Monday, January 31, 2011

Nighttime Potty Learning

When Gumby started using the potty, it was 100% full time, just like a switch had been flipped; she was a potty machine.  She had already been having lots of naked time and hating diapers, so we just dove into getting her underwear.  But, we did wonder: what should we do at night?

I couldn't seem to find a lot of information out there for night time potty learning.  I had noticed her overnight diapers were getting less and less wet; sometimes they would be dry.

The first day that she used the potty consistently, at bed time, we asked her if she wanted a diaper.  She said no.  We co-sleep and we have a mattress pad.  So, I explained to her what I thought would happen.  I told her if she had to potty, we'd wake up, sit on the potty, potty and then go back to bed.  I told her if I noticed her pottying in her sleep, we'd wake up, sit on the potty, potty and then go back to bed. It seemed so simple.  What surprised me was that her and I both could sleep right through those little accidents until it was too late.

For the first time, the other night, she had a full bladder and was uncomfortable, stirring and thrashing.  I kept asking her if she needed to sit on the potty and finally, she said "yes"!  We still have accidents, but we deal with them.

Here are a few things that we have found helpful on our nighttime potty learning adventure:

Patience and Trust
We will get there when we get there. :)  We cannot control when Gumby uses the potty; we can only try to help her learn to recognize the feelings of needing to go and what to do.  We need to trust that she will go when she needs to go. 

Mattress pads and those little 'multi-use' waterproof baby pads
We keep the entire mattress under a fitted waterproof mattress pad.  We also have a flat pad that is the size of the toddler bed that we keep on top of that, right where Gumby is most likely to lay.  Sometimes, if we have an accident, the toddler bed sized pad catches it all and we don't have to change the full fitted mattress pad.  The little "multi-use" water proof pads come in  handy should an accident occur in the middle of the night.  I, personally, have no desire to wake up the family and re-make the bed at some odd hour of the night.  If a wet spot is found, it can be covered with the small pad so that we can sleep on a dry surface and deal with the mess in the morning.

Recognition that Nighttime Potty Learning is a Natural Milestone
As I mentioned, when we started this journey, I thought I could help Gumby learn to recognize needing to potty while sleeping and wake up.  Ah, I still chuckle.  And, I am still amazed that she can pee when she is literally sound asleep.  Even if I did notice *and* could bring myself to wake my sleeping baby, she'd probably be done by then anyway.  I have read forum posts of folks with kids her age that stay dry all night and some whose five year old kiddos are not dry at night.  All kids are different and this is like walking; they will do it when they are ready to do it.

No Need to Night Wean
This ties in with the previous item.  Gumby still nurse at night, quite a bit.  Most nights she is dry regardless.  Again, I have read forum posts of folks who have tried night weaning and the little ones still weren't dry all night.  So, for us, why ruin a good thing? :)

Limit certain fluids 2-3 Hours Before Bed
The other night I wanted some hot tea.  Gumby loves hot tea and she shared some also.  But it was late, and then she went to bed.  The rest of the tale won't surprise you, but we did learn that certain drinks such as hot tea and slushies probably should be cut off 2-3 hours before beddy time.  We don't limit nursing, milk or water.

Nighttime Potty for Everyone
In one of my less than proud and gentle moments, I learned that it is true - you can sit them on the potty, by hook or by crook, but you cannot make them go.  Even though it is so hard not to impose our will, try to force her to go because we think she has to, not to get upset if she doesn't go when we think she has to, we had to let go of trying to push the night time potty issue and just accept what would be.  Sometimes, she pottys right before bed at 10pm and still has an accident.  Some nights, her last potty was at 4pm and she refused to go and she'd be dry still!  We decided to change what we could control (us) and not worry about what we cannot control (Gumby).  So, the rest of the family has nighttime potty.  We don't make a real big deal, but we each announce that we are having our nighttime potty.  And, we put the dogs out for their nighttime potty too.  Almost every time, it turns out Gumby also needs a nighttime potty.

So, some weeks I don't have to wash the bedding at all, other than the usual maintenance washing.  Some weeks, I have to wash the bedding every other day.  We could use diapers or pull ups and keep the bedding dry and clean.  But, in our journey, we honestly feel that would hurt Gumby's sense of pride and accomplishment and that is far more important to us than the bedding.

What information, tips or things have you found useful in your nighttime potty learning adventures?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A "Happy" Childhood, A Successful Future and What Happens in Between.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article entitled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior", with a sub caption of "Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids?"

Before I read this, I wanted to make sure I knew the proper meaning of "happy", so I looked it up on the online dictionary.
Happy, by Meriam-Webster's definition means "characterized by well-being and contentment".

Okay, now that we know what "happy" means, let’s see if  a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice creates happy kids.  As I read the article, it seems that "happy" is being redefined by a model of success as the parent sees it - excelling in school, performing at recitals, being the best in the class, and other future goals.  It is focused on preparing the children to become adults and does not focus on the enjoyment of the journey, the happiness of childhood.  The children must meet the high expectations of their parents in subjects of the parents choosing, or be faced with being called "lazy", "garbage" or worse.

Where is the well-being and contentment?

There is an overarching message of negativity and distrust in the children:
"children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences."

