On Tuesday evening I went to a talk on ‘the meaning of life’; I know right, not an easy subject. And I don’t intend to actually talk about it or inform anyone. But, after the talk, as I was walking Fritz, our dog, and having a moment to reflect I started thinking about the meaning of life from a toddler perspective. And actually, we might have one or two things to learn from them; if we can balance it out.
2. toddlers deal with thoughts and emotions as they happen and move on quickly, they are not troubled by the past or worried about the future;
3. toddlers are strongly connected with loved ones and the world around them; their focus is on the relationship and exchange they have with them;
4. toddlers, seemed by many as selfish, know their needs and desires, and although they are still learning to understand others’ needs, they know what makes them happy and content – but they might not know how to achieve that;
5. They keep it simple!!
This is what came to my mind during that walk, and I won’t explore it any further here, as I definitely don’t feel fitted to talk about such a great subject… just food for thought.
Foto above: all rights reserved to Marília Lauria
Over a year ago I published a little post about going out on a stroll with baby Vito as he grew from a newborn to an one year old walking motion! I did mention all the great benefits of doing so, so have a look at the link. But now, with a very active non stop 2 year old Vito who still enjoys very much going for strolls, some adjustments had to be made. Before I didn’t have to worry too much about him running off in any direction, but for awhile now, the picture has changed.
So, in order for us to still have pleasant and joyful walks in the neighborhood or whenever we are, we created 2 simple rules:
A – Vito walks next to mummy – or other adult present
B – Vito holds hands to cross the street
And that is it.. Magically enough, it avoids any possible trouble that might occur; for example, Vito running away – well if he does, Vito is not following rule A; or Vito going inside a store, if the adult is not going inside the store as well means he is not following rule A again. Pretty much any situation that you can think about it you can avoid with these 2 simple rules.
Vito knows the rules by heart, and we ask him to remind ourselves of them every time he is about to go for a walk. If he doesn’t follow the rules, like running in front of us, we remind him of the rules, and ask him to follow it otherwise we will either be held or be placed in the stroller. Obviously, we still remind him a lot of the rules throughout the walks as he frequently breaks them and ends up in the stroller, he is a 2 year old after all; but we do have plenty of wonderful peaceful walks in which we don’t have to worry about his safety. And depending on the area we are walking at, like a park for example, we are more flexible with rule A.
My favorite walks are the ones that literally are just a stroll; we don’t need to rush to get anywhere nor we need to get home to do something. We have time to just walk and admire the surroundings, stop by a neighbor’s house stoop and drum music on the steps or observe every dog’s poop left behind by the dog’s owner. We can enjoy and appreciate the journey.
Photos: all rights reserved to Marília Lauria
We thought Vito was showing all the signs he was ready for training, so we got him a potty – I actually researched a lot about the right potty for boys and the right one for him to be comfortable – some Mickey’s stickers for him to decorate the potty and the book ‘Once Upon a Potty’. Initially, I actually tried to use a trainer seat, I wanted to avoid having to clean a potty every time, but it didn’t work. He wasn’t comfortable, he couldn’t seat on it without help, I had to place a stool next to it so his feet was supported; honestly didn’t work, at least for him. But I know some kiddos only go for the trainer seat and hate the potty, so worth having a go at both to see which they prefer, just make sure their feet is always supported.
We started on a Friday, so we had the weekend ahead of us meaning help from my husband. Once he was up in the morning, I took his diaper off and asked him to wee wee on the potty. He did it. We created a little song and dance to do after successful use of the potty, and made sure we said bye bye to it before we through it on the toilet together. First time Vito did a wee wee on the potty, we didn’t say good bye and he was extremely upset, after all he was so proud of himself and we just through it away. After some explaining, we just make sure we proudly said goodbye to whatever he produced before it dissapears! From them on, no more diapers, just for naps and bedtime. Vito stayed naked for the rest of day. I kept asking him if he wanted to go potty, and to let me know when he needed to go. From time to time – it took me awhile to figure it out, but do start with every 40min maximum – I asked him to seat on the potty, and ‘think’ about wee wee. Sometimes he did it, sometimes he didn’t. We had lots of accidents, and every time I would take him straight to the potty and remind him that we use the potty. No point in getting upset or frustrated, we definitely need a lot, a lot of patience; its a normal part of the process. Accept that you will be doing a lot of cleaning up in the first weeks, and a bit less but still in the coming months.
