Three Day Potty Training

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A few months ago, my husband bought some potty training books (this one for us, and this one for Henry) and decided to start potty training. Henry loved his potty book (“I can be just like Michael!”), but struggled with the potty itself. His major problem seemed to be that he didn’t know how to make himself go pee. We put him in pull-ups and would ask him to sit on the potty every now and then, and nothing would happen. (Ever. Invariably, he would sit on it for 15 minutes, get bored and get up, and pee on the floor one second later.) He would try at school – everyone is his room was working on potty training – and we’d ask him if he wanted to sit on it at home. He always said no.

One day after school, I asked Henry if he wanted to sit on the potty.

“No,” he said. “Because I’m not very good at going potty.” Pause. “I twy and I twy and I just can’t do it.”

You guys. This kid had never expressed such a complex emotion before and it slayed me. And then he said, “I’m sad that I’m not potty twained.”

I don’t know who told him he wasn’t potty trained – I’m sure it happened at school, but it’s hard to know the context (I mean, he WASN’T potty trained, so I don’t fault someone for saying that to him, I just felt bad that he felt bad) or why he was having a hard time with it. Anyway, I decided that this method was not working and it was time to try something different. I had heard about the 3 day potty training method, so I googled it and bought the e-book.

Essentially, the 3 day potty training method means you put your kid in underwear, throw away the diapers forever, and whenever they start to go, run them to the potty to finish. And give lots of positive reinforcement. There’s more there, and I think it’s worth reading the full thing, but this is essentially the method. My husband and I had President’s Day weekend off, so we (read: I) decided we would do it then. In the meantime, I asked daycare to stop putting him on the potty unless he asked to go.  (Part of the program is a 30 day waiting period to “de-program” your kid from any negative potty associations they had.)

So. We waited. And dreaded President’s Day weekend. And then it came, and it was the most exhausting weekend ever. If I never say, “Henry, is your underwear dry? YAY!!!!” or “Henry, tell mommy if you have to go potty, OK!” again in my life, it will be too soon.

The first day, we had six accidents and no successes. Four in the morning and two in the afternoon. He insisted on wearing pants, so I was never able to get him to the potty and get his pants down mid-pee. (In hindsight, I should have nixed the pants and only had him in underwear.) I also put a pull-up on him during his nap (which is not allowed by the 3 day potty training book) and he peed and pooped then. It was with great relief that I put a pull-up on him at 7:30 for bedtime in a pull-up (also not allowed).

The second day, we had two accidents in the morning, one in the afternoon, and no successes. I kept his underwear on during his nap and stayed in the room with him, and he stayed dry. So he was able to learn to hold it a really long time, but he still didn’t know how to pee.

The third day, we had an accident and then I didn’t put any underpants or pants on him, just left him bottomless. Frankly, I was exhausted, couldn’t be bothered, and he didn’t seem to care. Then he started to pee again, I saw it starting to dribble out, and I managed to get him on the toilet mid-pee. That was all it took for him to learn how to push the pee out! He was so excited and so proud of himself  for going in the potty. He had a success right after that, another accident an hour later, and then successes all afternoon (including staying dry during his nap).

That was Monday and today is Friday. The rest of the week has gone remarkably well. Other than pooping in his nighttime pull-up, there have been no issues. He wears underwear and goes in the potty at school. I’m really glad that we did this method.

However, it was a hard three days. Part of the problem was that my husband was not really on board with trying this. He went along with it, but there were a lot of eyerolls about all the accidents. He would say stuff like, “Henry. Tell mommy or daddy BEFORE you have to go potty.” After a couple of times of that I was like, “Dude. Sell stock BEFORE it goes down. Oh wait, you don’t know when that will happen? NEITHER DOES HE.”

The other problem was Violet. She is a Stage 5 Clinger with her mommy and it’s really hard to properly stare nonstop at your older kid’s crotch when your younger toddler is screeching at you constantly. I kept trying to get my husband to leave the house with her to get both of my potty training distractions out of the house. When they left, it was a lot easier.

Anyway, hopefully I didn’t jinx Henry’s successes by writing all of this down. On a related note, we are travelling this weekend, and I am terrified. He’s never used a public bathroom before, he’s probably going to pee all over the airplane, etc. Wish me luck!

