Category Archives: Potty Training

Month 36: Review – Lil Baby Chaps from EC Wear

Totally Scientific Experiments on the Blue and Gray Polka Dots EC Chaps with Subject B

Over the summer I was delighted to be asked to review L’il Baby Chaps from EC Wear.    I could totally type a review in between kid wrangling right?    The package arrived when we were away on a summer trip and when we got back it was BLAZING hot.   They were cute and had that nice fresh pressed pristine look that you know is going to be destroyed in 15 minutes of use.     Unfortunately, I had to wait a month before the weather even permitted using them on Itty Bitty’s little brother Mini Moose.I wanted to drag these chaps through a good course.   Put them through the paces like a good Household Scientist.

Daddy Man thought they were a little weird, but he is used to my wack-a-doo ways and just went with it.     The chaps were actually quite lucky for a week before a stealth poo took them out.   They were used day and night.      It did take two runs through the washer, but the orange-yellow stain did come out (by the way, never ever *rub* baby poo stains.  Gentle agitation will get it out most of the time, if you rub it embeds the poop deep into the fibers where you can never get to them.  When out and about, a few people even commented on cleverness — they saw the advantage even with non-EC — what better way to show off those pretty cloth diaper covers!?  Traditional pants covering skull heads with rockin’ guitars or bows, playful monkeys, and fruited polka-dotted butts is a crime!

Drop the prefold from the front, let it hang from the back, and the potty opp is still easy pee-zy.

EC Friendly:     I was actually quite surprised how nicely the chaps fit and accommodated a prefold and belt, and when we were on an extended outing it was a bonus to be able to put on a diaper cover and not have to fuss with pants.  No bulk!    Potty opportunities with them were just as easy as without them…a big bonus in my eyes.  We had no incidences where they got wet and they never got in the way.    I don’t want anything to make a pit stop more difficult.   It was also nice to be able to remove the prefold and leave the boy unfettered but still keep his legs warm if it was chilly.   Made for really cute baby tush photo ops too!

Legwarmer Contender:    I love legwarmers.   I have

Sunject B found crawling a little slippery at first but he got the hang of it. Subject B even cuter with bare booty streaking by.

several babylegs and the one major advantage the chaps have over these legwarmers is that they don’t slide down.   Some of mine are worse than others as far as having to pull them up constantly, but that problem was non-existent with the chaps.      The big disadvantage for me with the chaps though is that they are a one trick pony…I can not use them for arm warmers for myself or Itty Bitty, and they will not grow with him and I can’t use them on Itty Bitty.  For some people that is okay, but I want to squeeze every penny and stretch out use as long as possible.

Washability:    As I mentioned, the chaps did get blasted with a poo bomb, but because they do not cover the buttocks the stains were secondary transfer.   We actually used them many times without needing to wash them.   And when they did need washing (poo incident aside) it was because they got dirty from crawling.   Of course, for the benefit of the review I did wash them many extra times with the other laundry to give them a proper showing.        There were a few stray strings that cropped up, but nothing unraveled and the fabric stayed soft after drying.   I did NOT run them through super hot  — it was either air dry (which left them a little stiff which was easily softened from body heat and wear) or low temp drier.    The fabric of these chaps was a light cotton.     On a curious note, the chaps always seemed to make their way through all of the laundry bits to be right at the drier door whenever I opened it as if eager to get back to work…

Subject B ponders Little Potty and Chaps…Made for each other?

Wishlist:    While I like the chaps and they are a nice addition to the wardrobe, I am always in preference of products that can do more than just one service.  In this economy where you look to save money by reuse and versatility and the growing trends to upcycle, I’d like to see this product be all that it can be.

  • Adjustable or more expandable elastic band — One of my main annoyances with the chaps was the elastic waist.   It isn’t that it was neither loose nor tight for regular wear, it just can not grow to accommodate size and it was also not tight enough to double as a prefold belt.    I am using a headband as a prefold belt (I’ve got a little thrift going), but I had been hoping the chaps waist band would have been stretchy and snug enough to do double duty.  At the very least, I wish it had been adjustable to get the exact snugness I felt was needed.
  • Leg Hems to Let Down –  The single most irritating thing to me about clothes and EC is that there is always too much butt room in clothes and when they grow big enough for the butt, the legs are to short!  Chaps eliminate the butt problem obviously!  On the other hand,  I wouldn’t say that my Littles are exceptionally tall, but still I found the chaps really limited in growing room.  If the hems had extra fabric to cuff attractively and then fold down for length as the baby grows that would be better than sliced bread.
  • Totally Crazy Peachy Keen Idea –  My dream baby chap would be one that was a winter knit with a little stretch that could bet detached from the waist band so that they could be used as leg warmers or arm warmers on a toddler.   I’d clap my hands with glee and do the Snoopy Dance!

I know that I ask for a lot from clothes, but I do my best to get my Little’ clothes to go more than one season and to do more than one thing if at all possible.     I LIKE the baby chaps, they are extraordinarily easy to EC with,  they are attractive, and I like supporting companies like EC Wear — Made in the USA.   It feels good to support the home turf.     I think they would have a real winner on their hands if they made some small adjustments so that their products would showcase extra uniqueness and have that lasting power a lot of parents look for.

