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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mira is the Potty Master.

Mira is the Potty Master.

We have not had a single accident since my last post.

So Mira had one intro day followed by two rough days, and then was completely potty trained by day 4.  I am in awe.

We've even had multiple outings: to a friend's house for a playdate, to the doctor's office, to the swimming pool, to the store.  No accidents.

At home, Mira is still mostly going bare-bottomed, but it's really just for convenience because she has been doing great wearing underwear and shorts/skirts.  She has a few pairs of shorts/skirts that she can get down by herself so we've been wearing those whenever she needs to be dressed.

As of yesterday, she was still having a lot of "false alarms" where she'd try to go but nothing would happen.  But today, the only false alarms happened while we were out of the house.  At that point I wonder how much of that was really that she thought she had to go or whether she just wanted to check out the foreign bathroom.

We're still working on using a big toilet as opposed to her little floor potty.  When we go out, the big toilets are her only option (unless we happen to be at a friend's house who has a toddler potty).  As of yet, she has not been comfortable enough on them to use them.  I've ordered a portable potty seat that will sit on the big toilet and adapt the opening to her size, but that also FOLDS UP so you can put it in your diaper bag.  (21st century mommies have the coolest gadgets!)  We'll see how she likes it once it gets delivered.

I also ordered one of those toilet seats that you put on your toilet in place of the existing seat, and it has two seat sizes built in, one little toddler sized one and one big one for adults and you just flip one seat up to use the other.  The idea is that we'll install that on one of our toilets at home and then hopefully Mira will be able to use that at home instead of the floor potty.  Cleaning the floor potty after every use is getting rather old.

The hardest part has been when Mira needs to go potty while I'm nursing Ellowyn.  Mira can do all of it herself, except wiping.  So she still needs me to come in when she's done and clean her up (and also clean her potty).  If that happens while I'm nursing Ellowyn, then I have to interrupt Ellowyn's feeding to go take care of Mira and let me tell you: Ellowyn DOES NOT like her feedings to be interrupted.  We basically listen to her scream until I can get back to nursing her.  So that's why, as much as possible, I'm trying to get Mira to be able to use the potty independently.  That's our next goal: being able to go without Mommy's help.

Mira's still in a diaper whenever she sleeps.  I figure we'll wait to bed train until she is waking up with a dry diaper at least part of the time.  Right now she always wakes up wet.  But when she's awake she has complete control.  She can even hold it, if required.  Which reminds me... the other day I was nursing Ellowyn while Mira was eating lunch and Mira told me she needed to pee.  I said, "I'm nursing Ellowyn right now.  Can you hold it?" And she responded, "Holding this spoon, Mommy."  (She had a spoon in her hand.)  Lol.

Anyway... great stuff.  Mira is awesome.  The end.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Potty training for realz

On Friday Mira started potty boot camp.

I found myself stuck at home again, unable to leave the house, partly because Ellowyn wanted to take multiple naps and partly because Mira said she wanted to stay home.  I'm so tired of being stuck at home most days.  But I figured that if I've gotta be here, I might as well accomplish something.  So when Mira said she wanted to stay home, I responded with, "Ok then it's NO MORE DIAPER TIME!"

That was about 10am on Friday morning and ever since then Mira's been diaper-less when awake.  That's the new rule: no diapers during waking hours.  And for incentive, I'm rewarding any pees/poops in the potty with a chocolate chip or an M&M.  I wanted to make the reward sufficiently small that I wouldn't mind if she had multiple in a single day.  I was hesitant to use junk food as a reward (mostly because I worry about that creating unhealthy habits later in her life), but chocolate seems to be the only thing that she's really motivated for.  (I've tried stickers and little toys and just a lot of praise as rewards for using the potty in the past, but nothing works as well as chocolate. shrug.)

She's spent most of the time since Friday morning either completely naked or wearing only a shirt.  Although we have experimented with several different kinds of training pants, for now it's just easier for her to be bare-bottomed.