Thoughts on a Third

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He brought his piggy bank to Starbucks so he could pay for my coffee.

When Violet was about five days old, my husband said to me, “I think it’s time for my sperms to retire. Is there a way for me to retire my sperms without having to get a vasectomy?”

At the time, I was in a big ball of newborn baby bliss. It had also been five whole days since I’d given birth and apparently, I’d already started to forget the horror of the experience. I was all, “whatchu mean we are done having babies? Look at this delicious baby! We must do this again!”

I kind of chalked up what he was thinking to the newborn experience – my husband doesn’t really know what to do with tiny babies. After Henry was born, he’d said that he didn’t want any more kids and then changed his mind. I figured that probably the same thing would happen this time – once she started to be fun, he’d decide that he wanted another kid.

(Also! On his match.com profile he said he wanted three kids. Three! Don’t even go telling me you can’t hold a guy to the number of kids he says he wants on his online dating profile.)

So, anyway. I resigned myself to the idea that we might not have any more kids (again), but still kept the idea that we might in my mind. When Violet grew out of her exersaucer and cute baby clothes that I loved, I put them away instead of giving them away. But then I started back up on my master’s degree  (in addition to working full-time) and realized that shit, dude, I just do not have time for another bundle of joy right now. I decided that I couldn’t handle another baby until summer 2015, when I’ll be done with school, and decided we could reassess then. If we did decide to go forward, waiting that long might be problematic, given that my RPL history and the fact that I’ll be 38, but eh. I just can’t do it any earlier.

(My RPL condition – I have an immature endometrium, yo – does not lend itself to “just seeing what happens,” as any pregnancy not supported by progesterone is likely doomed in my womb. So it would have to be a conscious decision to have another kid, to trying.)

And now Violet is the same age that Henry was when we conceived her. I cannot even imagine getting pregnant again right now. I think I might be changing my mind, I think I might be done. Just like my husband is, really, if I’m being honest with myself.

We’ll see what happens. I seriously doubt my husband’s going to sign himself up for a vasectomy any time soon. But I think we’re probably done.

Who Needs It? Challenge #1: Fess Up

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veggiesausagebuttonI hate clutter with a fierce passion. Generally, I’m pretty good at keeping stuff off of counters and out of sight because it bothers me so very much.

Which is great. The problem with this is:

1) In my quest to keep clutter out of sight, I just throw everything randomly in drawers, bins, and closets, which just moves the clutter out of sight without actually solving the problem of stuff.

2) My husband gets really annoyed with me when I move things that he wants to keep out within his sight out of my sight. There are lots of loud sighs and “where did you put the tax papers?” “where did you put my hammer?” “where is this random thing that I haven’t needed for a month but now require IMMEDIATELY so it should be on the counter where I left it?” Generally, I’ve thrown it in a drawer, and it takes me a while to figure out exactly where it is.

Anyway. For this post (the first from the Who Needs It? challenge) I am going to focus on this disaster that is my children’s toys. We currently live in a four-level townhouse (we sold our house and moved in April, during my blog hiatus). That means that we have toys in four different places – on the ground floor in the playroom, on the main level kitchen/living room, in Henry’s room on the third floor, and in Violet’s room on the top floor.

When we moved, I had grand plans of keeping different toys on different levels. Train tracks stay in Henry’s room. Violet’s dog Violet stays in Violet’s room. Our two enormous garbage trucks on the main floor, along with some legos and a few other toys. And then vast quantities of toys in the playroom.

The reality? We have half of a birthday cake in the playroom, one piece in the living room, two in Henry’s room, and one that has disappeared into the ether. So for this challenge I’d like to focus on toys and the playroom, in particular.

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The Tower of Toys

This is the Tower of Toys. Its existence doesn’t bother me, per se, it’s the execution. Basically toys are just haphazardly thrown into bins, puzzles are stored with half of the pieces in one bin and the other half on another floor. Crap is just randomly squeezed in there wherever it will fit (including on top of the tower).

Luckily, it is bolted to wall, lest the Tower of Toys rain down upon anyone playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also have a bookshelf with books (which is fine), and then random stuff piled on and under it.

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More stuff

Also, Violet has outgrown that jumperoo and playmat, but instead of doing anything about that, I am just leaving them there, taking up about 10% of the floor space in the room. Genius!

