Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day in the Life Summer 2017

These were events as they occurred on 23 July 2017

Husband 42 years
Jane 41 years
Kayla 9 years
Tyler 4 years
Kate 2 years 

0335 My slumber is disturbed by the sound of Kate mumbling, "Mommy... MOMMY"
0336 I quickly hop out of bed and find Kate standing by the gate which prevents her from escaping her room.
0337 I direct Kate to go back to her bed as I use the bathroom.
0340 Finish in the bathroom and stand outside Kate's door. Holy shit! She's fallen back asleep in her bed on her own.
0343 I'm ecstatic about the fact that she fell back to sleep on her own and I'm nervous that she'll wake up again; hence I can't fall back asleep
0415 Still awake.
0420 Briefly check a few news stories on my phone. Stop as I acknowledge this isn't going to help me sleep
0430 Work on composing a few blog posts in my mind. Someday, these words will meet my keyboard.
~0500 fall back asleep
0602 Hear Kate cry at her gate "Out?" "Out!" "Out!!!"
0604 Grab her milk and release her from her room prison; bring her to our bed for morning milk.
0605 Husband has turned on coverage of the final stage of the Tour de France. Kate has been really into watching the bicycles (which she was originally pronouncing as "bad giggles" We had a bit of fun with that, but worked to correct her.)
0620 Wow, somehow I managed to get a short cat nap. I can hear Husband and Kate in the kitchen and I hear Kate asking "where's Mummy?"
0621 Time to get out of bed and she's now grabbing my hand demanding "Mommy, get down!"
0625 Discover that the blue light is on the Kurig, indicating that the water reservoir needs to be refilled. Give Husband shit about it, as if I leave the blue light on, I get treated like the worst person in the world.
0630 My Coffee is ready. I really need it.
0635 Prepare protein shake and starting logging foods for the day
0640 Try to encourage Kate to eat something for breakfast. She wants applesauce. Why not?
0700 Plan out meals for the week and make shopping lists. I was too tired to do this last night.
0715 Husband attempts to Face.time with his parents. I secretly wish he would do this after I've left for the gym
0716 No answer. (Phew)
0720 Kate wants to play in her room. I go with her to give Husband a rest so he can make his breakfast
0745 Take note that Kate hasn't peed since she woke up. Offer her some "coco water" [coconut water]
0755 Realise I should get ready for the gym
0800 While I am getting changed, Kate announces "pee-pee" I follow her to the bathroom, but am told "STAY MOMMY".
0802 Hang back in the hall and listen for her to finish. Go in to help wipe and dump/clean the potty.
0810 As I am getting ready to leave for the gym, Kate is suddenly very clingy
0812 Get in my car and drive off. I can hear her screaming from the garage.
0826 Arrive at the gym. The new Saturday coach is filling in today
0840 I'm liking this new coach as he's very creative and always is thinking up new activities. Today's was trying to row exactly 100 meters. If you were over or under, you had to do 2 air squats per meter (with a max of 16). After nearing hitting the max on my first attempt (107 meters) I hit 100 meters exactly twice.
0900 It's somewhat of a partner WOD as you had so share a bar with someone else, although you each have an individual time. I like partner stuff, as it pushes me to go heavier. I find someone with a similar ability. We work up to 60 kg for a deadlift and 35 kg for a 3 squat clean/5 push press/1 Overhead Squat combo. I would have gone heavier on the deadlift, while I think she would have preferred to be heavier on the other lifts. Compromise
0925 Finish the WOD. Glad we didn't go heavier than 60 kg on the deadlifts, probably could have done slightly heavier on the other bar.
0927 Husband and Kate arrive. She has two baby dolls, her Dress-Me Kitty and a blanket because it must be that kind of morning
0930 As Husband is doing his warm-up and I'm getting ready to go, Kate gets a major case of Daddyitis. "Daddy" she whines incessantly. "DADDY!" DAADDDDYYYY" He acts annoyed, but really must feel like a rock star.
0940 Driving home and she's still crying for "Daddy." I'm not resentful at all.
0955 Arrive home. Yes, I did an extra loop around our block as she was starting to fall asleep.
1000 I leave the garage door open while she's sleeping in the car and jump in the shower. Twice I think she might be waking up
1015 Take meat out of the chest freezer to thaw for tonight's dinner. Prepare her snack bag and grab my cloth bags for shopping.
1025 Chase Tyler back into the house and set alarm even though Husband will be coming home soon.
1045 Realise I've just spent about 15 minutes on Facebook when I was intending to log my WOD and foods. Decide to leave right now or else risk her waking up just as Husband arrives home
1105 Arrive at the Farmer's Market. Kate is stirring a bit. She wakes as I try to transfer her into her stroller. I offer her the Portette potty, she's refusing. She's fussing when I attempt to strap her into the stroller, but she also fussed when I tried to fold it up. She climbed in it, but refused to be strapped. Oh well, this can work.
1107 Chat with the hummus vendor as he confirms if I'll take my usual order. He remarks at how big Kate has grown and reflects that he recalls when I was pregnant. This is why I love the Farmer's Markets. [I later ran into this guy in later this week -I really should learn his name] I ask for a plain hummus sample for Kate
1110 Kate is not liking the hummus and is wiping it on her stroller
1111 Deviate from my usual course so I can hit the coffee vendor to steal some napkins to clean the hummus. Receive dirty looks as I looks like I'm jumping the queue.
1115 Come to the end of an aisle and find a discreet place to try to get her to use the potty. Get out the portette. She isn't offering any resistance, so I help her with her pants. As she is peeing, I look for wipes in the bag. Crap. I forgot to restock wipes! Good thing I still have some napkins and some hand sanitizer.
1118 As I'm repacking the potty backpack, I notice that Kate is directly eating out of a bag of strawberries. Have at it.
1125 We hit other vendors at the Market, Kate decides she wants out of the stroller so she can walk. It's good timing as the bags are getting heavy, so I can place them in the seat of her stroller
1130 Kate approaches a vendor who is selling grapes. She grabs an entire bunch from the sample table. I offer to pay for the grapes, but the saleslady refuses to take my money. I buy some peaches, even though I don't like them and probably won't eat them. Fortunately, these grapes are very small and don't need to be cut up
1135 We leave the market. I feel guilty as I parked in Target's parking lot (which has many signs forbidding market parking) while I'm not shopping at Target today.
1145 Arrive at a Sporting Goods store as I need more Ultra.Swim shampoo and conditioner. I'm out of conditioner and I had to ask the really hot guy on our team if I could borrow some from him.
1148 Browse through a clearance rack as I need more gym shorts and yoga tops. Not finding anything suitable
1150 I really needed to pee, so Kate and I go to the bathroom. There are two empty stalls. Kate runs into one. She tells me "Stay Mommy," but I help her push down her pants and put her on the toilet while I go into the other stall.
1151 She announces "all done" although she didn't pee. She jumps off the toilet, pulls up her pants and crawls into my stall.
1153 As I'm finishing, someone else arrives in the next stall and Kate tries to crawl into her stall. I probably should have explained that we stay in our own stall earlier.
1155 Quickly wash hands and rush out of the bathroom before the other woman comes out of the stall.
1157 Grab two sets of shampoo and conditioner so I won't have to make this trip again for a while
1159 Kate has wandered over to the camping section. There is a display of chairs in a circle around a faux camp fire and there is a grandfather and his two tweenager kids who are trying out the chairs. Kate decides she needs to sit in the chairs too. All of them.
1220 We're still in the camping section. The other family can sense that I'm desperate to leave and they get up from the chairs. As we saw a dog waiting outside the store when we entered, I start talking to her about seeing the doggie.
1230 I let Kate pick out a mini-Lara bar as we check out. She's distracted and forgets about seeing the doggie, who has left with his owner.
1235 Sigh as I get back in my car. 50 minutes just to get shampoo. Why couldn't I have borrowed some from the hot guy again?
1255 Arrive at Chip.olte. Inform Kate that we need to put pee-pee in the potty first. She echos "Potty First!" loud enough for some diners to hear
1300 Success on the potty and staying in our own stall
1305 The queue has dissipated during our washroom trip and we walk right up to the counter. The woman reminds me that guacamole is extra. Sigh. I know quac is extra, I can read the sign. It's even more confusing as I ask for an empty guac container...