Friday was day 1.  Throughout the day, I would ask her to try sitting on the potty regularly, and we'd read books while she sat on the potty.  It went really well, with only one accident and multiple pees in the potty.  But Mira did ask for her diaper back more times than I can count.  In the past, I let her have her diaper back on whenever she'd ask for it, but now if she asks for it back, I say, "You're a big girl now, so we're going to work on using the potty.  No more diapers when you're awake."  And then if she starts to get upset about it, I remind her that she can earn M&Ms by going in the potty and that turns her around and gets her excited about it again.

On that first day, we even had to make a brief trip out of the house to go to the post office.  We were gone about a half-hour and Mira wore cloth training pants while we were out.  She did a really great job and the trainers stayed dry the entire time.  At one point while we were at the post office, Mira said she needed to pee.  I looked all over, but there was no public bathroom.  So I told her I couldn't find a potty and I asked her if she thought she could hold it in the car till we got home.  She said that she could.  I asked her if she was sure and she said yes.  And then she did just that: she held it all the way home and when we got home, she went inside and sat on the potty.  (She didn't go pee right away, but I was still so proud of her.)

On Saturday (day 2) we had some set-backs.  Maybe it was because Brian was doing a lot of the potty work with her that day and he was doing things differently than I was.  Or maybe it was just because she hit some kind of hump where the novelty wore off and she was just not into it anymore.  Whatever the reason, there were a lot of accidents on Saturday and very few successes.  At one point, Brian gave up and put her diaper back on.  Of course, when I walked in and saw that, I took the diaper right back off... and Mira pitched a fit. And then after that she thought that if she just had enough accidents then she would get her diaper back.  So that was an uphill battle.

Sunday (day 3) started off a lot like Saturday.  And I was getting really frustrated because she'd have an accident less than 5 minutes after I had just made her sit on the potty and try to go.  And that's when I messed up.  I waited until I was sure she needed to pee and then I sat her on the potty and told her she couldn't get up until she'd gone pee. BIG MISTAKE. It totally backfired on me and she sat there crying for over an hour and not a single drop in the potty. I felt terrible and I totally lost face with her because it wasn't an ultimatum that I could stick to. It was all wrong. And I know it was all wrong and so I at least can be sure to never do that again. But I felt (and still feel) embarrassed and guilty about the whole thing.  Once she and I had both calmed down, I explained to her that I acted out of frustration and I shouldn't have done that and told her I was sorry. Sweet girl, she said "I'm sorry too mommy." I guess the best you can do when you screw up is to own up to it and apologize and learn from it. So if nothing else, I got the opportunity to model apologetic behavior to Mira.

Thankfully, I can say that I think a breakthrough came AFTER that incident, so it's possible that I have narrowly avoided traumatizing my daughter into wearing diapers for the rest of her life.  Later that same day, she went to the potty all on her own, no one asked her if she needed to go, she just ran over to the potty and sat down and went.

Today, (day 4) has started off great.  Two successes by 10am and no accidents.  So maybe, just maybe the hard part is done.  Also, today has yielded some great potty training Mira quotes: "There is pee inside my tummy, Mommy" and then, excitedly, "Pee is coming out of my butt!  Pee is dripping out in the potty! Yay!"

Throughout this entire time, Mira has always consistently done her number two's in the potty.  We've never had a poop accident.  Which is really great because I hear often that the poops are more difficult for many kids to master.  So we've gotten lucky in that respect.

The first goal is just to consistently use the potty when awake, with no accidents.  And I feel like we might be getting close to that.  She's using a little floor potty and mostly not wearing pants.  So then the next steps would be to try to work on using a big potty (so that she is comfortable doing that when we are out of the house) and to start wearing pants and pulling them off/on when using the potty.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mira update.

I am amazed every day by Mira.  She is smart, gentle, sweet, respectful, beautiful, funny... and so much more.

