Adventures in Potty Learning: Update #1

I read a book once…the diaper free baby…I was intrigued and immediately went out and bought a potty.  My goal was (and still is) to help Isaac become aware of his body.

My philosophy/approach is this:

  • allow I naked/undie time…the more they better.
  • do not yell or punish or get upset about “accidents.”
  • watch and be aware to help him learn.
  • praise, praise, praise when the potty is used.
  • if an accident happens, address it.
  • do not force, if Isaac wants a diaper he gets a diaper, if I’m not in the mood to handle any of the above, Isaac gets a diaper.  It must be positive for us both.

I call this learning and not training, because I’m not forcing it,  I do not have a time frame, but mainly it’s my mind set, maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I’m not training him like I would train a dog, I’m helping him learn to listen to his body and how to respond to it.

Now, that we know my thoughts on this, lets go back to a year ago.  That is when I read the book and that is when I bought a potty and we’ve been putting Isaac on the potty ever since.  Most people would probably say “You are crazy!  A year of potty training!?!  He wasn’t ready.”  But here’s the deal…we’ve been using the potty, but not all the time.  I put him on it in the morning, or when I need to go to the bathroom.  It was something to occupy him and help him get used to.  We (I) would talk about it.  It became a part of life with him.  We’ve gone through stages where we used it more than at other times.   We’ve had a screaming kid in a restaurant at 11 months because he didn’t want to poop in his diaper.

This summer, I’ve tried to give Isaac more diaper-free time.  I know his poop schedule, so once he had his morning poop, I’d let him run free until after nap, this would give him a few hours.  We even got a new, bigger potty and a potty seat for our toilet and invested in a few undies for him to wear.

If I pay attention well to Isaac, we wouldn’t have accidents, but the fact is, most of the time I’m working during that time and my attention isn’t 100% on Isaac, so I would miss the subtle cues he gives…like coming up and tugging on my arm or resting his head on me.

Fast forward to the Sand Dunes just a few weeks ago…something happened to my 19-month-old on that trip.  He grew and learned so much.  We came home and he has been a talking machine.  Add to the fact that we are now learning signs and he can communicate so much.  This week, he has learned to say and sign “potty.”  It’s a good thing he has the sign too, because his word for “potty” sounds a lot like “bye.” 🙂

Things that make me smile this week in potty learning:

  1. Isaac yelling “potty!” and signing “potty,” seriously, so cute!  Even in public.
  2. Isaac backing up to the potty and missing several times.
  3. Isaac peeing and yelling “YAY!” and clapping and picking up his seat and bringing it to me.
  4. Isaac pooping on the potty without my knowledge and running across it sitting there an hour later and remembering running into the room I was in screaming “YAY” and clapping.  Guess that is what it was for.
  5. Isaac saying “Uh Oh” any time he pees or poops anywhere besides a potty (ie his diaper, the floor, his undies).

I never knew teaching a child how to know when and how to use the potty could be so fun and rewarding.  I think it is just as good for Isaac.  I know a lot of people struggle with the whole potty teaching stuff, but I think in the end it comes down to mindset.  On days when I can’t make it positive for whatever reason, I have to just put Isaac in a diaper, it makes life better for us both – even if he insists on taking the diaper off.

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Family Comes in all Sizes

My family is fairly small.  Yes, I have three sets of grandparents (all living).  Yes, I have 16 Aunts and Uncles.  And yes, I have a decent amount of cousins.  But, in reality, I rarely see these people and I feel more awkward around them then comfortable.

Zach’s family is even more limited.  He has no living grandparents, a living aunt and a living uncle and a handful of cousins.

Yes, we both have more immediate family.  Zach has a younger brother, Dad, Mom and Step-Dad.  I have a sister, Mom and Dad….but even so, our families just seem small.  And as such, have been supplemented by chosen extended families.

One of these families used to live up the street from me is Susie’s family.  Susie is one of my closest and dearest friends.  We met when I was just 3 and she was 4 and remain close to this day.  We’ve had our fights and years of not talking to each other, but we are more like sisters than some sisters.  Susie has a HUGE family, half of which I’ve never even met, but the side that lived in the house up the street was like my second family.  Her mom and dad took care of me, fed me, took me places.  I visited all of her grandparents and enjoyed family outings to the mountains.  Susie’s younger brothers are just around my sister’s age, one a bit older than Stacy and one a bit younger.  They grew up together, as our families were already close before any of them were born, and as such, they are also like siblings.

Susie family has moved around, this last move took them to the mountains two hours away.  Last weekend, we were invited over for a Welcome Home BBQ for one of Sus’ younger brothers (He is recently home from being in the Marines).  We enjoyed our time socializing and being part of the family, but it really made me wish I had a bigger family.  More brothers and sisters to join in the fun around the holidays, but I guess that’s why God gives us these chosen families, sometimes they can become better and stronger than the ones you are born with.

