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Thursday, 02 July 2015 16:46

By George, She's Got it!

Early last month I ran out of excuses and finally decided to try again - potty training Audrey, that is. We had started talking to her a bit about it, and when we asked if she wanted to be a 'Big girl', wear panties, and pee in the potty, she occasionally responded positively, which was an improvement over her responses last fall when we had begun our first disastrous attempt with her. 

We had been spoiled by Clara, back in 2012, who had potty trained quickly and easily. I had read about the 3-day method which made a lot of sense to me, and I prepared myself fully for three days of constant vigilance.  The method suggests being at your child's side for 3 days straight - no babysitters or even swapping parents - giving them snacks and drinks frequently to encourage peeing as often as possible - and repeating the same phrase 'Tell Mommy when you need to pee' over and over and over... In the end, I had to swap babysitters because I was teaching piano and couldn't find a 3-day stretch where I could abandon everything else. I was also babysitting another toddler each morning, and so my time was a bit divided between the two girls. It worked beautifully anyway, though, and I had it in my head that the method demanded a level of vigilance that maybe wasn't completely necessary.

Then came Audrey. 

I was convinced that because Clara's experience was so easy, that it was a sign of the effectiveness of the method, and that Audrey was certain to catch on just as quickly. Don't get me wrong - I do still think the 3-day method is a good one, for parents who resonate with it and for kids who are willing. Some friends of ours began their process with their daughter and it started off similarly to Audrey's first attempt - but they stuck with it - for weeks. This little girl had accident after accident and wasn't reliable for probably months but they didn't let go once they had begun. They were diaper free long before we were, but it required a lot of stubbornness on their part.  I'm sure we could have done the same, but I got through 4 days with no improvement and decided that life had to go on - and Audrey wasn't even two yet, so it wasn't something we needed to do right then. It was at that point that I got rid of all of our cloth diapers - mentally I was so done with diapers - and I set potty training on the shelf until nearly a year later. 

We arrived at the beginning of June, and I was no longer teaching piano or babysitting. We were also running out of time, if she was going to meet the potty training requirements for Awana in September.  Three months is plenty of time, but I couldn't wait too long. And although I was hopeful that things would be easier this time - I knew that if she was reluctant again, this time we had to just pull through until it was done. 

So we started with Day 1 saying 'Goodbye to diapers!' and spending the day outside so the accidents weren't all over my house. I was relaxed again - not spending every moment by her side - in case this was going to take weeks, I needed to preserve my sanity. The first day was hopeful - she hit the potty once or twice on purpose, which was leagues above where she was last time on Day 4. 

By Day 2, she seemed nearly potty trained completely. 

We then had a few days of one or two accidents a day, but by Day 4 or 5 she was keeping her panties dry for most of the day. 

I was stunned. Shocked, even. And extremely grateful. She got it!

And she cared this time, which was so different from last September. 

Almost one month later, we have had a few setbacks. She spent about a week with every poop coming out in her panties, and after her first two weeks of waking to a dry bed most of the time, she started wetting the bed routinely and we have now been putting her in diapers for night. She still won't pee in the diaper once she's gotten out of bed, and makes a beeline for the potty, but so far she hasn't woken to a dry diaper. I'll give this some time - her mattress, and my laundry routine, couldn't handle much more!

Published in Blog
Saturday, 25 October 2014 20:39

Audrey's Second Birthday!

Audrey's birthday is technically tomorrow, and conveniently, it fell on a weekend - to fit in everyone we wanted to invite (friends and family), we split the parties into two days. We had a bunch of toddlers and their families over for a party today, and tomorrow (on her actually birthday) the family is coming over to celebrate!

So without a lot of time to give details, between cleaning the house from one party for the next and needing to go decorate the cupcakes for tomorrow, here are a few photos and a quick run-down of the day!

I will suspend judgement on Moms who rent entertainment for their kids' birthdays from now on - after thinking for days about how to entertain 2 year olds while still not boring a 6 year old, I decided to rent a bouncy castle...

After the kids came, we let them all bounce for about an hour before calling them inside for gifts and cake.

A homemade Anna dress... pretty much the star of the show. Clara 'borrowed' it for most of the rest of the day... She doesn't know there's already a homemade Elsa dress waiting for her to wear on Halloween...

Audrey was a bit slow - her big sister(s) Clara and the 3-year-old I babysat became very involved in helping her open gifts...

This wasn't the cake I'd planned - it would have been much more elaborate had the fondant worked out properly - but it looked ok. 

I forgot to take pictures of all the owl decorations - Audrey loves owls - but here are the treat bags that all the kids (except Audrey) took home. Clara got one, though, and she shared all of the treats with her little sister. I love how well they get along sometimes.

Clara had a difficult time with all 11 kids romping around in the bouncy castle, and although she really wanted to enjoy her time in it, she kept coming out in tears because someone had 'bumped into' her. She knew that was par for the course in the castle, so she kept going back in, but I think my introverted oldest just couldn't quite get comfortable. So, after everyone had left, when we still had another hour with the castle before it had to be taken down - we went in again, just us girls while Daddy started raking leaves.

She was yelling "Mooommy!!"

I tried to get the girls to sit together and smile at me. This was the closest I got.

Then, after watching the workers come deflate and roll up the bouncy castle, we all went to the front yard to 'help' Daddy with the raking. It's bizarelly warm for this late in August, and we were witness to a gorgeous sunset. Then we came inside and had chips for supper and watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  It was a beautiful day and a wonderful evening.  

A happy second Birthday (part 1) for Audrey!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 11:31

And the Day I DID Give Up...

This post is delayed, because it's been hard for me to write.  Last week Friday, I woke up with the determination to give Audrey one more day. So many encouraging sentiments on Facebook kept me going and hopeful, although still apprehensive. I knew that in so many ways, Audrey was READY to do this - she could hold her pee for long periods of time, she frequently woke up dry in the morning, and she is stubborn and determined to do everything 'by self'. I even struggled to get her to allow me to help her get herself up on the toilet - she didn't want help. She is so independent and determined in so many areas.

Peeing in the toilet, though? She wouldn't do it.

Anyway, here is basically how our 'Day 4' went:

I hired a babysitter for the day because I was scheduled to babysit my friends' daughters, and I wanted to be able to spend the day entirely one-on-one with Audrey, so the babysitter came and did her best to keep all three girls entertained while I spent my day next to Audrey.

8:10am - Audrey wakes up in a dry bed, but refuses to pee in the toilet. We keep trying, but she doesn't really even try.