So that’s it. I’d like to get some kind of sensible system for taking better care of toys and making sure that we can keep playing with them. (A puzzle is unusable without all the pieces, right?) I’d also like to get rid of the stuff we don’t need anymore. We’ll see how it goes! My current plan is to attack this issue then next time one of the kiddos is home sick from school. I think I can handle it with one kid around but not two.

Happy New Year!

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A belated happy new year to you all! I hope that your holidays were super awesome. Mine were pretty good, though they did not go down as planned.

The weekend before New Year’s, we’d gone to my sister-in-law’s house to visit her, my brother-in-law, and my 9 year old niece. After that, I had to work on Monday the 30th and Tuesday the 31th, but my husband had it off, so he decided that he would stay there with the kids while I flew home (we’d driven there together, they are about four hours away).

I had such mixed feelings about being away from the kiddos – you guys, I had never been away from Violet for even one night. Plus I’m still nursing her and all, so I wasn’t sure how that would work.  AND I have serious anxiety issues, so I was so but what if you guys get in a horrible car accident with me????  On the other hand, OMFG FREEDOM!!!! Sleep! Books to read! Shows to watch! What would I even do with myself!

In the end, the husband decided that’s what was happening, and I just went with it. So I flew home on Sunday night and was to be on my own until Wednesday, the 1st, whenever they arrived home.

Monday evening was GLORIOUS. I had gone to work that day – the office was completely empty, so I was able to be productive but still just take it easy. And then when I got home, I had no responsibilities. I ate some bread and hummus and sat down on the couch to read junk on my iPad. And then I went to bed at 8pm. And I slept until 7am! It was awesome.

The next day was New Year’s Eve and I was all, tonight is going to be equally sweet! I’m totally going to bed at the break of 9:00pm and then tomorrow morning Imma sleep as late as I want!

Then I got a text from the husband: “What time are you going to be home today?”

Me: “Uh, 3 or 4 probably. Depends when they let us out. Why?”

Him: “We’re coming home today. Violet will not sleep without you here.”

Me: …..

But I quickly grieved the loss of my first unlimited sleep in in over a year and had a lovely NYE with the kids and husband. We ordered Indian food (Henry hated it, Violet loved it), drank the expensive champagne the husband’s boss had given him for the holidays, and watched Zero Dark Thirty. The next day, we got Starbucks and hung out at the Garfield Park Conservatory (fabulous cold weather place to take the kiddos to run around – for free! – if you are in Chicago). It was a great day and I’m so glad they came home when they did. (Even though I got up at 5am because that’s when Violet did!)

Lost in a mall

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Happy holidays!

On Christmas Eve, my mom and I took Henry and Violet to see Santa at the mall in my small hometown. When we got there, Santa was on break for a half an hour, so we walked around a bit. After fifteen minutes or so, I decided to wait in line with Violet while Mom took Henry to get some wiggles out.

Unfortunately, Henry has a charming new habit of running. Without notice. Just fast and as far away as possible.

Apparently he took off running when she wasn’t paying attention for a second, and she lost him. I looked over and saw her standing maybe 20 feet from me, looking really freaked out, and I didn’t see Henry anywhere. I said, “where is he?” and she said she didn’t know. I took off running (still carrying the baby but abandoning my stroller, purse, and most importantly my Diet Coke). You guys, it was so scary. We were right by a huge department store and I had no idea if he’d gone in there or if he was in some other part of the mall.

I decided to double back to where he’d been with Mom and found him tearing around laughing hysterically maybe 2 minutes later. He did not think it was funny when I forcibly picked him up and hauled 53 pounds of child (34 of Henry and 19 of Violet) back to the Santa line.

Where we discovered that Santa had returned and we were now at the back of the line.

So we waited again. I gave Violet to my mom and contained Henry for the 20 minutes or so that we waited. Honestly, we should have just left. I was angry at my mom and myself and Henry (I know it’s not fair that I felt that way, but it’s how I felt in the moment), I was scared by what could have happened, and it was getting to be nap time.

However, we soldiered on. We waited for people to take 5-10 photos each and then spend time picking out photos before the next group went to see Santa. (Why would you not streamline it so that you can buy the pictures what the next group takes photos? Ugh.) And then, finally, we were up next.

And then Henry peed his pants.

It wasn’t very much so I pretended I didn’t notice what had happened. Please don’t judge me.