1307 I received a free cup for water, although I'm really tempted to get just a swig of Coke.Zero as I could use the caffeine. Kate asks for water (even though I got a milk for her). I feel she is serving as my moral compass
1310 Sit down to eat and fill some beans and meat into the plastic container for Kate and top it with a bit of guac. She just eats the guac and then starts eating the rest of it from my bowl.
1315 Finally get her to eat some beans and chicken by dipping it the small amount of guac I was hiding under some lettuce and spoon feed it to her. Hate the fact that we're going backward with me feeding her; but hey, she's getting some protein.
1320 Leave Chip.olte and head for Whole Foods. Kate stops to pet two doggies in the 25 yard journey. I'm hoping that she doesn't notice the frozen yoghurt shop
1321 Of course she did, as she heads right in and adds a "C'mon Mommy!"
1322 I decide she can have yogurt as she ate a decent lunch. I wasn't going to get any for myself until I checked and discovered that 2 oz of sugar-free, fat-free vanilla with no toppings is only 10 grams of carbs. The saleslady gives me a weird look when I asked her to weigh the cups separately.
1330 Head to Whole Foods. Kate spots a mini-trolley and motions that she wants to sit in the main part of the cart. (The mini-trolleys have signs instructing you to not place your kids in the baskets). I'm a badass shopping cart mom, so I put her in the mini-trolley, especially since we only need a few items and I anticipate this will be a quick trip.
1331 As soon as I walk in the door, I'm busted by a check-out lady for having my kid in the mini-trolley.
1332 We go back to the front of the store to get a large sized regular card. I let Kate sit in the main section
1335 There is a guy giving away sample bottles of a new green tea. I take one as I didn't get anything to drink during lunch
1355 Check out at Whole Foods and head back to my car to drop off the WF purchases before going to Safe.way
1400 Potty stop first at Safe.way. Somehow she manages to wet her pants and I have to change her. Not counting this as a miss.
1405 Although we just had lunch and yoghurt, Kate still seems hungry, so I give her some crackers from my emergency snack bag. It does keep her occupied while I'm shopping.
1445 Head back to my car. It's a scorching 99 degrees out and Kate is saying 'hot' as soon as I try to put her in the car. I load all the groceries in the boot first and then strap her in. I leave the trolley in the parking space next to me like an asshole, as I don't want to leave Kate in the hot car even for a few seconds to return the card to the rack.
1446 I do realise I could have left Kate in the trolley, pushed in back to the rack and then carried her back to the car. I will try to be a better citizen next time.
1450-1515 Watch the temperature as I drive home, it hits 101, the drops to 92 as I approach the tunnel and is 79 by the time I pull into my driveway. Kate sings a few songs during the car ride. I tried to sing along, but was promptly told "Mommy, NO."
1520 Kate is so excited to see her Daddy when we get home. It gives me a chance to peacefully unload the car.
1530 My parents care calling to Face.time with Kate. I was hoping to start my meal prep for the week
1635 Finish chatting with my parents who will be visiting in a few weeks
1640 Husband offers to do my meal prep and get dinner ready if I take Kate to the pool. I suspect he was watching a movie while we were out and wants to finish it
1700 After changing into our swimwear, I grab some towels and place Kate in her push trike to head to the pool.
1715 Husband has sent me three texts asking how to cut my carrots.
1720 There is a girl about the age of 7 or 8 swimming in the pool as her mother is sunbathing. She swims over to Kate and offers her a plastic pool toy. Kate starts throwing it so the girl can swim after to retrieve it.
1735 Perhaps bored of the game, the girl decided to go into the hot tub and her mother joins her. Kate decides she wants to go over to the deep end and jump in [while I catch her]
1750 Time to go home. Kate and I rise off under the pool shower. I decide this can count as her bath for tonight.
1805 Arrive home and change out of our wet swim gear.
1813 Start working on dinner while Kate is sitting on Husband's lap. She is requesting to listen to "Musique." Specifically, "ABBA." She gets annoyed when a non-ABBA song comes up on Pandora. We are serious considering upgrading for the unlimited skips and no ads.
1830 Pack my lunch and Kate's snack bag for tomorrow
1845 Our dinner is almost ready. It's South Beach Chipolte Chicken Chili, which is too spicy for Kate. I heat up some breakfast sausages for her.
1847 She's more interested in the shredded cheese we've sprinkled on the chili. I'm pleased that she's actually sitting down to eat.
1900 We actually finish a civilised with everyone sitting on the table. I offer her some pineapple while Husband and I clean up from dinner.
1903 I notice that she is removing each piece of pineapple from the container and is placing them in line on the table. I feel I should be discouraging this... but it's keeping her occupied... so I keep cleaning...
1905 I look over and see that she has emptied out the pieces of pineapple and is drinking the juice directly from the container. I have to admit that she has seen me do this on a few occasions
1906 I hear pieces of pineapple hitting the floor. Time to clean up.
1910 I was going to suggest that we could take a walk around the neighbourhood, but Kate announces that she needs to poop.
1911 I attempt to follow her to the bathroom, but am told "Stay, Mommy!" She tries to close the bathroom door, but it doesn't close all the way. I can see that she makes it on to her potty. I go into her room to tidy her toys and pick out her clothes for tomorrow.
1915 She's still sitting on the potty singing to herself.
1920 Time to wipe/clean up the potty. Decide this is a good time to get her changed and ready for bed, albeit a little early. I make a note that we have completed the day without an accident.
1925 I go into the garage to get a pork tenderloin out of the chest freezer, so it can defrost for tomorrow. Kate follows me and starts playing with a toy race car set that she received for her birthday.
1927 Husband had started a load of laundry while Kate and I were at the pool and forgot to empty the machine. While Kate plays, we hang up the wet clothes.
1940 Bribe Kate to come in from the garage with the promise of milk.
1941 Kate announces that she needs to pee. Suspect this is a delay tactic.
1945 She actually does need to pee. Use the bathmat in the bathroom to re-diaper her.
1948 Head into her bedroom and Husband brings in her milk. She wants him to read her stories tonight.
1950 He reads three books, but she wants me to read "one more book" which turns into three more books
2005 Time to brush teeth. Husband has pre-loaded the toothpaste on her toothbrush as she has been drinking the toothpaste straight from the tube.
2008 Husband says good night and exchanges kisses with Kate before handing her off to me to snuggle on the glidder
2011 She shifts around on my lap for a few minutes; then announces "Bed",
2012 I place her in her bed and I lie on the mattress next to her bed.
2014 She requests to have her Kitty
2015 She requests to be tucked into her blanket
2017 I retrieve my phone (which I had hidden earlier under her bed) and discretely I finish logging my foods for the day and catch up with
2026 She seems to have fallen asleep. I quietly leave the room and latch her gate.
2030 Change into bed clothes and climb into bed.
2031 Husband starts watching Game of Thrones. I know everyone else on the planet loves this series, but I can't stand it. I tried to get into it, but I couldn't keep all the characters straight and the violence is just too much for me. Usually, I won't even stay in the room while it's on, but I actually don't have any food prep or kitchen chores to do. I have another project that I could be working on, but I'm way too tired at this point in the night.
2040 I was going to start writing some blog posts, but don't have the energy, so I check out the latest blog post from our nutrition coach as apparently, he has time and energy to write some posts.
2115 "Boobs!" Husband announces as there is a graphic sex scene on GOT. After a year of breastfeeding, I am happy to see he's returned to his default response to breasts.
2125 There is an intense battle scene a the close of GOT. I leave a comment on the Nutrition coach's blog. My iPad defaults my identity as Jane Allen. ...Awkward...
2130 Now Husband is watching Ballers. Another show I just can't get into. I can't wait until John Oliver comes back.
~2145 I fall asleep, which is pretty early for me, but I need to take advantage of as much sleep as I can in anticipation of Kate waking up in the wee hours of the morning..