9:30am - I notice a small wet spot on her panties and take her immediately to the toilet. She pees!!! I was so excited, I probably did a happy dance. I was hopeful for the rest of the day.

10:45am - Huge accident on the living room floor.  She doesn't hold back - just lets it all out.

11:30am - Audrey decides she wants to have a bath, and I don't really want her to have the opportunity to pee in the water where I can't really see it, but I like the idea of containing a mess. I fill the tub with shaving cream and cover it in glitter. She's not overly impressed, but after awhile she plays in it a bit. Eventually - to clean both her and the tub - I fill the tub with water and she has a short bath.

At one point during the bath, I think I understand her telling me that she has to go pee. I pick her up and put her on the toilet, and hear water dribbling. I get excited - thinking she's peed, and congratulate her and give her chocolate while she's still on the toilet - but when I pick her up, the water is perfectly clear and so I wonder if she really peed, or if I was just hearing the bath water trickling off her and into the toilet. I guess I'll never know. I may have just confused her completely...

12:30pm - She says she has to pee, sits on the potty, but does nothing.

12:40pm - Giant puddle in the living room. She doesn't seem concerned at all about holding it in, and only the last bit lands in the toilet - because I've picked her up and put her there.

This is where I stopped tracking - I had given up on panties at some point, and for a few minutes in the afternoon we went out to the backyard to say goodbye to the other girls who were heading off to the park. Audrey was disappointed about not going, and so I tried to explain to her that she needed to learn to pee in the potty first.  A few minutes later - she lets out a big pee on the cement next to her playhouse. Again, she doesn't even seem to be trying to hold it in.

I'm pretty much a nervous wreck, panicking about the weekend, and trying to decide the pros and cons of giving up, keeping on as we were, or finding some middle ground like continuing at home and putting her in diapers to go out (so we could go on with life!). Brian came upstairs at around 2:30, and after a short discussion, we both agree that the best plan - for now - is to give up entirely and try again later.

It took me a number of hours to get over my failure, and I was really reluctant to admit this to anyone for awhile, but now I'm glad for the decision, and I've had to change my outlook on a few things.

This girl is wearing shorts - because she's in a diaper - and she's doing a happy dance.

Firstly, I was reminded that Clara and Audrey are not the same.  When we tackled this with Clara, she was younger than Audrey is now - Clara was under 22 months. Clara was completely on board from the start, and from Day 1, she personally refused to put on another diaper ever again.  Audrey hasn't seemed interested one way or another in this whole diaper/panties situation. She likes to do what her sister is doing, but she obviously didn't enjoy peeing on the toilet, and it didn't offend her to be put back in a diaper. In fact, she seemed happy to do it.  We chose our timing with both girls for the same reasons - in both girls' cases, something was coming up on the calendar that would make it nearly impossible to put the time into training until quite a few months into the future - and so we chose to get training done first. In Clara's case, Audrey was due in a few weeks, and in Audrey's case, Piano and homeschooling was about to begin, and I knew (and still know) that it would be 6 months or more before we could devote any time to this again.  When I planned the time for Clara, I knew she would want to do it soon, and that waiting for 6 or more months wouldn't work out for her. I thought Audrey would be the same, but now I realize that she'll be fine waiting another 6 months. Or 8 months. Or 12... 

I also realized that not potty training Audrey now will not have anything to do with whether or not she becomes a lazy adult. This is a great fear of mine, that I intend to combat with everything I am, but I think I've come to terms with the probability that waiting another 6 months or a year for Audrey to potty train will not have much of an effect on her in the long run. I'm ok with that now.

In general, I've relaxed a bit on some of my parental expectations. I still want to be pretty strict about obedience - I think that's important for so many reasons - but when it comes to milestones, I'm softening. My Dad raised me with the mentality that 'if you're capable of something - you need to acheive that something'. I still agree that if a child seeks to perform a certain task, is capable of excellence in that task, a parent or teacher should be disappointed with anything but excellence from that child.  However, that doesn't mean that everything a child is capable of doing is necessarily the right thing for them to do 'right now'. 

For Audrey - potty training just isn't the 'right thing' 'right now'. 

I intended to end my post right there, but I wanted to add a few notes about the things I learned about both of my girls in this whole process.  Things I may have seen glimpses of before, but didn't really know until this week. Things I'm really glad to know.

About Audrey:

Without Clara at her side constantly, Audrey has a longer attention span. She has a determination to succeed, and an ability to repeat processes that allows her to systematically complete tasks - like doing up a buckle, or completing a puzzle - over, and over, and over, and over... 

Audrey is not socially driven. Although she is intrigued by things that other people do, and even copies actions and words frequently, she doesn't seem to have the desire to impress others that Clara did. Audrey wants to do that thing you're doing - but she doesn't care if you want her to, or what you'll think about her if she does it. 

About Clara:

She is desperately concerned about getting approval from us. While we were praising Audrey about peeing in the toilet, Clara wanted the same praise - despite the fact that she has been peeing in the toilet for almost 2 years. She seemed threatened by Audrey's extra attention and although she didn't take it out on Audrey, she seemed completely insecure - I heard her say 'Look what I did, Mommy!' more in those three days than I think I ever had before. 

She is deeply connected to her sister.  On Friday afternoon, after we had given up - and I released Audrey back into 'normal life' - the girls played, and played, and played. And Clara relaxed, because Audrey was free! Clara stopped demanding my approval, and for a few days Audrey was the only person who mattered. "Come here, Audrey!" "Look at this, Audrey!" "Come play with me, Audrey!".  She had her sister back, and all was well. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 04 September 2014 20:18

The Day I Almost Gave Up...

Potty Training Round 2, Day 3.

This marks the end of the third full day of the '3 Day Potty Training method' that, in our case, will NOT be completed in only 3 days. Maybe not even 4, but we'll see. I almost gave up this afternoon, but I think I'll plug through for a few more days.

My photos today are deceptive - I had a really, really, REALLY bad day.  I sent a friend a text message today that said "I think I have never felt as defeated and incompetent as I do today".  This is the hardest thing about parenting for me - feeling incompetent - and it hit me hard this afternoon. Anyway, here's the story of today...

I let Audrey sleep in as long as possible today. Yesterday was frustrating for both of us, she had a late evening, and in the middle of the night I went in to check on her and found her soundly sleeping in a soaked bed. I woke her up, cleaned her and changed her bedsheet, blanket and pillow and put her back to bed. 

