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Do You Baby Your Pre-Schooler?

For the past couple of months I’ve been trying to get JD to take a shower. He refused my attempts to lead him into the shower and clung to me as I attempted to lift him over the tub, with the shower running. Finally, two nights ago, we reached a milestone: JD took his first shower and enjoyed it—and I got told off on Facebook and deleted by a fan for it!

JD and I were playing outside in the courtyard after dinner and an afternoon in the pool. He smelled like chlorine and was racing cars in the mulch—and getting dirt under his nails. Putting him in the bath would result in instant brown water—Ew. So, I said to him: “Bud, when we get upstairs, you’re taking a shower. You’re not a baby anymore—you’re a big boy.” “I am a superhero boy, Mom!” he said, shot one arm out and charged away from me. “Superheroes take baths!” I said. “Oooooooooo-kay!” JD said, running around the courtyard in Superman-style.

JD is turning 4 next month. HE’S NOT A BABY. I was using this as a way to explain that teeny-tiny babies take baths in sinks and tubs—and it’s time for him to take a big boy shower. I needed a way to make a shower sensible to a resistant pre-schooler. It’s not like JD was crying or whining and I yelled, “Stop acting like a baby!”

My kid goes to a pre-school where he’s required to use the bathroom, clean himself, select his snack from his lunchbox, clean it up, clean up his lunch and put his containers away, put his sheet on his mat, nap, take his sheet off his mat, put it away. At home, JD carries light grocery bags in for me and he brings his dishes to the sink. He helps sort laundry. JD doesn’t want to ride in a stroller or a cart. He doesn’t want help with the bathroom anymore (even though, I still spot check him, lol). He doesn’t like when I pick up his fork and attempt to feed him (when he’s distracted). He reminds his Aunt Lissy, that her son IS A BABY (he’s 1) and that he will teach him how to play cars. He can work an iPad, a computer and a DVD player. So, that evening I told JD to take his clothes off (something he can do, too!) and I turned on the shower and tested the water. He got shy and wanted a bath. “Buddy, are you a baby?” I asked. “No, I’m a big boy!” he said and shot his hands in the air. “Here’s some cool soap (sensitive skin bar),” I said. “You get to wash yourself, but don't put any by your eyes!” I helped him step over the tub. He started laughing as the water bounced off his skin. “This is cool!” He washed his body and hair—and I helped here and there. I was thrilled and I'm sure JD will still get the occasional bath (big kids can take baths too, but I'm glad MY kid is also down to shower!)

When my real live friend replied to my Facebook status: Milestone: No more baths. Showers all the way! Hooray! And whimper, sniffle, with the remark: “Does he wash and shower himself off? I shower both kids, but I have to be in with them.” I wrote back to my friend (again real live friend, not reader who lives in California): “I told him babies take baths then asked him if he was a baby. He said no. I handed him the soap and turned on the 'rain.'"

A fan or one-time fan (?) immediately posted: He's what, four? Jesus, Christine. Pressuring him to not be a "baby" anymore? Wow. Delete.

JD will always be my baby. I will always hug him, kiss him and carry him until he lets me. But as his mom, I’ll also encourage him to be independent, try new things—like “washing up in the rain” (what I call a shower for JD). Maybe you would have explained taking a shower after attempting to get your kid to shower 1000 times already differently (cool!). But this worked for us. And JD is not a baby, nor am I pressuring him not to be a baby. But, why would I want my 4-year-old to be a baby!? Babies can't talk, count, sing the ABC's, eat food, jump in a pool, play on a jungle gym, clean up their toys, dress -- you know, hit MAJOR DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES...Being a baby is a physical thing and has NOTHING to do with the love and support my child will always get from ME.

This Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten Quiz has been on my fridge since JD was 2 -- and he can do everything. And now he can shower.

Pre-schooler JD (too cool for my lap!)


Baby JD.

But now I’m wondering if you consider your 4-year-old a baby?

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