Pissy / by Susie Lubell

I thought it would last a day or two. I was wrong. Several weeks ago (months? I've lost count.) my daughter was suddenly terrified of taking a bath. This is a girl who used to lie down in the tub so that only the tip of her face - like her nose, eyes and pursed lips - was sticking out of the water and bubbles. While my son was whining about getting his head wet she was snorkeling for tub toys. We called her the baby beluga. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, she freaked out about going in the bathtub. I put her in and she was literally shrieking to get out. My son was already in so I knew it wasn't too hot. It was the same as any bath day. Same amount of water. Same gnarly bath toys. But she was having none of it and made that clear with blood curdling screams. Step aside Ronald Regan, this girl is the Great Communicator.  All the while she was also ranting about poo poo. So I figured she had to go. I put a diaper on her but she didn't go. And then it occurred to me that maybe she was worried she would have to go. Two days before she had pooped in the tub which really upset her (though you'd think my son would be the one with the hang-up now. Yes doctor, I have a latent fear of floaties). 

Anyway this has been going on for a while and the only way I can get her in the tub is if I go in first which as you can imagine after a day of work and scrambling for dinner and an hour at the park, the last thing I want to do at 7:30 at night is get in a luke warm bath. A spa, sure. A sauna, no problem. As long as I'm alone. In Baden Baden. But the luke warm piss tub is not a fave. Although now she even gets nervous with me in the tub and I see her kind of holding her crotch which says to me that the feel of the water is making her want to pee but she's not comfortable peeing in the tub (she used to just pee right on her brother without a care in the world. Again, we wonder why he's not the one troubled by the bathtub). So here I am telling her, sweetie, it's okay. You can pee in the tub. I've lost my mind.

So how is this going to end? I don't want to force her but she stinks. My son went through a brief bathtub boycott when he was about her age. Younger actually. We came to understand, at least we think, that he was afraid he would go down the drain. So I sat his butt on the drain and he felt a little tickle of suction which made him laugh and maybe he realized that in fact neither his giant tushy nor the rest of him would ever fit down this drain. But his anxiety only lasted a week. This is going on months. I even put her in a  swim diaper (I mean I am pulling out all the stops here). That worked for a few minutes until she likely peed in the diaper. She's going to end up being the stinky kid at school that no one wants to be near. Just pee in the goddamn tub. We all do it. It's your one opportunity to pee standing up. You'll love it. It's liberating. 

No can do.