Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Potty Journey: a matter of the will :)

I know, you are probably tired of hearing about potty training by now and I'm pretty tired of it, too! Don't feel like you have to read all of this; I put a quick summary at the bottom for those just wanting to know what worked for us. But I wanted to write it all out so I can remember it the 2nd time around. Hopefully, this will be the last post you will see on potty training Karis!

Let me start by saying that I have an amazing dear friend who decided to try early potty training with her absolutely adorable baby. She started started getting her baby used to the potty when she was only a month old. I know, it sounds crazy, but she's having quite a bit of success with it and I think she is awesome! Click HERE if you want to know more about it. Obviously, I was not brave enough to do such a thing, but when I found out that we were pregnant again, I decided to try to get Karis out of diapers before the new baby came...

Attempt #1 -- Karis was 17 months -- I had read The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers and was planning to use her method for potty training at a younger age. I tried to get her to just sit on the potty but she was deathly afraid of it and screamed bloody murder. In retrospect, I should have bought a bjorn potty that is recommended for early potty training because it has great support and younger babies feel comfortable and secure in it. But I just decided that 2 in diapers wasn't the end of the world and we would try later :)

Attempt #2 -- Karis was 22.5 months and very excited about her little pink potty this time. I decided to use the method in Gary Ezzo's book because my SIL had great success with it. Basically, you praise the child for staying dry rather than for using the potty. So we checked her diaper every 20 minutes, but it was always damp. I moved the timer down to 10 minutes, then to 5. It seemed that Karis was always a little damp so it was hard to reward her for staying dry. I think she just didn't have very good control yet. We had a very messy first two days, great success the 3rd day, and then on the 4th day Karis went ballistic and ran screaming away from me every time I even mentioned the word potty. I didn't want the potty to be a power-struggle, so I decided to follow everyone else's advice and wait til she was at least 2 before trying again.

Final and Successful attempt -- Shortly after Karis turned 2, I started noticing that she was often dry in the morning when she woke up and after naps as well. And a lot of times I would go to change her diaper and it had been completely dry for several hours. I knew she was ready for potty training, but we had a lot of fun summer traveling ahead of us and I really didn't want to worry about finding a potty at the beach :)

When we finished our travels, we had 2 difficult weeks getting Karlie to sleep well again because all the traveling had really messed up her schedule. After we got her all straightened out, I told Mark that I ought to take the plunge and potty train Karis . He begged me to wait because we needed to have just one "normal" week after all the craziness of the summer.

Apparently, Karis did not want to wait because on Wednesday, she randomly asked to use the potty and stayed dry all day! I was utterly amazed but figured it was because we had just been reading this book and this book that we had checked out of the library. Needless to say, I highly recommend them :)

So with her leading, we took the plunge. Karis had her ups and downs for a couple of days and was very excited about her new underwear, going potty, and then getting her treat (some frozen smoothie, healthy chocolate candy, or power balls ). But then she simply stopped wanting to go potty at all. She would sit on her potty just fine while I read her books, but she never filled it up. One morning she started looking very uncomfortable around 10:30. So we sat on the potty for about ten minutes. Nothing happened, so I let her get up. But then she looked like she needed to go again, so we sat and read some more. (I put her potty in the living room so I didn't have to drag Karlie in the bathroom every time :) This went on until noon and we had to go eat lunch before naps. The minute I reached in the fridge, she went used the bathroom all over my floor. I was sooooo frustrated! I had wasted my whole morning trying to help her go potty and we still ended up with a mess!