Go to EC Wear and judge for yourself.    Order one and give it a go then pass it on to a friend and let them run it through the wringer.   If you live in the USA, support this US based business and if you live next door go local!      I hope you come back here and tell me how the little chaps survived in your home.    As for mine, once Mini Moose outgrows them I think they will be reborn as doll wear because they are just too pretty to part with.

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

Month 36: Happy Third Birthday!

Happy Third Birthday!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Our birthday theme was Pirates (read daily doses here)!   This will be the last year I pick her party theme and we are going to give her a small allowance of fifty cents a week (she likes coin operated rides).

Three years.   How can it be?   I feel like I’ve documented and made note of every moment, treasured it, and squeezed it and yet I feel like I’m barely hanging on to the tail of a time comet.

Homemade Treasure Map invites

Itty Bitty is leaving her toddlerhood behind and moving towards childhood — what most USA parents call pre-school age.   There are still glimpses of baby now and then in a Big Cry or sleepy plea for Mah-mees (nursing).   We nurse every night before bed and it saddened me that I had to all but eliminate daytime nursing to rare occasions because of latch pain and the feelings of aversion unless I am engorged.    I hope Itty Bitty remembers the comfort and not the sad denials.

Public toilets with children in mind have step stools to facilitate autonomy.

Itty Bitty has had no potty incidences this month, she requires no toilet insert or step stool, and most of the time she cleans herself and asks for assistance for a messy output.   She’s used the little potty in an “Peemergency” once or twice, but looks quite ridiculous with her knees practically hitting her chin.    Public toilets still require help as the toilets are set up quite high and are occasionally of questionable cleanliness.    Itty Bitty also likes to cue her brother, though most often he gets too excited in her presence and won’t finish a pee!

There’s been a renewed resurgence in learning songs, role play with My Lttle Pony, interest in friends by name, and she loves her new play kitchen.  We’ve spent more time on counting and numbers, crafts, reading, and art.   Itty Bitty took time to learn her new age and work her fingers to make three (American folks don’t use the thumb to indicate three).   She also knows her last name, address, her parents’ names, and her birth date (we add new personal info as she commits the others to memory).   Itty Bitty still has trouble with personal boundaries, not understanding why others do not accept hugs or why others dislike physical play.  We’ve also seen the growing territorial behavior with communal toys and disinterest in taking turns, but at the same time a slowly growing trend of cooperative play rather that “you do it this way not that way” play.   Itty Bitty isalso learning that baby brother has a voice and is not afraid to scream and cry if she takes a toy away from him and “trades” don’t always appease.

It’s harder than it seems!

When her brother was born in February, Itty Bitty suddenly sprouted a halo of hair and she looks so toddler-like in those pictures, but now she has lankier limbs and her face has changed.   At the beginning of summer Itty Bitty was a half inch or inch short of reaching tricycle pedals, and now at the end of the season she is just the right size.  We haven’t tried her on the Radio Flyer Big Wheel yet, but she still might be a hair too short.   We tend to buy her things older than recommended age, but you never know what they can do unless the opportunity is there.

Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?   Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of Free from fear.phrases?  Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?   Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?

Oh and making unnecessary noise when I or her brother are trying to nap!

Happiness.

Happy Birthday Itty Bitty.  May your adventurous, inquisitive, sociable, determined, odd-bird personality mature and thrive.      When you are grown with your own Itty Bitty I hope you embrace her every mismatched ensemble, backwards shoe, inside out shirt, dirt smeared face, puzzle cookie offering, and cold nose, sticky lipped kiss.  And may her 30lb self step on your toe every day.

Phrases of the Month:

I love my brudder. (I love my brother.)
The baby crying, give him you moolk. (The baby is crying, give him your milk!)
Is it my birthday?
But he likes it {baby peeking out of the square storage ottoman}, Momma, I pud him innit.

 

Visit Brother’s Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

Month 35: Beach Trifecta

Our fifth anniversary was this year and we went back to the same beach for the weekend in Gloucester, MA (Wingaershek Beach and Good Harbor) that we went to for the last two years (Diaper Free at the Beach and Beach Redux).

Itty Bitty had a grand time playing with what she called “the goose” (seagulls) and we named the relentless pursuit Beach Geese Bowling.   Daddy Man was run through the ringer and was exhausted from all the physical activity.   Unlike other years, it wasn’t oppressively hot so the water and ambient temperature were very pleasant.  I spent a lot of time in the water with Mini Moose.   You can read about the daily details of our beach bum days on Little Brother’s potty blog starting here.

Chasing “Beach Geese”

We set up camp much closer to the beach public facilities this year and I remembered to bring the little potty this time and a storage container to make it more pleasant to carry to the loo.  Even though Itty Bitty doesn’t need the little potty, I encouraged her to use it in our sun tent so she didn’t have to contend with the walk with a full bladder.  I wanted to set her up for success and make it easier on myself sincev Mini Moose is still so little.    I encourage my EC peers to not be afraid to travel with EC babies.  I find that catching during outings easier than in the house.   I don’t know if it is the activity, the mental clarity, the fresh air, or proximity to Mother Nature — but it has an effect!

