Month 28: No Mommy, I Do it Myself.
Happy New Year! And here begins the first step towards leaving toddler-hood and making the journey to childhood. It is not that Itty Bitty hasn’t been eager to do things on her own in the past, and it isn’t that Daddy Man and I haven’t encouraged it. We obviously have if she has learned that phrase! We often ask “Can you do it yourself?” or encourage, “You can do it.” Somehow though, this month it feels different.
Itty Bitty has been closing the door to do her business for some time now, but at night she always asks for the light to be turned on. A week into the New Year as my pregnant self was sitting on the couch I asked her, “Go get your stool. Can you reach the light?” Right after I said it a little voice said, “What have you started?” I could see the light go on in her eyes and saw her trot off and return to do just as I inquired. She has to stretch and get on her big toes, but she reached that light all by herself, moved the stool away from the door, closed it, pottied, emptied the potty, asked for help to wash her hands, and insisted on closing the light all by herself. The next day, she realized she could reach the tap and began to stop asking for handwashing help. I was both exceedingly proud and very melancholy. I love it when she learns new things and struts proudly when she accomplishes her goals. However, her insistence on getting in her car seat by herself, clipping the chest clip, and getting out without help can be irritating when it is cold out and a blast of air freezes my nose hairs — but I try to deal with the extra few minutes because it makes her so happy. I enjoy it when someone comments at her precocious climbing, her open friendliness, her dexterity with utensils, the way she says please and thank you, and shows concern for someone’s hurt and sadness–I admit my chest puffs out a bit. Yet, as she asks me for help less and less for these insignificant, little things I’ve done for her for two years, it does crack my heart just a little bit. She’s will be a toddler for quite a while, is still my baby girl, and I know I have not wished away her babyhood even when things got frustrating. But month 28 is just bittersweet; even moreso than her first birthday that had me teary eyed and her second birthday that left me in shock. She still comfort nurses only 2-3 times a day and is beginning to let the final night nurse go — mostly because I’ve been limiting the length due to some lingering discomfort (some days better than others and it gets better each week). I could stop, sure, but I really think tandem nursing will help the new sibling transition and I can see that she wants to continue. She asks first thing in the morning and afternoon, and I offer if I see she is beginning to descend into her alter ego “Destructo Girl” because the “mah-mees” help her to calm down for the last remaining late day nap .
Enough of dwelling on that, I think. It’s funny, though, how I don’t feel that way at all when she picks up her toys by herself!
Potty independence is steady. Last month there were some errant, isolated wee accidents and I am happy to report that they have not shown themselves again. I do not remind her to go 99% of the time, but since those weird accidents if the little voice in my head says, “Psst Psst,” I will immediately say, “Hey, it’s been a while. Why don’t you go potty.” She will either say “No,” right away or pause while the potty light-bulb goes off and toddler trots her way to the bathroom. These incidences are quite normal bumps in the overall life of toddler-hood and an ECer can look back to laugh and reflect.
We had three potty emptying fiascos, which means the carpets have been washed a few times. One time she forgot to lift the toilet seat and hadn’t realized how far the pee spilled and she puddled splashed through it. At first I thought she had spilled water until I saw the toilet. I put on my cross face (What? Who doesn’t get displeased over pee on the floor? It’s normal to be a bit miffed–it’s not anger but displeasure. I don’t want to send a message that it is okay when it isn’t), explained that she had to pay attention and lift the lid and the seat, and we cleaned up the mess together. The benefit was that the next time she made a mess she was more aware, she was displeased with the mess, and cleaned it up by herself without me saying a word (I supervised, of course, but it was a small splash and she did a good job on her own). Right now I’m trying to encourage her to ask for poop emptying assistance since they’ve been very messy lately due to the vast amount of Clementines (little oranges) we’ve been eating. I showed her how to peel them herself and I’ve created a monster! It is not all bad, I’ve got no late pregnancy constipation complaints any more (I forgot that excess vitamin C cleans the plumbing) and Itty Bitty gets to have an extra banana if she wants it. She tries to clean her own bottom, but when she realizes she’s sill…uh…contaminated…she will ask, “I pooped, help my butt.” Once in a while her pants get contaminated too and she will remove them immediately then announce, “My pants messy!”
Lately, she’s been wanting to poop on the big toilet to reduce the mess (I think she likes to empty the potty, but doesn’t like the mess when there is a poop because she has to ask for help), so she’s taken to using the larger stool we have to use the big toilet. She’s still working out how to use it efficiently because it is quite tall and she doesn’t need that much of a boost for the toilet.