Mira's language has just exploded lately.  Looking at videos from even just a month ago, I'm shocked at how far she's come so quickly.  She's now very regularly forming sentences with 6 or more words.  And I'm talking full complete sentences with verb agreement and everything.  And her pronunciation is so clear for a toddler; for the most part, people who've never heard her talk before can understand her without requiring the mommy-translator.  Of course, she IS only two and so she has her share of false starts, word mix-ups, a few words that she pronounces strangely, etc..  Sometimes she'll get the word order mixed up in a sentence, which I actually think is ridiculously cute.  Her frequent mix-ups are "not try to" instead of "try not to" and also "got for" instead of "forgot".  Also, she's still working out the whole pronoun concept.  She frequently refers to herself in the third person: "Mira wants to...", "Mira's going to...", using "Mira's" instead of "mine/my".  I'm slowly working on correcting that for her, but I don't want to stop her and make her say it correctly every time because a) I don't want her to feel like I'm jumping down her throat every time she talks, b) I don't want to interrupt her train of thought, and c) I still just think it's so cool that she's talking as much as she is, I don't want her to get discouraged.  So the pronouns are coming, but slowly.  And I think that's pretty typical for toddler speech.

Mira continues to be very well behaved... about 98% of the time.   She'll listen and follow directions, she's very good when we're out and about, she uses polite words (please, thank you, may I, etc), she's patient when I have to focus on Ellowyn.  But every now and then she gets a little bit of that terrible-two fever and then it's "NO Mira not wants to!"  (It tends to happen more when she's tired.)  Usually, natural consequences are enough to bring her back in line.  The other trick up my sleeve is "do it yourself or I'll make you do it".  She'd much rather have control over herself than be forced to do anything.  So much so that just the threat of me taking away that self-control is enough to bring her around.  The common one is at diaper time: she can choose to come lay down and be still while I change her diaper or I can bodily force her to do it.  All I have to say is, "Do you want to do it yourself or do I need to come make you do it?"  And she'll usually jump up and run to comply.

Mira is getting along really well with Ellowyn.  Now that her language and vocabulary are so useful, she tells me about what baby Ellowyn needs or is doing.  Sometimes when Ellowyn is napping, Mira will hear Ellowyn crying before I do (especially if I'm doing the dishes or something else noisy) and then she'll come tell me that Ellowyn's awake.  And when Ellowyn is playing on the floor or in her exersaucer, Mira will bring her toys or sing to her or give her hugs.  Part of what makes Mira such a good big sister is just that she's such a sweet generous girl by nature.  When she accidentally hurts someone or gets in the way, she apologizes: "Oops, sorry Mommy."  She notices when someone is sad or hurt and asks them about it and offers hugs/kisses as needed.  She shares easily when playing with friends.

And Mira is so smart.  There's so much that I want to do with her and teach her and expose her to.  She inspires me to be a better mother.  She's really starting to show her creativity when playing; she likes to pretend a lot.  I'm trying to keep things interesting at home right now because it's difficult for us to get out of the house these days.  And sometimes I really wish we were getting out more, but then there are days where I ask Mira if she'd like to go to the park and she responds with "No, let's stay home Mommy."  So I guess I must be doing a good job at keeping Mira entertained at home.  I do wish that I had more attention to give to her in the way of one-on-one activities, but I guess that is probably the plight of any parent with more than one child.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ellowyn is 5 months old (plus a little)

I never posted a 4 month update for Ellowyn, so this post is going to include a bit of back info.

Anyway, Ellowyn is beautiful and healthy and it seems like the milestones are coming a mile a minute.

Physical Growth: We haven't had her measured since her 4 month checkup, but since I never posted that info, I'll go ahead now.  At her 4 month checkup, she was 75th percentile for height (down from 85th at 2 mo), 25th percentile for weight (down from 50th at 2 mo).  So just like her sister, she's continuing to be a slow grower in comparison to her peers.  But she's still tall and skinny overall (as opposed to Mira, who was just little all over).  AND just like her big sis, she's got a giant noggin: 90th percentile for head circumference.