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Two Years!

Refusing to cooperate for a birthday photo

Oh, how I've changed in just two short years. A few months ago, I received a flyer in the mail for a medical education conferencce in San Diego. It offered 22.5 credit, almost a quarter of what is required of me over a two year period and was only $350.  It was to be held from Friday to Sunday morning, so I would only need to take one day off from work, and with such a quick flight I  could leave early Friday morning and still be back in time to shop and meal prep on Sunday. I decided I couldn't pass on such an opportunity to prudently use my CME funds. Oh, and did I mention that I'd have two whole nights to myself for the first time since Kate was born? As some of you may remember, I had recently spent my first time away from her, but it was with my parents. I was looking forward to sitting by the pool without a chaperone. Preferably while sipping an adult beverage and reading a book. 

Yet, as it goes with so many things, the fantasy in my mind was much better than the reality. The conference itself was great, but while the Easy Bay was suffering an oppressive heat wave, San Diego was grey, overcast and barely 65 degrees. So much for sitting by the pool. I used to really enjoy conferences for the opportunity to meet other clinicians and explore a new city. I'd often seek someone else who was attending the conference by herself and invite her to join me for dinner at some local and popular restaurant. As I had been up since 4 AM to catch my early flight, I was so tired and I felt that I couldn't make the effort to engage with anyone else. I ended up needing to cut my trip short as my cousin was somewhat unexpectedly in town, so I changed my flight and left Saturday afternoon. What surprised me is how relieved I was to be going back home. How much I missed home. As an only child, I always thought I'd mourn the loss of my alone time after marriage and motherhood. Yet here I was, all alone, and I was lonely. I missed Husband, Kate and Tyler kitty. I shivered my way though a nice meal at the hotel's waterfront restaurant and went back to my room, changed into my bed clothes and watched The Rock on TNT, which is one of those movies that we've seen over a dozen times, but always have to watch whenever we find that it is being shown. It all felt very anticlimactic for my big night all to myself. Maybe it would have been different it had been bright and sunny and I could have had my time by the pool.

Likes: Showers! Thanks to everyone who chimed in on how to help our situation with the bath. A few days later she walked into the bathroom when I was about to get into the shower and just stripped down and announced that she wanted to join. Problem solved! She loves the shower and it's more convenient for us. The only issue we've had is that she likes it too much and will demand, "I want shau-wer" a few times during the day. We've been trying to explain the situation with the drought and that we only shower once a day, unless we get dirty, which apparently was an invitation for her to draw all over herself with markers so she could score a second shower. 

"Giggle" As I've previously written, I've been trying to avoid any iphone time with her, but I finally caved. She had been refusing any attempts at cutting her nails and one day she scratched me with one of her talons. I turned on the iPad to the sign language videos that I had downloaded for our flight home from London. (in hindsight, it wasn't a good idea to use a sign language video while I was trying to cut her nails, but it worked.) Too well. After we were done, she started demanding (and using the 'more' sign) "more giggle." (I have no idea where she came up with the term 'giggle') "MORE GIGGLE!" "GIGGGGGLEEE"  and cue major meltdown. I was and yet wasn't surprised how she could become so hooked after that brief encounter. She was still requesting "giggle" for the next few days and if she spots my phone, she identifies it as "giggle". We did give in an get a phone for her. Sort of. I was passing an table of clearance items at a baby supply store and found a toy mobile phone that teaches numbers in English and Spanish. One day when her nap was out of sync with my swim practice and gave her the toy phone and some snacks as she sat in her stroller parked by the pool. I've worked out how often I need to get out and check in on her if she's awake during swim practice. A cup of milk will give me about 500 yards. If it's a repeating set, I'll get out after each interval to give her a new food item, but on this day, she didn't fuss at all and I stayed in the pool the entire time. My coach noted that she seemed to be talking with herself on her phone. I was so happy to see that she was starting to use her imagination to entertain herself. 

Her Vacuum. I'm trying to establish that we don't get a new toy everytime we go to a store, but on a recent trip to another baby supply store, she was able to keep herself distracted by pushing around the display model of a Dyson vacuum (it seriously looks like the real thing). I had a 20% off coupon that was about to expire, so I thought it would be a good use for it and bought one for her. She seriously loves it and will vacuum along side me. I'm thinking any toy that encourages cleaning is a good investment. (Random note about vacuums: we used to be total Dyson snobs, especially as one of my University flatmates was somehow related to the famed inventor, and we beleived that they were worth the high price. However after we went through three models within seven years, Husband decided to do some further research and went with the Hoover for pet hair. So much better and one third of the price of Dyson. 

She's become obsessed with my glasses. 

Dislikes: Getting dressed and staying dressed. We've entered into the 'clothing optional' phase, where she wants to run around naked. We're trying not to make too much of a big deal as a). we're hoping it's just a phase. b). it's been really, really hot lately. and c). we've had to revert back to doing some naked potty training. She does seem to be interested in picking out her clothes (and once went out her her jammies as she could only open the drawer for night wear) so I've moved all her clothes to the bottom drawer and I let her pariticipate in selecting what she wants to wear. 

She also doesn't like Pandora ads and will freak out demanding "More Music!" She also does not like it if I join in singing or dancing with her. I've been told "No, Mommy." 

Diapers: So, by the time I took my week off to work on potty training after Memorial Day, she was pretty much completely using the potty for #1 at home. My goals were to get her to poop on the potty and to manage outings. Our first trip out was an EPIC FAIL. We went to Buy Buy Baby and as soon as we entered the store, I told her it was time to put her pee-pee in the potty and she went on the toilet. So far, so good. Perhaps too good and I was probably feeling more smug than I should have been. We barely stepped outside the bathroom and she pooped. Back to the restroom to change. A few minutes later, I was looking for a larger sized sleep sack. Kate had wandered off, but was still in my peripheral vision. I heard someone say, "Is this your child? He or she is peeing.." Ugh! Back to the bathroom again! BBB has a fenced play area for children, so I dropped Kate off and ran two aisles down to pick up a pack of wipes. I couldn't have been gone more than twenty seconds. When I came back she was wet. Face palm. It was a good thing I was purchasing some more training pants and we went through all the ones I brought with us. I figured that she has to have accidents in order to learn. Plus, I reckon that many other babies have had their share of accidents in Buy Buy Baby. 

She did get much better as the week progressed. When ever we would arrive at a store or restaurant, our first stop is to locate the bathroom, so we can put pee-pee in the potty. She did well with prompting, but I would discover that when she annouces "pee-pee" in a store; it means 'I need to go NOW' or 'I am going NOW!' At home, she can take her sweet time, pick up a toy or book along the way, and still make it, but not when we're in public. After having a few misses because we didn't make it in time, I changed out our diaper bag to The Potty Backpack. A backpack is much easier to wear than the over the shoulder diaper bag and I can be ready to spring into action at barely a moment's notice. The Potette travel potty is the best thing since sliced bread. It can be used as a seat reducer (although Kate doesn't like it and will use a 'big girl potty' in public) or you can put a bag over the seat and it stands on retractable legs to be a potty placed on the ground. Twice, we've copped a squat in Safeway to quickly catch a pee. (Fortunately, no one else was in the aisle) 

There are some other essential items to carry in your diaper/potty bag that I wish I had seen written down somewhere before we started venturing out of the house: It was recommended in my potty training book to carry a wet bag and some dry pants, undies and socks. Maybe it's just not applicable since it's been so warm and we're not wearing socks, but I found I needed to carry an extra pair of shoes. Sometimes two pairs, as when kids have an accident; it goes right into the shoes. Eww. Gross. I have to give a shout out for Crocks. While I'm not too fond of them for adults, they are great for kids for this reason. You just throw them in the wash with the rest of the wet clothes. I also discovered having some old washclothes on hand is very useful, although wipes are still essential, they're not absorbant enough to clean up a major accident. Something else that would have been handy to know ahead of time; you don't need to be super sterile and bleach the kiddie potty every time she pees, just using regular baby wipes will suffice. I noticed a fine rash on the back of Kate's thighs and concluded it was from the Chlor.ox bleach wipes I was using. Cue Mom Guilt. 