Here’s a photo of the group of us.  We are missing Zach, my Sis and her husband, Jim’s wife, my Dad and Michelle’s son, but otherwise, this is one of my extended families…we’ll call them D.

Left to Right: Scott (he is suedo-family too), Isaac, Susie, Charly, Me, Jim, Roger (Susie’s Step-dad), Ted, Brenda, Kai(Isaac’s birthday twin, he was born exactly 1 year before Isaac), Enya, Jeff, Caulder, Tracey, Jamie, Ellie, Randy, Michelle, Cher (Mom) and Kathy (Susie’s mom).

Love that kid

Have I waited long enough to get to say how awesome of a kid I have?  Never did I image I’d have this strong, inexplicable love.  I can’t put it into words and yet I want to shout it for all to hear.  He is such a joy to have around, to chat with, to just watch play and grow.  I want to hold onto every moment and not let go.  He is the best, smartest most wonderfulest boy ever.  I love him.

Here is a pic of him today with his daddy:

Simple Pleasure

Years ago, when Zach and I were dating, he bought a shower curtain.  That shower curtain followed him to the apartment that we eventually shared and then it followed us into our current home.  The curtain was beige and black and all our towels match.

Recently, I’ve been wanting a new look and feel for the bathroom.  We have light blue cabinets and blueish tile, so it’s never “really” gone.  I’ve been looking off and on and trying to get Zach to approve of a shower curtain I liked.

Yesterday it was hot, so we went to Kohls to shop for shoes for Isaac and Zach.  Zach needs shoes pretty bad and we’ve been looking all over, but he is so picky.  In a matter of minutes, he’d determined he didn’t like any of the shoes available, but we needed to waste more time, rather than go home and sit in the heat.  So we wandered – this is never good for my bank account and yesterday was no exception.

But I did get my mini-bathroom-makeover. 🙂  I found a shower curtain that Zach approved of and got a rug to match.  It is green, blue and brown circles….and really matches the colors of the cabinet and tile well.  I also decided to get a frame to put some pictures in to cover some old patchwork that has always bothered me.

Originally, I was thinking of putting some bathtime photos of Isaac in it.   When I got home and started working on it and I remembered how when I was sitting on the beach in North Carolina, I was in love with the colors.  The beauty of the wet sand, dry sand, greens of the ocean and blue of the sky and speckles of color in the shells was just enchanting.  I had wanted to come home and redo my whole house in “beach” colors.  As I thought about it, the new curtain was exactly the same colors from the beach, so what better photos to put up then photos of our time at the beach?

Today I am happy every time I walk into the bathroom.  It is so nice and bright and it just makes me smile – and the memories of the beach are pretty good too. 🙂

Here’s a few photos of the frame and an attempt at the frame and shower curtain.

Baby Signing Time

If you follow me in Facebook world, you know my son is learning to sign words to help him communicate with us.  We do watch the Baby Signing Time videos, which he loves, but really this was something I wrote a research paper on for my master’s program.

I thought I’d share it here.  Might provide a bit of insight as to why we attempt to sign with Isaac.  It is really amazing watching how much he can understand and communicate even though we can’t understand his actual words, and since we’ve really been signing his spoken vocabulary has improved as well.

Driving in the Storm

Yesterday we had to drive to Pueblo.

Last week we went to the Dunes.  Eight of us went, in three cars.  One car broke down 3 hours from home.  Thankfully, we were able to unload all camping stuff and anything we didn’t need for a few days from our car and put it in the broken down car.  And because we have that third row of seats, we were able transport all six of us back to Denver.  But all our stuff was down ended up being towed to Pueblo (2 hours away).

Well, the car is un-fixable…well, fixable but not worth the money to fix, so the owner is getting a new car and selling the old car to the shop in Pueblo.  That left us needing to drive down to get all our stuff.  Which brings us to yesterday.

After work, Susie met at my house.  We loaded Isaac into the car and headed out.  But suddenly, when we were passing through Colorado Springs, a disgusting smell permeated the car.  It was definitely puke, but we couldn’t figure out what it was.  I had just turned the AC down, so we thought that had something to do with it.

About two hours later, we arrive at our destination.  The weather is gorgeous.  We unload the broken car and load up my car.  We stop at Quiznos and enjoyed sandwiches, soup and salad….oh and cookies.  And then we go to get back in the car and the second I open the door, the puke smell just pour out.  It was so strong.  It keeps getting worse.  I’m freaking out.  Susie is laughing.  Isaac is just sat in the back and talked.

