Potty Training 2.0

I’ve been holding off on potty training Lillian for over 6 months. She has been wanting to sit on the potty – mostly for fun – since she was around 18 months old. “They” say the longer you wait, the easier it is to potty train the child. I’ve read that it makes it easier for parent and child if you wait until the child is at least 3.

Poop training for Gabby was easy because her poop face and stance were so obvious. She was pee-potty trained over a weekend right after she turned 2, but it was anything but easy. I used an app with a timer and rewards, forced her to sit on the potty and drink all day for 2 and a half days, and voila! She was sort of potty trained. We still had to restrict her liquids around nap time and in the evenings, and she still wore diapers to bed, but she was mostly good-to-go.

Very recently, Lillian has been able to tell us, “I have to go potty,” and actually hold it long enough to pee on the potty. Fabulous! Except that she will only sit on the potty when she is in the mood. To this I say SHE. IS. NOT. READY and keep her in diapers until she stops being so stubborn about it. I’m getting a lot of side-eye for that opinion, though. From my husband.

I mean…. we have an impending Disney World trip. Like she’s going to want to go potty on an airplane? Hold her pee on a two-hour line? Stop talking to Princess Aurora so she can find the closest toilet? NOPE! I am fully aware that roughly 60 days I will be completely starting over. I’m not even that mad about that part.

This is what’s annoying me:

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As if one potty in my living room wasn’t enough…

Because of how stanuchly competitive my children are, I am now potty training TWO children. They were fighting so much over the little potty that we had to get another one – just so they can sit there watching tv and NOT peeing. Everytime one of them sits on a potty, the other one needs to do it so she, too, can be rewarded. Gabby has actually had more accidents since Lilly started potty training than she probably has had in the last year.

And lest I remind you, we have only one bathroom in our house. Even with two little potties, there is a lot of wait time to use the bathroom. Oh, and one more thing, she won’t go potty at daycare unless a specific teacher is with her, so mostly she just arches her back and refuses to go potty.

So. You tell me. Would you hold off on number two until summer time or would you just suck it up and thank God that you removed the carpets because the pee is easier to clean up off the floor?

The End of An Era

From Infant to Toddler

The Lillian on the left is what I gave to the daycare teachers 15 months ago. She was brand new and we hardly even knew her yet. Lilly’s teachers were essentially the same crew that Gabby had and I knew I could trust them with her, but it’s just heartbreaking to spend time away from a baby so new. She wasn’t sitting supported yet, she was still exclusively breastfed (but started bottle-feeding just prior to starting daycare). I don’t even think she received her second round of shots yet.

The Lillian on the right is what I have now. She is starting to use two word sentences, is the queen of “MINE,” she dances, and she demands specific songs from me at bedtime. Even though I took the time with Lilly to see her during my work day for close to the first 9 months I still feel like I missed so much. She has matured so much faster than Gabby did. She crawled sooner, talked sooner, tried table food sooner… We’ve been trying to hold her off from potty training for weeks because she is transitioning to the toddler classroom and I don’t want her to have too many changes happening at once.

With Lilly being our last baby, every milestone is a reminder that it’s the last first steps or the last first cheerios. It’s simultaneously so sad and so freeing to think that we are soon going to be parents of pre-schoolers – not babies. It’s the end of an era and the start of a new one.

Between a rock and a hard place

Author’s note: Please know that this post is riddled with hyperbole. That said, all of these terrible decisions were actually made in the span of 48 hours. 

Saturday morning. 

I wake Gabby up for dance at 6:30 so she can eat before we go. As usual, she hardly eats because she’s so excited for dance “wessons,” so I just dress her and hit the road.

Dance was FANTASTIC! All new songs – a complete refresh. The class was packed, so Gabby was semi-crazy with her need to show off, but she was having so much fun I wasn’t mad about it.

After class I check my phone and the hubs made an appointment for the pediatrician to look at Gabby’s skin rash.