When at home, Vito was always naked. So much easier for him to feel what is going on if he had no cloths on. After the first week, he would wear underwear indoors. And we started to work on longer intervals to seat him on the potty. After a month, if we are out, every 1h30/2hrs maximum I remind him to go and I seat him on the potty anyway just to try. If we are at home, I follow his lead and just remind him verbally if he drank a lot of water. In rare occasions, if he goes more than 2 hrs without a wee wee I take him to the potty anyway. It’s not good for them to hold for too long, and a myth to think they learn to hold by holding long hours. Their bladders are still developing and growing, and it’s important for them to learn to eliminate as soon as they feel the urge. And training a toddler around the 2 years old mark comes with the responsibility of monitoring their peeing and pooping habits closely; if you can not monitor them closely I would recommend waiting til they are 3 years old. It’s also extremely important to make sure they are not constipated before and during the early training stages, if the toddler is not having a mushy poop everyday, it means he is constipated. And we never should start potty training if he is constipated; and if he becomes constipated during the training just stop and put it on hold. The danger of them developing Dysfunctional Elimination Syndrome is too risky.
Nowadays, sometimes he still has an accident, usually when he is entertained with toys or playing. But I don’t regret starting as soon as he showed all the signs he was ready.
Well, I think we could carry on writing about the subject forever, how people react when Vito has an accident, the questioning about his young age, the portable potty I use any and everywhere, etc, etc, etc. But it’s time to go back to the activities, so if you want to talk about anything potty training related which you feel I didn’t cover or want more details, just send me a message and I will be happy to have a chat about it.
ONCE UPON A POTTY by Alona Frankel
As we’ve being talking a lot about potty training this past month I decided to share this ‘toy’. This book, in my opinion, is amazing. And most definitely a must have to assist with the training.
We got it for Vito together with his potty, and it immediately got his attention. They have two version, one for girls and one for boys, which is great so the children can really see themselves in it. It explains step by step about the process in a very gentle and easy to understand manner. It helps us, grown up, to use the right words and use it as a way to reinforce how and why we are doing it. It also talks about accidents as something normal and part of the process, so even though it happens we are still succeeding in it.
For almost the first two months, every time Vito were at the potty we were reading “Once Upon a Potty’; I also made sure we only read the ‘potty book’ once we were at the potty, so he actually looked forward to seat on the potty.
(click on top of the picture to be redirected to Amazon)
PS: This Blog has not received any payment to publicize this product… It’s really my own tip! The Amazon link is an affiliate link, which means that if you click or purchase it through the product link, I’ll receive a small fee.
Photo source: http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/child,potty/Interesting
Last week I published the ‘naked truth’ about potty training, and the ups and downs of our first week. Now, into the important informative bit – and I will probably have several posts about potty training as it’s so much to say – first and foremost, we need to wait until they are ready, that is key! But it is also important not to miss the readiness windows otherwise you might have to wait much longer to do the training. But how to know if they are ready? Here are key signs that will help you decide if your little one is ready and how Vito showed it to us:
– regular bowel movements at more of less the same time of the day – for a long time now, Vito always goes number 2 in the early morning, and sometimes before bedtime;
– urinates a fair amount in one go – to be honest, Vito never had long dry periods, one of the signs a child might be ready, but he drinks tons of water during the day and manages to wee wee a lot in a go, so I assumed his muscles might be ready anyway;
– interested in watching other people going to the bathroom – for a long time now, we have been mentioning to Vito if we were going to the toilet, and after awhile he wanted to go with us and observe what was happening. We kept saying that one day, when he was ready, he would stop wearing diapers and start using the toilet just like us. Oh and we also made sure Vito observed our dog doing his business, so he realized that everyone goes and at a specific place;
– gives a physical or verbal sign when having a bowel movement – all the mamas out there know what I am talking about, Vito has a facial expression when going number 2 that is unmistakable;
– has a word for wee wee and poo poo – not much to say here;
– starts telling you that he needs to go before it actually happened – this is one of the things that triggered us, Vito started telling us his word for poo just before doing it;
– willing to try out the potty – after he kept letting us know he was about to poo, we bought a potty just to have it and get him used to it. First day the potty arrives, Vito – just before bedtime – seats down to show his daddy the new decorated potty (he decorated it with Mickey stickers) and goes wee-wee. Next morning, I ask him if he wants to go pee on the potty and he does another wee wee – Potty training started straightway!