9:15am - Audrey wakes up. I'm in the kitchen and I hear a few noises coming from her room, so I know I'm not quite as on-the-ball with getting her up as I maybe should be, but she's still dry.  I take her directly to the potty where she sits down willingly, but does not pee. I get a few suggestions about running water and putting her hand in a bowl of water, which I attempt. She thinks it's funny to play with water while she's on the potty, but it does nothing.

9:35am - she has a large-ish accident on the kitchen floor, but then follows up with nothing in the potty. Accident #1.

11:15am - Big accident on the classroom floor - followed again by nothing on the potty. Before this accident, however, Audrey spends a lot of time 'playing' on and around the potty. She goes and sits on it, immediately claiming to be done, and asks me to read books to her while she's on the potty. She either doesn't want to pee on it, or still doesn't understand that this is what she's supposed to do.  She seems to be getting more comfortable just letting it go on the floor, though, because she seems not to be stopping herself partway through anymore.  This seems to be a step backwards, in my view.

11:45-12:10 - This time period is a bit of a blur for me. We have so far had no successful pees in the potty, and in close succession she suddenly has 3 large accidents on the downstairs floor.  Her pattern seems to be that as soon as I reach for the bottle of vinegar spray to clean up the previous accident (that has been blotted up with a towel), she creates an entirely new puddle. 

It was somewhere in this half hour that I broke. The vinegar spray bottle wasn't spraying, and I was completely overwhelmed and feeling like nothing was working. I had until the end of the day, because I had to babysit the next day and this potty training COULD NOT take more than the 3 days allotted.  And - as stupid as this seems - I had the voice of a few people who said 'maybe she just isn't ready?' in my head, and I couldn't handle the defeat of admitting that maybe they were right. I didn't really believe they were right - that statement kind of goes against my parenting philosophy...  I threw the bottle onto the floor, punched the wall and collapsed in a pile of tears on the floor. Clara kept asking Brian 'Why is Mommy crying?', and Audrey started crying also, saying 'Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!' and tried to climb right into my chest. 

Somehow I pull myself together - Brian took Clara upstairs and started making lunch - and Audrey and I stayed downstairs and battled. At first I completely ignored my resolve not to stress her out on the toilet and held her there - crying - for a few minutes, knowing she had to pee but wouldn't.  Finally, we both calmed down and went upstairs for lunch.

12:45pm - She has a small accident on the floor, stops herself, and then releases the rest into the potty. A lot of pee lands in the potty. I could have cried with relief. She gets some mini M&M's for this. 

1-3pm - Both Audrey and I nap. I'm emotionally exhausted, and I'm feeling it in every muscle of my body, and she's not in a really good space today either, so both of us really need this time.

3:45pm - Poop. In her panties. After she repeatedly told me she didn't have to go pee or poop.

The girls make up their own little game here - they were tossing these little links around the house and Clara was yelling 'Sling Shock!'. Then they'd pick them up and yell and throw them again. I was impressed by this action shot of them... It was pretty funny.

4:30pm - She has a pee accident on her bedroom floor, shortly after this picture was taken. It was around this point that I give up on panties, since it slows me down to have to stop and remove them before putting her on the potty and I want to increase the chances of getting her on the potty before she's done. 

4:50pm - I have a brainwave - because I have to pee, I decide to call Audrey in to watch (I figure I'll cheer myself on, and let her hear the pee falling). She stands and watches me intently and as I start peeing - so does she. All over the bathroom floor. 

Brian is finished working at 5pm, and just before he comes upstairs, I'm formulating my decision to give up. I have to babysit the next day, the day after the girls were going to hang out all day with Daddy - out of the house - so I could get my piano curriculum and homeschool room all ready to go for the next week. Sunday is the kick off for Sunday School, and there's a pancake breakfast planned - I really don't want to miss that, and then next week everything starts. Homeschooling. Piano. Gymnastics - which I intend to actually enroll Audrey in herself!! I can't enroll a 2-year-old who will pee all over the mats! Regardless of whether or not she is ready, or whether or not she WOULD get it eventually, I'm running out of time.

Then I watch her determinedly climb 'by self' onto the toilet, after stubbornly refusing help. She hates having help doing anything, and I think she's not ready to use a toilet? I also know that our modern trend to wait to potty train really is just that - a modern trend - made possible by disposable diapers and pull-ups. In the early 1900's and previously, almost all children were potty trained at or before Audrey's age, so to say 'she's not ready' is very unlikely to be true. Not to knock anyone who makes the choice to wait to potty train - I'm close to that decision myself - but it won't be because SHE'S not ready. I'm sure she is. 

I do realize, however, that there are a number of requirements that the 3-Day-Method lays out that we have not been able to comply with, and maybe that's what is getting in our way. The biggest thing is that I have 2 children, so I really can't spend ALL of my time focusing intently on just Audrey. I'm ignoring Clara enough already as it is, and it's causing all sorts of problems - I'm doing the best I can in our situation. I've also been a bit lazy - because the girls typically keep themselves occupied, I've been letting them lead playtime quite a bit, to keep things as normal as possible. I've also been letting them watch tv to give all of us a chance to just sit. Because this is creating so much laundry, I've also had to leave occasionally to throw in a load, or sort through for clean panties. 

It's also possible that because we've been using our entire house - and both bathrooms - that things haven't been consistent enough for her, and that this is confusing her. No idea. It's possible.

5:35pm - Brian has come up from work, and because my decision has wavered, I haven't spoken to him about it yet. Before I can, Audrey has a small accident on the floor - and then finishes up in the potty!!! Maybe she needs Daddy to be around... Anyway, this is accident #10, which still does look better than the last two days, although it's also only success #2 - and I'm being pretty loose with the word 'success'.

6:00pm - She has a small accident in the living room, and then again the rest lands in the potty! More chocolate for Audrey!

6:25pm - During supper, Audrey dribbles a tiny amount on her kitchen chair and then pees a LOT - probably the rest of what is in her - into the potty. The day is looking up, and I'm encouraged. 

I sit next to her in the bathroom at one point, encouraging her to enjoy being on and around the potty, and while I'm trying to get her to actually sit on the little potty seat, she gets off it and sits next to me, crossing her feet like mine. Little mimic - she does this kind of thing a lot.  She even got up from here and pushed her feet right against the wall like mine. 

7:00pm - During playtime with Daddy before bed, Audrey has a surprise pee on the girls' bedroom floor. She seems genuinely stunned, and manages to hit the potty with the remainder. Success number 5 - we now have as many successes as yesterday, and her accident number is only #13 - much lower than yesterday.

