Monday, May 30, 2011

Technical difficulties

A crashed laptop with a destroyed hard drive does not a good blogger make.

I had actually backed-up most of everything, save for the last 2 months. There were still tears when I thought about the pictures and videos that might have been lost. I still don't know if I have everything, but it could have been SO MUCH WORSE.

Please, friends. Don't do that to yourselves. If you are like me and ALL of your precious pictures and videos of your child live on your computer, you just cannot risk something happening to it.

I'll get back to some mom stuff soon, but for now my parting advice to you ...

Go right now and backup everything on your computer. Use an external hard drive AND an online subscription service (I use Backblaze) AND burn favorite photos and movies to a DVD AND put important work files on a thumb drive (and I'm going to experiment with Dropbox).

You know, just in case.

Also, and this is a bummer one, be sure to back-up your browser bookmarks or favorites in a file on your desktop. All of those carefully selected blogs and websites that I've accumulated over the last 4 years? Yep, gonesville.

True, this is minor trauma. I've had friends, though, who have had their laptop AND external hard drive stolen, or our incredibly sad neighbors in Joplin who just lost everything in an instant - you just don't know what might happen tomorrow.

Protecting your memories can make a sad situation just a little bit better.

Do it.

I hope you never have to thank me, because I hope it never happens to you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Survivor: Child Island

I can't take credit for the title - I read it somewhere (maybe in the comments of this link?) - but I chuckled and thought it sounded just about right for many a day.

I wrote down some Mom advice at a baby shower the other day and my #1 tip was that you get to start over each day! If you feel like you were an a-hole one day, or if your kid ate 3 bags of graham crackers for a meal, or if they went to bed with dirty feet, no worries. You get to try again!

In full disclosure, I'm not this laid back all the time, but I am getting better. There is something about having a living, breathing, talking toddler around ALL the time that makes me feel reassured that I haven't already screwed things up too badly.

Here is where I got the idea - go read Survivor Mom at Motherhood Uncensored. Make yourself feel better today. Then go have wine.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stay in your seat!

Another transition around here ... not a huge one, but still a change to our days.

We had still been using our Inglesina Fast Table Chair that I loved SO much for the majority of Ellen's meals. It was fast, simple, and best of all - it CONFINED her.

We have been having more family dinners - probably 3-4 times a week - and it has been challenging (at best) to have her stay in her seat to eat dinner. She has a little booster and we all sit at our dining room table. Initially, she would stay in her seat pretty well to eat, but then asked to get down to play. We have pretty much instilled the "stay at the table until everyone is finished eating" rule, but the "stay in your seat" part isn't working out so well. She asks to sit with me or Dad, which is a habit I don't like, but she also eats a better dinner if she is sitting with one of us. What to do?

So, we had a few parties and the high chair came down. I really wanted to put it back up, but she is certainly old enough to learn to sit in her chair and eat a meal. She does it at daycare with a table full of kids, so I know she can do it at home.

All of her meals are now served at her little table and chair set in the kitchen. She is not good at sitting still and eating her meal, and there are lots of ups and downs, but I think I am seeing some (slow) positive improvement.

Yet another one of those things that is challenging as a parent, yet good for your kid. Theme #1,467 of parenting, I suppose ...

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Maybe I'm the last person to figure this one out ...

Ells eats lots of tacos - seems that everything is more appealing when rolled up in a tortilla. She does, however, tend to have a meltdown when the contents fall out the bottom.

Finally last week, after lots of taco tears, I folded up the bottom like a burrito and secured it all with a toothpick.

Disaster averted.

It's the little things, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A trip to the Dentist can be lots of fun ...

I feel like the puppet master today.

Miss Ellen is scheduled for her first trip to the dentist on Friday. I feel like we might be late for this, which makes me nervous. If you know anything about me, it is that I am a rule-follower. I haven't had anyone firmly state that we need to get to the dentist (I think the AAP says 1 year, several friends have said 2 years or 3 years), but I still feel like I am going to get a slap on the wrist by the dental police.

(As an aside, I have a new theory on personality: I think you can tell a lot about a person by the type of toothpaste they choose in the dental office. Me? Always mint, every time, since early childhood. Pretty much tells the story, right?)