PS: It’s important to say, that even if they are showing all these signs, we shouldn’t potty train a child if changes are happening or about to happen – new baby in the house, new day care, moving houses, etc.
Photo: from the book Potty by Leslie Patricelli
It has been exactly 8 weeks since we started Vito’s potty training. I don’t like to say that he is already potty trained as somedays he still has one little wee wee accident, and also he still sleeps on diapers. And let’s be honest! I read so many blogs and articles about potty training before starting Vito’s, things like: ‘potty training in 3 days’, ‘potty training in 7 days’; to then find out that in general people consider a child potty trained if s/he has a 75% success rate during the day – and obviously most of the posts don’t even state that! And of course, most of mum’s account of the process are always wonderful and beautiful! OH MY… For that reason, I decided to share the reality as it is of the first seven days of our potty training journey! And for sure, it will have you all laughing out loud. The ‘report’ below was written by me at the end of each day on our family whatsapp chat, I kept the same format but edit a little bit; but in any case if reading about wee and poo is not your thing, leave this page now!
And don’t worry, I will write an informative post in the future about how we did the potty training with Vito and why we’ve decided to do when Vito was only 20.5 months old.
day 1 – my birthday! Not exactly how I planned to spend the day, but yesterday Vito decided to do a wee wee on the potty – we have just bought a potty for him to start getting used to the idea – and then, I made the decision that if he done another wee wee in the morning I would start potty training, without missing such opportunity; and so he did it and here we are. We spent the day locked indoors and I never cleaned so much wee wee and poo poo through the apartment floor like today. I am exhausted, just want to lay down and sleep!
day 2 – we spent the morning at home, with lots of wee wee and poo poo accidents; but… left the house for 1 hours in the afternoon to go to the playground without accidents – maybe we are in the right path. Nope, back at home and more wee wee and poo poo on the floor. Maybe Vito is not ready; maybe he is too young! I am exhausted, just want to lay down and sleep!
day 3 – we woke up and my husband suggested we spend the day out sorting few things for our apartment’s renovation. I thought: OMG, this will be fun! We left home with 4 changes of clothes for Vito and 1 por each of us… and here we go, Vito did a wee wee on the potty before leaving home, and we were ready. First stop: brunch! And Vito hadn’t do a poo yet! We decided to put diapers on top of his pants during the meal – I read about this technique in a blog. But nothing, no accidents – apart from people looking weird at us at the restaurant. Before leaving the restaurant, Vito does a wee wee on potty – I have a portable one. We thought every 1h30min/2 hours we should remind him of the potty! We left the restaurant and headed to an art gallery, we were there for awhile but I kept Vito in my lap, rather have wee wee on me then in the gallery. After 1h30min, I took Vito to the bathroom and he did a wee wee on the potty again! Wonderful… Back to the car to head to a furniture store, but as Vito would probably nap in the car we put him on a diaper. Phew, we can breath! He wakes up, we take the diaper off, and after a little while I take him to the furniture store bathroom and he does another wee wee on the potty. This is going rather well, but no poo poo so far. Let’s just hope for the best here. And of course, he kept reminding Vito that he should ‘call us’ and let us know when he wanted to wee wee or poo poo. As we were looking around the store, now at a different floor, Vito starts saying poo poo but not very convincing, when suddenly he starts ‘calling us’ – mummy daddy poo… RUN RUN.. bathroom in this floor? where is the bathroom? where? where? Found the bathroom, open the portable potty, pants off, Vito on the potty, he does a wee wee and wants to stand up; I say ‘NO, you mention poo poo, lets try!’, he seats again, and TA-DAH a poo poo!!! We continue browsing in the store for a bit, and then we go to a coffee shop for an afternoon snack, as we were leaving I suggest to Vito a trip to the potty, he says NO, I take him anyway, and he does a wee wee on the potty. Back into the car, we get home, and I ask him if he needs a wee wee, answer is NO, and I remind him of calling us if he needs to go. After few seconds, Vito is playing in his room and he starts to do a wee wee on the floor, we take him to the potty, wee wee on the floor, poo poo on the potty. After dinner, I ask him if he wants a wee wee, he says NO, I remind him of calling us, he goes to play in the living room, wee wee on the floor, bath and bed for Vito on diapers! Phew! Success?? Well, we didn’t have to use of the change of clothes we took with us during our outing. I am a bit less exhausted, but still just want to lay down and sleep!