Once I put the girls down for a nap, I called my Mom for advice. She recommended that if I was certain that Karis needed to use the potty, to tell her she had to sit by herself in the bathroom until she could see it in the potty. This would help her to focus on the job at hand. As soon as Karis woke up, I told her the new plan. She wasn't happy about it, because she had really enojoyed my attention when I read to her on the potty all day long :) It became a discipline issue immediately, which I had hoped to avoid. But it worked instantly! As soon as she knew she would get a spanking for leaving the bathroom early, she did her business immediately. I only had to discipline her the first 3 times, and from then on she happily did her thing. And the excitement on her face when she realized she could do it was enough reward to cover all the spankings :) Even now she runs out of the bathroom with her undies around her toes, carrying her little potty seat to show me her success, yelling "Yay Karis!!!!" at the top of her lungs. It's hilarious, but I hope she outgrows it before she's 16 :)

Summary: I know that all children are different, but for my sweet, stubborn 2-year old, discipline was definitely the key to teaching her one of the most basic skills of life. Potty training was fun for her at first, but when she grew tired of it, she needed to know that she could do it and that it was important to Mommy and Daddy. After that realization, she never looked back and has used the potty cheerfully without any accidents ever since!

Next time: I'm still intrigued with the early potty training idea. I think it makes so much sense to teach this skill during the time period when the baby wants to please Mama rather than after 2 when the child is so independent and loves the word "no." I'm going to keep my eye out for a good deal on the bjorn potty and I will probably just make a habit of setting Karlie on the potty whenever Karis goes. We'll see what happens :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Potty Success!

Karis wanted to let you know that she is pretty much done with potty training and off to more exciting things... like playing in boxes and chasing the kitty. Not like we stopped doing those things while pottying, but...

Anyways, after some good advice from Grandma, we had a break-through and haven't had an accident since (for a good 3 days now). And we aren't looking back! Karis is even wearing her favorite undies to bed now and waking up dry (most of the time :)! Yay! Of course, we haven't ventured out of the house diaperless yet, but tomorrow is the big day and we'll let you know how it goes. Sorry, Messiah Baptist church family, I have high hopes but can't promise anything :) But I'll at least put her clothes back on :) And yes, our pretty little pink potty will be accompanying us to church tomorrow, ha, ha! Someday (hopefully soon) when the girls nap for a long time, I'll post about our potty training journey and what we have learned. At the moment, my mobile baby is crawling at lightening speed to chew on my power cable (yes, she's starting to learn the word "no" already!!!), so I'm putting this computer away right now!
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Teaching Toddlers

Just wanted to let you know that I wrote a guest post about teaching toddlers for the POH Mommy blog. If you are interested, click HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things I love Thursday

Karis' hat obsession :)

The fact that I can finally get a tiny little bow to stay in Karlie's hair! (and the fact that the kitty lets her grab his tail :)
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Gratituesday

I'm feeling pretty thankful today so I thought I'd join the Gratituesday fun and share what I'm thanking God for today... I ought to do this more often :)

I'm thankful...

...that Karis loves to entertain Karlie so much. Even though she mistakenly believes that Karlie needs every single toy in the house at the same time and chases Karlie around with her pile of toys, often bonking her in the head and forcing unwanted teethers in her mouth, I am still so grateful that she loves her sister so much and wants to make her smile

... for a sweet friend whose new baby has a perfect heart despite a scare that made them fear otherwise

... for God's perfect timing in giving Mark a promotion at work just when we were wondering how in the world to make our budget work

... for Karlie's chunky thighs (I'm so hoping she doesn't go through a skinny phase that makes the doctors fuss like Karis did!)

... That despite yesterday's post, we do seem to be making some progress with potty training!

... For wonderful parents and in-laws who come to visit and give me a break and yummy food just when I need it the most

... For a great library system where I can request 20 books for Karis ahead of time and pick them up whenever it is convenient. And that going to the library is one of her favorite things to do. And especially that reading new library books is her all-time favorite thingto do!
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Monday, August 24, 2009

The "Not-Me" Potty Training Edition

Yes, we had the out-of-nowhere, random perfect potty day. But lest you think I've had it too easy, I thought I'd let you know that although we have definitely made progress, we haven't had another perfect potty day, by any means. If we ever get completely diaper free, I'll let you know what worked for us. But until then, here is the "Not-Me Potty Edition!" (And I apologize for any run-on sentences you might not know how to read because I get too excited while typing and forget good grammar :)

My 2-year old did NOT decide the second potty day that it would be better to just avoid the trouble of going potty by refusing to go anywhere at all -- she does NOT have the most amazing control in the world. She did NOT totally freak me out by not going at all from 7pm in the evening until 10:45am the next day. That's almost 14 stinkin' hours!!!!!

