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Back and forth

Three separate issues that fall in the “one step forward, one step back” category:

Toilet training really is ridiculously frustrating for those that have it dragged out. We’ve been at it for a year! I followed all the advice of “don’t push it” and yet it is terribly annoying to take a step forward and a step back with such inconsistent consistency! Big moment today … Patrick thought he heard water running in the bathroom, so went to investigate and there was Nicholas on the throne, saying, “I don’t need help, Daddy, I can do it all by myself!” What a proud moment! On the flip side, though, two hours later his pull-up was wet – arrrgh!

Sleep – going well. Although he often fights it, we haven’t experienced anything as horrendous as we did in September. Almost every night he comes out at least once for either a drink of water or a visit to the bathroom. He’s taken to saying, “I come out of my room for only ONE reason!” What a little negotiator he is already! Every night he falls asleep reading a book, which is exactly how I still fall asleep, too.

It’s interesting to see how independent he can be one minute (going toilet by himself) and reverting to infancy in the next. There have been a few times over the last couple of weeks where he has commented that he wants to be a baby. I suppose he recognizes that babies don’t have many responsibilities. Today he even asked me if he could please drink “lechita” again (our word for breastfeeding). Well, it’s been 9 months since he weaned off, so this came as a bit of a shock!. When I explained the lechita is all gone, he was adamant that he could still smell it! Fascinating! I wonder if it is a memory or a real smell for him.

Sign language – something we haven’t done for ages, with any consistency. There are certain signs we still use regularly … out of habit and because I like being able to communicate across a room without yelling, especially when he needs to be disciplined. “Sit down” and “stop” are very effective tools in certain situations! Today he asked me to show him how to sign “OK” – he could do the K all by himself (what a shock!) but needed help understanding how to make the O. I thought it would have been the other way around – go figure! Always surprising us!

My brain is not tired!

We’ve always had this fantastic sleeper on our hands. All we had to do was put him in bed, kisses and cuddles, and leave the room. No long drawn-out process and no bed-sharing. Not that I’m totally against it … we just didn’t have to use this method.

Until 2 weeks ago, when all hell broke loose and it took 1.5 hours of him coming out with a variety of reasons: to pee, to have a drink, that he wasn’t tired, that he didn’t want to sleep. He’s very verbal so I immediately started asking questions to find out why he didn’t want to sleep, but couldn’t come up with anything that was a clear reason (I expected him to say “bad dreams” or something like that). The worst night was 2.5 hours! Second worst was 1.5 hours at bedtime and then another 1.5 hours at 2am (until 3:30)!

Many people have advised me that this means he is “done” with naps, but my gut just doesn’t agree. There are some days that he does miss the nap, but I still insist on some quiet time. Most days, though, he naps for 1 – 1.5 hours. Not enough to interfere with bedtime, in my opinion, but crucial to his physical and mental development.

So, here’s what we tried … to no avail: gently return him to bed, stand at the door and count to 3 while he puts himself back to bed, explain that he is NOT to get up again until morning, give him a flashlight (which he handed to us the next time he walked out, knowing that was the consequence), put up baby gate (which he just stands at and yells), install a self-controlled light so he can read himself to sleep, play lullaby music, give him a stuffed bear to cuddle, and when I reached my wits end ..pretend to lock his door (not a real lock – I held the knob – he yelled and knocked loudly on the door, so not helpful for my sleeping hubby).

Was I jumping the gun at only just over a week of this? I might have agreed, except that it was SO completely out of character and SO opposite to life as we knew it only a week ago.

A few days into this behaviour, I was trying to explain to him that sleep was very important for his tired body. He replied, “Yes, my body is tired, but my brain is not tired, Mummy!” How great that he could verbalize exactly what he was feeling, but that didn’t help things any.

Then, a few nights ago, we seem to have hit on the magic process. The first time he came out of his room, we took away his music (with no words), second time he lost his light (again, no words), and third time his door was “locked” (us holding the door knob). He HATED this consequence and eventually tired himself out from screaming and crying and I was finally able to (without words) walk him to bed and he was asleep in moments. This whole process took about 1.5 hours.