Fun and Fancy Free

Itty Bitty has had no mishaps this month.   My only role is still “messy poop butt wiper” ad soon she will not call upon me even for that.  She still stays dry all night with no potty breaks needed which is on average 8-10 hours, but up to 13 hours!  We are cosleeping and she does stir in the night and resumes slumber after checking for me and plastering herself against my back, so it isn’t a coma-like sleep.    She usually uses the big toilet preferentially without the insert unless she decides she’ll be there a while and wants to be comfortable.   She uses the little potty once in a while and empties it as always.   If her underwear is dirty from a wiping mishap she puts it in the hamper and helps herself to the underwear on the shelf (I think I mentioned that some time ago that once she learned to use door knobs and was tall enough she no longer needed me to get her underwear — there is a closet by the bathroom which is where I keep underwear, socks, and cloths).

Other Non Potty Notables:

Little Brother in a cute Imse Vimse Cloth Swim Diaper

At the beginning of the summer, Itty Bitty was just an inch too short in the legs to use the tricycles we had for her and couldn’t quite manage them  very well.  Now she can touch the pedals without effort.    I am both happy and pouty — I’m sure you parents understand!

She has been practicing brushing her own teeth for the past year and has gotten quite good, though she has trouble still with the motion for brushing the surface of the molars and can’t get behind the tooth surfaces.   Our next dentist appointment she will have her first cleaning since she did so well at our last “look and see” visit.

Itty Bitty and fit right into her role as Big Sister.   Perhaps, with a bit more enthusiasm than I expected and that presents a total opposite set of issues such as how to help her to give her brother space.  I was prepared for rivalry, not smothering!   Hah!    At first I resisted, but decided it was better to embrace the love and let her hold him for short times while sitting even when he was newborn, and then later show her how to properly pick up Mini Moose when he was strong.  He loves it when she picks him up.  Go figure!    Itty Bitty also enjoys wiping up spit up from his face.     They have toy “arguments”, of course, and for some reason she wants to ride him like a horse.  We don’t expect perfection around here — it’s a process!

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Can you believe Itty Bitty will be THREE next month!?

Month 34: Look Mommy, No Seat!

Hangin’ at the hotel on the way home.

At the end of last month, when we were out and about I forgot to bring our Primo Travel Potty Seat.    Our outing trips are usually pretty avereage or short length and Itty Bitty had an epic capacity, so if we made a pitstop before leaving it is rare that she needs a potty stop on an average errand.   We’d gone out to eat and I had diapers for Mini Moose, and was so used to not needing a travel seat for a 2 hour outing that I was taken by surprise when Itty Bitty announced her urgent need!     No big deal really, we’ve had to do the balancing act a couple of times before.   Off we went to the bathroom and we discovered that she had grown big enough to balance herself on the seat without needing me to offer support(the bathroom was very clean)!   When did that happen!?

After that discovery, Itty Bitty didn’t began to experiment with not using the insert on the toilet at home right away until after we returned from our annual Ohio trip (Read about it here at Brothet’s Blog — June 28 to July 9).   Once she did, however, she quickly disvcovered that without the insert she could hoist herself backwards easily without the aid of a stool and was able to balance with little effort.   She has been very keen to use the toilet this way, though if she desires more tush comfort she still will choose the insert from time to time, and if in an extraordinary rush will use the little potty though she looks ridiculous on it with such long legs!      She is no longer adamant about emptying her own potty and is more ambivalent if it is messy leaving it for me without argument.      She’s gotten quite good at self wiping and only asks for help if she notices if it is especially difficult.

We had a couple of notable toileting matters:

 Jul 10:

When I got home from work  Daddy Man said they played outside for a while and that, “I was busy with Mini Moose and when I looked up I got an eye full of Itty Bitty dropping trou to squat and pee outside the sandbox.”

Oh dear, I knew peeing the baby outside was going to come back to bite me in the butt!  I’ll need to have a conversation with Itty Bitty.   It’s a proud thing that she didn’t pee in the sandbox and took initiative, but she’s not an in arms baby and just taking a whiz outside whenever she feels like it is not necessary unless it is an emergency or where facilities aren’t available.

Jul 12:

Itty Bitty decided to play in the toy corner and got herself stuck.   As she tried to extricate herself and was almost out, her bladder let go.  I heard the waterfall and she was standing there like a deer in headlights.     It got cleaned up easily and I made a mental note to remind her occasionally to assess bathroom needs–only after it has been a couple of hours.    She’d gone to the bathroom successfully several times today and even had a big poop, so it was just a situational accident.

I came home to a too quiet house.   Turns out that Itty Bitty went back to attention seeking behavior.  Had a tantrum when they got home because she wanted to stay outside but the baby was wanting to eat and was hot.  Daddy Man let her stay in the jeep for 15 minutes to try to diffuse the situation but the baby was too hot and was really wanting mommy milk.    He said it spiraled from there because he couldn’t give her attention.     G-Ma stopped by and not even that changed things because Itty Bitty wanted Daddy Man.    I guess, now that the Mommy situation was corrected she was seeking to fix the Daddy situation.   After G-Ma left and Mini Moose was on his second bottle and was just about asleep Itty Bitty apparently had had enough.     I am told she stood by him on the couch, lifted her leg, and peed.

She’s done that once before with him (“War and Pees” from Cause and Effect Month 21).