day 4 – wee wee on the potty from the beginning of the day until his afternoon nap. After Vito was up he did a poo poo on his bedroom floor. Usually, he poops in the morning, but today he didn’t and I wasn’t sure what to expect – its common for their ‘toilet’ routine to change a little during the beginning of potty training. I was getting everything ready go to his swimming class, when I pop out of bedroom for two seconds and when I come back – there it is! And obviously, Vito had already stepped on it!!! WONDERFUL. Placed Vito inside the bath tub with running water for him to play with and I start cleaning it all! Before we leave the house, wee wee on potty… car… swimming class… wee wee on potty.. car… wee wee on car… home… wee wee on the floor… dinner, bath and bed for Vito on diapers. I am exhausted, will go to bed soon!
day 5- Vito is up and is playing in our bedroom as we are trying to get off bed . It’s 5.50am! When suddenly, he starts ‘calling us’ – mummy daddy wee wee – I stood up in no time, even though he still on his night diapers I don’t miss the opportunity of him actually letting us know he needs to go. He does a wee wee on the potty, and after awhile he does a poo on the potty – back to his ‘toilet’ routine – I keep checking on him every minute, and every 1h30min I take him to the potty and he always does a wee wee. Once, he does do it but after a bit he goes back on his own and does a wee wee. Nap time, Vito asks to wear an underwear instead of diapers – a place a diaper on top of his PJ – yesterday his diaper was dry after nap, so I hope the same will happen today and it does! Wee wee on the potty, afternoon snack, wee wee on potty, we drive to a store and it’s another wee wee on the potty at the store’s restroom, wee wee on the car on the way home, dinner, bath, wee wee on the bathtub, bed for Vito on diapers! I am still exhausted, will go to bed soon!
day 6 – two tiny accidents, when I actually thought it’s time for a wee wee I look at Vito and he is already doing it in his pants. Vito gets involved with whatever he is doing and forgets about potty! Even at home, he does want to stop playing with his toys to go to the potty; it’s always a drama. I am still exhausted, but have energy to do something before going to bed!
day 7 – I lost count of the amount of accident Vito had today! I was in despair – what happen to potty training in 3 days ou 7 days I read everywhere? – better forget it about it and put him back on diapers! But before, I had the brilliant idea to speak with a friend of mine, mum of 2 boys, and she confirms: Vito is ready, showing all the signs, keep going… and maybe take him to potty every 40min instead of 1h30min! We will keep going.. I am more than exhausted, might have to crawl to bed.
So, why all potty training accounts are beautiful?
Photo: all rights reserved to Marília Lauria
A friend of mine asked me my top TEN parenting tips… after a lot of thinking, it could only be TEN, here it is – in no particular order:
– respect your child as another human being;
– watch them closely, see with their eyes, feel their real needs;
– lead by example;
– laugh a lot, and play a lot;
– know what is really important to you and where you can compromise;
– set limits and rules;
– encourage independency;
– show them how to identify their feelings and how to deal with them;
– and laugh and play even more!
What are your top parenting tips?
As mums we cheer and memorize every single new achievement our babies have accomplished, the first time we held him in our arms, that he smiled, rolled over, had solids, walked, said ‘mama’, held your hand during a walk, said a phrase with three words together… endless first moments that we proudly remember, and obviously it couldn’t be any other way.