Oh, we had one really bizarre night wee incident just before new year after our exhausting 7 day holiday rounds. We spent two days with Daddy Man’s family, 1 day at home to sleep in our own bed because we love our bed, 2 days with my family, 1 day at home for bed recovery, and 1 more day with Daddy Man’s family again (his brother was here for the holidays). We were understandably exhausted. I don’t remember exactly what day it was, may be the 28th or 29th of December. Itty Bitty and I went to bed — she was naked and I was in flannel pajamas. I woke up the next morning with one side of me wet and cold. I recall her sleeping on top of me like a lemur but I have no recollection of when it happened only that it wasn’t recent or else it would have still been warm. We were both so tired we slept through the whole thing–or more likely stirred to vague wakefulness and then fell back to sleep! Luckily, it didn’t seem to be one of her epic pees and the bed only had a small patch of wet since it was mostly on me. She was nude so she was quite dry. Other than Daddy Man’s mistake a couple of months ago of not taking Itty Bitty to pee before bed, we haven’t had a night peeing incident like that since before she was walking. The next time we get extra tired, I’ll be sure to take some extra precautions just in case.
My MIL purchased a family membership to the local YMCA for all of us. It was the most thoughtful and useful gift we’ve received in a long time. I was ecstatic. The playgroup we normally attend is no longer going to be held at the location and its future is uncertain, so I was in despair with what to do. It’s been a financial crunch and likely will continue to be until next fall and I just couldn’t afford the additional expense of joining anywhere that wasn’t free. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It is closer and Itty Bitty can blow off steam, exercise her climbing skills, and practice jumping in the Kid’s Gym safely during this winter and I can sit quietly and let her free roam without having to get up for spotting duties. We’ve already set up a routine of taking off coats and shoes then heading to the bathroom first thing. They have a toilet insert she likes to put on herself and a big stool just like ours that she can use to get on the toilet herself (she hasn’t worked out yet that it is better to pull down her pants after she gets up on the stool!). After a round of identifying the animal stickers on the wall, she then uses the stool to wash her hands. She’ll flush the toilet, but just like the love-hate relationship we all have with a Jack-in-the-Box, she’s intimidated by the loud, powerful woosh! Can’t help herself but to want to flush but she knows what happens after.
Yesterday was Daddy Man’s 39th birthday. He worked during the day and I worked that evening so we had to postpone our celebration and he went to his Mom’s house for dinner and cake. Unfortunately, he brought home Itty Bitty who not only had cake (special occasion, not an issue) but also had milk. I don’t give Itty Bitty a lot of dairy because…like me…if we ingest too much it causes some gastrointestinal issues. I give her yogurt and a little cheese once in a while to test tolerance levels, occasionally she gets a wee bit of ice cream for a special occasion — but I know how much to give and when not to give it, and I know that milk is a whole different thing. For example, I can eat certain yogurts fine, organic raw or fermented cheese few issues, commercial grade cheese gives me trouble once I reach a known threshold, and milk is just generally bad. I don’t drink it. I cook with it for the holidays but that is about it. Daddy Man knows I don’t give her milk and I limit her cheese intake. Needless to say Itty Bitty had a rough night of wakefulness and restlessness, a very unusual need to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and some nasty pretty-close-to-diarrhea this morning. Mommy is always the weird, over worried food dictator until something like this happens and then I get to say, “I told you so.” As soon as he said that, “She had some milk and liked it.” I knew it was going to be bad. Guess who lost the most sleep? When are people going to learn that unless they are the ones going to be up all night and deal with the fallout, they need to respect the food boundaries because they do NOT have the knowledge that the primary caregiver has gathered over months of giving food and watching the output. When Mommy Bear says no juice, no sugar, no dairy. She means it dagnabbit!
MummyInProvence: Taking EC to the Next Level
Joyful Abode: Elimination Communication – Our Start (EC archives here)
Ekwetzel: Adventures in Baby Poop
Whimsical Whimsies: Potty Parties! Babies on Potties? What?!
The Other Baby Book: Diaper Free in the Middle East
Mothering: Mothering, Mindfulness, and Baby’s Bottom
Holiday Tasmanian Tantrum
Honestly, this was totally my fault. I do not have any idea why I had it in my head that I needed to make my over-tired two year old take off her clothes and put on pajamas when we were staying at my family’s house. It set off a cascade of crying, tears, wails, and hysterics that took a good 30 minutes to subside to inconsolable sobs. What on earth was I thinking? That button did not need pushing. There is no harm in sleeping in clothes she’s going to outgrow anyway, and she often sleeps naked at home. Sorry, Itty Bitty, sometimes parents are irrational
asses– button pushers.
