Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Potty Training Week 1

[This post is on potty training our 18 month old daughter. If you'd like to skip the nitty gritty details, come back tomorrow :) ]

Well, we've been at it a week.

I've learned a few things in the past week, the most important (in terms of training E) is that the kid doesn't pee when she's awake. E is a great eater, and she always has water available in her sippy cup. She asks for it if she can't find it, and I've never really given her drinking habits much thought until this past week. However, the first three days of training, she'd only go while awake about 3-4 times a day which made it really difficult for her to figure out what was going on.

This was only made worse by her latest sleeping habits. Last month we switched our runs to the mornings rather than the evenings. Running as the sun comes up is glorious, and it is a great start to the day. I highly recommend it! I'm miserable for the few minutes that I'm trying to wake up, but then the rest of the day I'm so thankful I did. I love getting my work out completed first thing, seeing Chou before he leaves for work, and getting an early start to the day. But this post isn't about running...

When we switched to morning runs, E's sleep schedule blew up. Seriously. She had been sleeping from midnight (I know, I know) to 8 or even 9am and taking a 1-2 hour afternoon nap. However, we get up before 5am to run, and she started waking at that time every day, whether or not we were running. This means she's now ready for a nap by late morning and will sleep 4+ hours without stirring at nap time, and then be ready for bed closer to 10 or 11pm. [Since she's never consistently napped until about two months ago, I really hate to wake her while she's napping. That time to work, clean, or veg is just amazing! Compounded with the fact that if I limit her to a two hour nap time she wants a second nap at 7pm. No good can come of that.]

And then out of nowhere she started waking for the day around 1-3am. Unfortunately this started on a week that we had another kid staying with us and we were unable to use E's room, because it was occupied by our sleeping guest. In the past, we'd put E in her room if she woke and wouldn't settle in the middle of the night and then 15 minutes later she'd be ready to settle down and sleep and we'd have no more issues. This time, though, we couldn't use her room when this started, she got in the habit of waking and not wanting to go back to sleep, getting worse as the week progressed instead of better. Ironically and utterly frustratingly, this meant we weren't in any shape to get up before 5am to run. 

For those of you who are more visual, E's days now look like this:

So now it's time to potty train, and we only have the pink areas shown above to work with while green areas are working against us since E's awake but in diapers. Inevitably she only has to go maybe once in between waking and nap time, and then two or three times between nap time and bedtime.

In hind sight I should have fixed the sleeping schedule before trying the potty training, but what's done is done. Instead I've been trying to decrease nap time, but inevitably for every 15 minutes I take off of nap time she seems to want to go to bed a full hour earlier, and then she's up even earlier in the middle of the night. Sigh... I've also been working really really hard to get her to drink more when she's awake. I spent the first three days of potty training trying everything to get her to drink. I tried milk, tea, homemade orange julius, and anything else I could think of. Nothing tempted her. We've drastically increased her salt intake and she now will occasionally drink watered down kombucha [fermented tea that we make], but only if it's in a coffee mug. Some days she'll drink black tea with honey and milk, but not always, and of course she won't go near it unless it's in a mug like mine. Needless to say, I didn't do much but clean up puddles of pee and tea for the better part of last week.

E's been a trouper through it all and didn't seem to care one way or the other when we started. She enjoys the extra attention and generally enjoys her little potty. We sing, play games, and dance while waiting for her to go, and she routinely brings her stuffed animals and dolls for their turn on the potty. Yesterday she protested her diaper at bedtime and she's been more adamant about taking it off the minute she wakes up, so I think she's starting to get used to the freedom and dry bum.

Most importantly, she does finally seem to be getting the whole potty thing. Yay!!! She had one accident when she woke up today (which is typical since she's been awake but wearing a diaper for hours at that point), but we caught everything else in the potty. For now we're going to stick it out a few more days and hope everything sticks before venturing out diaper free. I'm still not 100% sure we're going to be successful this round, but I'm increasingly optimistic. Wish us luck :)

Gardening on Concrete

E and I planted our itty bitty container garden last week. Living in the city, we don't have the space for a real garden especially since our microscopic back yard is completely shaded and claimed by our dogs. E loved mixing the potting soil, planting, unplanting, replanting, splashing in the water, making mud, drinking mud, and splashing in more water to clean off.

We grow some herbs every year, and this year we added some cherry tomatoes. E loves tomatoes, and supposedely you can grown them in containers. I'm still skeptical, but we have one small spot of sun where they're currently growing, so we just have to wait and see how they do. I dream of a yard with enough space for a real garden, although I have zero skills at growing pretty much anything. I have an indoor ivy plant that I routinely almost kill and then nurse back to life. Yeah, I can even kill ivy. But I love the idea of growing our own veggies so we know exactly where they came from and how they were grown. We also really enjoy canning and freezing, and would love to have our own harvest to preserve. For now we're enjoying what we do have and counting on our CSA to do the heavy lifting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Potty

This is it. This is the week we're buckling down and not leaving the house until E masters the potty.

I was originally thinking I'd wait until June, but it's time. E knows exactly what her potty is for and has been able to get on and off by herself for awhile now. She's perfectly capable of using it, just entirely unmotivated. The determining factor is that her diaper rash came back in full fury. It first appeared several months ago after I switched to Eco Sprouts detergent. After treating her bum with grapefruit seed extract and raw coconut oil while simultaneously treating her cloth diapers, we got rid of the stubborn rash only to have it resurface last week. Everything is under control again, but I've had enough. I don't know if the rash is caused by the new detergent or if it has been hibernating in the diapers, but I'm hoping not to stick around long enough to find out. E is more than ready to move on and I just need to muster all the patience in my being, put on a nice plastic smile, load up on chocolate for both of us and get it done. 