He cleaned it up calmly and ignored the behavior (he held it together — he wanted to spank but knows that’s a big no no with me–that’s a big loss of control and he’s a strong dude who can hurt you when he’s just playing around even when he’s being careful ).   Daddy Man put some water in the tub and left her to it.   She cleaned herself up and that was that.  She was mellowed after, he said.    Perhaps she felt mortified with herself or realized it was an impulse move that had the opposite effect of what she really wanted.    Too bad toddlers don’t come with sim thought bubbles.

There were no other errant pee incidences or acting out this month.   Funny how two incidents were unrelated to the situational pee, but had the common thread of wanting to be acknowledged.      Another attention seeking moment unrelated to pottying did happen another day: Itty Bitty’s Trip to the ER Jul 18.  and the Aftermath.

Sorry that this post was late and backdated nearly a month, I totally forgot about it!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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Quotes and favorites of the Month:

“Come on Mom, Let’s go!”

Itty Bitty enjoys watch a math centered cartoon called Cyberchase (Sigh-chase!), enjoys My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic  (Po-nee!).   Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse have fallen out of favor.

Month 33: Unperfect Practicality

Sometimes we need someone to say that dirt is okay and to show us that mud is awesome.

So, I was reading a blogger today expressed that she felt like she needed to be a perfect parent and resentment over the choices she made to breastfeed, cosleep, homeschool, baby wear, EC, etc. under that “perfection” and the pressure and added stress from a controlling husband.  She felt like she was trained to be at everyone’s beck and call.

Oh my.

It’s a awful thing to have a spouse and community and/or family putting a lot of pressure on someone to be “perfect”.  That can suck the happy out of Disneyland no matter what you do.    I don’t think there is joy in that situation even if one strollered and never babywore, diapered 3 years, bought the latest in baby fashion, or bought into the best exclusive preschool.   Soul suckers in one’s life still find a way to steal  or spit in your cheerios.

Children in general take a whole lot of commitment and an enormous amount of time no matter what!    The investment of time just comes with the territory.      I don’t mouth feed my baby like Alicia Silverstone because it wouldn’t make me happy to do so,  not that I think anything is wrong with it or that I think I’m better or she’s better.  It makes them both happy, it harms none and that’s what matters.  Though, I admit, I share grapes out of my mouth with my kids (I peel the flesh away from the skin with my teeth while in my mouth  and would give my then under 15 month old daughter the meaty bit with my fingers, and I occasionally still do it if  I am getting begged and I refuse to give up my whole share to the food hoover).  No one told me to do that and I didn’t read about it…I just did it. No reason other than it was easier than getting up for a knife.

Babywearing, EC, breastfeeding, BLW, cosleeping, unschooling…these aren’t strange dogmas…they are merely lost arts modern parents are trying to reclaim in a world that thinks it is weird and assumes you want to be perfect.   They are things parents of yore did because it was practical, free, and made them happy!     Children learned through play and watching adults , EC in a world without diapers just made sense, breastfeeding was something everyone did because that’s how babies eat, families slept together for warmth and safety, they wore babies to keep their hands free and keep them safe.

I don’t do things because I want to parent perfect (what does that even mean!?) or because I am pressured to, but because babywearing is easier than lugging around a heavy stroller packed in my teeny tiny car and it keeps my hands free  (I have a jogging stroller specifically for jogging because I am not getting naturalized exercise); I breastfeed because I can, it is free and doesn’t require me to wash bottles, buy or carry formula;  I use old fashioned cloth diapers because I hate the smell of disposables, they are low cost, and have multi-uses; I EC because I can see when my babies have to pee and it is just easier than changing a diaper or trying to later wrestle a 30lb 2 year old into one, it lightens the load I have to carry, extends the baby wardrobe and extends the functionality of my cheap prefolds, and I hate poop scraping;   I follow babyled solids and don’t do purees because frankly I am lazy and cheap…I don’t want to buy jars, don’t like how they taste, and don’t want to spend an afternoon pulverizing mush in a blender either — so I give what we eat.    I co-sleep because I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night and I…like it — simple as that.

It’s not a spiritual ritual for me.  It’s not a philosophical set of rules I follow.  I am not trying to please anyone. It’s practicality.  It feels good.   I get strange looks sometimes for putting my baby on the floor rather than in a bouncer — I don’t have room or money for those things (to unforeseen benefit).  The floor works nicely and they can’t roll off.  LOL!   I don’t think I do “more” than your average parent or invest more time.      I am always looking for ways to make my life less complicated.     Learning something new might be complex at first, but experience tells me that short term investment nets long term gains.

It’s complicated only if we don’t let it happen.

I think the blogger was so right in saying that parents have lost their way in being confident in themselves and enjoying their kids and do things in a way because they like it and it makes sense for them, not because they are told to do it, or that’s the way it is done, or feel like they have no choice or support.   We’ve lost the ability at times to hear advice neutrally and take it or leave it as we like at our leisure.

Why the competition aura?  Most of it is artificial and taking things the wrong way.  Happy people like to spread the news of what they learned.   Humans love to share and enjoy attention.   Take a look at any playground and listen for the, “look at what I can do!”   from little excited voices.  Do we ever really outgrow that?    A child doesn’t mean “I am better than all of you,”  they are saying, “look what I have discovered, I have learned something new, who will join me, I can help!”