We did hit a small set back (interestingly, it was while I was making final edits to my potty training post). She would be willing to sit on the potty in public when prompted, but wouldn't go. (Recently she voiced that a toilet in Tar.get was "dirty" -it was stained on the bottom, but the seat was clean- She didn't pee on the potty and had a miss right as were were walking out of the bathroom. When we were at home, she would announce "pee-pee", we would do our 'run, run to the potty', but she would stop abruptly in the hallway and then walk back to where she was playing. I tried prompting her by bringing her to the bathroom and I got the full on, crying, screaming, meltdown of refusal. Oh shit. I was partially blaming the regression on the fact that Husband was away (he was away during the week I took off and was away for part of the following week and again for another week) but I was determined to stay the course and to push through. I fed her more fluids as she played in the kitchen and when I could tell she needed to pee, I slipped the potty under her and scored two catches before her bed time. The next day she was back to not only using the potty, but having the same sense of satisfaction, "I DIDIT" and was wanting to flush and clean the potty with me. I'm finding now that she is wanting a bit more independence. We were out in public and she tried to push me out of the stall, so I had to wait outside. At home, I hang out by the bathroom door and just ask if she needed help wiping and washing her hands. I remind myself that the potty training learning curve is not linear on a daily basis. She'll do really well and pee when prompted and tell me she needs to go in public; then come home and have a total miss. Sigh. It will all come together. Eventually. 

Clothes: I came to pick up Kate from Day Care one day, and I discovered that she had grabbed a pair of Pepp.a Pig underwear from someone else's cubby and was trying to put it on. While I was impressed with her initive, I had to explain that we don't wear other people's underwear. The next day we went shopping for undies. I was noticing that she would pee a little bit into her training pants on the way to the potty. She was getting most of the pee into the potty, but the pants were wet enough that they would need to be changed. Every time. My book suggested that the training pants are sometimes thick enough to feel like diapers, so putting the undies on under the training pants can help. We also switched from the one piece pajamas to separates to make it easier to go potty in the morning. I wasn't as emotional about parting with the onesie PJs and they were a pain in the ass. Plus these new PJs look so comfy, I wish they came in my size. 

Sleep: We've had no wake ups before 6 AM since my last update! Yay! Actually she's been sleeping later in the mornings as we have been pushing her bed time out a little bit. It used to be that we'd start to get her ready at 7, be finished with milk and stories by 7:20. I would leave the room at 7:25 and she would usually be asleep by 7:30. Lately we've been starting the process closer to 7:45. Some of this is due to the fact that I'm trying to wait for her to pee one last time, but also because it's still very light out as we just hit the longest day of the year. While I really like it when she sleeps passed 7 on a weekend morning, I'm a litte annoyed with the later bedtime, as it is cutting into my evening time.  However,  I'm finding that our cuddle time on the glidder is starting to feel awkward as she's getting too big to sit on my lap. As a result, it's getting shorter and shorter and I think she finds herself uncomfortable and starts pointing to her crib. She's now started requesting to take Baby and Kitty to bed with her. I do have to go back in and remove Baby from her crib, as the doll 'cries' if you squeeze her, so if Kate rolls over on the doll, it will cry and a few times, I've been woken up by the doll's cry.

Eating: A month or so ago, when she was at the start of the horrific GI virus and didn't feel like eating; I gave her some diluted Nak.ed brand blended juice in order to get some calories in her. Now she's hooked on "soup". Like "giggle", I have no idea where she came up with this term as we've never served her any soup and rarely have any ourselves. She's also hooked on "coco [coconut] water". Oh, and remember when I was that mom who insisted on preparing all of her child's food herself? Yeah, those days went out the window when I discovered these:

Now packing her snack bag is a snap! Just drop one of these bad boys and you're done. I also picked up a maze tray (pictured below) from the same Babies R'Us clearance table as the learning numbers baby mobile phone. (I love it when impluse buys turn out to be great investments). She seems to be eating better since using this tray. Incidently, while Tyler has stopped batting his paws on the shutters in the middle of the night, he now starts meowing incessently between 4 and 5 AM. I'll get up to check that he has dry food and if his bowl is full, I'll let him meow-it-out. Just like CIO, it works for cats too as his meowing time has dropped from over an hour to 10-15 minutes. Still it's enough to wake me and sometimes I can't fall back asleep, so it prompted another 'Help! My cat is being an asshole!' email to the vet and she suggested getting him a food puzzle bowl, so he'll be more stimulated and won't meow out of boredom. I just think it's so interesting that similar tactics work for pets and kids. 

Milestones: I think she must be working on manners at Day Care, because it seems like overnight she started saying 'please' and 'thank-you' all the time without any prompting; but I also wonder if it was merely a matter of time. I think back to two month ago when we were in LA and the other mother was admonishing Kate over her lack of manners and I want to flip her off. She also recognises that you are supposed to acknowlege when someone sneezes (or coughs, as she can't quite distinguish) and she'll say "Achoo". I had a coughing fit one morning and she kept repeating "Achoo. Mommy" "Achoo, Mommy." It is so adorable, I don't want to correct her. She's also become very good at saying sorry, and in particular if done something like stepping on your foot, she'll rub it as well.

My pediatrician wanted her to know at least three colours by her second birthday, and I'm pleased to report she knows the full rainbow, plus a few new colours. Although she knows the proper name and sign for 'orange', anything orange coloured is "Lylah" after Tyler. An orange toy airplane is a "Lylah plane". The Indian food truck that is tikka masala coloured, it's a "Lylah truck." Her other new colour is "bluazul". I've been working the Spanish, but apparently I confused her into thinking it's one word. While she doesn't speak too many Spanish words, she does recognise the words. We'll look at her big book of Spanish words and if I ask "Donde esta el perro?" she can point to the picture of the dog. 
She's also started singing a few songs. She doesn't yet know all the words, but she can keep up with the cadence. Much like an adult singing along to the radio. She knows "Ba-Baa Black Sheep" "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" "Twinkle, Twinkle" and the Alphabet Song. She also started saying "I love you" to me and Husband, as she learned the phrase after singing "The Wheels on the Bus". That annoying song proved to be good for something. 

Health Issues: I just realized that she hasn't needed to make any visits to her pediatrician since her last well baby visit at 18 months. I thought we were going to break that streak when she had a fever over 4th of July weekend, but it was quickly resolved. I had stopped trying to put on those stupid toe splints to help her overlapping toes and I just couldn't bear the battle every night. Eventually, they became misplaced and Husband ordered some more online. Not only did she cooperate with letting us put them on, she didn't want us to take them off in the morning. (Crying is sometimes involved) Now she actually reminds us that we need to put them on at night, and even tries to put them on herself. Who is this child and what has she done with my daughter? 