But what about all the last times? So many things are ‘replaced’ by these new discoveries, conquers and achievements in the art of growing up and we tend to forget the last time it happened. Most of these things happen organically, we only realize something stopped happening after awhile and then, it’s too late; we already missed the memory of it’s last time. And even those achievements that we clearly encourage it to happen, we are so eager it to happen that we also end up not paying attention. I give you an example, I don’t remember the last time I breastfed Vito in the middle of night and I do remember those nights with so much love and fulfilmment. Yes, in the middle of night! By the time we were almost stopping the middle of night feed the only thing I had in mind was ‘please let me have a full night sleep’! But I always liked the silence, the outside darkness, the feeling that the rest of the world was resting and there was just the two of us, holding each other! I still remember all of these, but I wish I remembered the last time it happened too.
Vito’s switch to a toddler bed was a mark for me, not that I changed the way I see him – I am pretty good at letting him grow up and watch him become an independent amazing little boy! But in the middle of his first night on his toddler bed, he woke up, let him out of the bed and tried to leave his room (he didn’t manage to open the door), I woke up with him calling me. As I entered his room, he went straight back to his bed and just wanted me to stay next to him as he drifted back to sleep. If that had happened in his crib, I probably would be seated at his sofa chair, holding him in my arms until he was back asleep and then place him back in the crib! As I stayed there, seating next to his bed I realized that the last time I held him in my arms in the middle of night might had happened already, and I didn’t remember it – he usually slept through the night! And at that moment, I made the decision to value the last times too. The good thing is that the following night, he did ask me to hold him in my arms seating at his sofa chair, and that was truly the last time; so far! I know will be other middle of night cuddles, for different reasons but for this phase I feel that is it. Now, in his toddler bed he does wake up more often and leave his room, usually to just call us to seat next to his bed as he falls back to sleep or to jump in our bed – a first that has never happened before…
But ultimately, as I write this post I realize that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t remember ALL the last times or even all the first times… some of them might be enough. I will always value them all, but even if I don’t remember all the moments, the feeling remains with me and most certain, with him too. But the most important memory is that I am standing next to Vito as he grows up and accomplishes more things, naturally leaving others behind.
Today I’ve decided to publish yet another ‘Beyond Play’ post; mainly for two reasons, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside, enjoying the nice weather, and also because it’s time for me to assume – to myself mainly – that TV is now part of our routine.
I’ve mentioned here before about my feelings on TV for under 2’s, posting my thoughts as wells as articles’ link about the subject. So, all of you know that I don’t believe children really NEED to watch TV, even more so if they are on the young side, and also I believe that very often TV can be prejudicial for their development. However, this battle is lost. I can officially say that Vito is watching TV daily – although I do intend to change from daily to weekly soon – and so I’ve decided to share a bit of the whole process.
During the holidays, Vito was introduced to short cartoon’s videos by our visiting family, and even when they were gone and we were back to our routine, Vito didn’t forget about them and kept asking to watch it. He developed gestures and sounds to describe each of the videos, at the time he wasn’t saying many words, and us very impressed by his memory end up showing him the videos for a little bit. Even thought, I still believed it he was too young to watch them. The whole ‘TV’ thing developed through the months, my husband watched few basketballs games with Vito, and other cartoon videos and Vito started to constantly ask to watch it. It became a huge inconvenience, because in really he wasn’t watching them on TV but on our phones or iPad via netfllix or youtube. Every time we grabbed our phones, Vito was there demanding to watch something and it always ended up with everyone in a bad mood, to say the least. It was obviously out of control.
And oh my, it’s so impressive how children learn fast! If we let him play with the iPhone, in no time he was moving ‘pages’ around on the iPhone, accessing the Netflix app, choosing a cartoon and watching it. And if we said to him ‘no’, Vito closes the app and goes to the photo file to see them. I think Vito, and all the children from this generation, were born knowing how to work an iPhone!
About few weeks ago, we had enough, because we couldn’t do anything on our phones without having a discussion with him. (Sometimes, I feel that I should be flexible, but in reality, life is so much easier when everything is clear to all parts involved, including Vito). To be honest, I think it took me awhile to clarify things because I was reluctant to accept that TV was going to be part of our routine. But Vito showed in all shapes and forms that was time to accept it; even though I still believe playing is so much better than watching TV.
