Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Potty Party! The Prep ...

We dove head-first into the potty training and have come out on the other side, relatively unscathed. I'll note here what we did for the future - perhaps it will be useful to you, too.

I think I might have mentioned that I attended a potty training class put on by my local Parents as Teachers group almost a year ago. It was way too early to be thinking about it, but I thought we might approach potty training before the next class rolled around. I would recommend something similar if you have access - it helps to recognize the signs of readiness and begin to formulate a plan of attack.

Just about 6 weeks ago I thought we weren't close to potty training, then our daycare teacher indicated that Ells was probably ready - she was successfully using the potty at school, was dry for a few hours at a time and was asking to go on occasion. Okay then. We waited until after our vacation, then went for it! It was earlier than I had planned / hoped, but I didn't want to miss our window of opportunity and 2 1/2 years is really the average age for potty training, which we are close to.

(To be fair, we had been talking a lot about the potty, trying before bath or bed or if Ellen asked, and working on her taking off her own pants or shorts. We read potty books here and there, not with an agenda, but just for general awareness.)

Most of my plan of attack was formulated by my bestie (the behavior analyst) and my other bestie (who writes down what the behavior analyst says). Bestie #2 potty trained her son earlier this spring, so I just did what she did!

Most of this is centered on the Potty Party / Potty Training In A Day idea. For a child who is ready, you can probably be reasonably potty trained within one day. Sound too good to be true? It isn't!

We started by talking about the upcoming "potty party" as soon as we got home from vacay. "In 1 week, no more diapers when you are awake! Are you excited for your potty party? You can wear undies!!" Blah, blah, blah ...

We shopped for big girl undies at Target - together. You must let them pick them out! And, we got tons - I bet about 35 pairs. Totally overkill, but you want to be sure to have PLENTY on hand for accidents the first weekend, and then if you need to send some to daycare or wherever. And word to the wise, the Circo brand undies are, shall we say, pretty form fitting. It seems like the underwear sizing for little girls is maybe different than clothes? I am so bad at that kind of thing. We ended up with size 4, because it was the smallest on the shelf, and it's fine for all the other brands.

I casually asked Ellen what surprise she might want at the end of her potty party and she asked for a chocolate cake with sprinkles. Easy. Done. (I think there may be some suggestion to actually take your child out of the house to a restaurant or some such as a surprise, but we elected not to.)

At our weekly grocery run, I had her point out treats she might like for her potty party. We never have juice boxes or chocolate milk in the house, but I planned to be a full-on beverage pimp, so wanted to have something enticing to her. I did a solo grocery run the Friday before our potty party and picked up a cart full of "junk": chocolate milk boxes, regular milk boxes, 2 kinds of juice boxes, jelly beans, M&Ms, salty snacks of all types, cereal bars, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, and a chocolate cake mix with sprinkles!

I also picked up a lot of treats / rewards / incentives. Each family will figure out the best way to do this - some use food and some don't. I elected to go kind of middle ground ... I'm not opposed to food as a reward, but I wanted her to have more to choose from so that she might not always pick candy. Our girl likes stickers, but not enough that I felt that stickers would really be rewarding to her. She does LOVE band aids, though, so I got several kinds of character band aids and cut up some stickers to all go in a box as her reward for each time she had dry undies.

When she successfully used the potty she got to pick from a box of bigger rewards: cereal bars, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, toys from the $1 aisle at Target, pieces of sidewalk chalk, small tubs of Play-doh, coloring books. Basically I just picked up some toys that I knew she already liked and that came in enough pieces that I could divide them up for rewards. I also happened upon an Elmo potty training coloring book that had a sticker chart. We read through the book the night before the potty party and she got to color in it the day of. The sticker chart worked for about 5 rounds of dry undies, and then she was over it.

I know this is really long ... I'll add the details of our day in another post. And then we'll get to the pooping - excitement!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Safety First

Have I titled another blog post this way? I think that pretty much means I am NOT in the running for mom of the year.

Just a heads up for you on a few safety scares of late ... don't want to find you shaking your head and pacing in the rain like I was.

#1 - "Travel Safety"
Our recent trip was super excellent, though left some parenting skills to be desired. On our first full day there, I put Ells down late for her nap in a pack n' play in a strange place - never a recipe for good napping. She seemed to be quiet, though the monitor wasn't working, so about 40 minutes into her "nap" I wandered to the bottom of the stairs to hear her yelling, "Mommy! Poopy!" Uhhhh ... at our house that means, "come change me!", but I wasn't sure what that meant elsewhere. Sure enough - I walk into the dark room to find her naked bum holding her diaper out over the edge of the pack n' play. Mind you, this is really only the second occasion that she has taken her diaper off in bed. I panic, then thank god that said poop is still entirely contained in the diaper and she hasn't peed in the meantime. I turn on all the lights, get her out of bed, and put her about 10 feet from me in the same room while I clean things up. Moments later I hear her spitting, and I round to the corner of the bed to find her spitting out Advil (!). She had managed to unzip our suitcase, get out my husband's dop kit, upzip it, find the (loose) Advil and started eating it. In like 2 minutes. Of course it looked just like candy, and thankfully didn't taste like it. GAH!