Activities: We finally started soccer! Last year, I learned about a soccer class for two year olds that is held on Tuesday mornings, very close to our house. I've been stalking their schedule all year long, waiting until we could finally register for their summer programme. Kate apparently does not share my enthusiasm, as she is just not getting into soccer. She doesn't want to participate in any of the games (except when they play 'Red Light/Green Light) and would rather dive over the inflatably bumpers that define the soccer space, or vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv (Kate just jumped on my lap to give her input) she'll want to walk along the the stone wall. As a former gymnast, I'm starting to recognise that she has an apt for gymnastics. A few weeks ago, I found her placing herself in a sort of downward dog position, and I started teaching her how to do a forward roll. I think I'll start looking into gymnastic classes after this soccer session ends. While I loved my experience in gymnastics, I'd rather see her participate in soccer, [field] hockey, swimming or tennis. 

Looking Forward to... This is really silly, but it will be nice and simple to merely say "I have a two year old". I've struggled with telling people her age after she turned one year. I know people without kids especially become annoyed when you report your kids age in months or fractions, so I had to say "she's  a little over a year... she's a year and a half (yes, I said half -deal with it).. she's almost two years..." While brings me to what I'm going to do with these updates. I told myself that I would switch to reporting on a quarterly basis, but as you can read... they've become quite addictive to me... so you may be subjected to Kate 2.125 and 2.375... Sorry. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

One Week Later...

Thank you to everyone who gave advice about our big girl bed transition. Husband consulted a few of his colleagues with kids and received much of the same recommendations; skip the toddler bed, involve her in shopping for the bed and blankets. Maybe hold off on setting up her kitchen to avoid inviting distractions during bed time. As my parents are due to visit in just two weeks, I figured we would put this transition into action during their stay. Kate, of course, had other plans.

It had been a busy weekend; I had a swim meet, one of Kate's playmates had a birthday party and Husband had to do all the grocery and farmer's market shopping, which took me more time to write lists and instructions than it does for me to do the actual shopping. We were all really tired on Sunday night. Kate and I did our usual bedtime routine. While we were snuggling on the glider, she pointed to her bed and I kissed her good night and placed her in the crib. As I joined Husband in our room, we could hear her talking to her baby doll and stuffed animals as she was drifting off to sleep. Husband commented about how awesome she was and how we were so lucky to have a baby who went to bed so easily. Basically... he jinxed us.

I went into the kitchen to do my meal prep for the week. It was nearly ten o'clock and I heard her wake up. She'll occasionally wake herself up and then quickly go back to sleep. This was a more urgent cry and I had the feeling that she wasn't going to fall back asleep. I went into check on her and discovered her diaper had leaked and her shorts were soaked. (as it was really hot, we skipped putting her in the sleep sack that night) Fortunately, her sheets were still dry, so I didn't have to strip her bed. I changed her, cuddled on the glider for a few minutes and then tried to put her back in her crib. She stood up and started crying immediately. I kissed her good night and left her room, closing the door and preparing for a Cry-it-Out session. I returned to the kitchen and suddenly the crying became louder as did the noise from her sound machine. I was familiar with the sound machine becoming louder. Often it indicates that Tyler entered in her room. Yet, he wouldn't enter her room while she was crying, especially in a full on melt down. I knew what this meant.

My suspicion was confirmed when I went into the hallway and saw her walking into our room. Oh shit. The moment (one of many) that I've been dreading. She can't be contained by her crib. As it was hot and we were so tired, we decided just to let her sleep with us. Of course, no one sleeps well when she sleeps with us, and I think the last time she slept with us was when she had an ear infection just before New Year's Eve. At one point, she kicked me in the head and Husband eventually went to sleep in the guest room. As were comiserated in the morning, Husband and I hoped this was just a one-off and she would go back to sleeping in the crib like the little angel she has been.

Ha! Yeah right. The next night I went through our routine (I even ditched a department dinner meeting so keep her routine on track or at least help Husband with a toddler who won't go to sleep) but when I put her into the crib (using the sleep sack again) she stood up and cried. I left her room and went into mine. She joined me a few minutes later. In one of her blog posts Jamie Glowacki discussed the crib to bed transition and her super nanny recommendation is to keep bringing them back to bed [when they come into your room] without talking or engaging with them. She described the first night with her son, he popped up about 20 times, then next night only 3, and by the third night didn't wake up at all. Three nights? I could deal with that. So Husband and I took turns silently carrying Kate back to her crib. The only trouble was that she was getting out of it before we had even left her room. The sleep sack didn't slow her down at all. She was like an Olympic gymnast on the pommel horse; quickly swinging her legs over the side and sticking a graceful landing. We must have tried to put her back over 20 times in a 15 minute time period. It was absolutely futile. Husband decided to close our door, thinking it would at least delay her from getting in our room, although it wasn't locked, she couldn't open the door and cried outside our door for about 20 minutes before falling asleep.

Meanwhile, I texted my cousin and inquired if the crib converted to a toddler bed. She responded quickly and confirmed that it did, but I was contemplating taking a hacksaw to the front panel if it didn't. Earlier that weekend, I found an Allen wrench while sorting though Kate's drawers and at that time, I couldn't figure out was it was for. Now I knew. A few minutes later, I took off the front panel to her crib and we had a toddler bed. I picked Kate up off the floor and successfully transfered her to the bed, where she stayed the night.

Fortunately, I was off the next day, so Kate and I went to a baby supply store for a bed rail and gate for her door. I should mention that I was a bit rushed during this trip as I forgot the diaper bag. If she had an accident, the only thing I had for her was one of her sweatshirts to tie around her waist. I should have had more faith in her (she used the potty at the store twice and stayed dry) and should have been more careful with my purchases as I came home to discover that I had picked up the wrong size bed rail and the box for the gate had previously been opened and re-taped (indicated a returned item) and was missing the installation instructions and a few necessary pieces. [Face palm] #MomFail.

However, I remembered that when we visited one of Kate's school friends who has a twin bed with a bed rail, Kate was having quite a bit of fun diving over the rail, so maybe that rail wasn't such a good idea. I picked up a pool noodle during our shopping trip, so I decided to give that a try. I was particularily drawn to this idea as the noodle is one of my least favourite training tools, so maybe I can make some peace with the noodle. Or at least it was satisfying when I did used the saw to create a custom fit. We had an extra mattress, as my cousin gave it to us with the crib, but we decided to get a new one for Kate. The original one has been stored under her crib and I soon discovered that it easily slides in and out. The spare mattress could be pulled out to offer extra protection, should she roll over the noodle.

I was feeling pleased with this set up and was really hopeful that it would work. Maybe for 6 months, so we can defer the twin bed transition to the end of the year? I can keep my baby's room set up the way I arranged it for her just a little bit longer. Emotionally, I look in her room now and I still see the crib. She's still my baby. Logistically, I haven't figured out what we want to do with the glider. It's so comfortable, but we don't have room for it in the living room. The other functional piece of furnature is the changing table. Although we are only diapering at night now, it's still useful for getting her dressed an applying sun screen in the morning. Plus it contains her hamper and a few other storage drawers.

The first night I put her into the newly converted toddler bed, I laid down on the mattress next to her bed (after explaining that I would only be staying on the pull out mattress while she is getting use to her new bed) She fell asleep quickly and I was able to leave quietly. Then she woke up at 2:30 in the morning. We tried just putting her back in bed, but she kept getting up over and over agian. We both had busy days ahead and really didn't have the energy to keep going back and forth. Husband and I took turns lying on the toddler mattress while she fell asleep. It wasn't ideal, but we figured this way, she's sleeping in her bed and we're sleeping (sort of). There were three wake-ups on the first night, and one every night after that. Even if she goes to back to sleep quickly, I sometimes truggle to fall back into slumber as I'm waiting to see if she wakes up again. It hasn't helped that Tyler is still incessently meowing arount 4 AM. In fact, I'm writing this at 4:30 in the morning after I finally fell back to sleep after being woken up by Kate at 2:30 and then again at 4 AM by my FUCKING CAT! I can handle one of my children waking me up at night, but now both. I decided to put Tyler back on kitty Prozac and he's been quiet for the past two nights.