So, it was the morning after Christmas and it has been quite unseasonable warm in the 50 degree range. Itty Bitty was sitting at a table out on the sun porch quite happily watching the sun stream through the glass door to the backyard eating her breakfast by herself. I could see her quite clearly from the kitchen as I was preparing my breakfast. Daddy Man had just left to go get his caffeine fix and we had both been out there and it was quite comfortable. Perhaps slightly cooler than I’d prefer, but absolutely the temperature Daddy Man and Itty Bitty thrive in being the hotboxes they are. She was even barefoot. I had no issues and everyone was happy. My mom comes down the stairs and squeals panic, “Why is she out there!” and I am thinking she’s gotten into something or doing something she shouldn’t even though I had looked at her 5 seconds prior. So I say startled, “Why what happened?” and the response is, “It’s cold out there!” I heave a heavy internal sigh, “We were just out there, she’s fine. She’d tell me if she were cold. Even I would be okay out there and you know I don’t like to be cold.” Yikes, it’s not like she was sitting in a snow bank or something. There was blazing sun and carpet on the floor for goodness sakes.
Grapes of Worry
We’ve done Baby Led Weaning from the very beginning so Itty Bitty is quite the master of feeding herself. She she can handle whole grapes and knows the one non-negotiable rule — sit down to eat grapes. My mom and others were more than a little apoplectic that I gave her whole grapes. I admit I got a tiny bit of pleasure out of it. I’m human.
“She hardly ate anything,” says my mom after Itty Bitty had indicated that she was done with Christmas Dinner.
“Um, she had a banana and a full size bowl of oatmeal this morning with blueberries and raisins. She had a dinner roll for a snack and more blueberries. She ate half of the potatoes in her plate (there had been a lot) and two chicken wings. “ She chose not eat the five string beans and tablespoon of sweet potatoes I put there for her to try if she wanted (Babyled Weaning). Enough said!
If you ever think you can leave your child with family and not worry, get that idea right out of your head. My brother and cousin’s husband slipped Itty Bitty two cheese curls (they know I don’t give her that crap…she’s two!) and my aunt slips her TWO frosted sugar cookies (luckily the second one only got half eaten). “But, it’s not that much sugar.” Really!? Sugar cookies don’t have that much sugar? Oh, I was livid. Not only because everyone knows they shouldn’t do that behind my back, but they didn’t even ask if she could or if she already had been given treats. In fact, I had shared a banana creme pie with her two hours earlier (mostly gave her the real bananas that were in it but still it was a dessert with sugar) and let her have three small peanut butter cookies just 20 minutes before the incident because they had the least sugar of all the cookies available and were small enough that three was the equivalent of one fair sized cookie. I do restrict treats like that for obvious reasons, but I also am trying to teach Itty Bitty portion control and how to enjoy within reason. We go to bed late because I work evenings so add sugar on top of that and you have a tot up until two in the morning and all of us a mess the next day. Grrrrr.
Phrases of the Month:
It’s a puffer fish! (said about a new Christmas toy, didn’t know she knew that particular animal)
It’s a snake/cloud/giraffe/rainbow/fence (said as she “reads” a number of board books)
Pizza guy! (when the doorbell rings. Football season *sigh*)
You hungry? I cook food. (Then brings a toy bowl full of various toy “food” and announces what the meal or drink is.)
Helpa you Helpa you! (means: help me!)
I make a tunno. (I’m making a tunnel)
She says a whole lot more than I’ve noted here, and I find that I’ve become an Itty Bitty to English Dictionary!
Itty Bitty watches with rapt fascination as a baby in playgroup sometimes gets their diaper changed. I don’t think she understands exactly what it is for. I hope that when Baby2 arrives that I remember that and not forget myself that my philosophy is that “diapers are miss management, not portable toilets”. I hope Itty Bitty reminds me every day to make ECing the new baby a matter of daily routine by telling me, “You maydamess,” and “here’s the potty, Mommy”, “Baby go potty, “ and “Ewww, yucky! I help you!” I hope the phrases aren’t “No baby!” and “My mommy!” “No, daddy no baby!”. Got my fingers crossed!
Posted on January 21, 2012, in Parenting, Potty Training, Toddlers and tagged diaper free, ec, elimination communication, month-28, natural infant hygiene, nih, potty learning. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.