The next night, he told us in advance exactly what would happen (so sweet!) and the same process occurred but only took half an hour … and the third night was PERFECT!!! He did not get out of bed once! I checked on him after an hour, assuming I would just turn off his light, but he was just-awake, quietly reading his books and said, “I’m not asleep yet, Mummy.” I said, “OK, one more book and then turn off your light,” and closed the door. No screams, no cries – it was wonderful The next time I checked, half an hour later, he was fast asleep (with the light still on).

That was 4 nights ago, so I feel fairly confident we’ve made it through this phase! Yay!! He still might get up in the night to ask to pee, but goes straight back to bed afterwards – it’s wonderful! So, to anyone else suffering through this phase … hang in there, it does eventually end. We’re just blessed that it didn’t last very long.

Update 2 weeks later: bedtime has remained “normal”, with only the occasional very small issue, but nothing like what we were dealing with during that horrible 2-week period. And just for the record, he has definitely NOT dropped his nap, so I’m afraid all the advice I received about that was wrong. Interesting that so many people were so adamant that would be the “fix” and it had nothing at all to do with naps.

Alice.com

I entered a story-writing contest on the Everything Mom website and one of the sponsors chose MY story to win their prize! How exciting! The sponsor … Alice.com – a site that caters to mums who don’t have time (or energy) to go out shopping for their everyday supplies. Check out their website!

The story that I entered? That call …, with some minor editorial changes. It’s been a lucky month!

Every month I enter a variety of online contests through all the “mummy” newsletters and websites I belong to … this month it paid off! We heard today that we won the Skuut push bike from Dandelion Kids through the yoyomama monthly contest. It’s a neat concept – no pedals, so the kids learn balance before pedalling. It’s an alternative to training wheels. I’ve wanted one of these styles of bikes for quite some time now. Norco makes the Norco Run Bike, but the Skuut Push Bike is even more eco-friendly as it is constructed mostly of wood.

THANX to yoyomama and Dandelion Kids for this great prize!

Woot, woot ... I'm gonna Skuut!

The Poop Scoop

Nicholas leans forward while he’s sitting on the toilet, looks inside the bowl, and lets out a great big ROAR! When I asked him why he was doing that, he said quite matter-of-factly, “Mummy, I’m scaring the poop right out of me!”

Toilet training has been an extremely slow process until about 3 weeks ago, when he suddenly decided he wanted to wear underpants instead of diapers. We made the move to pull-ups and he’s been doing really well. Not 100% yet, but getting there. He still forgets to tell us he has to go, but we remind him often and watch for the “holding it” sign. Considering that he’s been able to sit on, and pee in, the regular toilet for over a year and a half, I never thought it would take this long. Gotta say, I get really annoyed by those people who love to flaunt that they did it in only 3 days!

Turning 3

Nicholas had a fantastic 3rd birthday – it was a Sportball party. We had tons of kids running around in the back yard, perfect weather, and Patrick made an amazing cake, decorated like a soccer pitch.

For all the issues we’ve had with the house, the back yard has been everything and more than I hoped for. Watching the kids run through the blueberry patch, filling their faces with fresh fruit, and then play hide-and-seek around the grapevines is such a treat. We’ll have to figure out how to care for all the plants and trees, but I know we’re going to appreciate the time and effort as we eat all the fruit!

As of his birthday, he is 38 inches tall and weighs 37.5 lbs. Just a week before his birthday we moved him into his new “big boy” bed and he has adapted to it very well.

3rd Birthday Cake

Hiatus

Wow, after an eight month hiatus, I’m finally ready to get back on the blog train. We’ve had a crazy few months with moving into our new home, dealing with renovations, running into issues with the city over work completed by previous owners without permits, a change in daycare, and getting used to our life in the new location. Time to catch up …