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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training

So we did it.  We picked a day (this past Monday) and decided to potty train Kaylee.  I had already been through potty training with Ri and knew it wasn't for the faint of heart.  When training her, Kaylee was just a newborn and Septtro was gone a lot for football.  So that likely made it more difficult.  This time, I wanted to potty train Kaylee while Septtro was home during the summer - before baby came.  

Ri learning to use the potty - just a week after turning two years old
I must say, I was quite nervous.  Kaylee seemed ready physically (was needing less diapers during the day than previously) and she was showing more interest in the potty (trying to sit on the potty; whereas before she would cry and whine if we mentioned anything about the potty).  But she's a bit strong-willed.  And even with Rilynn I felt it was a battle at one point.  I can totally understand why - this is a child's only leverage and control over their parents...using the bathroom when and where they please.  Plus who wants to stop playing to go sit on a potty?  That's no fun.

We began the day by Daddy taking her to pick out a potty seat.  She picked a princess one that plays music.  After she got home, we gave her big girl underwear - Cinderella; her favorite.  Then we went over to where we usually change her diaper and packed up the rest of the diapers and put them away, explaining we weren't doing any more diapers and she was going to use the potty now.  Daddy read a couple books about using the potty.  We watched videos (thank you YouTube) on using the potty.  

Ri enjoyed being able to watch so many "shows"
And we practiced sitting on the potty.  She doesn't like juice - her favorite drink is ice water (weird - but good - I know).  So we gave her some diluted sweet tea to get her pumped full of fluids as much as possible.  After all, you can't learn if you can't make mistakes, right?

**Disclaimer here: This is when I freaked out while training Ri.  I wasn't prepared for that much pee.  Everywhere.  I had to remember a habit done for a couple years wasn't going to automatically be broken.  And I had to relax (this is where Septtro was helpful this time...he's a bit more relaxed than myself).

If she sat on the potty but didn't go, we would still praise her for trying.  And when she would have an accident, we would **gently** explain to her that's not where it went anymore.  We would take her to the potty and tell her that's where she's to potty.  

Even the first day, she had success!  At this point I don't think she intentionally meant to but we timed it right.  But that's so key - her going in the potty and helping her understand that's where it belongs now.  After successfully using the potty, she would get an M&M and a princess sticker on her sticker chart.  Then we would let her flush (she quite enjoys that).  

For nap time, we decided we would stick to the big girl underwear.  I know some people do diapers or pull-ups at naps and/or bed time.  But we just prefer to do undies all the time so we can be completely done with diapers.  No right or wrong way - just a preference.  Once again, I was nervous.  

**Another disclaimer: I believe Kaylee - or kids in general - can smell fear.  And they take advantage.  I'm so nervous about pee everywhere or what may happen, I'm not always sure of myself and the decisions I'm making.  But with potty training, it seems you have to be confident - as well as quick - with your decisions and your expectations.  Another area Septtro excels in as far as potty training goes.  So I usually asked him what to do.  I wasn't mentally capable of making potty decisions.  

notice the ultimate crib sheet on top?  must have while potty training!
Before nap, we explained to Kaylee that she wasn't to wet her bed (and also, not to get Cinderella [on her underwear] wet).  She woke up crying about an hour and a half later - DRY! (she got an M&M for that too)  We put her on the potty and she went!

That evening, I asked Septtro (you know, the sane one) if he thought we should do underwear for bed time.  He said yes.  I was sorta hoping he'd say no.  :)  So around 7:30pm or 7:45pm we put her on the potty so she could go before bed.  We watched videos and read books.  But nothing. Finally, close to 10:00pm, we gave up. She obviously wasn't at the point where she could make herself go.  And she didn't have to go.  We put her to bed.  At about 1:00am, she woke up crying.  When I picked her up, she was dry.  So I took her to the potty.  It didn't take but a minute for her to use the potty.  I praised her, gave her love, and asked if she was ready to go back to bed.  She nodded so I put her back to bed and she slept until 8:00am - and stayed dry again!

playing outside without pants - PTing in warmer weather is nice!
I told a couple of my friends this all seemed too easy.  And I was bracing myself for disappointment.  Sure, she had accidents - but it didn't seem nearly as bad as when I was training Rilynn.  With Ri, she would sit for an hour on the potty and as soon as she got up, she would have an about frustrating!  But I soon realized, for her, she was used to going to the bathroom while standing.  So sitting down took a while for her to get used to.  For Ri, I let her watch Super Why to help her relax and not think about it.  

By Friday, Kaylee had gone an entire day with no accidents!!  

