Sunday, January 12, 2014

Relegated to Spectator

Today was a particularly significant that was harder than I expected it would be. 

At the end of Elena's last Parent & Tot swim lesson session, the coach said that she was more than ready for the next level, Splash A. However, the next series of levels are for 3-5 year olds. On the one hand, I was very proud that Elena was excelling so well at an activity I enjoy so much...on the other, it made me whistful for that very 1st lesson, way back in August 2011 when she was just 5 months old. Lately I've had to deal with Elena being ready for things I'm not ready for. Is it right to hold Elena back just because I'm not ready? Absolutely not! 

This lead me to inquire if it was even possible to sign her up for the Splash A. I was told that, as long as Elena turned 3 before the end of the session, she was allowed to enrol. Elena turns 3 March 4th, the session ends March 9th. I signed her up & today was her first lesson. 

As I sat there watching her new coach lead her into the pool, the 1st time ever Elena would be led off for a lesson of any kind all on her own...without me, my heart was very heavy & I was astutely aware that not only was this a first, it was a last. It was the last time I would sit & watch my baby take her first lesson on her own. And I cried thru most of it...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Delurking Week 2014

I just read, over on Mel's site, about this delurking week...I'm genuinely interested to know who's out there reading. Are you a young single woman thinking single motherhood might be for you? Are you a married mom who nods her head in commiseration when I go on about parenting my daughter? Are you a fellow SMC? Do you have a blog I can follow you along on too? Are you a dad? Are you a single dude looking for a strong, independent woman, wink wink, nudge nudge?

Seriously though...peek out from the shadows...I've recently allowed anonymous comments again (I had to turn them off as I was getting WAY too much spam) & there's no verification so even if you're a robot, you can comment...I've also turned on comment moderation so if you don't want your comment published, just mention that & I won't, your comment can be just between the two of us. 

I look forward to hearing from you!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

When You Gotta Go...

Why is it that, when your toddler reaches a certain age, everyone feels the need to inquire about if you’re toilet training said toddler yet? I mean, seriously! Can’t we all just leave each other alone & let the parent(s) parent their child(ren)?

Okay, rant over…sorry about that…but I’ve been tired of being questioned about Elena’s toilet habits for the last 10+ months…

From the time Elena was born, my Mom would brag that, before I was born, she’d toilet trained my cousin before she was two & that she had me trained by when I was two…I said, “Great! Then you can train Elena!!” More seriously, when my Mom would question about when I planned to train Elena, I told her I was on board for whatever she had in mind, just lead the way. I’m not sure if it’s just that she was afraid to put her money where her mouth was or whether she felt it was my responsibility, but she didn’t make any move towards any training…well, aside from encouraging Elena to try from time to time but nothing consistent. I’m okay with that…it really is my responsibility. I was just tired of hearing the questioning.

I thought about training Elena at the beginning of the summer, but I realized that I didn’t want to spend our summer searching for toilets everywhere we went. I thought about training her Thanksgiving weekend in October when I’d be home for the long weekend…I can’t remember why I didn’t end up doing it then…Then I didn’t want to do it before we went away on our vacation…to be honest, all that time, I just wasn’t ready.

That’s right, I wasn’t ready! I didn’t want to be searching for toilets, I didn’t want to give up the convenience of diapers…but more than anything, I didn’t want my baby to take another step towards independence, to not need  me for yet another thing.

By the time we got back from vacation, though, I knew she was ready. Elena would often tell me when she’d gone…she would go for long stretches of dryness…then, while shelling out yet another $50 for a box of diapers, I’d had enough! I had better things to spend $50 on! I said to Elena, “This is it, okay? This is the last box I am buying! When I’m home over Christmas, you’re going to start peeing on the toilet! No more diapers!” She looked me straight in the eye & replied, “Okay, Momma!” So that was it…we talked about it a lot in the 2-3 weeks leading up to our “go dry” date.

We officially started Monday, December 23rd…it was rough at 1st…I’d done a lot of reading up on training, because that’s what I do…I tried leaving her bare bum, didn’t make any difference…we’re now using the quilted underpants & we like them.

The 1st few days we did have success but many accidents too. She picked right up on pooping in the toilet. We’ve had just one Number 2 accident which resulted in one of her Dora dolls going into the garbage. I was NOT about to wash poop out of poor Dora’s hair!!

The peeing accidents became more frequent & I was getting frustrated!! My friend said I just needed to set an alarm! So I did & I asked Elena every twenty minutes if she had to go & she always said no & then she’d pee on the floor!! I called my friend back & said her method wasn’t working at all!! First she laughed at me…then she clarified that the alarm was for ME! To remind ME to take Elena to the toilet!!

I also tried a reward system. We started with a Dora Map & Sticker set where she would get a sticker to place on the map every time she had a success…this worked at first but she lost interest. I tried M&Ms as a reward but they only work some of the time…seems Elena isn’t really motivated by rewards. She does love my crazy happy dances & she loves hearing me brag to everyone about her successes. What seems to make the most impact on her is me telling her how proud I am of her…which makes my heart burst with love for her little personality!!

I was very intimidated about going out…I took a waterproof bed mats, folded it & put it on the car seat…I didn’t want the seat ruined!! I also decided that I didn’t care what anyone thought & I would bring our toilet seat with us. The trainer seat, I mean, that fits on top of the toilet. This was genius! Elena was more than willing to sit on any toilet since she could sit on it safely.

Slowly we had more & more success!!  We’ve come a long way & are now having more successes than accidents. She tells me when she needs to go…most of the time, anyway. Since her speech is delayed (a whole other post, coming soon) we are also using the signs for poop, pee & toilet & that helps a lot with her letting me know she needs to go…& I need to remember to take her to the toilet & get her to try if she hasn’t gone in a while.

Over all, it’s been a pretty good experience…I can’t really articulate why, but it feels like this was a bonding experience for Elena & I…it feels like we’re closer. If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s similar to the advice I offer on all things parenting…don’t let anyone pressure you to train your kid before you are sure your kid (& you!) are ready & do it your way, whatever way works for you & your kid.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta pee!!