Look at that happy boy! This picture was taken on Valentine's Day. It does not seem like a big deal, but it captures a monumental step in his life at home so far. Noah LOVES bathtime now! He gets SO excited and begins to laugh when he realizes it is time to take a bath, as you can see above. But it was not always that way. When Noah first came home, at least for the first month or so, baths were very traumatic for him. As in, he would already start screaming his head off as soon as I laid him down to undress him, and then proceed to scream the whole time until his bath was finished. (He also hated being undressed for the first month or so, too.)
Slowly, over time he screamed less and less while being bathed. Eventually smiles in the tub came, and after that began the laughter. From what we have heard from other Reece's Rainbow parents, it is pretty common for our children to come home and find bath time traumatic. We do not actually know how much or how he was bathed in the orphanage. We do know that he never smelled any different from day to day, and we visited everyday.
I have heard different ideas for how to help our kids through this tough time of the day. So, what helped Noah? Distractions in the form of bath toys did nothing for him. Having Daddy in the tub, too, did not seem to help. A baby tub did not help.
There were two things that I started doing that made the most impact, that sped up his adjustment to tolerating and then enjoying bathtime. One was that I started bathing Noah every night, instead of every other night. The repetition gave him a chance to know what to expect every night. And it helped him get used to bathtime more quickly.
The other thing I did was bathe him without any water in the tub (which worked well anyway, since the Little Mister thinks bathtime is the time to pee...). I am not sure how much impact not having water in the tub had, but I think it took away the sensory input of sitting in the water (he did not know how to deal with new feelings-- ex. When we visited him in the orphanage, we used to give him cheerios. Although he really enjoyed the cheerios, he did not know what to do with the new feeling in his mouth, and so, he would hit himself while eating his cheerios). The empty tub was done simultaneously with the repetition of a bath every night. Now he is happy with an empty tub or a tub filled with water. Most recently, he has learned how fun it is to splash and blow bubbles in the water! :) We are thinking swim lessons may be in order...
We are crazy thankful that our little guy loves bathtime now. It really made a huge change in our day. Now it is tempting to compete over who gets to bath him because he is such a riot now in the tub with his happy squeals, laughter, and goofy antics.