Yesterday - Saturday - morning, Septtro went to get her in the morning and she had wet her bed.  That happened with Ri too.  I'm sure it's not the last time.  But previous to that, she had stayed dry during all naps and at night since Monday.  

Overall, she's doing really well!  I don't know that I'd consider her fully potty trained at this point.  But the past two days, before we have gone out somewhere, we have asked her to sit and potty and she has gone.  So it seems now she's at the point where she can go on command.  Now we need to get the point where she tells us before she has to go and holds it until she goes.  

I'm ever so thankful to Septtro for his help and for basically taking charge of this for me.  I call him the potty whisperer.  :)

My thoughts:

1.  I don't believe staying dry in diapers through the night or naps means a child is ready to start potty training.  The morning we started, Kaylee had a VERY full diaper.  

2.  I don't think it matters exactly how you choose to potty train - or when.  But consistency seems to really help as well as not overreacting to accidents (I had a hard time not overreacting).  But it's work - for sure!

3.  It's not so much the child being ready to potty train as it is the parent(s).  **yes, I know the child must be to a certain extent**  I think we probably could have trained Kaylee earlier.  Some kids are trained as early as 16 months.  I'm not necessarily one who would be ready for it that early.  But some parents are.  And they do it.  And it works.  But once you decide...go for it!!  Be confident and consistent (maybe I'll improve in those areas when we are ready to train #3).  :)

4.  "Don't force them or it will backfire" isn't always the answer.  I remember being told that with Ri (perhaps that's why I was always second-guessing myself about how much to force and let them decide).  But again, what kid really wants to stop playing and learn to not go in their pants?  That's not convenient.   We made our girls sit on the potty when they didn't want to.  And they cried because they said they didn't want to.  But we (mainly Daddy) calmly explained that Mommy and Daddy wanted them to sit for a little while and they needed to do what was being asked.  (I've heard some moms rewarding kids just for sitting to try to go)  The crying usually didn't last long - especially when we turned on a show or let them do something entertaining while sitting (this was usually during the beginning stage when they just needed to experience some success - but at this point it was still probably a bit confusing to them why they had to sit on this box thing with a hole in the middle).  

5.  If you use treats as a reward, they won't always ask for it until they've moved out of the house.  I was sorta afraid of this at first.  There will come a point where using the potty becomes routine.  Praise may still be warranted, but not necessarily a treat.  

6.  Don't assume your child will be like someone else's.  Sure we used the same general ideas for both our girls.  But it wasn't the same experience with both of them.  They are different.  And so every experience will be as well.  Just because a friend's child was trained in a day, or three days, or a week, or whatever doesn't mean your child will be.  And it doesn't mean there's something wrong if your child isn't trained as quickly as someone else's child. Before starting with Ri, I heard about all these kids that got it really quickly.  So I expected Ri too - but she took a while longer.  And that's ok! 

7.  I'm no potty expert (although I think my husband may have a gift in that area...that one is listed in the Bible somewhere right?).  :)  The way we chose to do things isn't the only way or right way.  But we have found it's what we prefer.  And like I said, no matter what you choose, it will happen eventually.  

So if you are in the middle of potty training or thinking about it - good luck!  and godspeed! ;) Also, you can do it!!!!  And so can they!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Final (baby) Countdown

So tomorrow I will be 34 weeks pregnant.  Part of me feels it has flown by and part of me feels I've been pregnant forever.  :)  This is the point of pregnancy where I usually begin to realize that, very soon, I will be responsible for another human being. And I will be solely responsible for birthing the baby.  No going back.  Nobody can go through labor and delivery for me.  Nobody can take my role as mom for me.  Not that I want anyone to, but it's just the reality of how my life will drastically change, once again, very soon.  I feel as though once I finally find and get comfortable with a new normal, things change again.

I keep having dreams about if this baby is a boy or girl.  And what he/she will look like.  Will their hair be curly?  Will I think they're just as gorgeous (or, perhaps handsome if it's a boy?) as their sisters?

I'm so excited to meet this baby - and especially know if it's a boy or girl - but also experience a new personality blossom and see him/her interact with the girls.  