I think most of us are just lonely and feel like if we express joy in what we do, we might sound like a goody-two-shoes, know-it-all, perfect-parent-wanna-be.  We don’t often get a chance to grow up in the company of other women as support and most of us learn parenting on the fly.  We gain experience isolated, silently observing, whispering, and with trepidation.     That pressure often bursts out online in one topic rambles the moment you find like minds because the relief is just so great!    It changes from feeling like you are selling illegal goods in a seedy alley, to a collective,  “Ahhhhhhhh!  So you pee in the shower too!?”

I think learning and following your instincts is a good thing, but there is a lot of static out there getting in the way of letting us … dare I say … play it out.

It’s a pity that the joy is sucked out of everything these days.    I hope my blogs on EC shows just how delightfully unperfect it is and that I am far from perfect!   There are days I want to make my reader’s laugh, or be less skittish.   Sometimes I want something crazy to happen so I can use a phrase like Poop de Grassy — it’s a shame such a cheesy pun hasn’t been used yet in context.  I just want to ramble, share my toys and pass it on.

Tag. You’re it!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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Month 33: No Problem. I Got It Covered

I Got This!

And indeed she does.  I only notice Itty Bitty’s pottying habits when she calls upon me to assist with “Messy Poo” wiping, if the fan needs to be turned on because she left a toxic cloud, public toileting, or to clean up an epic mess she can’t handle herself.   There were two mishaps this month:

Jun 7
Itty Bitty had a gigantic miss today.  The thing is she was in the bathroom in the middle of getting on the toilet when the sphincter let go on her!    She removed her underwear, got in the tub, and called me.    The girl can hold  a lot of pee, but at least it was in the bathroom and she remembered not to wade through it like a creek.     What can you do except be a little cross about waiting too long, but also be so pleased that she followed a planned protocol all her own!     If I hadn’t been so tired and on my last nerve, I would have been much less annoyed at clean up!    Isolation can do that, because if another adult were around to take it all in with me, I would have been chest puffing and bragging while sopping up mega pee with a smile.

Jun 16
Itty Bitty had a big miss late in the day when we were home.  She was on her way to the bathroom but miscalculated the distance to the door because she had to go the long way around since Daddy Man blocked the short way through the garage … again… with his tools in front of the door.  We don”t have a back door direct to the backyard.   She realized too late that she didn’t have the extra 30 seconds and as the dam burst she leaped off the walkway into the flower bed!   I have to commend her efforts for trying not to leave a big puddle in a walking path.  She look a bit mortified, but I was proud of her just the same for trying to find a solution!      I now know to bring out her potty seat so that she doesn’t have to trek so far and I don’t have to disrupt her brother to follow her because there is no direct site line to the front door (she can open the door herself, we just don’t have a fenced yard and I don’t like not being able to hear or see her exit or enter the house).

Getting Out Even in the Rain is Key to House Harmony and Mommy Sanity

And that is all there is to report on Itty Bitty’s potty adventures.  She is still dry all night long, waits to go to the bathroom downstairs in the morning unless it is urgent and she uses the potty I have out upstairs for just such an occasion.  She takes care of her clothing, wipes her self (unless it is really messy then she asks for help), empties her potty, flushes the toilet, washes and dries her hands.   She also empties her brother’s potty bowl, cues him when I do,  and brings me fresh prefolds if I need them for him.

She is more…energetic and assertive…these days, but I know that’s because she doesn’t always get all her monkey energy out, misses her needed 3pm nap, or she wants more attention than I give or doesn’t want to wait to nurse…so it can spiral into Destructo Girl.  I am still working on finding balance in an unbalanced world.     I’m working on my volume.  Damn if I don’t hear my mom’s tone of voice flying out of my mouth sometimes!  I try not to so hard, but it just slips out like diarrhea of the mouth.  Ugh!   I’m working on finding my own words to push these negative reflexes out of service.

And…I just made my mammaries leak all over by thinking about nursing.  I am not sure whether to be amused or annoyed.

Itty Bitty has had some trouble learning about boundaries.   She is very affectionate and is a Space Invader (hahahaha) and doesn’t respect personal boundaries.     I’ve had to talk to her daily about giving Mini Moose some breathing room because she wants to kiss him, pat him, hug him, touch him, stroke him, sing to him, and has discovered she can make him laugh.      She’s having trouble expressing her displeasure over being asked to control her physical contact desires and has begun razzberrying/spitting in response.   I’m working on finding words for her to use, but man it sure gets my hackles up!     She’s only two and a half, I remind myself constantly.   Itty Bitty recently  encountered aggressive rejections of her overtures of hugs and kisses and pats and hand holding and overall “in your face” behaviors  at our first “in house” play date.   She got conked in the head by a toy and had her finger bitten.    Of course, I’m not happy my Baby Girl got hurt, but at the same time it is an important lesson for her to learn about boundaries, reading body language, and accepting “no thank you” for an answer without crushing her loving spirit.   She’s a very physical being and she just needs to develop some self-control.    The other day she poked me with a plastic piece from the stem of a silk flower (on purpose) and my instinct was to take it and poke her hard with it because it really smarted when she did it…thankfully I stopped myself and she got startled at how fast I yanked it from her fingers and growled.  Yep, I growled.  It really hurt!    She looked really upset and distressed and didn’t ask for it back.