I did NOT call my Mother in a panic, wondering if something was wrong with my child. She did NOT alleviate my fears somewhat by telling me that when I was Karis' age and at daycare, I didn't like the potty or for anyone else to change my diaper so I would hold it from 8-3 every day til I got home. Karis and I are NOT both incredibly stubborn -- not us!

I did NOT try to break her stubborn streak by giving her a sippy cup of grape juice right before lunch and she did NOT reward my efforts by losing her stubbornness all over my floor right after we had spent 10 minutes trying to go potty!

I did NOT wonder briefly if her stubbornness had at all to do with the fact that I once (in my hastiness to get her on the potty before she doused us both) forgot to put her little potty seat down and sat her straight through our big potty seat and her little bum got wet. I was NOT utterly horrified at my mistake and her wet bum, yet laughed hysterically because it had been such an unbelievable day. Luckily, Karis thought it was hysterical, too, and laughed right along with me!

I did NOT frantically call my husband twice on his way home from work (he only works 20 minutes away during rush hour :) to find out where in tarnation he was because I was about to lose it. If I had done such an annoying thing, it wouldn't have been because I had a huge, wet mess to clean up and a toddler who kept trying to run dripping (not with water) out of the bathroom every time I tried to go in the living room to console (and make sure she wasn't getting into trouble) my screaming, hungry, ready for bed, crawling everywhere and eating everything 7-month old.

And the second time I called him wouldn't have been because my toddler had hysterically refused to poop in the potty even though we both knew it was time so she had it all over herself and everything around her and when I tried to check on my naked, screaming, hungry, ready for bed, crawling everywhere and eating everything 7-month old, I found that she had gotten to the yucky wet wipe I had just used to wipe her bum and hastily thrown across the room as I ran after my pooping toddler and my sweet precious baby was eating it! As I wanted to cry about that, my very stinky toddler did NOT try to run out of the bathroom to see where I went and in the process make everything in her path very yucky. So I just gave up and very un-nicely called my hubby for the 2nd time and talked so fast he couldn't even understand me and he thought the house was burning or something!

But my Knight In Shining Armour wasn't immune from the non-perfect potty day, either. He did NOT think it would be a wonderful idea to give me a break and take Karis outside. Karis did NOT thoroughly thank him by christening the inside of his car when he went to get something out of it and she decided it would be so fun to climb around in it :) Who wants to take the time to go inside to go potty when she could be having a blast exploring a car?

I did NOT think back to the perfect potty day in nostalgia and suddenly remember that it happened while Karis was in her cloth diapers -- maybe she just didn't want to get her diaper wet!!! So I did NOT try to convince my stubborn 2-year old to go back to diapers after a whole day of championing the merits of her new Hello Kitty underware. She did NOT immediately remind me that she was a stubborn 2-year old and madly in love with said underware. I did NOT give up and let my stubborn 2-year old win that battle. I can't blame for her choosing Pretty Hello Kitty over plain cloth diapers :)

Ahh, but dear, wonderful Nina did NOT utterly rescue me from my overwhelming task by coming to visit this weekend. And if she did, Karis would NOT have decided that Nina was the perfect potty buddy and refuse to let anyone (me) else take her to the potty. I was NOT overjoyed at this new arrangement. And Karis did NOT surprise me by pretty much going without accidents the whole time Nina was here! Not completely dry, but no accidents! Yay Nina! Mama is NOT incredibly hopeful that today is going to be a much drier day!

That's all the potty talk you are going to hear today. But I'd sure love to hear some of the things that you have NOT done this past week! Feel free to leave me a comment to make me laugh or a link to your blog if you choose to join me :) This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Fly on the Wall Friday...

If you were a fly on the wall at my house you would see/hear:

Daddy calling Karlie the "Green Goblin" because she looks like this pretty much every day when she eats her avocado.

Mama: "Karis, do you have self-control?"
Karis: "noooooooooooo!!!!!"