7:40pm - Puddle in the hallway after her bath, nothing in the toilet. She was proudly displaying her Monkey jammies to me at the time, and so we remove them - even though the shirt would still have been ok - hopefully to make a point to her. 

8:35pm - She gets up from bed asking to pee - sits on the potty for a long time, but doesn't produce anything.

8:50pm - We hear a 'thud' and a moan, and find her standing next to her bed in a puddle of pee. Accident #15.

She's still awake - probably because I decided she needed a nap this afternoon. At 5 successes and 15 accidents, I'm going to sign off here and call today an improvement over the last two days, despite the disappointment and defeat I felt for most of it.  I've arranged for help tomorrow while I'm babysitting, and hopefully tomorrow will show definite improvement...

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 22:29

Potty Training Round 2, Day 2

Yesterday I documented our first day of potty training, and explained what we're doing and why... here is a play-by-play of Day 2 in our '3 Day Potty Training' journey.

8:05am - I wake Audrey up and discover that although at first she seems dry, as I walk her to the bathroom I notice a stale pee smell and check her panties again as I'm removing them to put her on the potty. They are damp, and smelly, but I can't tell if they are freshly wet or if she peed awhile ago and they are just drying (grossest thing ever...).  I go back to her bed while she's on the toilet and check it over, and change the blanket and sheets, but the mattress is dry and smell-free. 

8:15am - I notice a spot on her panties, and take her to the toilet. She sits there for a minute but does nothing.

8:30am - Dribble on the living room floor. Again, when placed on the toilet she does nothing. Clara is becoming increasingly challenging at this point - wanting to be applauded for peeing on the toilet also. Whenever I suggest that Audrey might need to pee, Clara runs to the toilet also 'needing to pee', but then says she 'can't' and 'needs help'.  I try to explain things to her, but unfortunately I'm preoccupied by Audrey and don't have as much patience as I know I should with her. 

8:40am - Dribble on the living room floor - produces nothing in the potty.

8:50am - I notice another spot on her panties, but when I take her to the toilet she again produces nothing. 

9:00am - Another dribble on the living room floor. I take note at this point that she's had 6 accidents by 9, when yesterday her first accident didn't happen until after 9... I'm feeling a bit discouraged.

9:20am - Another spot on her panties, but she does nothing on the toilet. She's clearly holding it in, and only leaks when she lets down her guard. I'm so frustrated - I just want her to get it out when she's sitting on the potty, but she refuses. I know that forcing her to stay on the toilet will only make her hate being there worse, which will work against me, but I want to pull my hair out.  I have laundry in piles all over the house (no time to put it away) so finding new panties for her becomes a bit of a scavenger hunt, and remains one throughout the day.

9:30am - We go downstairs, and I start the girls painting on paper towel (I used this same simple activity when training Clara - it's just pictures drawn with marker on paper towel, and they use water on brushes to spread and blend the colours).  Almost immediately after this picture was taken, there is a deluge all over the classroom floor. This is accident #8, which happens at the same time accident #2 did yesterday.

9:50am - I play lazy parent and let the girls watch some tv ('Movies!!', Audrey says), and flip the chair around next to the tv so I can face the girls who are sitting on the couch. I use my phone to read some personal accounts of other families using the '3 Day' method of potty training (I'm looking for encouragement here), and come across one story that encouraged their child to enjoy their potty time by giving her books.  Audrey had begun really stressing out about sitting on the potty, so I thought this might be a good idea. I offered her some time on the potty with a book, and she happily complied, and even sat there for 10 minutes, but still didn't pee. At least she was relaxed...

10:15-10:25am - After returning to the play area, she has a large-ish accident on the floor. I set her on the potty again with a book and she sits there for about 10 minutes. Just as I was about to give up and ask if she wanted to get up, I hear splashing! She has had her first successful pee on the potty!!! Despite the fact that it was preceded by 9 accidents, I try to take a bit of encouragement from the fact that this success came more than 4 hours before her first success the day before. This is an improvement!! I cheer her excessively and give her a piece of chocolate. 

11:00am - She pees - lots - on the classroom floor, and then sits on the potty for awhile but produces nothing more. I know she still has pee in there, and I know it will probably come out as soon as she's off the toilet, so I struggle to hold her on the potty until she pees. I fought with this all day long - but in the end I knew I had to listen to her 'all done's, so she wouldn't stress out about going on the potty again.

11:15am - Another big accident, but again nothing in the potty. 

11:30am - The biggest accident yet on the kitchen floor upstairs, but again nothing goes in the potty. This is accident #12. She's actually almost on par with yesterday at this point.

11:50am - I see a spot on her panties, so I run her to the bathroom. She sits on the potty for about 10 minutes - with a book - and then FINALLY pees!!! She's really excited to do it, too, but seems to get distracted and stop frequently.  I'm sure she hasn't peed enough yet..

A friend stops by to pick up Clara for lunch. Poor Clara has been so neglected the last 36 hours, and she's so excited to be going out on her own. She keeps telling Audrey that 'You're not coming, Audrey', which hurts Audrey's feelings momentarily when Clara leaves. This will give me a few hours to focus on Audrey without distractions. 

12:15pm - Another accident on the kitchen floor, and then immediately finishes (I think) in the potty. This is three (mostly) successful pees in the potty before lunchtime. I count this is progress! By 'successful', I mean that she deliberately let her pee lose while sitting on the potty. At this point I don't care that she didn't give me a warning, or that she always had some kind of accident prior to being on the potty. I'm celebrating the small wins here.

I suggest a nap (she seems really sleepy, and I'm exhausted, despite only having one child at the moment) but this time she says 'no'. I'm sitting at the chair in front of my computer, and she asks to be picked up and it sounds as though she asks to watch 'Let it Go'. So, I pull up a YouTube video of that scene in Frozen for her.  She zombies in front of my computer for about half an hour, watching Elsa sing that song repeatedly. She seems to have a much longer attention span when Clara isn't around. After awhile, I sit her on the potty again for about 10 minutes, but she does nothing. I suggest we go downstairs to watch movies there. (Lazy parent).

2:00pm - Audrey suddenly gets up and runs to the bathroom, and wants me to read one of the books I've set out for her, but she doesn't pee. She does this a few times.

2:30pm - After one instance of sitting on the potty, she gets up and wants to wash her hands. There is a small stool in front of the sink that she is standing on, with her hands in the cool running water, and suddenly there is liquid running and splashing down her legs. By the time she gets to the potty she does nothing else.