Sleeping: For the most part, Ellowyn continues to be a good sleeper.  She's usually only up once per night, although the timing of her night waking has been pretty random: one night she'll wake up at 11pm and the next night 4am, there's just no telling.  And while she'd probably like to be taking two one-hour naps per day, I'm pushing her into a one-nap schedule by keeping her up in the mornings and not letting her nap until Mira's nap happens after lunch.  The main reason I'm doing this is so that I don't have conflicting nap schedules that keep me trapped at home all day (if Ellowyn naps in the morning, then when she wakes up Mira is going down and then when Mira wakes up Ellowyn is going back down and then I'm stuck at home all day long with one child or another sleeping).  She's proving to be very flexible in her sleep, luckily, so she's taking well to doing just one longer nap every day (she'll usually take one 3-hour nap per day which will at least partially overlap with Mira's nap).  Also, I'm currently working on transitioning her out of her inclined bassinet (which she was sleeping in for her reflux) and into her crib.  So far it's turned out to be surprisingly easy; Ellowyn is taking to her new bed really well.  She may even be sleeping better in her crib than she was in her bassinet.

Eating: We're still exclusively breastfeeding.  Ellowyn's still not quite ready for solids, according to the generally accepted guidelines: she can't sit up well yet and she hasn't doubled her birth weight (though since she's only 12 pounds and would need to get to 17 to double her birth weight, I don't think that's a milestone she is going to reach before she starts solids).  She also seems to be getting plenty with breast milk alone; she doesn't act like she's still hungry after nursing.  But she does show interest in our food and in watching us eat so we are thinking that we might start solids in the next couple of weeks, right around the time she turns 6 months, assuming her sitting abilities get better between now and then.

One thing that she has discovered that she can eat: her foot.  She loves some toes.

Physical ability: As I mentioned, she is not quite able to sit up yet.  She's so tall and lanky that I think it's difficult for her to control all of her height.  But her head has gotten much less wobbly of late.  Also, she's rolling in both directions (back to front and front to back).  She's gotten really good at grasping and grabbing objects, even handling them and passing them back and forth between hands.

Reflux: Her reflux continues to be well-controlled with her medicine.  I've tried on several occasions to wean her off of the medicine, but every time I try, her symptoms come back and she is clearly uncomfortable.  She's still spitting up very frequently, but in gradually diminishing quantities.  I've heard that the reflux should get much better once she is sitting up more.  But now that the reflux is under control, she is beginning to actually enjoy tummy time.

Social: Ellowyn continues to be a very social baby.  She loves looking at faces, and smiles any time anyone engages her.  She also really loves to "sing", as I call it.  She makes this "aaaaaaahhhhh" sound... repeatedly and loudly and often.  Lately, she's also starting to throw in a few babbling sounds too; buh's and mah's are now in her vocabulary as well as blowing raspberries.  You can hear her "sing" some in the video at the end of this post.

Her smiles are huge; her mouth takes up the entire lower half of her face.

Sister love: Mira continues to be a great big sis, and Ellowyn is so fascinated by her.  Ellowyn watches everything Mira does with awe and fascination.  And Mira sings Ellowyn songs, she shows her what she is doing, she hugs her and kisses her, she hands her toys, she helps me take care of her by fetching things for me when I ask or by keeping Ellowyn entertained while I focus on something else.  Mira is incredible, as sisters go.  And Ellowyn loves her so much; she lights up when Mira enters the room.

I'll leave you with a cute video of Ellowyn making faces at Brian.  She does a little singing, too.  Also, Mira makes an appearance at the end.

Monday, June 20, 2011


If you're wondering why I'm posting Easter pics about 6 weeks late, you can get caught up here.

For Easter, my family was out of town, but we still had a great time.  We had two Easter Egg Hunts: one with some of Mira's playgroup friends, and another with Brian's family.

Here's Mira on Easter morning, just after opening her Easter basket.  Rather than buy one of those pre-packaged baskets, I had hand-picked what to put in her basket, so she had a magnifying glass, a necklace and bracelet, a coloring book, a stamp, a flower headband, a flower pot with some seeds to plant... and of course, some candy.