Karis and I are reading books (Karis' favorite thing to do all day) when we hear Karlie waking up over the monitor. (She knows that means the end of reading time.) Karis and I look at each other and she says very convincingly, "Karwie is sweeping!" I say, "but what is that noise?" She tackles me to keep me on the couch and says, "NO!!! Karwie is Sweeping!!!!"

Karis, holding up a book we just got at the library with a torn page: "Karwie ate it." (The day before, Karlie had demolished a page in a book while I helped Karis go potty. If Karis had seen the torn page before that occurence, she would have undoubtedly blamed "puppy dawg" for the torn page because she is usually the culprit :)

And this happened a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to blog about it:
In the morning, we had been talking about the fact that God made everything. That afternoon, Karis noticed her belly button for the hundredth time and I said, "yes, you have one just like Mama." She responded with, "God has bewy button, too!"
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A note from my big girl...

Dear friends,
I randomly surprised my Mommy today by deciding to actually use the potty. She wasn't even planning on potty training me this week! She never even asked me if I had to go potty, but I told her anyways. I made it to naptime without any accidents. Mommy is still a little bit in shock and wonders if I will really keep this up but is very hopeful. I am proud of myself and wanted to tell you how good I did this morning! Mommy gave me lots of ice cream or coconut candy every time I actually went and it was yummy!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Tis so sweet....

I finally got a video of Karis singing one of her favorite songs. No, we don't normally sing as we dance in a circle, but Grandma and Papa were here and Karis was pretty excited :) And please ignore any grown-up voices you might hear -- Focus on the cute toddler in her Hello Kitty pj's singing and dancing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Karlie Sue at 7 months

Oh, Karlie is such a sweetie! I know I say it every month, but she really is :) We got new couches so my whole "sit in the same chair every month to see how she grows" plan is shot, ha, ha, but its worth it to have new couches :)

This month held a lot of changes for Karlie. She went to the beach for the first time and absolutely HATED the car ride but LOVED being at the beach. She was so happy sitting in the tide pools, playing with the sand and digging for shells. (And I won't talk about eating them :) Unfortunately, a different bed, crazy schedule, and 2 new teeth at the beach totally messed up her good sleeping habits so we spent the next 2 weeks getting her back on track :) But now we finally have a happy, regular schedule that I love!!! She goes to bed around 6:15; I wake her up around 10:00 to feed her before I go to sleep; she wakes me up around 3:00 to eat, and then sleeps til about 8:00. She naps at 9 and at noon, and if the noon nap isn't a long one then she will take another one at 3. I know a lot of babies sleep through the night completely at this point, but I actually am really glad she wakes up for one feeding in the middle. You might not remember, but Karis got pretty skinny around this age and I'm glad to have one feeding where Karlie is completely undistracted and will eat a ton. And I enjoy the snuggles :)

Speaking of eating, Karlie just can't get enough of solids! She hasn't really turned up her nose at anything yet and even seems to love that nasty unflavored, fermented cod liver oil that is so good for her :) She is still nursing regularly, but does get distracted easily, especially by her sister :)

And speaking of her sister, Karlie is already trying to drive her crazy as much as possible :) Karlie is crawling now and pretty much wants to touch and eat whatever Karis is playing with. Its pretty funny to watch, but I know that it is frustrating for Karis. Karis loves her baby sissy and gets so excited when she wakes up from naps, but she is pretty good at pushing Karlie's hand off whatever she is playing with :) The stealing of toys is a pretty mutual, common occurance in our house and I know that we will be having many, many talks about kindness and sharing and loving your sister for the next 15 years :)

Karlie is still somewhat of a Mama's girl and will fuss if she sees me leave the room, but she's pretty happy with others as long as she can see that I am around. She doesn't want to sit still much at all because she is so excited about her new crawling ability! (I'm not going to even mention the first few nights that she learned how to get up on her knees and rock and she just HAD to show it to me several times during the night and greeted me with a big adorable grin on her face when I came in her room half asleep :) We decided that she definitely has Mark's eyebrows because she can raise just one of them up to make a quizzical expression and I am not capable of such a thing!