I remind myself to find ways to express her desire to help rather than my causing a unnecessary power struggle by being Cranky Ogre Mommy.

Daddy Man barked at her once this month when she deliberately hit his laptop with a stick and scared her out of her skin (big voice he has…it can go right through you).   I couldn’t see her at the time but I felt the fear and knew the look on her face before the first sound escaped her mouth and I even got to say, “You scared the crap out of her you need to comfort her and apologize.”   before the most horrid horrified piercing cry escaped her mouth followed by fat tears!  They made up immediately and Daddy Man has been very careful about his volume.  It’s very important to me that when we screw up, that we apologize for being butts.    His patience needs some refining when he gets annoyed, and he needs to relieve me more often (or rather at the right time and for a good length of time) so that I can have a chance to refill my big, fast depleting tank–especially when I haven’t had a chance to get out of the house (getting out is so important but it doesn’t always happen).      And for goodness sakes man when you strip when you get home from work, FOLD…YOUR…PANTS!   Ahem…sorry…sometimes you got to let out a little nag.     Anyway,  when I get to recharge I have such an easier time heading off potential toddler troubles and I love seeing the two them interact listening to music, him showing her how they work, her helping him build one, or just when they hang out and play their special games.   She loves her Daddy Man and I do too!

Anyway, I think we all have a lot of learning to do!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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Quotes of the Month:
“No problem.  I got it covered.  Alright?”
*asking me a question like what my/dad/brother/her name is*  “Yes, you’re right!”
“The baby crying, feed him!”
“Pss Pss Pss”  (to help potty her brother)
“No No.  Naughty kitty not for you!”
“I don’t want to right now, okay?”
“We will save the day!”
“It’s my turn okay?”
“Play me mommy?”
“Listen eesic on your speakers daddy.”  (she still says eesic for music)
“Pick me up.  Be careful I heavy!”
“You love me?  I love you to.”

I have to do a lot of translating but Itty Bitty can carry on a pretty long conversation.

Month 32: It’s Not Complicated

Every ECer has heard a variation of just how complicated the process must be and how there is just no time for “ordinary” or “hardworking” moms to do this.    Hey, I am as boringly ordinary as you can get and I don’t relish making more work for myself!     We all work hard inside the home, and some of us also have additional duties working outside the home full time and part time.

What lack is not ability, but perspective!

Jorje from the Diaper Free Baby Facebook group posted a video that demonstrates succinctly how something so basic can be made into a tangled mess of unnecessary complications.   Watch it until you begin to feel extraordinarily flabbergasted at the rigamarole and then move the slider to time 3:00 and keep your eyes peeled for something so simplistic it wasn’t even mentioned.

Breastfeeding Infant Management: Part 3 (1935 Europe)

After watching that video anyone would be disheartened and feel like failures!  If there is one thing humans are great at, it is making mountains out of mole hills.    Let’s face it, unless battling a nasty infection no one medicates their nipples!   I’m willing to bet the idea for nipple sanitizing came about because if you didn’t sanitize bottles of the day, babies would get sick and possibly die.   Sterilize bottles teats ergo sterilize living nipples.    Kind of backwards thinking!      I confess that I’ve nursed through a puked on nipple with a newborn, and let the toddler latch on a nipple crumby from my lunch.   The nipples are lucky to get waterfall from a shower!     My babies are marathon nursers, if I followed the advice in the video it is very possible my breastfeeding attempts would have failed or ended before I hit 3 months.

The best advice is the most simple.  Only when there is a problem is more refined help needed.

Doubt #1:    I don’t have time to watch for every twitch!     

Who has time for that?   I don’t watch every twitch any more than I swab my nipples after the “gimme that side” breastfeeding Watutsi.   I don’t hover staring at my baby until I catch the signal for hunger.   Just like everyone else (bottle or breast) I learned the likely times the baby wants to eat (after naps, after a rousing game of goo-goo-coo), or when I “sense” hunger with my mommy super sense, or physical and audio cues like hunger grunts and fist slurping.    Sounds complicated, but it isn’t.    We all become very fluent in the language our baby speaks and we seamlessly can translate toddler-speak that is unintelligible to the world!     Elimination Communication is just like that.    If we can make breastfeeding as complicated as the video and convince busy women that it is THE way to do it, what do you think the diaper companies have done in in the last 40 years?    Think about the clip at 3:00 — it required no explanation.

Doubt #2:    I don’t want to push it and mess up!     

Babies hate diapers.  They do!   They stiff leg, roll, arch, kick, scream, twist, flail, noodle and if able, run away from diaper changes and remove even the most anti-removal contraption to get it off.    I helped diaper two siblings, so I know that a diaper change can leave both parties sweating and upset.    That happens every day, several times a day.   It is exhausting just thinking about it!  It can get so dread inducing that it can get to the point where parents begin to test out the “12 hour holding power” just to avoid the ordeal.  I get it,  but,  Umm…eww.     EC isn’t about pushing, it is about being proactive rather than reactive.   Get the waste in a pot so it doesn’t have to scraped off kibbles and bits or spigots and dingles.   Problems that I see occur with EC generally have to do with lingering diaper habits, not because of pushing.    Parents have been made to be afraid of toileting!   Why should we be afraid of a place we go to several times a day?    Parents are confident with the changing table, the powder, the diaper rash cream, the diaper genie (or complex wash routines),  and the wipes…but run screaming from a 6 inch tall piece of molded plastic?      You’ve got the instincts and know how already, it’s just buried under all the static!