A Saturday appointment! I refuse to be late for anything. Too bad the hubs made the appointment for 45 minutes after dance ends (and it is at minimum 30 minutes from home). I took as many shortcuts as I could to get there on time.

I pull into the back entry of the doctors office and immediately realize it was a bad idea. The parking lot behind the building that I normally cut through to get to the front parking lot was a lumpy, dangerous sheet of ice. I should have just backed out and drove around the corner. I didn’t.

Instead, I headed to the narrow passage between the doctor’s office and the abandoned garage next door.

What I saw was not good: It hadn’t been plowed through all the way. There was a bump about 6 inches high of snow across the whole passageway. It was really narrow. I wasn’t sure if I could fit my giant white minivan through it safely. However, this was a Saturday pediatrician appointment and I was NOT going to be late. By this time, it would have been far too unsafe to try to back my way out of the driveway.

I hold my breath and hit the gas.

I wasn’t going anywhere. The ground was ice beneath me and now I am stuck in the snow. I rock the van backwards and forwards. I try turning the wheels in different directions. I try to gun it in reverse. My face is getting hotter and hotter and my heart is racing. What the hell did I do?!?!

We were still not late for the appointment, so I figured the best thing to do would be to at least make the appointment. I try opening my door. No dice. The snow is packed up against the driver’s side of the car. Next-best option: climb over the console and exit the passenger’s door… into a 4-foot high pile of snow. I open Gabby’s door and pull her out, climb over the snow pile (and apparent BUSH I didn’t see in said snow pile), and we go inside.

The receptionist checks us in and before we sit down I causually say, “If anyone is concerned about the van stuck in between the buildings, that would be me. I will get it out of there after the appointment.” The ladies all look at me, then out the window, then back at each other in horror. “Um, ok… Sorry about that. We have some shovels you can borrow,” was her response.

The appointment happens and is mostly a blur, other than the doctor being so apologetic that he offers to meet me outside to see if he can’t help me get the van out of there.

As his waiting room full of patients glares hatefully at me out the window while the doctor futilely tries to free my van from its icy prison, the humiliation just tells him I will call a friend and to please go back inside.

So I text my friends who live right down the street with a request to bring a shovel. This is what they saw upon their arrival:

Failure to launch

Failure to launch.

The barrage of quizzical faces and “how?!?”s that followed were soon met with frantic (yet not very helpful) attempts to free my beastwagon from its almost certain fate to live in this snow pile until the snow melts in June. We could not get it out. Thankfully, K always seems to “know a guy” and within 10 minutes, a tow truck and a very nice man shaking his head at me arrived. He pulled my van out of that snow pile and we all went on our merry (but very embarrassed) ways.

The rest of the day passed without incident.

Sunday. Gabby’s behavior was off-the-charts awful all day, but in her defense she was kind of cooped up. I just remember yelling a lot and crying a lot because I can’t get through to her. I was supposed to go to a baby shower that day (how do you like that foreshadowing???) and was planning on bringing Gabby with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled. The hubs let her play outside for a while and I was finally able to shower and relax. A while later, they came inside.

“Mama! Wook!” She cried excitedly before she was even in the door. “Mama, I found a wock!” It was a pretty cool rock. It was flat as a penny and triangular. It almost looked like a shark’s tooth. I admired it and brought her inside to warm up.

We settled in on the couch for a bit and suddenly…

Gabby: My rock!
Me: What happened?
Gabby: My rock!
Me: Where is it? did you drop it?
Gabby: It’s in my nose!

I felt around on the outside of her nose. The rock was so flat that I couldn’t push it out from the outside. I grabbed the Hubs’ headlamp and a pair of tweezers and set him to work. No dice. She had pushed it so far up her nose that there was no way we were getting it out ourselves.

