Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Things That Parenthood Has Taught Me

For 21 months, I have been a mother (30 months if you count pregnancy), and I have learned more lessons from my son and from motherhood than I ever learned in all the time that I have spent in school and/or working. I thought I would share my lessons and if any parents have anything else that they would like to add, please comment below.

  • From the moment you have a swollen pregnant belly, everyone has an opinion and unsolicited advice, and lets you know it. 
  • In regards to that advice, you as a parent knows your child better than anyone else and it is easiest to say, "I'll take that into consideration" than to present your side of things.
  • There are many hot topics in the parenting community and the easiest thing to do is keep your head down and mouth shut when any of those topics are discussed unless you want to enter a world war amongst parents. Some of those topics include:
    • Vaccinating vs non-vaccinating
    • Breastfeeding vs formula feeding
    • Circumcision of boys
    • CIO vs Co-sleeping
  • Every parent thinks they know it all and judges you, and at some point you'll be guilty of doing the same thing in regard to another parent.
    • This is the most important because when I was pregnant, I expected that my baby would be easy and sleep all day like my nephew did which he did not. I expected him to be crazy and never stop moving like other little boys and nope, he doesn't do that either. HE IS WONDERFUL JUST THE WAY HE IS, AND YOUR KIDS ARE WONDERFUL JUST THE WAY THEY ARE.
  • No matter how great or terrible an eater your child is as a baby, it all changes as he or she gets older. Kids go through eating phases. Nothing you can do can prevent pickiness but you can keep serving lots of types of foods, and eventually your child will go through a new phase.
  • You don't need to have terrible two's...they can be terrific. No really. 
  • A lot of patience, understanding, and redirection with a toddler goes a long way in preventing and diffusing hairy situations.
  • After all the "mistakes" I worry I made from the time my son was a newborn, I think he's an awesome kid, so maybe they weren't mistakes after all. 
  • Your pediatrician is a great resource for making sure your child is healthy, but never doubt your mom gut. 
  • Your child will grow up in the blink of an eye.
  • My heart is capable of growing bigger every day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guess what J did...

He peed in the potty! Since I had last blogged, J was getting so into the potty books and dvd's, but seemed to lose interest in using the potty because each time I asked, he said no. Still, I changed all poop diapers in the bathroom and sang a song right before flushing poopy down the toilet. Then today seems to mark a new chapter in J's potty adventure. After an impromptu bath from a messy lunch, J's anatomy instantly started growing as if he had to urinate to which J instantly said, "Oh no!" I looked J in the eyes and asked, "Do you want to peepee in the potty?" and to me surprise, he smiles and answered, "Des" (yes). Not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, I put J onto the potty then proceeded to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and put lotion on J as he did the motions to the song. 2 round of itsy bitsy spider = a little bit of pee in the potty. Adorably, J kept staring down at him self with surprised "ohhhh" sounds. Afterwards, I gave J a great big hug, told him I am so proud of him for making pee pee in the potty, called dh on speakerphone to tell him what J did, then told J that when he decides to make peepee and poop in the potty all day, he can have some big boy Thomas underwear. His little eyes lit up at that offer. So I can't wait to see where this takes us next! I'm wondering if I should do some naked butt time tomorrow to get things along, move J into training underwear and plastic pullover panties, or just stick more with potty prep and letting him ask for the potty whenever he is ready...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let's Get Ready to Potty!

I've been so excited the past week because I've noticed that J is showing some potty readiness signs! I really hate diapers and have been hoping for an easy/early potty experience with him. As a mother of a boy who has been going back and forth between cloth diapers and disposables, I was not quite sure what to expect. Luckily, I not only have Heidi Murkoff's book What To Expect The Second Year and that is my toddler bible, but I also can tweet Heidi (@HeidiMurkoff) or post questions to her on and she does her best to answer every tweet and post that all parents send her way. Further, I have a great support system with my May 2011 mamas on

Here are the signs I have seen:

  • Staying dry for anywhere between 2-4 hours at a time.
  • Occasionally waking up from a nap with a dry diaper.
  • Pulling at his diaper when it is wet.
  • Predictable poop schedule.
  • Going into poop stance - gripping train table, bending over slightly and visibly pushing out poop with a grunt.
  • Willingly getting his diaper changed. 
  • Very interested in the toilet.

Because my four year old nephew has ecopresis, I have seen what pushing too much when it comes to the potty can do, so I am trying my best to follow J's lead while getting him excited. We have had a Sesame Street toilet reducer and step stool that he saw and wanted about a month ago at Babies 'R Us. However, J's feet just dangle because the stool just is not tall enough for his feet to touch it while on the toilet.
J has been wanting to sit on the big potty every night when we brush his teeth before bed. Jolly (J's physical therapist) recommended a floor potty so I went purchased a Fisherprice Froggy Potty but sitting on it once resulted in instant tears. When I really think about it, I think that not only is J used to sitting on the bit toilet, but he also never liked his own toddler furniture and that potty seat doesn't seem very comfortable. On the upside, I got the froggy potty on clearance with an extra 20% off at Target, so it cost a little less than $10.

I did finally find a solution that J likes and I am comfortable with. We still use the Sesame Street reducer and I found a stepstool that hubby made in high school which is high enough for J's feet to reach from the potty.