Doubt #3:  It will be for nothing because they all regress.

If I could just do a “Heinz Duffenscmertz” and zap that word from the English language …

I despise the word regression.   It is a word of foreboding, it is negative, and it underestimates the abilities and intelligence of children.   Our culture is so negative when it comes to children and the ability of parents.  Too many “can’ts” and too much “defeatist attitudes” if there is a small blip in a process.

First, let’s address “it’s all for nothing.”   If I gave you a 25 cents a day, except on Thursdays and Saturdays and the month of June ,would you tell me, “Don’t bother.  No sense in collecting loose change if I can’t get it every day.”    Free money is free money, right?  Why is free money less valuable if you aren’t guaranteed to get it 100%?      Every pee or poop in the potty is one less uncomfortable state, one less diaper, one less fight, and money and time saved.   Even if you had only 2 successes per day for one year, that would be 730  fewer diaper changes!   At 10 cent’s a diaper that is $73 dollars.   What would you buy with that surplus?

Next, the “R” word.     When our babies fall, they aren’t regressive walkers.  They lost their balance and tripped…they get up, brush off, and keep locomoting.   When a toddler visits the playground after a long winter of growing, and seems awkward on equipment they had mastered last year, they haven’t regressed climbing!  Their limbs are longer and they are stronger, so they must make adjustments to muscle memory.  They are going to trip and conk their heads on openings until they get used to it.         Children grow, their bladders grow, their sphincters get stronger.    Drop the “R” word and take a different view.

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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Give EC a second look.  It is about intention not perfection.
You’ll be surprised how liberating it can be.

Month 32: Itty Bitty Role Model

Things are quite uneventful on the potty front.   Itty Bitty has had no accidents, other than the potty emptying kind!    Big potty vs Little potty is pretty 50/50 as far as preference.  Daddy Man and I are only called upon for messy poo bottom wipes or public toilet help.  She is my helper for her brother getting me prefolds, putting dirties in the pail, emptying his potty bowl and generally loving on him.  She can’t resist touching him or kissing him when he is napping though.  She sings to him, asks to hold him, announces if  “baby frew up!”,  tells me “baby crying feed him!” and tries to give him toys she thinks he might like (or a snotty cold…eww).   We usually have to get her out of his face and space!   If she wants to nurse, it is the only time she asks me to put him down.  I would happily nurse them together if I could, but the difference in their suckle pattern drives me bazookers for some strange reason.    I wish I didn’t have to ask her to wait s much, but now that we hit the three month mark, growth spurts won’t be so frequent.

Her hair has gotten longer very quickly and is all curl; she has also grown too tall now to run a mad dash on the top of the gym padded fort.  Daddy Man witnessed a running-head-bonk wipe out!   Stunned, dazed, but not hurt.   Itty Bitty was a little confused and dizzy.   She can also climb the steep side of the climbing wall making the four and five year olds drop jaw and giving the adults apoplexy.  Her vocabulary is astounding, her dexterity with tracing letters on the leap pad still unbelievable.  We’ve had a few meltdowns (she misses her late day nap more that she should) and we are all learning not to get on each others nerves.  Sometimes I just want to be alone for ten minutes and she just want my attention.   I’ve been so tired and wanted to just get something done in the neverending chores piling up that I’ve forgotten just to let her help and to not get mad when she asks me 4,345 times in a row if she can help, or makes a mess because she didn’t wait as I asked.   I want to stop apologizing for yelling, and just not do it in the first place!   This time in her life is so short, I don’t want to wish it away or waste it.   Got to work on my zen!

I thought that this month I would have Itty Bitty show off her potty talents in a little pictoral.  I forgot to have her put on a cool mask so in some shots she is headless.  Clothes for modesty of course, she is still a born streaker!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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Quotes of the Month:
“I sowwy.  You angry?  Me hug you makeit bedder?”   (melts the heart doesn’t it?)
“Aww I too big. (trying to sit in a box)  I too little pick me up?”   (yes sweetie, you are still my baby)

Month 31: Have you…Done the Pee Pee Dance Lately?

Thought Dilemma:   Why does my toddler do the pee dance instead of just going to the bathroom!  Arggh!

Eek!

Familiar Behavior:  Have you done the pee-pee dance lately?   I do the pee-pee dance when I’m trying to juggle 3 or more chores at once and I put off a pit stop.! :) So many things can distract me on the way to the toilet…finding a baseball cap where it shouldn’t be, which leads to the desire to glare at DH, then on the way to put it back in the closet, I find a jacket not hung up..again, more spouse maiming fantasies, then there are towels to fix…again, sometimes a 2yo wanting to go potty first, and by the time I remember to go I’m doing the Pee Pee Bunny Hop while emptying the dishwasher!

I know how big my bladder is…I’ve known for years.   It stopped growing a long time ago.  That means I know exactly what it feels like just before I might just wet myself and that gives me the time I need to run to the bathroom.    I also have a bigger and stronger sphincter.       I’m not going to lie, there are a few times when a couple of drops have escaped and not just because of pregnancy.