A quick update

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Violet is turning one tomorrow. I can’t believe it has only been a year since last year at this time when I was starting to have contractions, as that feels like another lifetime. Perhaps the “days are long, the years are short” business kicks in later?

We are doing great. I’ll try to update more later for anyone still out there.

 

 

The birth of Violet Elizabeth

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Violet

Here is the very overdue birth story of my little peanut, who is three months old today.

On Monday, December 17th, I had an OB appointment. At the appointment, my doctor did a cervical check and said that I was 2cm dilated already. We made the decision to induce at 39 weeks, which would have been Thursday the 20th. (Officially because I was a high-risk patient, for me the reason was really that I think it would totally suck to have a birthday really close to Christmas or between Christmas and New Year’s.)

On the way home, I felt a contraction and was like, wow. That was a REAL mothereffing contraction. I had a few more throughout the afternoon and cancelled my plans (I’d taken the afternoon off to get a pedicure and putter around the house) and laid in bed timing the contractions on an iPhone app. They continued but eased up enough that I went to sleep that night fine and didn’t think that I was necessarily in labor.

I woke up at 6am with contractions that were 5 minutes apart. I asked my husband to get Henry ready for school (at the time, that was my job) because I felt too horrible to do it. He took him in, and by the time he got back the contractions were all over the place – 5 minutes, then 12 minutes, then 7 minutes. We both decided to work from home that day.

(As an aside – I normally work from home really well. I get way more done at home than at work, because of the distractions. However, on this particular day, it was more “working from home.” I had a call with my manager at 4:15pm about the project I was wrapping up. The contractions were still all over the place.)

My contractions finally got to 5 minutes apart for an hour from 6-7pm, so we left for the hospital then. (In retrospect, I should have realized by how hard the contractions were that I was definitely in active labor, but I am such a rule follower that I refused to go until I hit the guideline.) We got there around 7:40, and then waited for a lady at the desk to finish up her paperwork while I dealt with three horrible contractions. They put me in a triage room – alone – no husband allowed – and the bitchface nurse hooked me up to a fetal monitor and left me there. I couldn’t move at all. When the very nice resident came in, she checked me and said I was at 7cm and it was now or never for an epidural. I said, NOW NOW NOW. Then they left me alone again, during which time the contractions were right on top each other and horrible. I literally screamed at the top of my lungs SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE FUCK FUCK FUCK IT HURTS HELP ME.
(I felt bad about the screaming until I realized that I went through the part of labor that women hire doulas for and take 12 week classes to prepare for ALL BY MYSELF strapped to a bed, while not understanding what was happening.)
When the nurse came back, I told her that I felt like I needed to push and she said, “Don’t push. Breathe through your nose.” And she then she sauntered out. Then the resident came back, checked me, said I was fully dilated and we had to deliver now. I barely got to the delivery room (bitchface nurse: Do you want to walk? me: NO!) before I started pushing. My husband almost missed her birth sitting in the waiting room.
Everything after that in the hospital was great. The doctors were so nice and they made great changes in the recovery unit since the last time I was there. It was a really good experience once Violet was out of me! And it was really cool that I delivered her in exactly the same delivery room that I delivered Henry in (at exactly the same gestational age – with a 2 pound weight difference!).
The next day the OB called me in the hospital and told me that she had stripped my membranes during the cervical check. I was like, OHHHH. That explains the real contractions starting in the car on the way home. Yes it does.
We are doing great. A few general thoughts on life so far:
  • I didn’t realize how emotionally I was impacted by hormones until Violet was out of me. Literally, it was like once she was out, the clouds parted. I had been so anxious and angry – and in the delivery room everything was suddenly better.
  • Violet latched on immediately, and nursing her has been a breeze. It’s made me realize that maybe it wasn’t all my fault that Henry didn’t nurse. Not that it was HIS fault, seeing as how he was a BABY, but it takes two to tango I guess.
  • Having two kids has been easier than having a toddler and a difficult pregnancy (so far).
  • I went back to work last week and miss my peanut with a fiery passion. I feel sort of bad that I don’t miss Henry this much (though I did when HE was a baby). It’s probably because I spent maternity leave snuggling with Violet on the couch and nuzzling her head, while Henry’s new favorite thing to do is throw shit at me. But still, I feel bad.