We picked up a gate (with all its pieces) over the weekend, so we can at least contain her in her room. She's still waking up once a night. I'm hoping she'll magically stop these once a night wake-ups and go back to sleeping though the night, or else I have to figure out how to get her to sleep without me (or Husband) laying down on the spare mattress. I have one idea I'm trying for tonight. The other transition we addressed last week was switching from whole milk to 2%. She really wasn't eating well last week and maybe was needed more calories at night. So I gave her a cup of whole milk before bed (even though she ate a decent dinner). We shall see.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Big Girl Bed Advice

Pausing from our regularly scheduled programming: I have a few posts in progress; Kate's 2 Year Update, a review of her party, a situation involving a messy house and feelings of jealousy toward pregnancy announcements that I hope to publish before those babies are actually born. However, I could really use some guidance from my most trusted counsel right now.

As I've written before, I'd like to keep Kate in her crib a long as possible. Like until she starts Kindergarden. I fear bedtime will be much more difficult if she can get out of the crib, I fear her waking up in the middle of the night, or early in the morning... Yes, I know these fears will need to be conquered, but I was hoping to delay as long as possible. As Husband and I have observered Kate try to climb out of her crib while she is not in her sleep sack, we acknowledged that we should start researching toddler beds and ideally purchase it and have it ready to go for that day when she climbs out. I figured I would start the process after Kate's party. Well, the second morning after her party, I went into her room and found her leaning over the corner of her crib while trying to swing her legs over the edge. Yikes.

So here is where I need your help. I don't know where to start even doing research on beds. There is a Mom and Pop children's furniture shop near us, and although I'd love to shop local, I think this store mostly does fancy bunkbeds. What kind of bed? Low to the ground? A Day bed? Bed edges -yay or nay? Does using a swim noodle really work? Am I totally overthinking this?

Then there is the grandparent effect. My parents will be visiting during the first two weeks in August. I have been planning to remove the changing table from her room and replace it with the Ikea kitchen I got her for her birthday/finishing potty training. I wanted to have my Dad help me set up the Ikea kitchen, as I know Husband won't get around to it for a while, and I can bill it as a Daddy-Daughter project. Now I'm also thinking it would be helpful to have my Dad on hand to set up the new bed, as we may have to re-configure her whole room.

However, is it going to be harder to train her to use the new bed while my parents are there as a distraction? It is harder to get her to go to bed while we have visitors as she senses that everyone else is staying up having fun without her. Usually my parents attend to her when she wakes up so we can sleep a little longer (the benefits of having relatives who are early risers and are still on east coast time) Will this encourage bad habits? Where do you get that clock that changes colour when they can get out of bed?

So I'm feeling so overwhelmed by this, probably because a fellow blogger prepared me that it's going to be an emotional event. My baby isn't a baby and is officially a big girl. I'll be getting rid of the crib for good as I won't need it any more (I know it's my choice not to try for another baby when I have embryos available, but it still makes me feel sad) Anyway, thanks in advance for any words of wisdom anyone can share.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Whoa! We're Half Way There!

As this year has reached the half way mark, I thought I'd look back at my goals and write an update:

1. Continue Whole 30 lifestyle. I did two rounds back to back and was very successful (Ugh, that sentance sounds like Donald Trump). I gave up Coke Zero, I stopped adding Spend.a in my coffee or tea. I learned how to make better food choices. I lost weight and felt good about myself. I had the confidence to wear a two piece not only to swim practice where there are really fit twentysomethings; but also to Baby Swim -where there are judgy moms. I managed to hold most Whole 30 principles even while I wasn't constrained by the rules. I had a necessary drink on election night, but brought my own paleo food to Thanksgiving dinner. Then I really got derailed in December. I feel like I'm starting over again. 
I did another Whole 30 in January but was disappointed that I only lost 2 pounds. I did it again in March and lost a little more weight. I had a horrible GI virus in early May and lost more weight, which I was able to keep some of it off, but I'm also learning the number on the scale is merely a number.

2. Improve my score on the Body Fat Test. I have this coming up and I'm clinging to hope that I made some improvement since October, but I'd really love to achieve a personal best by the end of the year and improve from where I was in 2014. Update:  I dropped 3 pounds of fat and added 2 pounds of muscle even after my holiday indulgences; my personal best is insight for my retest in June. 
So, my restest in June was essentially the same as it was in February (actually it was slightly worse). It was the wake up call I needed to turn the train around. Husband and I recently met with a nutrition coach at our gym, who designed a program of counting macro nutrients for us. It's even a bit harder than Whole 30 (although it allows a little more freedom) as you have so plan what you are going to eat for the day ahead of time and absolutley stick to that plan or have alternatives lined up. I am determined to reach a new PB by October.

3. Maintaining friendships. My challenge for this year is that at least once a month I have to reach out to someone and plan an activity. I also need to send more emails to connect with people who are important to me. Liking pictures are dropping the occasional comment is not enough
I got together with two friends in January, and I was going to be cheeky and count all the friends we met up with during our visit back to England in February. The we just got really busy, between swim meets, and our LA trip, and various picnics and parties, we haven't had much time, but it seems that we're being really social, right? Still need to make more of an effort.

4. Be more politically active. Contact representatives, do some work with local activist groups. Attend the next protest rally. Do more than just posting links on as most of your friends already share your opinions. 
OMG, I haven't done anything. Yeah, I was hoping Trump would be impeached by now.

5. Read at least one book a month, which must be purchased at a local book store. I think I struck out for January. The only new book I picked up was The Whole 30 Cookbook (which I picked up at Costco)98. I flipped through it cover to cover, but I didn't make anything. 

I read Harvey Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block and the Tiny Potty Training Book, not sure if they count. Insane Clown President by Matt Taiebi (which was really a collection of his published articles for Rolling Stone). When ther was a renewed interested in George Orwell 's 1984 around the inauguration, I picked up a copy. I read exerpts of the classic in college and I always acted like I had read the whole book, so I decided it was time to acutally read it. I aslo picked up Al Franken's Giant of the Senate.

6. Keep up with blogging. I started this blog over Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 and submitted 34 posts. I wrote 160 in 2013, 91 in 2014, 48 in 2015 and 21 in 2016. This blog means so much to me and I want to continue with it. 
With this post I've reached 13 so far, so I'm on track to top the number from 2016.

7. Spend more 'Face Time' with Husband and make sure we spend less time on devices while we are together. Although as I write this, we're in bed; me typing on the iPad and he's finishing work on his lap top
As I type this, I'm on my iPad and husband is asleep. We're going to try to have 'Wine Time' in the evening, where we sit and chat without devices or the TV. It's a bit of a throwback to my parents who would spend 1-2 hours each night drinking wine and chatting each night (when I was growing up, sometimes we didn't eat dinner until 8 or 9 at night). Technically, we're not drinking wine due to our new diet plan, but 'Wine Time' sounds better than 'La Croix Sparkling Water Time!'

1. Hit my metrics for responding to messages, reporting results and closing charts
So far I've been reaching my metrics and haven't been fined for deliquent charts

2. Submit a proposal for a lecture and next year's conference
I'm still a little disappointed that I wasn't chosen last year, so I have a bit of a 'why bother' attitude, but I think I'll do a little more research into topics that have been covered recently and I'll see if I can hook them by coming up with something original.

3. Write an article for a peer reviewed journal
I actually received an invitation to write an article, so now I need to select a topic, oh and find time to write.