Nowadays he doesn’t watch cartoons or anything else in our iPhones. He still insists, but we tell him that the phones are ours for ‘work’. Obviously, he still uses to FaceTime with family, and see pictures and videos of them, we don’t want to take away the easy access to those who far away – for this technology is fantastic. When Vito is up from his afternoon nap, he gets to watch 20 minutes of cartoon on Netflix, and he knows when time is done as we put a timer on our phone. Usually we put the timer for 15 minutes, and then when its done and he asks to watch a little more, we add another 5 minutes. And then its done for the day! At least in this way, TV is part of our routine but is not taking over it. And also we make sure we are next to him, watching it too, so we can talk about the story lines, characters and singalong with the songs!
TV has always been a dilemma for me, and when I say TV I am really talking about iPhones, iPads and technology in general. Of course technology exists, and we should use it in our favor, I write a blog so obviously I am not against it!!! But everyday I see so many examples of technology causing people to lose touch with each other, creating disturbed realities and inhibiting real experiences, that I am actually horrified that this might happen to Vito or us.
Not long ago my husband and I went to a ‘Slow Tech’ talk at Vito’s future school, in a nutshell is the control use of technology by families in a way that works particularly for their life style. We found the talk quite interesting, but what really surprised me was the Q&A afterwards. Most of the questions were by parents of 7/10 years old children which couldn’t even have breakfast without the TV on or the children using their iPads and didn’t know how to change their reality… last sunday we were having lunch at a restaurant, when a couple with a preteen daughter sat at the table next to us. They’ve spent all the time that we were still at the restaurant in their phones, each parent talking on their iPhones and their daughter watching a movie on hers. Just a great Sunday Family Lunch! I can obviously continue giving examples, but you’ve got the picture. At the end of the talk, the speaker summarized all her answers; if you are not happy how technology is used in your family, if you want something different, make it happen, don’t let technology control your family.
I believe we have achieved with the matter of ‘watching the TV’ something that works for our family. I still think we have to be flexible, but at least everyone at home is happier with it and we can even reply to a whatsapp without Vito trying to grab the phone. Yes I would have liked for Vito to have waited a little longer to start watching TV, but I also believe that TV in moderation can assist his learning and of course its entertaining. And, it’s super cute to watch Vito getting involved with the stories and characters!
Ps 1: we’ve chosen to let him watch TV for 15 + 5 minutes as many specialists confirm that after 10/15 minutes of TV toddler’s brain go on ‘auto pilot’. So, even if they are watching more than that, it’s better to break it up in small slots throughout the day.
Ps 2: This article has great guidelines on TV for toddlers: http://www.babycenter.com/0_tv-watching-guidelines-for-toddlers_11746.bc
I am a stay-at-home-mum, and I am glad we can live comfortably on one income, and forever thankful to my husband for working so hard so I can stay at home with Vito. It was my decision and I couldn’t been happier staying at home with Vito. Of course, it’s not every day that is super easy, and I have days that I wish I could pee by myself, or seat down with a book and a couple of coffee…. but truly, I am very happy!
But if I ever realize that ‘something’ is missing, I will, in a heart beat, search for wherever it’s missing even if that means not spending all my days with Vito anymore. But this post is not about working mums vs staying-at-home mums, there is so much unhealthy competition between both which in my point of view is just ridiculous; on the contrary, it’s about being happy. And having the courage of allowing you to change your situation, ideas and views.
I know so many mums who had the courage to make the change, before or after baby was born, and know few others who are struggling to take the next step or that never actually did! Mums who left a corporate job after coming back from maternity leave and realizing they wanted to stay at home with their babies; mums who decided to stay at home with their babies and after 4 months realized they wanted to go back to work; mums who completely changed their careers as the ‘old’ wasn’t fit anymore; mums who realized they couldn’t do it by themselves and hired help; mums who breastfeed their second baby until they were exhausted and decided to introduce formula; mums who gave formula to their first born and decided to breastfeed their second; mums who co-slept with their first born and decided to place their second baby in their crib in his own room by 2 months old…
My point being, it’s not a competition, we are allowed to make mistakes, change our minds, and truly search for what is important for each of us and for our family. At the end of the day, a happy mum means a happy baby and family! So, if you are feeling like ‘something’ needs to change, make it happen, your baby will forever appreciate a happier mum!