My point is ... medicine is clearly baby-proofed at our own house, though I didn't really think twice about throwing (relatively) loose medicine into my travel bag. Consider yourself warned.

#2 - "Have a spare"
Miss Ellen is a petite thing (well, to be fair, in height more than girth), but she does keep growing and is now tall enough to reach door handles and open doors. Our house is older, with some sticky doors and knobs, but she can mostly get into and out of wherever she wants. Soooo ... I was standing on the front porch Friday saying good-bye to a friend and Ells kept shutting the front door, and I kept opening it back up. Our front door generally is pretty sticky, so she couldn't shut it all the way. However. She did apparently learn to turn the little lock in the doorknob and slammed the door hard enough that I was locked out. In the (light) rain. With no spare key. The back door, which we usually use, was still locked because we hadn't yet been out for the day. I also learned that Ellen isn't super quick with the charades, but I did finally get back in. Lesson learned -get yourself a spare key to keep outside if you don't already! Soon enough your kid will be locking you out on purpose ...

Friday, April 22, 2011

I love me some Tina Fey

Sorry for the radio silence ... this potty training business is exhausting, on top of vaca-recovery and just general life-ness. I haven't paid this must intensive attention to my daughter since our first days home from the hospital and I think we are both tired of each other. :)

That being said, thanks to my friend Julie for giving me a laugh today via my friend (I wish!) Tina Fey. I know you've heard about her new book, Bossypants. I hope I can find some time to read it, and actually, maybe I can now that I am the owner of an iPad! Yessssss.

Back to the topic at hand .... Tina Fey's "The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter":

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Have baby, will travel: take 4

We successfully completed our 3rd airplane trip with Miss E, including her first purchased plane ticket. Booo. It is quite painful to pay hundreds of dollars for your toddler to have a seat on a plane, but I must say that it would have been a pretty miserable trip if Ellen was sitting on one of our laps (or more likely playing lap roulette) the entire trip.

I polled my friends via the Facebook about travel tips with toddlers and it was so interesting to see their answers! People were very evenly split about buckling your child in their car seat vs. checking the car seat for your destination. I was torn, but in the end we elected to check the car seat. Our theory was that we would check it on departure and, if the trip was a nightmare, we could buckle her in on the trip home.

She did great! We talked a lot in advance about wearing your seatbelt the whole trip, and there wasn't even a peep about getting out of her seat. In the end, I think you just have to judge how your child would likely behave. Ells is pretty content with food and DVDVs (yes, that is what she calls them), and I was willing to bet she would be content with an endless supply of fun new treats and Curious George movies for a mere 90 minutes without any plane changes. Turns out, I bet correctly. :)

Our rental car situation was SO much more pleasant with our own car seat vs. our previous attempt with their "vintage" car seat. We didn't even use a car seat bag - Southwest wrapped it up in a plastic sack for us - and things came out just fine.

My other tips are pretty minimal, but include packing a disposable plate/napkin/utensils if you will be traveling at mealtime. I packed a dinner of a fruit cup, PB&J sandwich, Horizon milk box (doesn't have to be refrigerated) and cheese stick. Everything fit in the standard approved quart bag and they didn't give me any hassle that the liquids weren't all 3oz. or less. We brought 2 suitcases for all 3 of us, plus 2 backpacks as carry-ons and it worked perfectly.

The best part of our trip, of course, was the destination. Watching our girl play with my best girlfriends' kiddos was just priceless. Tiring? Ummm, YES. New playmates apparently equals very poor sleep. None the less, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another sale! Art!

I love the idea of having an oversized picture of your kid in your house, like really a huge quirky one.

These images are from Lilly's Notebook, via Lulu DK for Lonny.

I ordered a large canvas on sale from One Kings Lane a few months ago and I'm still trying to decide on which picture to use.

They are on sale again today from Chic Canvas, sale through 4/8/11 at 8am PDT.

If you don't have a OKL account, here is a referral link - they have lots of great sales!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Let's check it out

Get it?
Check out?

Yep, we've finally made it to the library. I'm totally a slacker, as my mom is a former librarian and is still on the library board, but we just hadn't made it there. I feel like I checked out the infant story time and it didn't work with our schedule, and then I guess I just forgot about it.

Fast forward and story time is now on my day off, so we have been a few times and Ells is really getting into it. She loves to wander the aisles and pick out books to bring home, and these books are SO much more popular than the ones we already own. Of course.

I let her help me scan the books and get the receipt. We only had minimal trauma the first time we had to bring the books back, but now I think she gets the concept of "borrowing."

She did, however, rip a page out of one of the borrowed books. She has only done this about 3 times ever, so of course it had to be in a book we didn't own. Now we do own it, though, so if your child wants to rip a page out of a library book, make sure it is one you like!