She Says… It’s Just a Phase (Right?)

First of all I have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who commented, tweeted to me or wrote me an email in response to my last post about the possibility of Owen having asthma. His wheezing is 99.9% gone, thanks to a weekend of nebulizer treatments every 4 hours and although some congestion remains in his chest, he seems like he’s feeling fine. Most importantly your stories reminded me that there are FAR bigger things in the world to worry about, and even if he has to live with asthma, it doesn’t have to negatively impact his life! He’s going to be a happy, healthy kid, with or without a little eczema here and there or asthma once in awhile. And chances are good he could still grow out of all these little issues and I’ll forget all about this nonsense.

Instead of wrapping myself up in what ifs, I’m going to try my best to stop analyzing his skin for dry patches, stop rehashing in my head everything that passes through his lips and just let it be. The worst case scenario is that he eats a food that he is intolerant of, and the eczema returns. Not such a huge deal since we know how to treat it and manage it.

Moving on.

Now I’ll let you in on his latest phase. Ahem, emphasis on the word phase because THIS IS JUST A PHASE, RIGHT?! I guess I knew this day would come. He was bound to break out of his angelic little “go with the flow” attitude once in awhile. I think it’s called demonstrating independence, or becoming a big boy, or growing up or something silly like that.

Bathtime and bedtime used to be precious, happy moments of quiet playtime and snuggles and lotion massages and pajamas and the sweet smell of clean baby and slow bottle drinking and lullabies. Now it’s more like wrestling a greased pig to the ground and trying to hold a hurricane in my lap long enough to drain a bottle.

Let’s start with the bath: Now that Owen has learned to stand up, he wants to do it all the time. All day long, all he wants to do is pull up and stand and walk. Apparently the bath is no different. As soon as his little butt hits the tub, he’s pulling up on the wall and standing and trying to walk. Obviously this is incredibly dangerous in a tub filled with water, so I’ve taken to taking off my shirt (or letting it get soaked) and wrapping one arm around him while I try to get him to sit back down safely. No dice. He locks his rock hard legs and flat out refuses to sit down. He’s been practicing this refusal to sit for several months now, but it comes in particularly handy in the bath. The more I try to respond with a firm, “No.” and making him sit (thinking I’m being all calm and controlled and using this as a teachable moment), he grins and laughs. Apparently “No.” is the funniest thing he’s heard all day.

Once I slap enough soap on his body to call it a bath, we head to his nursery for what used to be a lovely little ritual of lotion and singing and love pats and kisses. As soon as I lay him down on his back, there are tears. Tears and wails such that I never, ever hear any other time of day. I haven’t really heard Owen cry much beyond an “I bumped my head” whine in months. MONTHS. And now, every night, as soon as I lay him down on the changing table… tears. I try to get a diaper on him while he tries his best to flip over and crawl away. I’m lucky if I get a handful of lotion on him before stuffing him into his pajamas. Last night I started doing this part on the floor and allowing him to stand so that he wouldn’t scream, but it is HARD to put a diaper and footie pajamas on a standing child!

As soon as we’re sitting in the rocking chair and he’s drinking his bottle, all is right with the world. You would think the child is starving, except that he eats a big dinner (his 3rd solid meal of the day) about an hour prior. Since I am a Weissbluth believer, I thought maybe he was overtired. But we’ve had the same bedtime for months and he’s had the same naps as usual recently. His awake time prior to bedtime is usually not more than 3 hours. I moved it up by 15 minutes, didn’t help. Moved it later by 15 minutes, didn’t help. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that his nursery is brighter because the spring/summer sun shines through his blinds brighter than it has in the winter. Not sure about that theory yet. I thought maybe he was getting another tooth and Ibuprofen would help. Didn’t help (although, to his credit, I gave it right before his bath so it didn’t have time to work before that fussy time).

At least once the bottle is gone he goes right to sleep like a little angel, so it’s just the post-bath/pre-bottle time period that is so strangely fussy. Any ideas that I haven’t thought of on what might be bugging him? Anyone else dealt with this phase? Tell me it’s just a phase, please? :)

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30 responses to “She Says… It’s Just a Phase (Right?)

