Friday, April 30, 2010

In search of a shower solution.

I loved being a first-time mom. I knew everything there was to know about babies. Your little one won't take a bottle? Well, just use this brand — it worked for my child, so it's bound to work for yours, too. Baby won't settle down at night? All you have to do is swaddle tightly and put the paci in, and place her in a vibrating bouncy chair. Does the trick every time. I had a solution for everything. It wasn't until the second and third that I realized just how little I know.


Someone recently asked me how I get a shower in, with three young ones and days when I have to go it alone. Let me preface this by saying, I still know nothing!

I wish I had appreciated how much my daughter loved her bouncy seat when she was itty bitty. I didn't realize how good I had it. She would sleep peacefully there for hours. So why did I feel so uncomfortable letting her rest in it in the other room for fifteen minutes while I took a shower? What was I so afraid of — that she'd wake up and *gasp* fuss for five minutes? Instead, I'd maneuver her little seat into my tiny pink bathroom so that I could be right there with her, just in case she woke up. And the sound of the shower always woke her up, of course.

My daughter, in her bouncy chair. (My husband took this picture - can you tell?)

Two more children later, I am much more at ease about taking a shower while my little ones sleep.

It's when they're awake that it becomes tricky. And with three, one is almost always awake. Here's the problem with them interrupting me while I'm trying to take a shower. With my oldest, well, she's at an age where lifelong memories are being formed. Nuff said. My second is the easiest to distract while I shower, but he's also the most persistent and creative when he does realize where I'm at.

Really, though, it's my youngest that I worry about the most. He is in that cute phase where he teeters precariously and fearlessly on his chubby little legs, speed-babbling "golly golly golly" as he walks along, his belly leading the way. Cute, but dangerous. And he likes to put things in his mouth — his first teeth must be on their way. I really do need to keep an eye on him. He's going through separation anxiety, so he likes to keep an eye on me, too.

I love the days that my firefighter is home, when I can lock the bathroom door and have a relatively undisturbed hour of blissful silence. It's nice to have someone else to fetch the endless stream of toast and drinks that comes out of the kitchen.

It's on the days he's gone that I have to do some juggling. I can put the baby in his crib with some toys and let him fuss through his separation anxiety in there, which I do a lot, but it's hard to know he's in there crying. I can't relax — I end up hurrying through the shower. I could wake up early and get one in before the kids are up, but who am I kidding? I'll take stinky over less sleep any day. I can also take the shower late at night, but at that time of day, it's more annoying than refreshing. Why is that? How can something that is so pleasant in the morning be such a drag at night? I'm not sure, but thus it is.

So, the goal is to shower during the morning, preferably before I have to go out in public when I take my daughter to school.

Here's how I often do it. First, I get the older two snacks and drinks, even if they don't ask for snacks and drinks. Because at some point during the shower, they will eventually want one or the other. Then I settle the debate about which show to watch on the DVR — Team Umizoomi, or Dora the Explorer. Then I hit the start button: my timer.

Second, I close the gate at the top of the stairs, so even if they do break free from Dora's grasp, they can't quite get to me. But I can easily hear them and know if they really need me.

Third, to solve the separation anxiety and keep an eye on the baby, lately I've been depositing him here:


Rounded corners, sterile, within eyesight, easy to clean up — so far, so good!

This works for now. Check back in a month or two. I'm sure I'll have a different shower solution then. I know enough now to know that what I know now, won't work then. :)


HB said...

Stick him in the bath tub, how funny! Sounds like me - put on a show, lock the baby gate. My youngest thinks the world is her toybox, so if the show they're watching doesn't COMPLETELY absorb her, then I'm in trouble. I hate to use the TV as a babysitter, but hey, thirty minutes never hurt anyone.

Courtney said...

So, so true! I only have one (well, for only a few more weeks!) - but I completely understand -what worked last week may or may not work this week and most certainly won't work next week! Can't imagine how that'll change in a few weeks, but as you said, you just have to keep trying.

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

Ha. I love how he is placed in the tub. Such a good idea! ...and I often wonder how I will handle those nights alone without my hubby with little ones. Makes me nervous! Three dogs are bad enough.... haha

maxwelton's braes are bonny said...

