Monday, December 15, 2008

Baths, Tantrums, and Fire Breathing Dragons

On Saturday night my family was at a Christmas party and came home later than Pumpkin's usual bedtime.  We asked her if she'd like to go straight to bed and skip her nightly bath, but she typically loves her bath and declined our offer.  Sunday night, Pumpkin refused her bath, which was weird, but we had company so I was happy to skip it.  This evening, before starting the bath and bed routine, we were testing out our gas fireplace.  Pumpkin was nervous about it but we assured her that she would be perfectly fine as long as she didn't touch the glass.  She then went off to play for 15 minutes or so.  When I told her that it was time for a bath, she refused.  I didn't want to skip it another night, especially given that she hasn't mastered the whole potty training thing and is often a bit too gross to not be bathed.  I also didn't want her to think that she could dictate to us whether or not she has a bath.  A tantrum ensued, but I stayed the course and bathed her while she kicked and screamed.  I kept asking her why she didn't want her bath but she just kept insisting that she had to go to bed right then and there.  After all was said and done, and I was tucking her into bed, I lay down beside her to see if I could get an understanding of what the problem actually was.  She told me that the fire was going to get her.  She was afraid that the fire-breathing dragon was going to burn her bed, and wreck all her stuff.  Now for the past month or so, Pumpkin has been obsessed with Sleeping Beauty, and has watched the movie many times.  She has also watched Shrek a few times, and often asks me to read The Paper Bag Princess.  All three stories have dragons in them, but she has never expressed a fear of them.  She actually seems to be enthralled with them.  Nonetheless, I spent the next few minutes trying to ensure her that dragons weren't real, and that nothing was going to happen to her, and that the fire was going to stay in the fireplace.  When she was finished listening, she turned her back to me and asked me to go to my own room.  My heart broke a little.  I felt that I had let her down somehow.  The days of simple maintenance are over.  

12 comments:

motherbumper said...

Dragons are scary and they do breath fire so the fear has merit. Gigi finds them scary too (and dinosaurs) and all I can do is reassure her that my father and I will always protect her from those two kinds of creatures (one of the few promises I think we can keep - though if fire breathing dragons come back, we're f***ed). Simple maintenance was over when they handed us the keys to three.

kgirl said...

Honestly? My kids pretty much get a bath once a week. It's winter; we wash their hands all the time, and then spot wash the rest until their hair gets to the point that it stands up on its own.

Dragons can hide where we least expect them.

petite gourmand said...

Lulu has been talking about killer sharks lately.
It all started when I got her a shark puppet from the one of a kind show- I thought it was cute, she obviously didn't.
oops.
I guess watching Nemo is out now too.

No Mother Earth said...

We do a bath everyday no matter what or Big C would fight us on it every step of the way. Somedays, a "bath" means throwing a cup of water over his head, but we do it anyways. Are we nuts or what?

Kellan said...

Oh, poor baby. It sounds like you handled it perfectly - great job, Mom!

Take care and have a good week - Kellan

Chantal said...

D just finished the "summer of fear" and it took its tole on me. He was so afraid of EVERYTHING. And nothing I could do helped. It was hard. It is hard. Take Care.

ourlittlefunnybunny said...

Hehe...3 is the age where they're fearless on minute and scared the next!
Hehe i'm like Kgirl..Sam's baths in the winter are maybe 3x a week...
We watched Rudolph the other night and had to turn it off after the "Abominable Snowman" appeared!

Barrie said...

What a good mother you are. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

:) I get it. I once had to ban the Dora the Explorer video because of the bad witch (Kieran). We had serious crying fits also because of scary things on Blues clues. This too has passed.
I think the most important thing for them (or so I've read) it to listen to them and acknowledge that their fear is real. Next, help them to feel reasured (as you did)...over and over again :). Godd luck!

Nora Bee said...

It DOES sound like you handled it like a pro. Nice work!

kittenpie said...

Three is the age of magical thinking, when they live half in fantasy land, and can have a hard time distinguishing which fears are realistic for the real world and which not. So yeah, she might be truly worried. On the other hand, I'm also seeing some manipulation going on, but we're at 4.5 now, so I think that comes later. We used to tell Pumpkinpie that monsters were scared of dogs, since she sleeps with about a gajillion stuffed doggies. that helped. I've also heard of "monster spray," a mister with some water they can spray to get rid of monsters. Something to try, anyhow.

Anonymous said...

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