For some extra motivation I ordered some adorable training pants that will hold small accidents, seeing that E is still young and we will need them when leaving the house for the next few weeks.

I'll be starting Tuesday afternoon and hope to be making significant progress by the weekend. My hope is to put her on her potty every thirty to sixty minutes for the first few days and give her chocolate and/or stickers for every successful act until she is motivated to do it herself. (When the rash first appeared a few months ago, I got out the potty just to see what she'd do, and she used it first try. She had days where she'd use it up to 70% of the time, and days where she didn't use it at all. So now we just need to make her want to use it because we know she can.) I'm planning on keeping her in diapers for naps and nighttime for as long as it takes for her to wake up dry and make it to the bathroom. I'm thinking she'll get the hang of naptime pretty quickly, but I'm not in any hurry for now.

So... now I have to stick to the plan since it's been made public ;) ...or we'll just try again in a few months if all the patience in my being just isn't enough, which is a distinct possibility.

Today I'll be running all my errands for the week and getting some fun activities for us to do at home. Container gardening, anyone? 

Off to load up on wine and chocolate to get me through... :)

Here's the before picture. Hopefully we're still smiling for the after!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sertoma Chicken Barbeque

Chou loves the Sertoma Chicken Barbeque, mainly because it's the largest chicken bbq in the world (or so they claim), usually selling around 30,000 chicken dinners. I'll never fully undertand the obsession with paying for overpriced mediocre chicken, but that's part of why I love Chou. He takes pleasure in the little things in life, and loves being a part of things bigger than himself. 

I do fully enjoy supporting local businesses, and many of them come together to make the bbq a success. The meal is full of locally made chicken, iced tea, chips, ice cream, and produce from a local distributor. Many businesses and raido stations take part in the day, and it's always a fun little outing.

This year, E collected goodies from various venders, devoured her chicken, and played in the grass until she was downright exhausted. I'll call that a success any day!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Only a toddler...

...pulls the dog's tail, and then whines because she has dog hair on her hand.

...thinks the chili is disgusting when I feed it to her, but digs in with two spoons and a fork (simultaneously) when allowed to feed herself. And proceeds to cover herself in said chili head to toe to floor in the process of devouring an entire bowl.

...starts to throw a fit, and then busts up laughing instead. 

...protests when you give her exactly what she asked for.

...feeds the dogs endless table scraps and then complains when they beg for her food.

...uses her car seat as a recliner when watching TV, but protests and arches her back when it's time to get in the car.

...puts the tortellini off to the side so that it's easier to pick out and eat all the kale in the soup. the most OCD person I know, and yet I spend 90% of my day cleaning up after her.

...can make me experience seemingly twenty conflicting emotions simultaneously, multiple times every day.

all examples from the last three days :)

Friday, May 3, 2013


Ever have one of those days that's actually going somewhat according to plan? These are pretty rare for me :)

We got a late start on errands this morning because E actually slept in! She slept for a full nine hours last night, which is a huge improvement over to her typical six to seven hours. I was happy for the extra sleep and was still able to beat the lunch crowd at Central Market, so no harm done. We found everything we needed for the coming week, ran into a few friends, and snatched an iced raw cacao latte on our way out. All was going well and I happily breathed a sigh of relief for a successful unassisted market trip. Normally Chou and I go together (or occasionally Chou goes alone) on Saturdays because it's a lot to carry all of our groceries and E by myself. The stroller is really helpful for both the baby and the food, but it's challenging getting it into the market, not big enough to carry a week's worth of food, and almost impossible to navigate through the isles on a busy Saturday. Solo trips to market are challenging, so I was pleasantly surprised with how well we pulled it off this morning.

And then we got home.

Like Dominoes, everything came crashing down, piece by piece.

Cali, our wonderful dog, had gotten sick from one end of the dining room to the other.

In a feeble attempt to keep E out of the mess, I sat her down with the iced latte (it was pretty much a raw chocolate milk) while I grabbed everything from the car. I got our milk and meat into the fridge and just left the produce next to the door to deal with later. I ran upstairs for some towels and carpet cleaner, and came down to a puddle of chocolate in front of E. Clearly I should have known better, but at least I already had the towel and cleaner in hand.

I moved E to a chair and gave her a kefir smoothie while I tackled the mess. She sat and peacefully ate her lunch, and then asked to get down when she was done. I put her in the living room with strict instructions to stay there while I continued scrubbing the carpets. She's at an age where she's testing every word I speak, so she put one foot into the dining room, and gradually inched closer and closer to me, giving me an ornery little grin as she went. After a death glare from me, she gave up and sat down with some toys.

Not more than five minutes later, as I was finishing up with the carpets, I looked over to see her sitting in front of an open container of strawberries, red dripping out of her mouth, down her hands, and onto the carpet. Upon further inspection, she had taken at least one bite out of half the strawberries in the container.

At this point all I could do was laugh and grab a camera and a bib.

Somehow her brand new shirt came out unscathed. Miraculous! Her khakis weren't quite so fortunate.

And my carpet cleaner is AMAZING!! It completely took out the stains from the dog, the chocolate, and the strawberries. We use Sol-U-Mel from Melaleuca which is an all natural cleaner made from tea tree oil. I can't recommend it enough! We have very light carpets, three dogs, and a toddler. This stuff gets a workout in our house, and has yet to meet a stain it can't remove.

PS Mom, I need another bottle!