Overall, this pregnancy has been more difficult physically than my second.  I have been told it's because it's the third.  :)  I never did get a boost of energy that second trimester.  I do tend to have a bit more energy now, in my third trimester - which is nice yet I'm a bit larger and more out of breath than if I'd gotten this bit of energy earlier.  But at least I'm feeling pretty good overall.  Don't get me wrong, I still have slight aches and pains every now and then.  And I can't walk up my street without either having a few Braxon Hicks contractions and/or barely being able to breathe.  And there are random times of the day where I just...must...nap!  All great reminders of that little life inside though right?  :)

This pregnancy has almost been equally as stressful as my pregnancy with Kaylee.  Septtro has been working to get courses completed to ensure he can keep his current job (we are now hopeful that will happen but it wasn't so clear before) while also doing courses to complete his Masters Degree that will eventually help replace that income lost from not coaching football anymore.  We are finally done with the stress of finding a new vehicle - yay! - but that was quite exhausting.  And I've had some of the same issues with my new nurse midwives as I had with my last OB as far as feeling bullied into doing certain tests their way.  I won't get into that too much just because I'd like to not even talk about it until after the pregnancy - I'm certain it makes me blood pressure and stress level go up each time I think about it.  But I just get tired of feeling labeled and not feeling heard or trusted as a person who knows how to take care of myself and my baby.  (whole different post of it's own - maybe another time...) Overall, though, I do believe the CNMs have been more approachable than my previous providers.  

On a happier note, we have thoroughly enjoyed having Septtro home with us for the past few weeks.  Usually, when he coached football, he would have to go to weight training a few days a week so he was never home all day, every day.  
at Granddebbie and Papa's pool in Columbia - so fun!!

See you soon my sweet baby!  We cannot wait to meet you!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

We Found It!

Last night, we drove a little over an hour and brought home our van!!  (our last three cars have been purchased out of town - apparently our area doesn't have great deals)

Ain't she pretty?  :)  It's a 2006 Toyota Sienna.  And it only has 35k miles - only one previous owner and a local trade.

After looking for about a month or so, I was starting to wonder if we were looking for a van that didn't exist.  I mean, we didn't require too much.  We wanted low miles (preferably below 40k), the capability to seat 8 (Honda and Toyota vans can do this but not all of them), and be able to pay cash.

The older Sienna vans that seated 8 had a larger middle seat and five total sets of LATCH for children's seats.  (the newer ones had a much smaller 8th seat and only three sets of LATCH...not sure whose bright idea that was)  I knew with the older vans and larger 8th seat, I could fit three carseats in the second row - and I really liked that idea.  But almost every Sienna we found that was older either didn't seat 8 or had a TON of miles.  

Ri loves it - even though it's not blue and doesn't have a TV :)
But then I inquired about a Sienna at a dealership just below Charlotte, NC.  It was a 2006 and had about 75k miles - more miles than we wanted but I asked for more information anyway.  Turns out, that van was being serviced (cleaned up and such) and the sales guy couldn't get to it.  But he sent me information on another 2006 Sienna they had with only 33k miles.  On their website, the description said it only seated 7 and there weren't any pictures posted yet.  But when I opened my email, I noticed from the pictures he sent that it did, in fact, seat 8!  

I kept in touch with the sales guy over the next day, asking as many questions as I could.  He sent me a video of the van since we couldn't just pop over to the dealership.  Septtro didn't really like that it didn't have power sliding doors.  I initially wanted those too.  But in the older vans, we were finding the ones with power doors either just had one power door or they had higher milage or a higher price (because only the higher models came standard with them then).  So we decided lower milage was more important.  And I'm ok with that.  I know I would have loved power sliding doors.  But I've been opening and closing doors so far already and I'll need to buckle kids in anyway.  Plus pretty soon, I'm thinking Ri will be able to close them - they're not that heavy.

We were actually the first people to see the van.  They hadn't even had a chance to completely detail it yet - so they gave us a "we owe" included in our contract that a company they use who has multiple locations would do the detailing here so we wouldn't have to drive back up.

They didn't come down a whole lot on the price.  But they did come down.  And I told Septtro while we were there that it really was a good price for what we were getting.  Plus, since we were the first people to look at it, I was pretty certain they weren't going to be willing to negotiate a ton. 

I'm SO excited to have this van.  Even though it's just a 2006 and a basic model, there are many convenience features I didn't have in my previous car.  Sure, we didn't get leather or a dvd player or power sliding doors.  But instead, we saved thousands of dollars by getting an older van with low miles.  And, it seems because of the year of the van, our insurance costs may actually go down a little bit too (the Corolla we sold was a 2008)!!

We are very thankful to the Lord for leading us to this vehicle - especially since I sort of found it by accident.  It was clear this was the van for us.  :)

So now, Septtro is out for the summer.  Time to enjoy lots of play time together with these lil cuties!  No more van shopping - woooooo hooooo!!!
my lil jumping bean