3:15pm - The piano tuner is just leaving as Audrey starts throwing a tantrum. In my frustrated state, I give her a soother to keep her quiet until the tuner leaves, and of course she goes to her bed and falls asleep almost instantly. 

I take advantage of this time after the tuner has left, and spend some one-on-one time with Clara. I cuddle with her, and complain together with her about how much potty training Audrey is not fun - for her or me - and remind her how much I love her. She tries to coerce some candy out of me, which fails, but I hope spending even a few minutes reassuring her is worth a lot. 

3:50pm - I decide to wake Audrey up, because she typically doesn't sleep at night if she's napped, but I must have picked the exact wrong moment to do this. She wakes up saying something repeatedly - I wish I could remember what it was... 'All done', maybe? Anyway... She begins a crazy tired tantrum and I take her to the potty. She can hardly walk, and stumbles to the bathroom (She's going to be one of those people who needs coffee to function someday...). I notice that her panties are wet, but I had checked her bed as we were leaving it and I had thought it was dry. I leave her (tantruming) on the potty and go back to check her bed again. It's fine.  When I return to her (She's still crying) on the toilet, there is a yellow hue to the toilet water and her bottom is dripping. I can't believe she didn't even waver in her tantrum, but I count this is a successful pee!

She periodically (and voluntarily) sits on thep otty throughout the rest of the afternoon, but immediately claims to be 'all done' and asks to get off. If I hesitate at all, she cries and steadfastly refuses. 

6:05pm - She suddenly crouches over - like Clara used to do when she was so constipated - and Brian runs her immediately to the toilet. The first poop since potty training begins lands safely in the toilet! I'm so relieved!! 

This marked her fifth (And last) success of the day.

6:10pm - Accident on the floor. She then produces nothing in the potty.

6:30pm - BIG accident on the downstairs living room floor. Then nothing in the potty.

6:40pm - Another big accident in the classroom. Nothing in the potty.

An unavoidable circumstance meant that Brian had to take the girls to a nearby city to return his parents' vehicle to them. It's about a 30 minute drive, and they drive there and back with no accidents. When Clara was potty training, I had made a waterproof blanket with a large button hole for the crotch strap of her carseat to fit through to put on her carseat - just in case. I'm glad we have it, but I'm also glad that today it wasn't used.

8:22pm - She has a small accident on the living room floor. No successful pees since mid-afternoon, although I didn't push the liquids quite as much after about that time of day. 

In the end, only 20 accidents - 7 less than yesterday - and 5 successful potty times, which is one more than yesterday. Not a vast improvement so far, but definitely not a step backward. I'm praying for big changes tomorrow...

I apologize for the grammatical chaos of this post. I'm exhausted and potty training, so cut me some slack, please. :)

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 20:31

No More Bars

August of 2012 - just over two years ago - we set up this toddler bed in what was then just Clara's bedroom.  I was seven months pregnant, and we knew that weaning Clara off her gummy (soother), potty training and becoming a big sister were all huge transitions that Clara would soon be making and so we decided to introduce her to her new 'big girl bed' as soon as possible so that she would have time to get used to it before we needed to move her into it. 

Clara, it turned out, didn't need to get used to it. She excitedly leaped onto her new 'big girl bed' and we realized that although we intended to have her continue sleeping in her crib while she became used to the idea of the toddler bed, she would have been greatly disappointed if we had asked her to get back in her crib. 

This is what her room looked like back then. Not completely changed, but we no longer have a rocking chair - I hardly used it for the girls anyway - and in its place is a dresser. 

 Up until a few days ago, everything on the crib side of the room looked almost just like this...

We realized, similarly to two years ago, we have a toddler facing a lot of transition soon. Audrey also has a soother dependency that we have kept to only nighttimes lately, but will have to be broken nonetheless. She is also showing signs of potty training readiness, and although there is no new baby on the way, we want to make these transitions as easy for her as possible - and allow each change some space to settle before throwing the next one at her. 

I realized sometime in July that as the school year begins in September, my time will be lessened. I will have piano lessons to teach, and I am still babysitting on the days I don't teach. If I intend to do the '3-Day-Method' of potty training, as we did with Clara, I would no longer have a 3-day stretch in which to do it.  I mentally calculated that Audrey would be 22 months old (as recommended by the 3-Day-Method) at the end of August, which is 2 weeks older than Clara was when we began the process with her. 

Last week, the girls and I went camping with a friend and borrowed my in-laws camper trailer, in which Audrey slept in a playpen. One morning as I was getting Clara ready for the day, Audrey demanded to get out of bed and when I didn't respond quickly enough, she climbed - albeit clumsily - out of the playpen by herself. I was stunned.  At each location where my daughters sleep over (Grandparents), Audrey sleeps in a playpen.  This marked the day when she would no longer be able to be confined by a playpen, and considering her clumsiness, it would from now on be safer for her to be in a bed. 

I knew that it would be awhile before Audrey would attempt - or succeed in - climbing out of her crib at home, but the 'stay in bed' battle was one that would have to be waged at home before she ever stayed the night at Grandma's, or Nana and Grandpa's again.  And we had plans the following week...

Then, as I continued to consider the rapid pace of Audrey's transitions I realized that Audrey really would need to be able to get out of her bed prior to potty training, because she would need to be able to come to the door and ask to go pee. It would be silly to trap her in her crib while we were stretching her independence with potty training - I think.  So, the very next day, we made the change...

 Of course the girls 'helped' Daddy take the front off the crib...

Audrey's response was definitely not as eager and excited as Clara's had been two years ago. Actually, Audrey's response was more guarded than Clara's was even now, although the bed change was Audrey's news. Clara could hardly keep herself off of Audrey's new bed.  I envision that there will be a phase in the girls lives where they choose to share a bed... Although you never know. 

We expected a week's worth of battling with Audrey over staying in bed at night.  That's what happened with Clara. Audrey seems more in control of her excitement, however, and although she did sneak out of bed a few times during the first twenty minutes of sleeping in her new bed, it hasn't been nearly the struggle we expected.  It has been one week now, and half of the days we haven't had to go in at all. The other half we have had to check in a few times over about 10-20 minutes. 

So far it's been a good thing. Next week is potty training...

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 20:26

Potty Training Round 2

Nearly two years ago, I embarked - suddenly - on the potty training journey that would have Clara (almost) potty trained in less than a week. We decided to potty train her at about 21 months because she was interested, and her baby sister was due to be born only a few short weeks later and so we decided to get 'er done!! Quite out of the blue, I had received an email about potty training using the 3-day method from Sarah at Nurse Loves Farmer.