Spoken like a true mom! I have three also, ages 13, 5, and 18mo. Showers are tricky some days. Thank heavens for the athletic club! They have showers and daycare--sweet!

val said...

tee-hee my first was even more of a perfect baby. Sleeping through the night from 6 weeks on. But second, um different story...because I allowed that story.

They are 14 and 12 and everyone loves what great kids they are. Including me, but I'm biased, so I go off of what others say that I love. lol Both my super best friends got preggers for their thirds at same time and I prayed I wouldn't. lol I knew and still know I hit my limit for the babies :)

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Hey! What's wrong with that picture?!! She's adorable in it. The shower issue seems to be a mom issue. I just put the kids all downstairs and ignore any whining.

Louise said...

Firefighter/Paramedic ... you must be related to my husband. We (translation, "I"), care for an almost 7 year old grandson every day of the week ... and I homeschool him. Not being as young as I was when I had his dad and his sisters before him, by Friday afternoon I am just about totally exhausted. More than one Friday, grandson has pleaded to "have a sleepover" and his granddad always agrees ... telling his mom "I will keep an eye on him". I keep wondering when Granddad is going to actually take over the care and feeding of same grandson.

Louise said...

OK, so to be honest, Granddad DOES feed his grandson ... but "watching" seems to mean planting the kid in front of a video game or a DVD ... much to our grandson's delight They adore each other, thank goodness ... and Granddad make life easier for the Grandmother who IS always vigilant and involved.

Val said...

I think you hit a good idea. I agree it's sterile (unless at my house), no sharp corners, and definitely can't get out. Good idea. lol

I'm thankful, but yes feeling old that my kids are now old enough to watch our friends babies. I revisited this post because it's happening first time tomorrow night!!! ahhhh

Fire Wife Katie said...

Val, good luck to your children tomorrow! I remember babysitting at that age vividly -- and that's why I am wishing them good luck! Lol!

Louise, definitely, watching the kids to me translates into taking care of the children. For my husband, sometimes watching means just watching... or maybe even just listening for screams. ;)

Maxwelton's Brae's, I'd be all over that!! I had babysitting at the gym I used to go to, but they didn't take younger children. :(

Jen, luckily, the children (usually) only come one at a time, so you have a chance to ease into it. It's not that bad... usually.... depends.... lol!

Courtney! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly, how exciting! :D I miss being pregnant.

HL, my daughter has definitely watched more t.v. than is recommended. But she's none the worse for wear, and my hair is a lot less oily because of it. :)

DeAnna said...

I love the bath idea but what if he turns on the hot water? Can you tie off the handles so he cant turn them? (my daughter almost burnt herself in the tub)
I had a small hallway that lead into my bathroom and I use to gate it off and put my daughter between the gates. It was def. hard to find shower time when the hubby was on shift.

Fire Wife Katie said...

DeAnna, luckily (unluckily?) our plumbing is bad -- it takes a really long time before the water turns hot in our bathroom. He wouldn't burn himself, but he would be in for a surprise! The shower is right next to the tub too, so I could turn the water off really quickly if he turned it on. :) I could tie the handles too, that's a good idea, I hadn't thought of that.

tara said...

This totally had me laughing out loud! I wonder how moms do it, and how one day I'll pull off showering with little ones too!

thenextmartha said...

I have a whole new respect for women with 3 young kids. Now I have nothing to complain about with only one screaming at me. Great tub idea!

Stacy Kaye said...

Love it! I also deposit my toddler in front of Dora on the mornings I don't get showered before my husband leaves for work. Usually I can get in a decent one-possibly even shaving the legs *gasp*-before the episode is over. Gotta love Dora!

Jenny said...

I did that same thing until my daughter figured out how to turn the water on. She loved it, of course.
My husband travels, a lot, which leaves me alone with my 3 little ones quite often. I feel your pain!

Stopping in from SITS!


Libby said...

Did you take all these photos? They look so professional! Of course it does say you're an artist...
Looking forward to poking around!!!

Katie said...

You are superwoman!

Fire Wife Katie said...

Jenny, I'm hoping he doesn't figure out the water any time soon. That would put an abrupt end to our little arrangement!

Katie, I wish!! That would make a lot of things easier! ;)

Libby, Thanks! Yes, I (or my husband) took the photos. Sometimes I use pictures that friends have taken, but for the most part, I try to use our pictures. Some are better than others (see post about taking pictures of my husband!)

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