I could write more, but I'll spare ya. Just know that we love this precious girl ever so much!!!
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm in trouble now!

Sigh...Last week, my sweet baby decided that rolling around wasn't good enough -- so she started trying out the good old army crawl. This week, she decided that it just wasn't fast enough, so she started rocking on those knees... yeah, you get the picture. I now have a crawling baby on my hands now!! She didn't ask my permission because she knew I wouldn't give it. My life will never be the same! Luckily, she is currently still in the "agonizing-every-step-takes-tremendous-effort-and-focus stage" so I can still keep up with her. But she's been practicing at night and calling me in to show off her moves :) And I remember that with Karis, it only took about a week of that for her to really start flying, so I know what I'm headed for! Our kitty had better watch out!

So I took a video so that when she starts really moving I can show it to her and maybe she'll remember how to slow down some... do ya think? Nah, probably not. Its really for Nina, who really wants to see her baby in action. I warn you, its not a very exciting video. Its actually quite boring unless you are like me and think that every move this baby makes is the most adorable thing in the world :) Because its just a clip of Karlie crawling to a blue ball. And it takes a while because she's just getting the hang of it. And she gets a little distracted in the middle. But she sure is a cutie! And I guess the hiccups are kinda funny if you don't feel too badly for her :) And you gotta love the pink bow :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday ramblings....

I have a lot in my head today but nothing worth a whole post by itself, so I just decided to ramble a bit...

-- I'm ever so thankful that Karlie finally decided to take naps again!

-- I absolutely LOVE the My First Bob Books Set for helping Karis get ready to read -- she loves the tiny, colorful books with funny pictures and we read them over and over again. Not too expensive, but then of course I found them at the library later :)

-- I absolutely HATE fleas and even though we are faithful with the Frontline my pets have somehow managed to bring them inside and now we are fighting to get rid of them -- yuck!!! I also never knew that a trip to the vet would be the most fun field trip for Karis EVER :)

I just read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and it has totally inspired and challenged me and I recommend it to everyone!

-- a good friend from highschool just had a baby and I am sooo excited for her and want to hear all about it!

--we pay waaayy to much for health insurance and it totally overwhelms our budget. I really want to just save up for a high deductible accident/emergency insurance and get rid everything else but I am too chicken to do so -- anyone have any advice? Seriously, our insurance is almost as much as our mortgage!

-- I am sad that some good friends are getting ready to move to Texas

-- Karis' happy, singing self has really made my day lately

-- I wish I could have more than one room of my house clean at a time

-- I have 12 gallon jars, 3 half-gallon jars, and 3 quart jars in my kitchen waiting to go back to my farmer's tomorrow -- good thing its my day to do the milk run because they are driving my husband crazy!

-- I am very sad because it seems that I have missed the blueberry picking season in my area -- where I used to live it just began in August, but here it is pretty much over.... I didn't think about it til this week... so much for my plans of filling my freezer for blueberry pancakes and smoothies :(

I am presently making home-made beef stock for the first time and hoping to find time to make some marinara sauce and cucumber dip with goodies from my father-in-law's garden.

I love my husband! I am thankful that he works so hard so that I can stay at home with the girls. I wish I could find time to do something to make some money at home, but I don't think now is the time since I can't even seem to keep my house clean :)

I have a lot more ramblings in my head, but that's enough for now since my girls will be a wake any second!
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wishing we were still there...

OK, I promise that these are the last of our beach pictures :) We just had too much fun!

Awesome storm a brewin' !
Me and my sweeties :)
I love that face!
Flying a kite with Daddy

Nothing more fun than playing in the sand! And yes, she did just stick her head in a sandy puddle... which is why her head is covered in little shells :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The culprits...