So. I don't know if I've really documented our battles related to The Brushing Of The Teeth, but it is generally the most unpleasant task of our day. I have tried every trick I can think of, with only short-lived success. Ells does generally respond well to authority figures, so I am hoping our friendly Dentist will give me a little boost in this department.

I took the same approach to our first dentist visit as I did for her first haircut - videos! There are quite a few Sesame Street dentist videos on YouTube. (And, seriously, look at this one on The Girl and her Llama at the dentist! My memory is crap and I TOTALLY remember this - what IS this all about?)

So, anyway, we made a trip to the library this morning for books about the dentist, but came away with a DVD ("A trip to the dentist can be lots of fun!"). Ells asked to watch it before nap and she was thoroughly enthralled by the puppet, Bucky the Beaver, and his visit to Dr. Rob.

I caught her singing the song before nap (... a trip to the dentist can be lots of fun ...).

She asked to brush her teeth before nap.

She woke up and said, "Mom. I HAVE to go the dentist!"

See? Like I said ... puppet master.

(And, at the risk of sounding like I know what I'm doing, I'll be sure to report back on our actual experience in the special chair!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Potty Party! The poop ... literally

We had three very successful days of peepee on the potty, but not so much with the poop. I knew it would be a challenge and many kids are #2 trained quite awhile after #1, but I was not looking forward to figuring this out.

In preparation, we had been talking lots about pooping in the potty for days in advance. We read the 'Everyone Poops' book over and over and over. We flushed the poop from her diaper in the toilet so she could see it. Didn't think I would talk so much about poop in my entire life.

Day one of potty party and she had a poop accident, which was pretty much to be expected. She didn't like it and was upset and wanted to get it fixed pronto. We still flushed the poop and explained that we would try again and she needed to let us know next time. I know you don't care about all the pooping habits of my child, but she isn't the kind of kid that gives much warning. I think she pooped again in her diaper at naptime and bedtime, which was fine, and I was happy she went because I didn't want to get into some nasty withholding-constipation nightmare.

The next day, I caught her mid-poop and had the portable potty right next to me in the family room and I just sat her down and tried to get her to finish. I was trying to be happy and relaxed and we read books and sang songs, but she couldn't relax. She kept trying to stand up to poop, poor thing. I don't blame her - when you do it that way for almost 2 years, must be hard to switch! (One tip is to try to catch your kiddo before they poop and just sit them on the potty, clothed and with diaper, so they can get used to pooping while sitting). I think she pooped again in her diaper for the rest of the weekend, when she was in bed, so we sent her off to school on Tuesday without any poop success over the weekend.

Same story all week, poop in diapers with maybe one accident at school. She did really great with peeing on the potty all week at home and school. She was home again Friday with me and I was really hoping we could make some progress. I'll provide more details than you want, but only because it might help. (Truthfully, I'm sure all of this is more detail than you want!) We were relaxing and reading books before nap and she still had her undies on (change to diaper just before bed) and she tooted ('Scuze me!). I asked if she needed to poop and she didn't protest very vigorously, so I sat her down on the potty in "her" bathroom. I don't know what possessed me, but I told her I would stand outside the (open) door and give her some privacy. I guess it did the trick because IT WORKED!

I laid on the praise like you wouldn't believe, she was proud of herself, and we called Daddy at work to share the good news. (You could sense the thrill in his voice. Ha!)

The next day, we tried again before nap in the same way and she did it again! Hip, hip, hooray!

So, by Sunday we were at our 3rd day in a row of no accidents at all, peeing and pooping on the potty. I asked her before lunch if she needed to poop and she said yes. Get thee to a potty, child! She now asks for "pi-vacy" - which is hilariously cute - and is quite proud of her success. On Sunday night, she was monkeying around in bed and when Daddy went to tell her to go to sleep she said she needed to poop, and lo and behold, she did! I thought this was quite the milestone, and I'm crossing my fingers the success continues.

So, in long-winded summary, we are 8 days into wearing undies as I write this. I think it is going great! I still do lots of prompting, probably more than necessary, and am working on finding the right balance of getting her to go when needed without setting up power struggles. We do a lot of - "time to go potty!" and she asks for 2 more minutes playing, so we set the kitchen timer and she goes in 2 minutes. She responds well to this because she feels in control of the situation, which I am mostly fine with, unless we need to get out of the house.

I'm still pretty gun-shy with the running errands and such. We haven't had any car accidents (yet) ... will let you know how that works out for us.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Potty Party! The day of ...