Then we hit Ft. Carson.  It began to pour rain.  I HATE driving in rain because I had a bad hydroplaning experience when I was 16 on I-25 around Monument – the same road I was driving on and the same patch of road I was about to get to.  I breath.  I tell myself: okay, okay, okay…over and over.  The rain let up  a bit and then would start again.  At points I couldn’t see the road.  The rain would have been bad enough, but it was dark and we had the headlights from the other side of the highway that made it even worse.

After a while I turned on the radio…well turned the volume up and switched to the CD that was already in the player – Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot.  Your love is a Song came on.  Which reminded me of how awesome of a God we serve and brought me peace.

We arrived home safely, just 15 minutes later than the GPS had originally told us we were going to arrive.  Pretty good for driving 35 miles under the speed limit most of the way.

Library

After dinner tonight, Isaac and I took a trip to the library.  We’ve gone to the library before, but never just to look for him.  Today that was the purpose – to get some books for Isaac.

We wandered around, Isaac running down the aisles and exclaiming at the different stuffed animals and books and toys and chairs.  We picked out five books and Isaac scanned each one to check them out.  We then held hands and walked back to the car.

We saw my favorite children’s book while there.  We own it, so didn’t need to check it out, but it reminded me of a conversation Zach and I had the other night.

Zach and I have both spent many years working with kids, Zach far more than me.  When I worked at the daycare center I fell in love with this book and ended up buying it for myself so I’d have it for my kids.

Zach informed me the other day that he’d never heard of the book until I read it to Isaac.  Crazy to me that that is possible, but makes me wonder what other great books I might be missing.

Bet you are wondering what this great book is by now, huh?  It’s by Don and Audrey Wood, who have written many children’s books that are loved…the napping house, piggies, etc., but I didn’t realize it was the same people until Zach and I had this conversation the other day.  And I was surprised.  It’s not that I hate the other books they have written, but I just don’t love them.  Maybe they have too many words or are boring to read aloud.  I can’t really pin point it.

Back to the point…if you haven’t read “The  Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear,” you should.  It’s a great book to read aloud….just enough words on each page and just enough mystery for older kids.  Yep…it’s a keeper. 🙂

Eating In

Yesterday was a rough day.  We went on a big trip to the Dunes over the weekend and it took it’s toll on me.  I had a pretty bad cold, but was on the mend yesterday, but still so tired.   That is just some background on how I was doing physically.

I generally get up at 8, go downstairs and get to work.  Between 10 and 11 Isaac wakes up, and I feed him breakfast and continue working.  Lunch is around 1:30 and then it’s time for Isaac to go back to bed for nap.  He sleeps until 3-4:30 and I’m done with my day.  I really need those early morning hours to make my plan for the day and get a jump start.

That wasn’t to be yesterday.  7:45 Isaac was screaming.  I went to get him and he just wanted to play.  So we got up.  He went potty and we ate some breakfast.  I attempted to work, but Isaac wouldn’t wear a diaper or underwear, so I was constantly checking to see if he’d had an accident.

Our TV downstairs has decided it doesn’t want to turn on, so I couldn’t even put a show on for Isaac.  About 9:20 Isaac was just tripping over things and being really cranky, so I put him back to bed.  He slept for a while, but I didn’t let him sleep too long, because I wanted to get him back on schedule.

I tried to reach Zach several times during the day.  I just needed to talk to him, have him reassure me, etc.  But it wasn’t to be.  I called, I texted, nothing.

I was exhausted when Isaac woke up for lunch and I just laid on his floor and fell asleep.  Of course, the dogs joined me and then Isaac covered us in ALL his diapers.

After lunch I got an email from my mom telling me she’d lost her job.  In the end, it is probably a good thing because for the last several months she’s only been able to work a few days a week, but added on to the rest of my day it just took me down.

I gave up trying to not be depressed and just gave into it.  I ate whatever I wanted and decided I didn’t care if I gained weight.

By the time dinner came around, I didn’t even want to go grab something (this is a rarity).  And I decided to make chicken and rice.  We always have rice and frozen chicken, so as long as I’m willing to put forth the effort good things can happen.

I started the rice in the rice cooker.  I put some oil in a skillet and added some sage and garlic, added the chicken to that.  Started some mixed veggies and in pot and then I sat.  I didn’t know what to do.  I noticed some self-rising flour in my cupboard and decided to make some biscuits.  Something I’ve never done.  I made it with butter and milk instead of the shorting and buttermilk the package called for and I tossed in some Rosemary-Garlic spice that caught my eye.  10 minutes later my biscuits were done and so was everything else, except when I tested my rice, it needed more time.  I can never seem to get my brown rice cooked right.  So I decided to reheat some mashed potatoes that were just about past there time.   Everything tasted delightful (my husband agrees) and somehow my entire mood changed.  Guess using stuff I have and not being wasteful has a great positive effect on me.

I ended the evening sharing a glass of milk and some cookies with my little man – the perfect ending.