Off to the emergency room we drove. With Gabby in the back whimpering and saying, “Maybe it’ll just take five minutes, Mommy,” and me beseeching her to keep her fingers out of her nose. Finally, we arrived… dozens of coloring pages later, we were sent upstairs to the urgent care floor where Gabby was swaddled up like a burrito and the resident used a catheter with a balloon on the end to push the rock out from the inside. Gabby got an ice pop for being so good. I grew sixteen more grey hairs.

I did keep the rock 🙂

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Infographic for toddlers: How to make your mother’s head spin – Bedtime Edition

Bedtime. It’s the best time of day and the worst time of day. It fills me with so much anxiety and so many questions.

  • Who should I put to bed first? Baby or toddler? Who is more likely to wake who up?
  • Did I hide all of the long, annoying books adequately?
  • Where’s the cup for the potty? Undoubtedly she is going to want to potty when I am done…

Because she is the master of bedtime mischief, I asked Gabby to create this infographic for any toddlers in need of tips to drive their moms BATSHIT. CRAZY. at bedtime. Here you go:

Infographic: How to drive your mother insane at bedtime

Nature vs. Nurture – Raising a Child Who is Like Me

Gabrielle. She causes me to sigh (a lot). She is sweet, funny, smart, cuddly, and precocious.

 

Toddler finger-painting 

 On the other hand, she is sassy, jealous, introverted, sensitive, and a perfectionist. These are the traits that pain me. I know life is going to be tough for her. She speaks her mind with complete honesty, but she is so sensitive that she isn’t emotionally tough enough to deal with the repercussions. She is happy with what she has… unless someone else has something. Then she wants what they have. She is so afraid to make mistakes that she often chooses not to take chances or try new things. At dance class, it takes nearly the whole class before she is confident enough to move away from me and just be in the moment. 

 And I know exactly how all of this feels. She is such a bright, happy little girl, but I worry about her socially. Of course she is only two, but she actually looks afraid of the kids who run to greet her when she arrives at daycare. These are kids she plays with all day, every day. 

 Is it just her nature? I have tried so hard not to put any of this on her. I’ve allowed her to make messes and mistakes and yet she somehow has developed the same anxiety over messy hands and her sister “messing up her block tower” that I have struggled with my entire life. Is it nurture? Have I rewarded these behaviors by being too sympathetic? I know how it feels to make a laundry pile and then have a baby walk up and knock the whole thing down. I must be feeding into her anxiety. 

 I just hope that my empathy is enough for her to be able to deal with being a Type-A maniac trapped inside an introvert. It’s not easy. Just ask Gabby’s mom.

Gabby-isms

With her increase in vocabulary, comes an increase in hilarious things she says. Here are five of my current favorite Gabby-isms:

1. Gabby calls Lillian “Lilly-girly.” I sometimes used to call her “Lilly-girl” and Gab has just exponentially heightened the cuteness of her nickname. We all call her “Lilly-girly” now.

Meet “Lilly-girly”
2. She refers to herself in the third person always. In the mornings, my “Who’s excited to go to school today?” chime is always answered with a gleeful “Gabby is!” I even have to stifle my laughter when she tells Stanley (the dog) to “Leave Gabby awone!”
3. “Cue meesh!” is Gabbese for “excuse me.” She says it when someone else burps or when she is pushing her stroller around and someone is in her way. I heard her telling Stanley this morning to move out of the way. I asked her what is a nicer way to say that. Her reply? “Cue meesh, Buddy!”
4. Whenever someone else laughs, Gabby says that person is funny. She totally doesn’t understand how humor works. If she does something hilarious and I laugh she says, “Mommy’s funny!” 
5. This one kills me… When she is feeling extra-loving, she will run up to Rick or me and hug us around the legs and say, “I miss you too much!” I don’t know where she heard this or why she started saying it, but it just melts my heart every time.
Two is terrific! We are really loving this kid right now. 
Also, lest you think “Whatever happened to that adorable baby?” She is here, she is awesome, and I have a really sappy post on deck about her, so check back in soon and stop judging me!