It made sense to me, and I'm all about just simply 'getting things done', so getting this email was perfectly timed for me. Now, nearly two years later we begin again. Audrey is a few weeks older than Clara was at the time (and about a year younger, in my mind - will she always be my 'baby'?) and here we are beginning this process with her. This was last night - see that diaper sticking out of her pants? That is the last diaper my baby will (hopefully) ever wear...

Today I began much less prepared than I was with Clara, but determined to fight through the next three days to get her potty training completed before I start teaching piano - and homeschooling - next week.

Here is how the day went...

8:20am - Audrey wakes up, and I ask her if she's ready to get rid of diapers. She looks at me groggily (she's not a morning person) and I ask if she wants to eat breakfast first. "Jes!" (Her 'yes' sounds a bit like it starts with a 'j'). Mommy sighs with relief - I'm not ready either.

She has oatmeal and chocolate milk for breakfast.

8:45am - It's time. I get her out of her diaper, change her into panties and explain that from now on, pee and poop go in the potty. Clara struggles with keeping quiet long enough for me to explain this, and keeps stealing Audrey's attention. I think she finally hears me, and when I tell her to let me know if she has to pee, she runs into the bathroom and I follow, ready to help.  She spends a bit of time getting on and off the potty (not peeing), and demanding she pull up her panties 'by self'. This is a bit of a gong show, because she really can't do it, and keeps stuffing both legs into one hole, or getting the back elastic caught on her bum cheeks... Anyway.

9:15am - The girls are playing happily, so I turn my back to send an email. (I know - my own posts about this training method say not to do this!!) 

9:20am - First accident - on the living room floor. Change into her second pair of panties.  Audrey seems a bit stunned, and she silently steps away from it.  I explain that she needs to tell me, and put her on the potty. Nothing else comes out.

9:30am - we go downstairs (we have our classroom sort of set up, and this is the girls' first chance to play down there). We play with some kind of beady foam gunk that I bought at Indigo. The girls have a blast, but of course it holds Clara's interest much longer, and Audrey wanders off to the easel.

9:35am - Accident #2, in front of the easel.

9:50am - Accident #3, also near the easel. This time the girls have been playing with cars and blocks. We lose a foam magnetic alphabet piece to this mess. I bring out the girl's Melissa & Doug magnet dolls and give them more chocolate milk and some Annie's snack bunnies.

10:05am - Accident #4, near the snack/play table. 

I take note at this point that Audrey always seems to be standing when she pees. This was interesting to me, because it wasn't something I had any idea about before, so it gave me something to watch for.

10:13am - Accident #5 (Change into panties #6). It occurs to me that it's no doubt my girls always peed right through diapers if I wasn't careful - they seem to pee constantly...

10:20am - Brian delivers the necessary Pumpkin Spice Latte. If I had more children, I would have to demand this for each and every first day of potty training since it would officially now be a tradition. Oh well... there are other excuses for lattes...

10:30am - Accident.

10:45am - Accident.

11:05am - Accident (#8, change into panties #9) This is when I start the first load of laundry for all the wet towels and panties that have accumulated.  Audrey is getting pretty frustrated at this point, because she isn't comfortable peeing on the potty, and doesn't seem to enjoy being wet either. 

11:15am - Accident.

11:25am - Accident.

11:50am - Accident #11. This is the first accident that happens while she is sitting/squatting. For every accident, I ran to put her on the toilet, but so far she still hasn't let a drop of pee land inside. It's clear to me that each accident is what happens when she loses her guard and then realizes what's happening and stops herself. She's probably doing a lot of holding today. 

12:30pm - Another accident.

12:35pm - Lunchtime! Thanks to Daddy, who has gone upstairs and cleaned up dishes and made us some chicken fingers and fries. 

12:50pm - We notice her panties are wet, but nothing seems to have gotten on the floor. She is taken to the potty but does nothing. 

1:00pm - I suspect an accident, but put her down for a nap anyway. I am exhausted... She falls asleep easily.

2:45pm - I wake Audrey before allowing her to wake on her own so that I can immediately take her to the bathroom and encourage her to try to pee. She groggily walks to the bathroom with me, and sits on the potty but does nothing.  I then sit her down at the table for some pretzels and lemonade, and she immediately pees all over her chair - BUT - she stops herself and finishes in the potty!!! This is the first pee EVER to land in the potty!!!

4:50pm - Accident #15 (over 2 hours since her last pee)

5:40pm - Accident #16

6:02pm - Accident #17

6:10pm - Accident #18

6:15pm - Accident #19

6:20pm - Accident #20. Clearly she's doing that thing again where she stops herself but doesn't let herself release the rest of her pee into the toilet (I feel a bit silly using the word 'potty' repeatedly, but hey - I'm 'potty training').

6:50pm - We are sitting at the table eating supper, and she suddenly looks concerned and says 'Mommy?'. Brian picks her up immediately and takes her to the bathroom. There is a small spot on her chair at the table, and she finishes peeing in the potty!!! Yay Audrey!!!

The rest of the evening happened during Brian's watch. I went for a catnap after supper - I know technically the same person is supposed to stay by their side the entire 3 days, but we adapted with Clara, and so I wasn't too worried about doing the same with Audrey.

Audrey has 3 more accidents, plus an incident where she has a spot in her panties but then pees in the potty.

8:35pm - The girls are both in bed. I hear noise and walk in the room. Audrey is out of bed, but is deliberate about walking toward me so instead of taking her back to bed, I take her to the toilet. Good thing, because she has a spot in her panties (I later discover a small spot on their bedroom floor) and she pees again in the potty!!!

9:00pm - Audrey is out of bed again, and there is a small puddle on the floor.

9:20pm - Clara announces that Audrey has peed on the floor. Sigh. Her blanket is a casualty, and there is a tiny spot on her bed sheet, but I leave that and just change her blanket. 

Bedtime is obnoxious, because Audrey has discovered that needing to pee is her ticket out of their bedroom, and we don't want to take our chances yet. Every time Audrey gets out of bed, Clara wants to leave the room too.

10ish. They finally fall asleep.

So, it was a crazy day - 28 accidents, 29 pairs of panties would have been needed in total if I hadn't been able to do laundry. VERY different than my experience with Clara, but we'll see. By the end of the day Audrey seemed to be 'getting it', although she still doesn't have a method for clearly letting us know that she has to pee except to look at us intently and run past us to the bathroom and smack her hands on the seat. Speak, Audrey, Speak!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 22:05

Audrey is 1!!!