It is very easy to forget that toddlers are people too and they have the same behaviors we do.  Just because we don’t know what they are thinking, doesn’t mean their thought process isn’t important or doesn’t have a logical flow leading up to the event.      It’s tempting to want to throw your hands up and slap on a diaper because…well…that’s what our society does.    We place value on our floors, carpets, couches, and our time.   That means that often we seek avenues to protect those things immediately with what we’ve observed a thousand times instead of trying something else.     Honest to goodness we ALL do it.   We’ll keep on fixing that rolled up carpet a thousand times won’t we?    Try instead to behave as if the diapers didn’t exist.   After all, your solution to your own pee-pee dance isn’t to run out for a pack of depends, right?


Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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So, my friends, have you done the pee-pee dance lately?   Tell me!  Make me laug

Month 31: Question–How do I teach my toddler to ask for the potty?

Question:

From the DiaperFree Group in Facebook:

Our DD is 14mo and says no 99% of the time when asked if she needs to go. The other part of the frustration is she has only asked to potty by crawling to it like 4 times EVER. We just have to ask and sit her on the potty. We guess all day every day. Her only signal at all (if at all) is a brief pause in whatever she is doing. I don’t know how to help her learn to ask to go :/  ~ Brittany

Answer:

Perspective.

I’m a gal just living with her kids, so no phD here, but I hope I can help.  Mom to mom.

First, do you know how awesome four times is in this diapering culture?   High five grrlfriend!   That isn’t a frustration, that is a huge boon, a brag moment — no really, you need to start some shameless mommy bragging.   Change your perspective!    Look, Moms brag endlessly over the maybe-first-step even if Schmoopsie doesn’t do it again for 2 months.    Get you brag on!

When my Itty Bitty was two (or not quite two)  and spilled her potty on the floor — I smiled and puffed out my chest.   I know there was a mess and that sucked…I didn’t like the mess part at all.  But, my baby was copying me emptying her potty all by herself.   WOW!    See, I didn’t teach her that.  She just did it because she’d been watching me do it for her whole life and she finally as big enough and coordinated enough to give it a shot.   I tell you, my bathroom carpets were never cleaner than they were that first month of learning potty emptying!  (Of course, she just knocked over a cup of water and is now cleaning it — can’t blog for two seconds around here…! )

And that leads us to the next part of the question.  You DON’T teach her how to ask.    She’ll learn it.   All you do is encourage and repeat ad nauseum.    Remember she’s still is a baby (I don’t care what anyone says, babyhood is longer than one year) and like a baby she relies on you to just “know” what she needs and when she needs it. That gives her the freedom to feel safe enough to experiment.  You’ve got her back.  She doesn’t need to worry about getting eaten by a predator, where her next meal is coming from, or where she’ll sleep.  She trusts you.  She doesn’t want you to nag and hover, but she wants you at a comfortable distance so that she can run to you at any time.    She watches and listens even if you don’t think she is.    We model and show by our actions and behaviors, it is their job to observe and mimic when they are capable.

Everyone likes to think that they “teach” their children to speak, for example.   Language is far too complex to teach to a baby.  The infinite combinations of how to string a sentence together alone is daunting, never mind the musicality of language, or the use of idioms, articles, and pronouns.    But nature makes it simple.    You talk.  They listen.    You say certain phrases and words more often so they are encouraged to repeat because it is in their design and it makes you smile and interact.  But 99.9% of the words they know, the phrases they utter, and the Grammer they use you never teach to them directly.     For example, I have never taught my toddler the difference in saying, “Let me help you,”  “Let Mommy help you,” and “I’ll help you.”      She says “me help you” and “I’ll help you” and if she needs me  “Mommy help”, and “Help me mommy”.    She is even using past tense!   “I helped Mommy, Daddy.”    I certainly didn’t teach her how to conjugate a verb!       All I have to do is talk and expose her to conversations.      To be honest, I have become a walking toddler to English translator.  I have learned toddler-speak!  More often than not I hear myself saying, “When did you learn that?”   or “I didn’t know she knew what that was!”    She knows “handle bars”…really?…I never told her what a bike handle bar was!

So that’s all you have to do.   Model, show, use your potty sign/word/cue, repeat, and pick up the slack.   (And of course ditch the diapers — for those reading this and still using them at this point.   I know I’m a rebel.)

That subtle pause she does means, “I trust my mommy to know what I need.”  It’s the same way you “know” when she’s hungry without her saying anything.

She is also beginning to enter little by little into autonomy so I suggest you not ask a question you already know the answer to.     If you do ask a question , be prepared to respect the answer even if it isn’t the one you want!           There are times when you are just going to have to let things happen.  Put the potty there and say, “There is the potty if you need it.”         When you see the accident cue, “Wait!” and help her get to the potty fast to finish.   She will pick up on her own that she can stop peeing if she goes in the wrong place, that there are unacceptable places to pee,  or if she miscalculates/waits too long, that you will help but not nag, and you will show her how it is done.

Short term mess equals long term benefits.   Happy Pottying :)

Visit Itty Bitty Entry:   13 months
Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

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I hope that helps!

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