Have you been perched on the edge of your chair awaiting the rest of the details? Right. Didn't think so.

Nevertheless ...

We had our supplies:
- installed potty seat in all bathrooms
- portable potty in the room with us (just in case)
- small rewards (stickers / band aids) for dry undies
- bigger rewards for potty success (toys / food / small candy)
- lots of undies
- beverages and salty snacks
- activities to keep busy!

We had been talking up big girl undies for several days and were committed to undies from that point forward whenever she was awake. I explained that diapers were for sleeping and I know that it will be awhile before she is dry overnight - her diapers are still soaked in the morning, and almost always wet after nap.

(And, to be fair, this was our experience. Our girl had been successfully using the potty at daycare for almost 2 weeks, so this wasn't a huge new experience to her. We probably had an easier time of things than some others ...)

We started our day, bright and early, with both Mom and Dad on deck - no sleeping in this time! I took her diaper off, put her undies on and we went downstairs for breakfast. No PJs or clothes to get in the way, which was her choice.

We started breakfast, but I set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and explained that we would try to go peepee on the potty when the bell went off. We tried mid-breakfast, with no success, but she got a reward for dry undies. We tried again in 10 minutes and again in 10 minutes and I can't remember when she first had success, but she continued to get rewards for dry undies and then we spaced the timer out to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I was pushing beverages and whatever she wanted to eat to help her have success.

We continued this way ALL day - timer every 15 minutes, she had to try when it went off, and we had quite a few successes with only 1 accident when she was playing and didn't tell us she needed to go. It is hard to know how long to have your child sit on the potty to "try" - Ellen won't sit there for any length of time if she doesn't feel she has to go. No use forcing her and enduring the battle.

This is an exhausting undertaking because you are constantly "on" - trying to catch them in the act. I try not to let Ells watch much TV regularly, but there are days she watches more than I would like. I didn't want her to watch much, if any, TV at the potty party because she can zone out. We played lots of Play-doh and read books and colored and played on the new iPad (hooray!) which is another good reward.

She got a diaper for nap, and slept well after an attention-packed morning. I am just choosing to continue using diapers rather than Pull Ups, mostly because they are less expensive and we have tons. I just made the distinction that diapers are only for sleeping. Also, Ellen is still in a crib. My bestie (the behavior analyst) commented that she didn't know of any kids who potty trained while still in a crib!?! Ellen hasn't shown ANY signs of getting out of her crib, so I'm leaving her there. Since she is wearing diapers in bed it isn't a big deal, and when she transitions to a big bed she will probably be closer to wearing undies at nap/bed and we can deal with that then.

After nap, she went straight from crib to potty and then right back in undies. We continued our routine for the afternoon with lots of success. She maybe told us once or twice all day that she needed to go, which I thought was really good.

We had a family dinner and ended it with chocolate cake with sprinkles and we congratulated her TONS on having such a great day of pottying! It helped that both sets of grandparents stopped by, too, to get in on the high fives.

On Sunday, we continued with a similar routine, but a little more relaxed and no pushing of fluids. We used the timer some in the morning, then just switched to asking her about every 15-20 minutes if she needed to go. We had an accident or two when she said she didn't need to go, but I think it is a learning experience to wet your pants and see that you don't like it! Of course, no reprimanding for accidents - just better luck next time! She still got rewards for potty success, but she also had to (attempt) wipe, flush and wash her hands to get a reward. She got a reward for dry undies if she asked, but she mostly forgot about it.

After three full days at home, I felt very good about her overall success with peeing on the potty. She was telling us more when she needed to go, though still requires quite a bit of prompting a week+ later. I have also found that sometimes she won't take the time to try to go unless I "threaten" her. Not a mean threat, of course, but if I know she hasn't peed in an hour or more and she wants to color with chalk or play Play doh, I'll tell her we can't do it until she peepees. Miracle of miracles, she almost always does! I won't claim that this is good parenting, but she is so anxious to play that she often won't sit long enough on the potty to give it a fair shot. And, I always try my hardest to get her to pee before we leave the house, and then we find the bathroom and try again when we get to our destination. We haven't attempted a Target run or grocery run yet, but the plan will be the same. Guess I better find all those bathrooms!

Also, after three full days at home, no poop success. More on that later ... I know you can't wait.