  1. Amazing. I am so glad I am not the only one! My sweet little girl, who just turned 9 mo. as well, used to love her changing table. Baths are still mostly ok, as she is not yet pulling herself up or being too mobile, but after the bath seems to be all out war. The only thing that seems to help is when Daddy is available to entertain while I diaper, lotion and dress. He plays peekaboo with her or gets her stuffed puppy she loves so much, and makes it into a puppet. Otherwise, when he is not available to help, I am in the same boat. She wiggles and squirms and rolls and by the time we sit down for our last bottle before bed…I think I am more tired than she is. Sigh… let’s hope it is a phase :).

  2. Just wanted to let you know it IS A PHASE!!! My son, who is just a couple weeks younger than Owen, is our third child and both of my girls did this exact same stuff right at this age. They want to use their new skills all. the. time. and they want to be on the go all. the. time. It will get easier over time as they learn to take direction more and be a little more… “calm”.
    But yes, the last bath we gave Seth (a lot of times we just bring him in the shower) he was wanting to stand up. Diaper and pj’s are getting more and more difficult. I always give him a fun, non-toy product to play with to help pass the time (his bottle of tylenol or a bottle of lotion).
    Good luck!! :)

  3. “Now it’s more like wrestling a greased pig to the ground and trying to hold a hurricane in my lap long enough to drain a bottle” LOL!!!

    That’s EXACTLY what Liam is doing now too. He wants to stand in the tub. Bathtime has now changed to something else entirely!

    And I meant to comment on your last post. We are also doing the “lather-rinse-repeat” of daycare/household sickness/neb treatments/coughs, etc etc etc. I knew it would be be bad with daycare; I just didn’t realize it would be practically constant, and that I would be getting so much of it myself. During MY whole nonstop sickness charade, I learned I have asthma! Random. Didn’t know that! Hang in there!

  4. We definitely went through this phase. About the same age Owen is, too. The standing in the bath only lasted a couple of weeks… we were very persistent & consistent in making him sit down in the tub and now he knows not even to try standing up. We got some new bath toys, and that seemed to help, too.

    The phase where he screamed before bed lasted about a month. As soon as bathtime was over, the screaming commenced. Screamed all through drying off, diapering, jammies on. Rolled around like crazy on the changing table (or the floor… didn’t matter). Once we sat down for milk before bed, just like Owen, all was well. We thought that maybe he realized that bedtime was coming and so he tried to fight it. Eventually, though, this phase passed and now he’s perfectly happy getting ready for bed.

    Good luck!

  5. Ah, you’ve entered the crocodile wrestling phase :) First of all, get black out shades for the nursery. It helps a lot!

    I’ve gotten pretty good at putting a diaper on a standing baby, same with lotion. Also, if I can sing and make silly faces, she’ll lay on her back. Recently I’ve taught her to pull wipes from the container, so she does that while I change her diaper. Yeah, we waste a couple of wipes, but at least I changed her poopy diaper without getting covered in feces!

    I can’t use the changing table anymore, she really wants to throw herself off. I can’t help you with the bath thing, my kid loves her silly inflatable duck tub and the splashing in the only issue. I get soaked every time!

    My baby sometimes smacks the crap out of me while she’s drinking her last bottle. I have no idea why, but it happens about every 3 days :)

  6. Oh that is awful but hopefully it’s just that–a phase!! I will be buying blackout shades STAT.

  7. I’m so glad to hear we are in the same exact boat! Noah hasn’t quite reached the wanting to stand in the bathtub phase yet, he’s 8 months and 1 week today, but he definitely has the rolling around on and trying to crawl off the changing pad down pat! LOL! Anytime we are trying to change him, he immediately rolls over. If I were to glance over to grab a diaper for one second, he’s turned on his belly and ready to spring off the dresser. I’ve now begun to give him his rubber ducky to keep his attention whenever he is on the changing table b/c otherwise it is absolutely impossible to change him.

  8. The exact same thing is going on with Janie right now, bath and changing table (she’s 8 1/2 months old). Ugh so annoying! I’m praying for the same thing… please let it be a phase!!!

  9. Diaper changing is a battle and has been since 7.5 months (we are 8.5 months now). We hand him non-toys like wrappers and lotions (that he only gets for changes) to buy a few seconds. He is stays more still in his crib for a change so we do wet diapers there. Dirty diapers obv. need the table and its supplies. I am also learning to diaper him standing up and on his tummy. Good times. Oh and let’s not talk about how silly we look crawling after our half dressed baby trying to get an arm in a sleeve and a sock on. This phase is no fun.