J has been been coming into the bathroom with either dh or myself basically since he could walk since neither of us will ever leave him unattended even with a childproofed home. Now whenever he does, I just tell him things like "someday you can flush the potty too" and "when you're ready, you can pee on the potty like Mommy does" in an upbeat tone. Now we are working on the skill of pulling pants up and down, because right now J relies on me to do it. We started reading Everyone Poops and J likes it a lot (I find that book a little weird but I know it is a potty training staple. I periodically offer for J to sit on the potty, especially if he is in poop stance or has been dry awhile. If he says yes, I put him on there for as long as he wants to be there and if he says no, I leave it at that. Yesterday, J saw Thomas underwear at the store and was really wanted it; so I think I'm going to up the ante by buying it and telling him that when he used the potty he can wear it.

Today I took out two books from the library: Once Upon a Potty (boy), What To Expect When You Use The Potty and three DVD's (The Potty Movie for boys, No More Diapers, and Potty Power. When we do potty train, I will be using training underwear with the plastic waterproof Gerber pants, because IMHO pull-ups are still diapers.

I don't think J is quite ready to really be potty trained yet, but hopefully soon! How soon after potty ready signs started to show did you take the plunge with your little one?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Early Intervention Progress Report

Awhile back, I had blogged that J started early intervention and I thought I should follow up with that. J had his 6 month IFSP meeting already and is still receiving physical therapy on a weekly basis; I also work with him at home during our play to try. At now 21 months old, J is walking but still waddling because he barely bends his knees (the waddling is lessened with bare feet and exaggerated with shoes), rolls from belly to back and back to belly regularly, starting to push up on hands and knees and does so successfully about 25% of the time, and attempting to pull up. He also kicks items and we are working on bending his knees to squat and pick things up, but again, he does not willingly bend his knees very far at all. J's right side appears to be a little stronger than the left, and he bends that knee a tiny bit more. There are still concerns over the fact that J cannot transition positions 100% on his own yet, which keeps him from being completely independent as he should be.

In shoes, Jeremy falls at least once every time and lands in an odd position that causes him to limp a bit which I informed our PT Jolly (name has been changed for her privacy). As a result, Jolly asked me to have J's feet remeasured at the shoe store, and just tell them we are concerned he may have too much room in his shoe and what the reasoning is as well as to have the pediatrician check J's hips. Today was a gorgeous day so J and I did take a walk to the local children's shoe store, and the shoes absolutely do fit; I was given tips on how to put them on J to ensure they are tight enough to avoid any foot shifting since Stride Rites are made of leather and thus do stretch out over time.

Just this Thursday, J went to the pediatrician so I voiced Jolly's concerns to the good doctor, and she checked J's hips and also had him walk back and forth both with shoes and in bare feet. Dr noticed that J walks with his left foot facing out a little bit but didn't not hear anything strange with his hips; now our priority is going to a physiatrist very soon because there are worries of hip dysplasia even though J had a normal (non-breach) birth.

Ever since birth, J has had various health issues and we have been going to specialist after specialist. Sometimes it feels like there is no end in sight, but I keep telling myself that all of this is going to pay off for him in the near future.

Any other parents have experiences with a child with low tone and gross motor delays, or the early intervention process in general? I'd love to hear your feedback and experiences.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Reason For An Early Bedtime

I'm no stranger to that look people give me for J's 7ish PM bedtime. People often ask, "Wow and he actually sleeps through the night when he goes down so early?" While I know that many of my fellow May 2011 mamas on also do early bedtimes, many people whom I know in real life tend to put their kiddos down at 8 PM or even much later. I have always done an early bedtime, especially since the sleep consultant who helped us to sleep train J recommended that. According to research, an early bedtime between 6-7:30 PM prevents an overtired bub, and sleep begets sleep. I am not going to say that every single child is a textbook case of needing this early a bedtime because I do believe that all parents know their own child best and hence forth, I don't judge others based on how they do things, but J definitely is a textbook case. If he goes to bed at say 8 PM (yes it has happened on rare occasion), he will wake up at 5 AM or earlier. However, when he goes down between 7 & 7:30, J will sleep until at least 6:20 the next day. If J does not get at least 11 hours of sleep at night, he is a cranky little beast all day long, so I do all I can to make sure he gets that.

Yes, I used to be much more obsessive at making sure it was exactly 7 PM on the dot, but as he's gotten older I have loosened up and started to follow his lead more; I don't allow the time he is put down to surpass 7:30, though. My husband and I are skilled at timing of routine. I've learned that my child is a sneaky boy who knows that rubbing his eyes clues Mama and Daddy in the fact that he is tired, and will start by poking at his eyes when he is getting sleepy instead of rubbing. He also will start to get a little bit whiney. Once I see that going on, I start his routine with a good snack (something with whole grains and protein to keep his blood sugar up all night) and it goes from there. When J is sick, as he has been a lot lately, we do keep bedtime more between 6:30-7 and that benefits J (and yes, he still sleeps in til a decent time and actually will sleep more until 7 or 7:30 AM as his body is recovering from illness).

The great benefit aside from a well-rested toddler is that this give my husband and I our own time for awhile to unwind and get quality time together in the evening. Of course, the drawback is that working the job he does, my husband doesn't get home until about 5:30 PM so he doesn't get much time with our son before he goes to bed. I'm sure that J won't need to go to bed so early for the rest of his life, though, so for now we are honoring his sleep needs.

I'd love to hear about when your kids go to bed. If they're older and did at one time have a very early bedtime like mine, at what point were they able to go down later and remain well rested?