Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tub-Time Tips

I had intended to post this on Monday, but due to an entire day of family fun (whew...) here it is Tuesday.  I'm sure when you read the post I'm working on ... you'll understand! :)

Some of my absolute favorite snapshots of my babies have been from times when they are in the bathtub.  Their chubby little parts, their sudsy Santa beards, their kewpie doll hair do’s ... I love it all!  I love their giggles, their excitement in discovering the joy of splashing (that novelty for Mommy wears off quickly, however!), watching them learn to blow bubbles, and marveling at how much they have grown when they stretch from one end of the tub to the other!  

Little Norah-Lou Who
"Always Ready for a Splash" Aaron

"Two Teeth" Ashley
Lydia aka "Bubbles"
Tub-time is at once a daily routine (and I use the term “daily” rather loosely), and also a measuring stick of their growth. We start with an infant plastic tub and our attempts to convey a sense of fun to a shivering, sniffling new-born.   In time we move to the big tub and a seat to prop the baby in where we see the first shimmering of hope that bath-time might also be playtime:  a few surprised splashes and no tears.  Eventually we have a baby who can sit happily and we watch as they grasp at toys that float by and they show signs of enjoying this adventure in the water.  Finally we have big kids who love to lay on their backs with their ears under the water listening to the “mrmmrm wrrrmehem hmrmmhm’s” of Mommy asking them to stand to be washed ... and even bigger kids who want to wash themselves.    In little bits and splashes we find our kids are growing up.
I have found bath-time to also be a gift to us mommies ~ it is truly the one time of the day that you are almost guaranteed that everyone will be happy and smiling!  I remember my mom used to say, “If your kid is sleepy but it’s not yet nap-time - put them in the tub.  If it’s bedtime and your kid won’t settle down - put them in the tub.  If your kid is fussy and cranky - put them in the tub.”  I guess we’re lucky our kids haven’t spent their entire lives in the tub!  But, it is so very true.  Bath-time is a wonderful distraction (for moms and kids!) and also a terrific way to spend some time together.
To make this splashy, bubbly time great for everyone, I thought I would share a few tips & tricks with you.  First we’ll start with tips for the kiddos.  We have a few store-bought toys in the tub, but some of our favorite water gadgets didn’t come in a package labeled, “Bath-time Fun!”.  Our most popular toys are measuring spoons (for “baking” bubble cakes), plastic cups from Red Robin (and one from Chuck E. Cheese with the holes in the bottom) and several medicine syringes.  The syringes are huge hits for kids of all ages, but just a word of caution:  they could also be called “water cannons” and the ensuing soaking of the surrounding bathtub area is something to be aware of! :)  We also store one of our bottles of bubbles in the bathroom ~ the kids love trying to pop the flying bubbles and you don’t have to worry about anything getting bubble-juice on it.  Kids also love to wash the walls of the tub with an old washcloth ... I’m sure it’s helping keep the shower maybe a little cleaner. :)  When it’s time to get out, we wrap up our kids in their own hand-made hooded towels*.  They look so sweet all snuggled-up and squeaky-clean! 
Not just for fruit!
Now for a few helpful tips for Mommy.  I lay a towel folded into quarters length-wise at the foot of the tub to catch some of the water that makes it’s way out.  This saves me the job of mopping up the floor after the bath.  We have a nifty little hanging basket to store the bath toys in ... if it looks a lot like a fruit basket from the kitchen, that’s because it is!  I found this at a yard-sale for 50 cents and it works great.  I hang it from the shower caddy at the end of bath time and the kids load it up with their toys.  When everything has dripped-dry, I hang the basket from the curtain rod where it is out of the way.  When it’s time to wash up the kids, I save my back by sitting on a stool next to the tub.  This puts me at just the right height to clean up the kiddos without having to lean too much.  Also, I recommend using a large cup for rinsing off the kids’ hair and bodies.  The bigger the cup, the quicker the rinsing.  We have a fun cup for rinsing ... a gift from my Cousin Matthew.
Thanks, Matthew!
When the kids are happily playing in the tub, I take this opportunity to do any number of things.  I keep a few cleaning supplies under the sink and with the kids busy, I can do a rather thorough cleaning of the bathroom - two birds with one stone!  I also take this time to sort or fold laundry or perhaps make up our list of meals for the week and a grocery list.  Sometimes I will take that time for something for me:  doing my hair, painting my toe-nails, reading a magazine or having my quiet time.  If the kids are happy and contained that means my hands are free to do almost anything I can do in the bathroom!
Seeing as we spend a good amount of our time within that teeny-tiny room in our house, it’s definitely worth making it a time that works for everybody!

All snuggled up!
* To make your own hooded towel, it’s as easy as 1 - 2 - 3!
#1 - Choose a towel and matching washcloth in the color or pattern of your choosing.  Wash & dry both the towel and washcloth before sewing.
#2 - Fold the towel and washcloths in half to find the middles and pin them together with the middles matching.  Sew the two together.
#3 - Fold the washcloth and sew the other end to make the top of the hood.


  1. I like to use a watering can to rinse the kids' hair, it helps keep water out of their eyes... Cute pics of them as babies. How did they get so big?! Oh, and in the summer, ice cubes are kinda fun when its hot! :-D

  2. I forgot about ice cubes ... that was always a huge hit with Aaron & Norah. Thanks for reminding me ... I'm sure the baby girls would like that. :)


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