  10. Kate, I just read your blog and was laughing so hard. Samuel’s been struggling on the changing table for some time now, and gets so upset, beet-faced and indignant! This morning was worthy of a WWF smackdown match, Samuel’s Poopy Diaper versus Mean Mommy. I won…but just barely. One thing that has quieted him down at night is reading a story. We put him in a sleep sack (screaming), and then open “I am a Bunny,” and start reading. For some reason, he calms down and is fascinated by the pictures. The last nursing can still be somewhat of a wrestling match, but the story does help. In any event, your blog was so fun to read! Owen is such an adorable character. :)

  11. Haha…we call the last couple of hours before bedtime the “witching hour.” All three of my little ones went through it. This to shall pass….one day! :)

  12. this post describes my house PERFECTLY! although blaine only tried standing in the bath like twice because i removed him promptly from the tub and he got mad (bathtime is his ABSOLUTE FAV). now all i have to say is “SIT DOWN” when i see him trying to get his little legs under him. when i do get blaine out of the bath, he wails, screams, cries, tries escaping, and throws an absolute temper tantrum. getting him dressed and diapered always results in me being out of breath.

    as far as bedtime, we’ve been really lucky! we get him absolutely exhausted, take him on a walk outside (thank goodness it is spring), and he is out like a light really fast when we get back in.

  13. Hilarious! My hubby and I JUST LAST NIGHT looked at each other and wer like “WHAAAAT changed? Why is our favorite time now a challenge for our little one?” She is the EXACT same, standing in the tub (OBSESSED!), wriggling on the changing table (literally picked up her wrapped up poopy diaper and threw it at my leg–and she is not even 8 months!), whining with lotion and PJ time. WTF? Luckily I have hubs read her a story and I lotion and PJ her and she seems to tolerate that. but not too sure about the new crying with putting her in the crib. Perhaps they are now realizing that when we leave the room, we are still around and trying to call out to us. At least that’s what my reading has brought me. :)
    Thanks for sharing though, isn’t it nice to know you are not the only one?! Keep us posted on any helpful finds you have!!

  14. My son did nearly the exact same thing at around 10 or 11 months. Our night routine used to be so easy. It’s a lot easier now at 15 months, but sometimes he still wants to fight sleep and he almost always fights a diaper. I’m hoping to potty train him soon, he’s so hard to wrestle. I loved you description of how he is now-I know where you’re coming from.
    Chin up! I hope the phase ends soon. :)

  15. I think we are fast approaching this phase, too, so if you figure out any solutions, please share!

  16. Hey! I’m no mommy but I have a suggestion for bathtime. Since Owen likes to stand, maybe you can give him a shower instead…with one of those hose like shower heads. That way he can stand and you can rinse him off. No water in the tub needed.

  17. I went through this with both of mine. My older son started standing and walking around the tub as soon as he could stand and cruise. Nothing I could do would make him sit down for long enough to be washed, so I just got used to washing him standing up. We always had a heavy-duty non-slip pad in the tub so he wouldn’t slip and fall down. We went through a standing diapering and dressing period for a while too. My younger son wasn’t as bad about any of this, but we’ve had our wrestling matches on the changing table from time to time. We started reading to our kids from day one, so the stories have always been a motivator for getting dressed/brushing teeth faster, etc. You just have to do your best to stay consistent with the bedtime routine, and the phase will pass. However that’s not to say Owen will “go back to normal” and everything will be as it was. In my experience, one phase just passes to the next. Things get worse and then better, but they never go back. Each little development brings new relief and new challenges, as I’m sure you know. Good luck! You won’t be wrestling forever!

  18. Nico has been doing this too ever since he learned to crawl and pull himself up. He wails after his bath while I’m trying to get him into his diaper and pajamas. I’ve abandoned the after-bath-lotion because he no longer tolerates lying down for that long. Once we’re in the rocking chair and he’s nursing, he calms down and eats like a horse, like he was starving!

    I’ve been having trouble in general with changing his diaper, getting him to lie still. I have been trying to learn how to put a diaper on him while he’s standing up, because there’s no way I can pin him down and put a diaper on him at the same time.

    Also, he loves standing in his bath too :( We do shorter baths now!

  19. Hi Kate! I’m not sure about the phase and we are due in June with our little one, but have you heard about the Tummy Tub? It’s what we bought to use with our baby, but it sounds like Owen may like it, too. http://www.amazon.com/Original-Tummy-Tub-Baby-Bath/dp/B000VS3C2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304364520&sr=8-1

    There is a youtube video showing it on the Today show and you see babies standing up, which apparently, yours loves to do :)

    Good luck!

