stop."  and then proceed to shop for a both seat or other restraint.   But I believe she will "get it" and she will stop.  Right now she is trying to understand what it is I am telling her.  (I do use the word "no" with her, with the other three girls I have always used "stop" followed by a positive.  This means I let  know what I DO want from her- "sit in your bottom.")  What ever word you use the infant has to learn what it means.  You say "no" in a firm voice, the child looks at you and repeats the action.  

 I have heard people say the child is looking at you to "test" you, trying to wear you down.  Not so.  The child simply is experimenting to understand what makes you say "no."  Here is an important tip: physically remove the child from the situation.   For example Dot grabs an electrical cord at the outlet.  I say "no, no" she stops to look at me, then smiles and grabs it again.   I say "no, no" and pick her up and set her away from the outlet.  Just like the bath we do this over and over.  Sometimes I am pretty sure she thinks we are playing a game.  Please do not view this as disobedience.  To disobey the child must have a clear understanding of what you are asking her not to do and make a conscious decision to do it anyway.  I assure you raising your voice or being overly firm when moving the child will not get better results, just a frightened baby.

I have seen this be successful many times in the Montessori class room.  So here's to being patient and soon having a baby who will "stay on your bottom" during bath time.


  1. I love that you say to remove the CHILD as opposed to remove the situation. My sister has a saying that a child should be houseproof, a house shouldn't need to be childproof. Too many people simply take the object away, or distract the kid instead of letting them see what it is they aren't supposed to be doing.

  2. Hmm, maybe if the bath only lasts long enough to get her clean, she will learn that the consequence of standing up means the bath is over, and sitting down means the bath and fun can continue. At least it's only been a week! I do agree that they are testing, maybe not testing you, but testing for results the way a scientist would---"If I chuck my bowl on the floor, will mommy pick it up? How about now? How about now?" Good luck!

  3. I had the same problem with my son but i had a different solution.We were lucky enough at the time to have a shower over the bath combo so i just put two non slip mats in the bottom of the bath & put him in the shower with me & i could put the plug in in to give him some water to play in.We also put in a hand held shower head so i could take it of the wall & rinse him:)
    Best of luck with your little girl:)

  4. Hi Coedith, Thank you for your blog. Thank you for your insight that a child must have a clear understanding of what you want them to do in order to disobey. Kids are so curious when they are young and often, very innocently, explore and sometimes act impulsively out of fun. I actually think this does not stop when they become adolescents, it just changes. I'd like to tell you a story about my 12 year old who is seemingly already "under the influence of adolescence" as one of my colleagues would say. I noticed my daughter had begun speaking to me with a little attitude complete with a sassy tone of voice, eye rolling and facial expressions. It was, at first, perplexing since there had been no adversity prior to the moments when I found this attitude emerging. One day I simply stopped her mid-sentence and asked, "why do you feel the need to use this tone of voice with me? I am standing here listening to you and I am going to listen to the end so you can be confident you will be heard." She stood for a few moments with a perplexed look on her face, she thought for a few moments more, and then responded very honestly "I don't know . . ." I truly believe she didn't know she was even speaking with attitude much less intentionally sassing me. Of course, we have those moments too and we deal with them in dialogue as we've noticed it usually emerges when she's feeling hurt or misunderstood. Current clinical research is showing that the pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed until age 24. Who knows why children do what they do sometimes . . . I think the key is appropriate boundaries (to keep everyone safe), grace, love, a level head (as best we can in trying moments) and, when they get older, the ability to remain in the dialogue. At least, that's what is working for us so far . . . who knows what our other two will bring in adolescence.


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