My little sweetie hasn't had a good nap in 2 weeks... when her first two teeth finally pushed through. You might not be able to see them that well in the pic, but believe me, they are SHARP! And still bothering her! I know teething stinks for most babies, but I really think we had it easy with Karis. One fussy night and there they were and she was better. But poor Karlie seems to still be suffering 2 weeks later as they try to come out further. many times with my second baby, I've thought to myself that it was easier with Karis. I wonder if Karis really had it easier all the time or if I just have short-term memory loss? :)
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

An eating machine... :)

Karlie hasn't met a food she doesn't like! In this particular picture, I think she had plain yogurt while waiting on the rest of dinner to be ready, then some smashed peas, then some soft carrots and broccoli smothered in coconut oil, and then some scrambled eggs yolks because my sis-in-law had used the whites and I couldn't stand to let the yolks go to waste :)

For the most part, I let her have fun feeding herself, and boy does she have fun! She is the first to get her food and the last to leave the table... I actually have time to do the dishes now because she'll just keep on eating as long as I keep on giving her food :) Of course, I'm not sure how much of it actually makes it to her belly because she obviously makes a huge mess, but since she's still nursing well I'm not too worried about the quantity of people food -- I just want her to get used to lots of different tastes. I do spoon-feed her home-made yogurt or soft-boiled eggs yolks because they are so good for her and I do want her to get used to me feeding her with a spoon. And did you see that I said yogurt?!?! I'm so excited that she does not seem to have the milk allergy that Karis did at this age! The first time I gave Karis yogurt, she broke out in red spots wherever the yogurt had touched her face. So I'm really relieved that Karlie was able to eat the yogurt!

I'm not making "baby food" ahead of time, but simply smashing up whatever I fix for our family to eat. The other things Karlie has tried: soft cheeses like feta, squash, zuchini, and onions stir-fried in coconut oil, sea salt, and butter, sweet potatoes with butter, avocado with olive oil, bananas, and applesauce. I also randomly throw anything in her little mesh feeder (another favorite product!!) that I think she will like: peaches, honeydew melon, canteloupe, corn, strawberries, blueberries, etc. I even threw in a piece of mozerella cheese on the way to be the beach because we couldn't get her to stop crying (she hates the car) and that kept her happy for a good 20 minutes :) She definitely loves to eat!
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

That sweet voice...

I know I already posted today, but I was thinking about our morning and wanted to write this memory before I forgot it. I don't know about you, but every now and then I am doing something with my girls and I think to myself, I don't ever want to forget this moment...

My favorite thing that Karis does right now is sing. All. The. Time. Seriously. All. The. Time! And in the most precious high-pitched voice ever. I decided to try "time out" this morning to see if she would respond better than to a spanking when she disobeyed me. She looked a little confused a first when I explained to her why she had to sit in the chair. A second later, she was swinging her little legs, singing Jesus Loves Me, as happy as a lark :) Needless to say, I don't think "time out" is going to be a very effective discipline technique in my house!! :)

Every morning when we go outside to play, Karis wants to swing. It is her favorite thing to do outside and she will really swing as long as I let her. But she doesn't just swing... as soon as I start pushing, she will say, "Howy, Howy?" So we sing Holy, Holy, Holy a few times and then she will say "Jesus Me?" So we sing "Jesus Loves Me" several times. Then I hear, "Children?" So we sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Then comes my favorite: "Precious Jesus?" Oh, she says it in such a sweet way, I can't even try to transliterate it for you :) So we sing "Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus" over and over because it is her favorite. She really knows every word of the chorus and many of the first verse. After we sing those, she will ask for her other favorites (Farmer in the Dell, Deep and Wide, Hickory Dickory Dock, 10 Little Babies, Mary had a Little Lamb, etc) but we always sing Holy Holy Holy and the 3 Jesus songs first because they are her favorites. Did I mention that we swing a loooooong time every morning? Oh, I love it and don't ever want to forget her sweet, childish voice singing those songs with me! I wish we could take a video of it, but she always stops singing if she sees the camera out.

Beach Memories...

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Bathtime together!

Ever since we got the ducky bathtub back out, Karis has been trying to jumb in the tub with Karlie :) So this week we compromised and let her swim around right beside her. They really had fun together and I think we will always do baths like this from now on! (Until, of course, Karlie outgrows the ducky -- then she can just swim with Karis :)
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