  20. Oh I love you and all your commenters for making me feel less alone! My 10 months old turned into a cyclone this week. No more soft before bed cuddling and HOW DARE I try to dress her after a bath. Further more, I should not leave her or come near her or help her or not help her. I thought this didn’t happen until they were two!?! So glad we’re in this together.

  21. I thought you knew that this was training for the Mom & Tot Olympics?! I kid. Cameron’s not pulling himself up to standing yet, but he has a new thing where he cries when I lay him down to change his diaper and it’s like trying to pin the diaper on the monkey. I usually have to find something to distract him and a few belly raspberries to get him back into the cooperative state of mind for the diaper change. Cameron acts the same way during his bed time routine – it’s always a challenge to get him oiled up and dressed. Once he’s all ready for bed, he’s good! I think the routine is doing it’s job of teaching them what to expect and they don’t really like the idea that it’s bed time because it’s time to stop playing for the day!

    Although not esthetically pleasing, I’ve pinned up a black towel over top of the blinds to make it darker since it is lighter outside at bedtime & it seems to do a good job.

  22. ‘Tis a phase. I promise :)

  23. Oh my, YES the struggling after the bath! Totally remember this phase…mine’s 27 months now. My personal theories were 1) he wanted to be moving & learning & exploring all.the.time (as mentioned above) or 2) this was the point in the evening routine that was marked in his head as the beginning of bedtime. And bedtime=mom & dad withdraw to the other room. It lasted a few months for us. The squirming continues, but the crying ceased. We now do bath or quite playtime then PJ’s then teeth brushing. Followed swiftly by two stories and snuggles. Kisses and into crib. He’s a “Weissbluth” kid too and it’s worked well for us. The standing in the bath isn’t much fun either, but we have a bath suite thing with the showers right next to the tub. Usually we’d avoid the standing in the tub with a mom/baby or dad/baby shower. Just be careful…slippery when wet and soapy.

  24. Evan also likes to throw in the arched back and giant tears during the pre-bedtime diaper change. I thought it was just us :)

  25. What worked for us, regarding standing in the tub, was immediately sitting our daughter back down and then spewing tons of praise for sitting. We practically threw a parade. It totally worked. Within a week she would attempt to stand up (about halfway), then plunk herself back down and clap vigorously for herself, pleased as can be that she did it. Now, at 18 months, it’s not a problem.

  26. Ah, it’s funny to talk about, but not so funny when it’s you at the time chasing a crawling, half-dressed baby down the hall. :P
    My little boy has always been like this, and still is, but he is… well, a handful. I definitely remember a point when he was around Owen’s age where he suddenly became a lot more independent and defiant (than he already was), and I would almost be in tears of frustration. (Especially if I was trying to change a, ahem, messy nappy and he wouldn’t lie still.) Bedtime got harder, too, and I put it down to the same things that Meg suggested – he just wanted to keep exploring/practicing new skills, and he had learned that bedtime meant he would be left alone to sleep (how boring!) I don’t think we did anything special, just persevered through it… I actually inadvertently lost weight when he was between 9-14 months, just from trying to keep up with his constantly increasing activity!

  27. We definitely went through this stage. I think it passes or you just become amazingly quick at diaper changes! :) Now we are going through the stage of we think it is really funny to hit mom across the face! FUN :)

  28. sounds exactly like our routine…two things..
    little ring type bath chair and harness for change table..best inventions ever

  29. Yup, we went through the same thing. All of a sudden the changing table was The Tortures of Tartarus and the wailing and the wrestling began.

    It didn’t last. But, sorry to say, it did last for … quite a while. Not a whole year, but Quite A While. Hope yours is shorter.

  30. is he growth spurting? could be why he’s dying to get to that bottle. if nothing else, i’m sure he’s just so enamored with his new skills that he doesn’t want to take a time out for dumb things like baths. my daughter is about four months younger than owen, but she goes through these cranky, uncooperative phases, too. i’m like you and try my best to “fix” it, but really the most effective thing is just to wait it out and embrace the crank, because it will totally pass. what’s more, it’s most likely evidence of his flourishing and thriving and not behavior that needs to be contained. it’s not easy – again, i’m a big “what can i do to fix this” person – but try to celebrate the fact that all your hard work is creating an energetic, independent guy who feels safe fighting you a little bit. signs of a wonder kid!

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