Nate's taken to hating bathtime, and taking away his afternoon nap leaves him even more cranky when the dreaded bath time comes around. The fact that he loves the bath once he's in it, and I usually have to work to get him out, doesn't seem to bear on the situation.
Most of the time Stewart handles baths while I work (or, more accurately, hide in my bedroom), and tonight Nate just sobbed while Stewart took Jack up to get the bath started. I waited for a while, then went down to him. I picked him up and held him, asked him what was wrong, murmured for a bit.
When he calmed down, I started to commiserate over how much it stinks to have to do things we don't want to do. I said "Sometimes I don't want to do the dishes" and he said "Sometimes I don't want to take a bath." I said "Sometimes I don't want to go to bed" and he said "Sometimes I don't want to go to school." We came up with a few more each, and then I said "It stinks that we have to do things we don't want to do!" and started walking up the stairs with him still in my arms.
We talked a little about how much it stinks to have to do things we don't want to do, but how we have to just go ahead and do them anyway. I walked him into the bathroom and we told Stewart what we were talking about, and when I put Nate down he started getting himself undressed for the bath.
It feels so good to solve a problem without losing my temper, or using threats, or using time-out...just talking with him and being with him, and still getting done what we need to get done. I guess it's up to me to make sure we have a little more of that in our lives.