When we first think of our children in this way, it affects the very way in which we respond to them.  This basis sets up a relationship based on struggles, battles, competition, winning.  Where is the compassion, the trust?  If the parents do not trust the children, do the children trust the parents?  Who can they trust? 
Do they keep any feelings that will bring themselves or their family shame inside, afraid to express themselves, until they cannot handle the pressure anymore?
I have no doubt that these parents love their children as much as I love my own, but I worry that equating a person's value with conditions of success and not separating the person from their actions has detrimental consequences.
Asian Americans are more likely to commit suicide than blacks, whites, and Hispanics. 
Over 60% of Cornell student suicides from 1996-2006 were Asian or Asian-Americans while only 14% of the total student body are self-identified Asian-Americans.

The article states "the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be 'the best' students, that 'academic achievement reflects successful parenting,' and that if children did not excel at school then there was 'a problem' and parents 'were not doing their job.'"

To me, it reads that the motivation for the child's success is the parents own fear of failure.  The cycle seems to be self-perpetuating and blaming in all regards. 

The online pole asking "Which style of parenting is best for children?" and giving the options of "Demanding Eastern Parenting" or "Permissive Western Parenting” implies that if one isn’t demanding obedience, coercing, spying, limiting activities, promoting competition over cooperation, then they are permissive, a word when coupled with parenting has obvious negative connotations.  Where is the option for being respectful to others, teaching children this respect through modeling the behavior, communicating in a compassionate manor and cultivating a love of learning that comes from inside the individual?  Where is the option for a parenting style that focuses on the child's destination to adulthood, trusting them enough to allow them to choose the paths they need to ensure current and future well-being and contentment?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

21 Things I Learned from my Daughter

1.)  The meaning and feeling of unconditional love.
2.)  Persistence.  Have you ever truely watched a toddler ... struggling to learn to walk, they fall and fall, but never give up.  So many things that we take for granted, they really have to work at; and work at it, they do.  It's admirable.
3.)  To express your thoughts and feelings openly and honestly.  Even when we just arrive at a relative's house, she has no qualms about clearly stating "I need go home."
4.)  How to make the most comfy beds with pillows and blankets abound.
5.)  Time goes so fast.  Stop to smell the flowers.

Gumby around 22 mo old enjoying clovers in the yard

6.)  Live in the moment.
7.)  The joy of laughing at nothing.
8.)  Patience
9.)  Anything can be an adventure, if you let it.
10.)  Nothing is gross when its your baby.
11.) To be confident in myself and my beliefs.
12.) To trust my instincts.
13.)  The importance of modeling behavior and being the change that you want to see.
14.)  That my dream in life is being a mother.
15.)  Anything is an art canvas and anything is paint.

Gumby around 16 mo old with Hershey's Syrup :)

16.)  Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.  Cribs, strollers, walkers, high chairs, play pens, baby food, etc are not necessities. 
17.)  The importance of not just hearing, but truely listening.
18.)  Nursing babies are not going to bite mom just because they get teeth.  In fact, it is physically impossible for one to nurse and bite at the same time.
19.)  Even grocery shopping at the store you loathe can be fun.
20.)  If you can change something, change it.  If you cannot change something, change your expectations instead.
21.)  The house, the laundry, the dishes and anything else can wait, but your baby, family and friends cannot.

Deeda, Gumby, Grammie and Grandpa as Gumby masters walking by pushing her play stroller.
  Thank you Gumby ... :)

What have you learned from your children?

Monday, January 10, 2011

She Can Reach the Washing Machine!

Really ... and it's a top loader!  A toddler's persistence is admirable!

Gumby is just growing so quickly and the little things are always amazing.  Gumby enjoys helping to do laundry ... handing me clothes from the hamper as I put them into the washer, taking them from me and putting them into the dryer from the washer, and of course playing in the huge pile of clean clothes as we put them away.  I was just astonished today to see her putting the clothes into the washer "all by myself!" 

She even requested to be held up so she could press the buttons and turn it on.  :)  

Monday, January 3, 2011

1, 2 O's

Gumby decided she wanted to go to the mall last week.  We always have such a great time at the mall, but her favorite place may not be what you expect.  We are lucky that our particular mall has an indoor children’s play area with large rubbery toys to climb and play on.  Gumby likes to jump out of the huge butterfly into my arms.  She also likes looking at the different items, decorations, mirrors … one can find all sorts of things at the mall.  One day we bought her a bamboo with yellow water beads.  Every time we walk past the bamboo stand, she reminds me that she “has yelly at home.”    Today, she enjoyed counting the letters that made up the names of the different stores.  Bonworth has “1, 2 O’s.” and “just 1 B.”
Today, Gumby jumped off the large butterfly a few times, and then it was time to hit the highlight of the mall:  “I need go bookstore!”  Yes, Gumby’s favorite thing to do at the mall is to go to the bookstore, in the back where she knows the children’s books are located.  We read together.  She has a few favorites, some seasonal, others not.  She enjoys “Goodnight Gorilla” and “The Hungry Caterpillar”.  Today we found a cool pop-up book where she could pull tabs, match up patterns and count. 
Learning is always taking place; sometimes you are not even aware that it is.  Other  times, if one stops to think about it, one may realize that the trip to the mall covered physical education, math,  reading and science just to name a few.