1. Be able to do 5 strict pulls up and 10 kipping pull ups I'm actually close to this one, but I'll be away from the gym for nearly three weeks while we go to England and then I'll have to start all over again.
I actually didn't loose too much while I was away. I've been able to maintain doing 5 strict pull ups, but max at 7 or 8 while kipping. Still working on building up to 10 and achieving a strict chest to bar. Every year on Memorial Day, our gym has us do "Murph" a hero WOD named after a soldier who was killed in action in Afghanastan. It's one mile run, then 100 pull ups, 200 push ups 300 air squats and another mile run. The true way to do it is to do the pull ups, push ups and squats in order (while wearing a 20 pound vest) but we're encouraged to partition the work. I did 20 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 squats. I thought my pull ups would bail on me around 60 or so and I would have to use a band to finish. I was surprised when I reached 70 still maintaining by groups of 5. Then I started breaking into 3 and 2, then 2-2 and 1, and finally 2-1-1-1, but I managed to do all 100 pull ups. It was a huge PR for me and was made sweeter by having Kate watching me.

2. Work up to doing a WOD at the Rx weight. Increase 1 kilogram at a time
I need to push more on this. Recently, while I was setting up for a WOD, a fellow mom came over to me and have me her weight (which was heavier than mine) as she was going to get something heavier. "Here" she said handing it to me and picking up my selected weight to bring back to the rack, "you can do this weight," she encouraged. She was right and I thanked her for giving me the push I needed.

1. Set a PB in any Free or Fly distance (note, picking a new distance to enter for the first time doesn't count)
Leading into my Short Course Yards (SCY) Meet in April, I hit a PR by attending 4 practices a week for 4 consecutive weeks and this practice stuff must really work as I achieved 4 PRs at that meet. I had my fastest times in the 50 and 500 Free as well as my 50 and 100 Fly. I was really happy with my times in the fly as I've been working on developing and maintaining an over-under pattern (breathing every other stroke). I know it's not necessarily the key to being fast as Michael Phelps breathes every stroke, but I dropped 4 seconds in the 50 and 7 seconds in the 100. I've extended these goals to get PBs in both the Long Course Meters and Short Course Meter Championships.

2. Swim the 100 Fly in Long Course Meters
Just signed up! Yikes! I've also decided to do the Brute Squad Challenge in November. It's a 200 yeard Fly followed by a 400 IM and then 1650 Free. My main motivation is to earn the T-shirt they give to finishers.

3. Attend a clinic to work on starts and turns
I haven't seen any clinics that have been offered, but I watched some videos on you tube and was able to make some adjustments in techniques which have improved my turns.My coach recently issued a rare compliment on my turns, but I'm hoping it will show in my times.

1. Try running 5Ks with Kate
We did a race in March. The greatest challenge with running with her is keeping her in the stroller as she wants to get out and walk herself. Fortunately, the race had an Alice in Wonderland theme and many runners were dressed in rabbit costumes, as well as some wore the shirts that were distributed on race day, which also had pictures of rabbits, so I was able to distract her for most of the race by trying to have her find the rabbits. We were signed up for another race, but it was over the weekend of the GI bug, so we gave it a miss.

2. Do some practice runs in my neighbourhood
This has not happened.

3. Run a half maration (I acknowledge this is the one goal I probably won't reach)
Not even close.

1. Accomplish potty training by the end of the year
Hopefully we'll be completely diaper free for day time and napping by the end of the year. I feel she's about 75% potty trained at this point in time. She is completely using the potty at home and is getting better with outings. We've had two successful dinners out where she has stayed dry. We worked our way out of a slight regression and I'm trying to find a balance between making sure she has access to the potty, but not over prompting. The other challenge is Day Care. I send her off in her undies, but if she has an accident, they put her into pull-ups. They don't start working with potty training until kids are 2, but as I know she can do it at home, I'm really keen for her to use the potty regularly at day care.

2. Work on language aquisiton with her, continuing signing and introducing Spanish
She going through another language burst and I'm sometimes surprised with the words that come out of her mouth. Although she only knows a few verbs, she is starting to make short sentences. Most of them start "I want ..." She isn't speaking many Spanish words, but we read a lot of books that are in Spanish and English, so she recognises the words. We'll look at her picture book and I'll ask "Donde esta el perro?" and she'll point to the picture of a dog. Sometimes she needs a little prompting with signing. She doesn't sign too much on her own, except the 'more' sign, but she'll sign with me if I sign to her, so that's a prompt for me to do more signing.

3. Send my in-laws photos and updates on a regular basis. I was sending her monthly photos to them, but as I'm not doing monthly photos any more, their updates have dropped off.
Oh shit. I don't think I've sent any photos since I sent them the photos from our trip. Wait, did I ever send them those photos? Oh fuck. Going to send a photo dump right now.

4. Host a successful birthday party for Kate
Working on this one! I spent hours trying to tidy up our back garden to make it look decent for our party, which included an ill-fated attempt to grow some grass in the back garden. I ended up developing rapidly progressing cellulitis in my thumb which required a trip to the ER for IV antibiotics and an Incision and Drainage with irrogation. I borrowed a bouncy castle from my cousin (as the ones from most rental companies were too big for our yard) and even with her smaller sized one, kids could be bouncing off the sides of our house or into a stone wall. It would take a big arguement with Husband before I finally arrived at the conclusion that we couldn't have the party at our house. I also discovered, that while last year I bitched about having to do everything myself for her party, I never involved him in and of the decision making as I incorrectly assumed that he wouldn't care anyway. It turns out, he actually has some good ideas (like finding a different venue) and can do things like calling around and making reservations. Husband also offered that he would rather get catered food, so he can enjoy the party without the pressure of cooking. I still feel like I'm writing endless lists and always thinking of things I need to do, but so far it hasn't feel too overwhemling. We'll see how it goes in a few weeks.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Thoughts on Potty Training

I am going to try to tread lightly as I write this post. I have discovered that discussing potty training among parents is as sensitive a subject as religion or politics. Please accept that this piece is merely the mussings of a Mom who read one book on potty training (The Tiny Potty Training Book by Andrea Olson) read the blog of a prominent potty training author (Jamie Glowacki of Oh, Crap! Potty Training fame -both are outspoken advocates of earlier potty training) and has spent six weeks potty training her only 22 month old child (N=1). I respect that not all training methods will work for every child and every family has unique needs for potty training. I'm just finding that I'm suddenly very passonate about a topic I never thought I'd give a crap about (pun, intended).

About 12 years ago, when having kids was the furthest thing on my radar, I received a Christmas card from my cousin in Washington state. She included a family newsletter and went into vivid detail discussing her younger son's potty training. He was a month away from his 4th birthday and I thought that seemed rather late. I did a lot of baby sitting in the 80s and early 90s and I couldn't recall ever diapering a kid older than the age of 3, with the exception of a 6 year old girl with Down Syndrome who needed a night time diaper. My other cousin's sons weren't potty trained until they were nearly 4 years old. Little Myrtle was still using Pull-ups by her 4th birthday and she finally was able to poop on the potty after spending a weekend with her grandmother. Knowing Mrs Myrtle as I do, I suspect she declared that she wasn't going to diaper a 4 year old kid and took the bull by the horns. I just knew I didn't want to be dealing with diapers for that long.