Last year, on October 25th, we were shopping with my Mom for some last minute items for our baby.  I hadn't yet purchased the outfit I wanted to carry her home in, and so we were wandering the mall looking for something suitable. As we wandered, I started feeling significant cramping and started watching the clock. Although still relatively calm, the contractions were coming at approximately 10-15 minute intervals for about an hour, then quickly changed to being about 5 minutes or less apart, and lasting at least 30 seconds.  I could walk through them, but it was more comfortable to stop walking or talking and wait until they passed.  Since I had to be induced with Clara, I wanted to be sure that I gave this baby - and this labour - as much time as possible to progress.

As it turned out, I still needed to be induced, which is its own story, but the next morning - just before 10am - Audrey Grace Rayne was born.  If you feel like reading the whole story, here is Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. 

Last Saturday marked the anniversary of my baby girl's birthday. She is now a '1 year old'.  It's more than a little bit sad for me to know that I will probably never again experience all of the joys and strains of raising a newborn to this point in life.  Audrey was - more than likely - our last baby, and I'll miss that. 

From this...

To this...

Dear Audrey, on your First Birthday:

I don't think I really understood how different one baby could be from another until I got to know you. You are so much different in temperament than your sister - maybe to make sure we notice you!  For the first few months of your life, you could really only be described as the 'perfect' baby.  You rarely cried, and only if you REALLY needed something - you would wait quite awhile if you were hungry before demanding anything - which, as a Mom who was new to juggling more than one child, I appreciated more than you could have known. As I struggled to figure out how to parent an increasingly challenging toddler while now parenting a newborn simultaneously - you became the baby that I needed you to be. 

Maybe it's because you are my second child, but I've loved how much more relaxed I feel with you. And you respond in kind, because you are so relaxed as well. You love each member of your family - you adore your sister, and follow her around everywhere. You love your Daddy to the moon and back, and get hyper excited when he comes home from work each day.  I think I have a bit of a special place in your heart still, though, and although sometimes it's irritating to be so needed - I love it at the same time.  You follow me around the house sometimes, and every once in awhile, I feel a small little tug at my pant leg - requesting to be picked up. 

You are CUDDLY also, and I love that. At your birthday, you were given a toy doll from Clara, and the first thing you did was to pick it up and snuggle it close to your face.  After being picked up by just about anyone, you will first lay your head on that person's shoulder and snuggle for a moment before lifting your head and looking around.  Yesterday, I sprawled on the living room floor and you crawled up to me and over me, stopping to hug me repeatedly and to give me very sloppy, drooly kisses. 

There are so many things I still can't check off of your list of 'Can do's' - still no teeth, no walking, no words - but I get the impression from you that you have a very active brain inside that giant head of yours, and I know that your physical inabilities now will never slow you down in the future. You are an explorer - you will crawl into, onto and over anything in your path and will fight with determination to overcome something that may not seem easy or even possible at first.  You have definitely had your share of bumps on the head, but I think that also will not slow you down. 

We made it to one year of breastfeeding, and I think it is just about time to stop entirely. We're down to once or twice each morning, but that is all.  There is so much I love about breastfeeding, but there are things I don't like also, and you - at this point - much prefer a bottle.  You drink a ton - I have been giving you lots of milk, and water, and you guzzle everything down in lightning speed.  I hope I don't forget to keep you hydrated, because it's clear that you intend to drink a lot! You will eat just about everything, if we market it carefully to you, although you are a sucker for 'something better', and will turn down what you are offered if you think there is even a chance of something you would prefer.  Just today I had left a small package of snack crackers on the kitchen table while trying to feed you lunch, and it took me a moment to realize that your grabbing at the table and refusing your food was in hopes of some crackers rather.  After I moved them, you ate much better.

Today was the first day I actively disciplined you. I have, on occasion, tried to use a stern voice when saying 'no', to indicate that something you have done is not something that makes me happy.  Typically you giggle at this, and continue doing what you were doing.  Today, however, I couldn't let you do this.  You had discovered our carbon monoxide detector, which lets off an extremely high pitched squeal when the buttons are pushed, and you made it angry.  The first time Clara did this, she required no further correction because it scared her enough that she never again wanted to touch it. You were a different story - I saw the look of intrigue in your eye, and I looked you in the eye and said 'No'. Then I put you down to see what you would do. You smiled and went straight for the detector again.  Just as your little hand reached out to push the button, I gave you a small slap (enough to mean business) and said 'No' again. You were quite offended by this - your face slowly turned into a scowl and you began to cry.  Then you immediately started crawling onto me - pleading to be comforted. I gave you a hug and realized that this particular battle was perhaps beyond you and your inquisitive ways, and instead of attempting the practice again, I moved the detector. 

You are still a baby - and you have quite awhile to remain a 'baby' in my eyes. But you are no longer an infant.  You will soon be a toddler. And instead of telling people that I have a baby and a two year old, I will have to say that I have 'two little girls' - aged 1 and almost 3.  And the older you get - the more that you and Clara are interested in and enjoy some of the same things - the more fun we have together. I'm looking forward to what the next year brings.

Now - I hear you fussing in your room, 2 hours after bedtime. You still are not a very good sleeper, and I will go and re 'plug' your 'gummy' and hope you fall back to sleep. 

Goodnight, Audrey. And Happy Belated Birthday. 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:10

She's on the Move!

Since last week - officially by Friday, August 30 - Audrey has had the ability to move around the house at her leasure by army crawling around on her belly.  She likes to be in the same room we are, and will follow her sister all over the place. 

I had forgotten what it meant to baby proof, and I have a suspicion that baby-proofing for Audrey will be a much more intensive procedure.  She seems to move more quickly, and get into more than Clara ever did, so I suspect she will keep us guessing and surprise us on more than one occasion. 

I confess that with Clara, we didn't do very much 'baby proofing' - we watched her pretty closely, and after awhile we realized that she really didn't get into much. When she was old enough to get into more shenanigans - like colouring on the walls - we would have one incident of each 'type', and after dealing with the incidents, they were never repeated. 

With Audrey, I suspect we will run into problems for two reasons - one, because she is our second child, and as such she will be out of my vision more frequently than Clara was, which goes with the territory of having another child to look out for and deal with, and two, because she has already shown us that she is much more interested in wreaking havoc than her sister ever was. She will get into more and different things than Clara did, so we won't see what is coming... 

Add to that the fact that we have many toys and books lying around now that are not exactly baby-friendly, but that Clara is too young to quite understand why and so we can't trust her to keep these things away from Audrey.  Audrey wants nothing more than to be involved in everything that is going on - and to be able to play with every one of her sister's toys.