Here are some photos from our egg hunt with our playgroup friends.  It was in our backyard.  It was nice to have a hunt with a bunch of kids who are all the same age.  There were 9 toddlers who participated.  

We also had an egg hunt with Papa and Grandma Laurie (Brian's dad and step-mom) at their house.  Here are a couple pictures from that.

Overall, a fun time.  Last year, Mira didn't fully understand the egg hunt concept, but this year she totally got it.  She was the egg hunt master.  Although opening the eggs without spilling their contents proved somewhat more challenging.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's not the end of the world after all.

I haven't blogged in over a month.  It's crazy.  I know what most of you out there were thinking: IS IT THE APOCALYPSE OR WHAT?????  Nope.  Just me being... uninspired is the wrong word because my girls give me plenty of inspiration every day... call it "in a funk".

Why have I been in this funk, you ask.  Why have I left you so uninformed, so terribly cute-picture-less, so LOST, WHY OH WHY?  So many things.  I'll try to be brief...

Since last I blogged...

My grandfather passed away.  We were very close.  It was a hard thing for so many people in my family.  The service was in Dallas (4 hours away) on a weekday, so Brian was unable to attend, leaving me to make the trip by myself with both girls.  Luckily I had my sister's help, but it was still a stressful thing.

Also, my dog, Kronk, had a cancer relapse and I made the decision to have him euthanized.  (You can read about what led up to this here and here.)  In the end, he ended up with a lot of abdominal pain as the cancer grew back.  We tried several different pain meds in various combinations and nothing could manage his pain well.  He was either in pain or knocked out from the drugs, there was no in-between.  I thought I had had enough time to prepare for it, but seeing him go was still really hard.

And then Mira asked a lot of questions afterward, as she tried to understand what was happening.  And those were some hard questions for me to answer.  Not because I didn't know what to say (I'm pretty happy with the conversations that we had about death and grieving) but just because, with these two deaths, I was an emotional wreck and it was hard for me to talk about it at all.

Plus (and here's the heart of the matter, if I'm being truthful about why I've not been motivated to blog), I've been struggling a bit with PPD.  Nothing serious, no thoughts of hurting myself or the girls.  But I've been feeling sorry for myself a lot, unmotivated, isolated, and just sad a lot.  And I find myself undermining my own attempts to better my situation.  It's been going on for several months now, so I know it's likely PPD.  I've honestly been very hesitant to let anyone know about it.  Partially, hiding my struggle is just another way that I'm undermining myself (and even as I'm writing this, I'm fighting the urge to just delete this whole paragraph).  Partially, I have been reluctant to talk about it because I feel a need to hide these negative feelings from my children, lest I make my problem their problem.  And the third "partially" is that I was hiding that I had PPD because I am embarrassed about it and I don't want people to make a huge fuss over me.  I MADE IT TO THE END OF THAT PARAGRAPH WITHOUT PUSHING DELETE ONCE, SO DAMMIT, IT'S STAYING IN.  (Sorry, just a note to myself so that I wouldn't delete the paragraph right before pressing the publish button.  Oh passive-aggressive side, you thought you could trick me, but no!)

And we've just been really busy in general.  During this past blog-less month, we've also gone on a 4-day family vacation, celebrated Brian's birthday, Mother's Day, my sister's graduation from high school, and Brian was best man in a friend's wedding.  So lots of good stuff too, but it's all been a little overwhelming for me  and I let a few things slide, the blog among them.  But now I'm hoping that I'm getting back on the bloggy waggon, cuz that's where the FUN is.  Plus I've got some catching up to do and my OCD side keeps asking me "WHAT ABOUT THOSE EASTER PICTURES????  One day in the distant future, you will be looking back through the blog and wondering what happened for Easter of 2011 and THERE WILL BE NO ANSWER!  HOW WILL YOU SURVIVE IT?"  Yes, these are the conversations I have with myself.  Back away slowly.