Today we had our left-over rice, extra biscuits and some chicken nuggets.  Two days of eating in, without going to the store in over a week, pretty good for us. 🙂

Days like today

I need more days like today.

We woke up early for us on a weekend: 8:30, showered then woke the kid up.  We ate breakfast and then headed down to the Children’s Museum.  We haven’t been there in about 2 months, and we’ve never gone as a whole family.  It was a good, relaxing time (with a few minor exceptions of kids being mean to Isaac).

On the way home we stopped for lunch and by the time we got home it was time for nap.  While Isaac napped, I got Zach to help me put air in my tires and I went on my first bike ride in about a year.  I bought this bike three-ish years ago – on a Wednesday – so Zach and I could ride together.  That Saturday we went on a bike ride.  I literally thought I was going to die.  I made it about a mile, before I thought I was going to puke.  We went home.  I spent an hour or so pacing the house, dizzy, feeling sick.  The next day we found out I was pregnant.  So much for bike riding for 9 months.  Then with a new baby it’s not like we can ride together anymore, so the thrill was lost.  I think I went on one bike ride last year.

Today, I hopped on and rode.  It was in the heat of the day (2:30), so I expected to get hot and not want to go far, but I really had fun.  I hadn’t had much water before my trip (only 2 cups to my normal 7 by that point), so I was a bit parched…next time I might consider my camelbak….I have it, might as well use it.  Anyway, I went a nice 3.5 miles, listen (and occasionally singing along) to worship music.  When I got home I felt so refreshed (and really sweaty!)

I had an hour or so to mess around on the computer and then we went to one of Zach’s co-workers houses for a BBQ.  We brought my mom and sat and watched the sunset and Isaac play.  So relaxing.  I love hanging out with my mom.  When we dropped my mom off, we decided to go inside and chat with my dad a bit, but he was video chatting with Stacy, so it turned into a whole family conversation….and of course, my “few minutes” turned into two hours.  Oops!

Now, we are home…in bed.  Isaac and Zach are watching Baby Signing Time (Isaac’s request) and I’m typing.  I didn’t do any laundry.  I didn’t do any dishes.  I didn’t sweep or vacuum or do any housework.  But I don’t feel guilty.  I had a good, relaxing day and spent great quality time with my family and God. 🙂

Ever wonder…

What happened to that one guy you sat across from in Math in 7th grade?  Or that girl that had everything in high school?  If so, you may have looked for them on Facebook, or they may have found you.

Facebook is great for finding what happened to these lost people from your past.  It was designed as a tool to keep in touch with others.  Makes the miles seem like feet and the years seem like days.  But in it awesomeness we lose a bit of wonder.  If this person is on Facebook, or one of there family members are, all questions answered.  That super popular person who was going to have the life dreams are made of works at the retails store down the street and has already been divorced twice.  That guy you never thought would settle down, has two kids and a beautiful house.  Mystery solved.

Now, who are you going to wonder about?  Oh, no fear…there are plenty of Facebook games to keep you occupied.  But be forewarned, you are going to have to start scheduling your life around them.  Tours need to be complete, crops will die and everyone needs gifts.  Be prepared to devote your life to this fantasy world.

With all this wasted time, you have little time left for the things of the past – things like letter writing and emailing.  Maybe you have the time, but why would you write?  Everyone already knows what is going on in your life because you post a status update at least three times a day.

Despite my little rant about Facebook, I do like it and will continue to use it.  I used to be a letter/email writer, not everyone was, so this is a good medium for them.  I’m sad though.  Will my kids know how to write letters?  You betcha.  But will there friends, girlfriends, children?  What will be the new technological craze then?  I’ve been re-reading old emails lately.  They were rather like blogs for me.  I purged everything in my head.  I didn’t even bother with organization or paragraphs, but I was consistent.  I was driven to keep in contact with people and let them know what was going on in my life.

Before email, even after, I had to check the mail every day in hopes I’d receive a letter.  Some unexpected little treasure.  I miss those days.  Now I dread getting the mail.  I’ll leave it for two or three weeks.  Sometimes they can’t cram anything else in and have to take it back to the post office. The mail is silly….almost all my bills are emailed to me, so the mail we are getting is pretty much all junk.  Occasionally, there will be something good….like a few weeks ago when Zach got an envelope from school with a letter and certificate stating he was on the Dean’s list.

But now I’m really off topic.  Would you ever guess that all this writing was really just to say that one of my favorite aspects of Facebook is the fact that I learn how people are connected.  My friends from high school might just be friends with one of my youth camp friends from another state, or maybe they are friends with my friends young brother or maybe there a person out there who knows three of the same people as I do, but they are all from three complete separate areas of my life.  It often reminds me of the six degrees of separation and it always makes me smile.  Maybe that is where my wonder is….in wondering how this connections were formed.