Long before Kate was ever a frozen embryo in the lab, I decided I would use cloth diapers. The decision was motivated by a desire to be environmentally conscious, a throwback to the fact that I was cloth diapered, but I had also heard that babies who wear cloth diapers have an easier time with potty training as they know when they are wet. What I didn't know is that historically, children who were cloth diapered were potty trained at a much younger age. Prior to the debut of disposable diapers in 1959, nearly all kids in the United States were fully trained by the 18 months. As of 2001, the national average in the US was 35 months for girls and 39 months for boys. The time frame has nearly doubled in 50 years. Larger sized diapers that used to be available only by prescription for older children with special needs are now available in almost every store, while it's nearly impossible to find underwear or training pants in a size less than 2T. This fascinates me. It doesn't make sense from an evolutionary perspective for children to regress in their ability. What has changed in that time? Disposable diapers became very convenient for parents and as their technology improved over time, they are keeping kids drier. Jamie Glowacki cites disposable diapers as the sole reason for the increase in the age of potty training. The shift to working moms also explains a lot as well. More so, attitudes and perceptions have changed over time. Recently a Facebook friend inquired about a potty for her 18 month old daugher, and the first person to reply commented that she's "too young". Too young? In 1959 it would be considered late to be starting at that age.  
Shortly after disposable diapers were being sold on the shelves of every local supermarket, in 1962 a prominent pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton published a research paper entitled A Child-Led Approach to Toilet Training, which suggested that mothers wait for kids to show signs of "readiness" before trying to potty train. However, the piece was largely the opinion of Dr Brazelton and it used retrospective data from the charts of 1,170 children over a ten year time period. Oh, and Dr Brazelton was a paid consultant for the Pampers Institute. I admit I'm a sucker to beleive a conspiracy theory, but it's not too hard to connect the dots. If parents wait longer to train, they'll spend more money on expensive disposable diapers. It's promotion of consumerism. One of the reasons I was so emotional about leaving our cloth diaper service is that they were encouraging me to train earlier and be done with diapers sooner, even thought it meant they would be loosing a client. I feel few businesses still have that integrity.

What exactly does it mean for a kid to be 'ready'? In her blog post, Jamie described a conversation she overheard at a playground.
Mom A: My son is really interested in the toilet. He loves watching everyone pee. It's so cute!
Mom B: You should start potty training!
Mom A: Oh No! I'm going to wait until he's ready!
Jamie's point: That IS him indicating that he is ready!!!

Both Jamie and Andrea refute the notion that you need to wait for readiness, and Andrea actually turns the question around; Are you [the parent] ready to potty train? A few points that they make: Some children actually never show any signs of interest or readiness. Others may show interest at an early age (sometimes deemed too early) and parents may wait for that interest to cumulate, but it may not. Very few children self-iniitiate toilet training. Those who do are the exceptions, rather than the norm. It may be hard to tell as their parents are likely to brag very loudly.They both share from their experiences that it actually becomes harder to train, the longer you wait. Children begin to exert their independece and respond with the word NO. However, I know of two friends who had experience potty training another child, and needed three good attempts with a second child before the child was 'ready' for it to take. Perhaps, rather than 'wait for readiness' before trying to train, maybe the message should be; 'try to train and see if your child is ready.'

Both authors teach the naked training method. Let your kid run around naked and when you see him or her starting to pee or poo, air-lift them to the nearest potty, so you can teach that pee-pee and poop go in the potty. Kids' brains will progress from No-clue, to I-peed, then I-am-peeing, and finally I-need-to-pee. As it starts to click with their minds and bodies, you start adding layers of clothing and work on prompting them to pee at transition times such as outings and bedtimes. Andrea argues that Pull-ups should not be used from training as they are essentially diapers. They are diapers that are easy for your kid to push off and pull up, but they are still going to keep him dry and may keep him in the No-clue stage. This really resonated with me as I felt it mirrored Whole 30 Rules that you cannot recreate treats with approved ingredients during a Whole 30. To your brain, eating faux soft serve with frozen bananas is the same as eating ice cream. Whole 30 refers to it as trying to have sex with your pants on (SWYPO), which is maybe not the most appropriate analogy for potty training, but I appreciate it when aspects of my adult life overlap with my mom life.        

Andrea in particular, disputes the need to have kids practice sitting on the potty to 'get used to it'. This is in contrast to what I heard a pediatrician tell parents when I did my clinical rotation in 2001. "Have them sit on the potty for a while, brings books and make it a fun and inviting place." Andrea argues that sitting on the potty just for practice teaches nothing and may even be counterproductive. I think this makes a lot of sense, and as an added bonus it defies conventional wisdom. There isn't really need to practice. It's not that different from siting on a chair. Also, we don't do it at any other time. We put our babies in a high chair and fed them their first solids. Does anyone strap them in to allow them to adjust to the chair while the baby is left wondering what is going on? Do we let our kids get used to their new car seat before we put them in and drive? Let them get used to the stroller before going for a walk? It seems much more effective to show them what to do on the potty. One other aspect I appreciated from Andrea and Jamie is that their training styles do not involve rewards. I was fearful of using rewards because...when do you stop? My colleage admitted she bribed her son with a Star Wars Lego set. The little girl who went viral after she defended her choice of a black doll to a Target clerk is going to be mortified when she grows up and learns that it was because she pooped on the potty for a full month. Jamie admits that some parents do have success with rewards, but in her experience she has seen more diasters with rewards and makes her case with this post. I do have to admit that sometimes do a celebratory 'pee-pee-in-the-potty!' dance for Kate when she is successful.

Kate and I went to a picnic this past weekend and there were two other children present, both less than a year older than Kate. One Mom noticed that Kate was wearing training pants and asked if we were potty training. As I described our journey from doing well at home, complete disaster on our first trip out and to my discovery that IKEA is a great place to practice, she simply replied "Oh, I don't want to push my son." I didn't know how to reply at that moment, and it's probably best that I didn't say anything, but so many thoughts came flooding through my head. Why is potty training perceived as such a negative experience that we feel the need to protect our kids from it? Maybe I'm too green and nieve, but I don't think of it as pushing as much as you're giving your kids an opportunity. I get it that no one wants to be forcing a screaming and crying child onto a potty. Yet how many kids resist and cry when they try any new activity? We teach them to overcome their fears and discover that soccer, swimming, art lessons can be fun. It's a skill they are going to need to know one day. At some point in time they will need a nudge of encouragement from the parents.

 So much of the concern about pushing a child or training prior to readiness stems from a perception that we may be pyschologically damaging our childen by potty training too early. Both Andrea and Jamie explain that there is some historical background associated with this notion. In the 1940s it was common practice to strap a child to a potty and use soap suds enemas to adhere to a rigid pooping schedule, which was abusive, coersive and potentially pyschologically scarring. That was not normal potty training. Normal potty training is not damaging. Looking at the timeline of the potty training age, it would imply that all babies who were potty trained by 18 months prior to the invention of disposable diapers are pyschologically damaged. As would be all the people in many other parts of the world where potty training is completed earlier. Andrea shared her experience of visiting a village in West Africa where no one uses diapers and noted that there was not an abudance of mentally ill people. Jamie used to work as a social worker and shared her experience that she worked with a lot of children with severe psychological disorders. Not a one was associated with early potty training. Andrea also notes that once potty trained, kids have an enhanced sense of self esteem and can even feel more confident approaching social interactions.  On the flip side, could we ever see any effects on the esteem of those who are potty trained later? As older children become more self aware, how will they react to seeing younger children who are out of diapers before they are? Some children have been dismissed from preschool and even kindergarden due to incomplete training. It does happen. Talk about applying pressure to the training process. A former day care worker shared with me that she had a three and a half year old kid in her class who had to ask his mother to hide the diapers in his room when his friend came over for a playdate.

I fully acknowledge that there is no one size fits all approach to potty training. I also admit it's not easy. Andrea describes that the learning curve with potty training it's not a straight line and I repeat that to myself quite often. Kate quickly grasped how to announce that she needs to pee and can make it to the potty in time, but she still needs lots of practice. Challenges such as outings and Day Care still need to be conquered, as well as naps and overnight, which we'll get to at a later time. We're
off to a good start, but I'm constantly reassessing my tactics. Am I overprompting? Maybe I need to give her a little more space. She's had a few misses today; maybe I need to be more vigalant about directing her to the potty. She hasn't peed in a while; is she improving her bladder control or avoiding the potty? The one thing I'll conclude from my limited research and short time experience is that one shouldn't be fearful of potty training and shouldn't delay training due to fears. It's not as bad as you may think.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Kate was a little skiddish the first time I brought out the potty;
so we started putting dolly on the potty first.
Now they go potty toghether.