Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

We packed up our car with the tent, plenty of food, a toddler, and a dog and headed out for a mini camping adventure to kick off Father's Day weekend. I'm pretty sure E and Cali could live on a campsite; there's nothing about the experience they don't absolutely enjoy. E loved the dirt, the small treasures she found scattered throughout the site, the tent, and the freedom. She was the perfect age (18 months) for toddling around, often finding uneven terrain to practice walking, going back and forth over the same spots countless times as she mastered her balance and coordination. She's a tough little cookie and didn't mind taking occasional tumbles in the name of exploration. We didn't realize just how many tumbles until we were back home and looked at her scraped and scabbed knees, but she was unfazed. We got to try out our newest baby carrier, and E fell asleep in it before we even walked to the trail to begin our hike. She slept on daddy's back for the entire two hour hike, so it appears to be as comfortable for her as it is for us. We enjoyed spending time outside and relaxing with friends, but were really happy to be home, unpacked, and showered by dinner on Saturday :)

Sunday was filled with church and celebrating E's dad, grandpa, and great grandpa. It's always fun to sit back and enjoy some family time.

All Set!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Potty Training, Part 3

This morning I thought to myself, "I should write an update on our potty training." 

That was before E had three accidents today. It was the worst day we've had yet.

It's been two weeks since we started the process, and one week since she really grasped the concept and consistently used the potty.

Other than today, she's been doing really well. She still averages one accident per day, but considering she turned 18 months this week, I'm really pleased with her progress. I went into this with zero expectations, knowing that she's still really young and I'm really impatient but feeling she was ready if I was willing to teach. After way too much research, I was reassured that before the invention of disposable diapers many children were trained by E's age. Even now, many other countries potty train much younger than the US. Not saying this is good or bad, just that it's possible. One thing I knew for sure was that I was never changing a three year old's diaper if I didn't have to (barring physical/mental delays, of course). I was reassured by Bonni's video, that it's best to start before they "know too much" and then it can become a battle of wills. My little girl has a big personality and I didn't want to wait too long.

E's still mostly non-verbal but she has great communication skills. I credit our communication success with attachment parenting (*eye roll*) and being really in tune with her needs since birth, but I have zero proof for my theory and my parenting likely has nothing to do with it ;) I didn't talk until I was three, and was happy to let my older sister tell the world what I needed. 

Today we were in a parking lot and E arched her back and protested when I tried to buckle her into her car seat. I asked her what was wrong and she pointed to the flower beds, rubbed her fingertips with her thumb as she sniffed them letting me know she wanted to smell the shrubbery in the berm next to my car. She got out, sniffed, and then happily climbed into her seat to go home. Sign language at its best! But I digress. E can absolutely tell me when she has to use the potty. However, we're still about 50/50 for her telling me on her own versus me asking and her replying with a yes. Maybe once a day I still have to force her to sit and try when she doesn't want to because I know she needs to go, and then she will. (Side note, singing and playing games really have helped when she doesn't want to sit.) I'd love to get her telling me 100% of the time, because I think it would lead to less accidents in the long run.

She still has free access to a mini potty while we're home and she'll go use it by herself. This makes me nervous when we're out and about and she needs to tell me in time to make it to a restroom. I'm going to work on keeping training pants on her at home so she can learn that they're not a diaper and not to be used as such, but to hopefully help catch any accidents while we're out and about. We'll see how that goes.

She's been out with us a lot recently, and has done amazing when we're on the go. She had her first real accident away from home tonight, but luckily we were at the home of our close friends, and they were very gracious! I'm still a little afraid to leave the house with her, but she's proven herself [mostly] capable.

She still hasn't used an actual toilet, just her potty chair. Yes, it comes with us and she sits on it in the parked car. No, she's never actually done anything in the car, but it makes me feel more secure heading into a store when she's at least tried. Today I bought her a seat that sits on the toilet so she can get used to the real thing. So far she really likes it (it's the first time she didn't freak out when I put her on the toilet) but hasn't actually used it. This is a little challenging because we're usually downstairs and our only bathroom is upstairs. I plan to work with her on this over the next few days, though, in hopes of making outings a little easier.

So overall we've been doing really well. We've had some tears and some chuckles along the way, and we've learned a lot.

This morning while I was upstairs, E peed in her potty downstairs and then tried to carry it up to me so I could flush it. She made it halfway up our stairs before spilling the contents all down the bottom half of the stairs. Thanks, sweetie :) She really is adorable, and is digging the whole process. We're having so much fun watching her grow up!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Learning to Self Soothe

As a mama to a high needs infant who loved to be held 24/7 and took ninety percent of her naps in my arms or the Moby wrap (and the remaining ten percent in a swing), I've lost track of the number of times that well meaning friends, relatives, bloggers, and baby sleep experts have informed me that my baby would need to cry herself to sleep in order to learn how to self soothe. I have a book written by a sleep expert that informed me if she didn't learn this skill between four and nine months of age (if I remember correctly) then she would have sleep trouble her entire life. This advice sounded believable until I actually had her :) I can't say that I initially disagreed with the concept that self soothing is a learned skill, per se, but as a new mom I knew I wasn't about to force the process any time soon. I figured we'd just cross that bridge when we got there, whenever that happened. I've never known a five year old who needed to be nursed to sleep, so I wasn't too worried.

What I wasn't prepared for was E initiating the process of putting herself to sleep at sixteen months. One day she didn't want to be nursed to sleep for her nap. She wanted to be in bed, by herself. She did cry, but for the first time ever it was in a relaxing, getting settled sort of way rather than the full out war I had been used to, and in a few short minutes she was sound asleep. She didn't successfully get herself to sleep every day, especially if we had friends over or she felt she was missing something fun downstairs, and I always picked her up if the whimpering escalated to crying or screaming. Some days she still wanted me to help her out and I gladly rocked her to sleep, but after a few weeks of gradual toddler-led transition somehow my daughter decided she just didn't need me for nap and bedtimes anymore.

Now she loves going to bed and she decides when it's time to go upstairs to sleep. Today I actually took her outside to splash in some water to distract her from her desire to nap mid-morning. When she's ready, she'll grab my hand and guide me upstairs, lay still while I put on her diaper, and snuggle with her teddy bear as she lays her head on the pillow. Just this week she's started waving goodbye to me as I leave the room, almost as if to say, "get out of here already!" *tear* How did she grow up so fast?!

So now we have the benefit of a two minute nap time/bedtime routine. It almost seems too easy. Almost. And then we're away from home for the day and I remember why I liked the previous routine, aside from the obvious snuggles. No longer will she nurse to sleep and then stay asleep anywhere, anytime. She now has trouble getting to sleep anywhere other than her own (okay, my own) bed, except for the occasional snooze in the car seat. On Mother's Day when she was at Grandma's all day, she went the entire day with no nap whatsoever. It's been a bit of an adjustment making sure we're always home for nap time. Well, except for this week when we didn't leave the house at all for the purpose of potty training.

Fortunately, E's still super cuddly and makes sure to get all her snuggles in during the day. She gives amazing arms-squeezed-around-the-neck hugs that could melt even the iciest of hearts. I guess I'll have to forgive her for growing way too fast.

Puddles of cuteness
On a completely unrelated note, my beautiful baby has only had one accident since Wednesday morning. Potty training success! We'll see how it goes when we venture out of the house this weekend.