So far, one rule I have tried to implement is that Clara avoid playing with toys that Audrey can't play with in reach of Audrey. If Clara is wanting to read a book with paper pages that Audrey would like to drool on and mush up, Clara can take that book to her bed and read it in there where Audrey can't reach her.  If Clara would like to do some sort of craft that Audrey is too young for, it is best for Clara to do it at the kitchen table where Audrey can't even see what is going on.  This will get more and more difficult as Audrey becomes more aware of what is going on, and I will have to get more creative, and find ways to include Audrey as much as possible. 

Audrey is beginning to pull herself up on her hands and knees, and will soon be crawling 'properly' I suspect. She will rock slightly back and forth in this position as if she knows that it would be a much quicker and more efficient way of getting around, so it appears as though she is just trying to figure out how it works and when she does - she'll be off! 

A few weeks ago, I was coaching her to start crawling and now I'm wondering how much I'll enjoy this stage after all :) Seriously, though - I'd love to hear any other thoughts about keeping toddler toys away from babies, or how baby proofing for #2 was different...  Parenting is so funny - just because I've 'done this before' doesn't mean I feel any more confident about what I'm doing! Audrey is so different than Clara!  

This must be part of God's plan to keep me humble... 

Published in Blog
Monday, 26 August 2013 21:30

Audrey at 10 months!

It's hard to believe so much time has gone by, and yet - I remember feeling this way when Clara was about this age - it also feels as though Audrey has always been with us, and it's hard to imagine life before she was here. 

Dear Audrey,

      You still have no teeth, although you've been needing some tylenol to sleep every night and you have been soaking three shirts a day in drool so I'm expecting at least one tooth to come poking through your gums any day now.  

      You are eating more and more - it's no longer cost effective to just feed you store bought baby food anymore - and you're eating a much greater variety of things also. We try to feed you things with spices so that hopefully you'll be used to different flavours from the beginning.  You have been eating a lot of 'Baby Gourmet' brand foods, which include a lot of vegetables in your diet.  You've dealt with a bit of constipation, so we give you a Vegetable Lentil baby food meal every two or three days - hopefully it helps.  You're still breastfed about three times each day - first thing in the morning, at lunch time and right before bed, but even this doesn't always seem to be enough - often you will appear hungry again immediately after you've breastfed so I will also give you some formula or even cow's milk, which I've come to believe is probably fine for most babies to drink. 

Just have to point out those crazy long and curled baby eyelashes! Your Nana just informed me that she doesn't wear mascara because then she gets streaks on her glasses - man, that's gotta suck... :p

      You show a huge amount of emotion every day, and it strikes me particularly when you're experiencing one of your 'highs'. You don't really have 'lows', I guess, although you have learned how to complain when things aren't going quite your way, which usually only happens when we don't feed you fast enough.  Your 'highs' are hysterical, however.  You get so excited, your entire body convulses and you shreek and wiggle, and seem as though you're about to explode pure joy.  You still have this sadistic way of laughing whenever Clara cries, which still has me a bit concerned... 

       You are officially sleeping through the night!!! It's been long enough, I think I can really say that! A few weeks ago, Brian decided to rearrange our bedroom furniture so that the playpen no longer fit.  We went camping for a weekend, and you and Clara shared a room and when we got back, we just decided to have you continue to share a room - whatever happened. It took a few nights, but you seemed to be instantly more comfortable in your crib and right from the beginning you were waking up only two or three times a night (this was good for you!), and soon you were waking up only at about midnight and then again at about 3:30 or 4. After about a week of that, you started waking up only at midnight... and for the past few nights, you have been sleeping from about 8 or 9pm until about 8 or 9am. I could dance, I'm so happy... 

     Your nap pattern is also becoming more consistent. You are usually pretty sleeping first thing in the morning, and I just focus on feeding you as much as possible for breakfast before putting you down for an early morning nap. If I let you, you will sleep for about two hours and wake up again sometime before lunch. I have been trying to match your afternoon nap with Clara's, which doesn't always work and depends a lot on when you woke up from your morning nap and what we have going on that day. I'd love it if you would nap in the stroller, or lying on the floor at church, but you can't seem to sleep if there's anything going on around you. Although somehow you and Clara will sleep through each other's noises at night - if she wakes up screaming, you don't anymore, and if you cry before finally falling asleep, she will fall asleep anyway. 

You're still not crawling, but in the past few days you have started moving yourself forward.  You had been scooting backwards on your belly by pushing your arms out toward you and sliding yourself along the floor, and I've seen you scoot around on your bum, but you finally seem to be figuring out how to crawl.  You also push your bum up into the air with your feet on the floor (not your knees), and you'll hover there for a few seconds, so I think you know that you somehow have to lift your body up in order to move forward more efficiently.  I know I'll regret saying this, but I'm excited for you to actually start moving on your own!

It's possible I'm just driving people crazy with me, but I've had a number of people in the past week admit to seeing curls on the back of your head.  Your Dad had a stripe of curls along the back of his head when he was a baby - blonde hair too - and now he has a head full of thick dark curls. I hope for your sake that your hair isn't quite as thick or curly as his, but I'm excited for curls for you. I always wished my hair had some curl...  

     You have these creepy Monkey arms that always reach about a foot further away from you than I expect them to. The photo above is of you holding the Nikon camera that Brian has on loan from work, and I swear it was sitting on the center of the kitchen table - at least 2 feet away from you. I turned my back for a second, and you've got it on your lap in the high chair. I am unbelievably grateful that it didn't hit the floor between the table and high chair... I'm also really impressed that you were able to lift it - it weighs just about as much as you do...

     As much as I really want to help you avoid an excessive sweet tooth, I can't seem to stop myself sometimes from giving you (and Clara) sweets.  And you are getting things much earlier than she did, because you are old enough now to see what she is eating - and want it as well! 

     Despite having had a 10-month-old before, I can't help but be surprised at the amount of personality I am seeing in you lately. You are easy going and content most of the time, and although you are usually quiet, there are times when you jabber loudly to yourself or to us - too loud for anyone else to have a conversation around you. And your response to a 'Ssshhh!!!'? You just grin and keep on jabbering.  You are playful, and even a little mischevious, I think.  

     You handle being separated from anyone or everyone in your immediate family really well - but at the same time, you behave as though you are still physically a part of me - you butt your head up against me and nuzzle in - and you also act as though you know you belong with your sister. And your Daddy is still your favourite pop star. :)

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