Friday, February 8, 2013

Adventures of Potty Training - Week 2 (Post 3)

We've made it through the first week and thank God for that! The week definitely had highs and lows but we stuck with it and that brings me to week 2 which is actually ending today.

The beginning of week 2 marked a radical advancement in her progress so we decided that she was ready to begin wearing big girl panties again.  We woke up on Saturday morning and made a big deal out of being a big girl and wearing big girl panties.  She seemed to have mixed emotions about putting them on and I'm not sure if that was because of her experience with them in the beginning or the fact that she had been running around bare bummed for the past week but she was slightly reluctant.  After we got them on her, we all did the big girl panties dance (if you need lessons, I'm happy to help - just kidding).  She got used to wearing them rather quickly and we went on, life as normal.

I found myself panicking a little bit with not being able to see if she had an accident but I got over it quickly when the first few pantie checks were dry! We made sure to do a dry pants dance and celebrate those accomplishments. 

We noticed that she began to be very honest when we would ask, "Do you have to go pee pee?" She would usually respond with a no but when she had to go she would either say yes or start running the the potty.  Saturday (Day 8) was a great success.  We had 1 tiny accident in our panties but finished that pee in the potty, so we decided it was time to try leaving the house - EEEK!

I volunteer for a group called YoungLife and I lead with 2 gals that play Whitworth Basketball.  They just happened to have a game that evening and we wanted to go watch and support them.  I knew where the bathroom was and felt comfortable taking Stella there.  We put on the Potty Patty 2-in-1 waterproof pants (which were ran rather small so if you are on the edge of their weight limit, I would go 1 size up), grabbed the portable potty seat (a genius invention), and headed out to Whitworth University.

When we got there, we immediately visited the bathroom to make sure we were setting ourselves up for success.  She willingly sat on the potty but didn't actually go.  During the game, we visited the potty 6 times total because she would respond "yes" when asked if she had to potty.  I knew that she didn't always have to go, but I would much rather have a false alarm than an accident so we went and sat on the potty every time.  She did actually go pee on 1 visit so she did her first big girl potty outside of the house!!! YAY STELLA!!  By the end of the game, the team had won and so had we! Dry pants all the way home!  I considered that day a GREAT day!

The next day was going to be the true test, a visit to Auntie Diane's house for a Super Bowl get together.  This was sure to bring lots of distractions, fun toys to play with and other babies.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go but it was worth finding out.  Unfortunately, it went as I suspected and she was thoroughly distracted and would respond "no" every time we asked her if she had to go potty.  This ended up resulting in a few accidents - 1 poo and 1 pee.  However, I realized how well the 2-in-1 panties worked because I couldn't feel a thing from the outside.  We recognized how much distractions played a part in her success and found that in circumstances like that, we needed to be more proactive about getting her on the potty.  Lesson learned.

As the work week began, she continued to have the same levels of success that she had experienced over the weekend.  It became more common to have pee pees in the potty and rare to have accidents.  She was becoming more consistent and we liked the trend we were seeing, however we were still averaging 1 accident per day.  Usually this meant she would start a bit in her pants and then tell us she had to go and finish on the potty, so it wasn't a complete accident I suppose.

Then came Thursday (Day 13) and we experienced what we had been waiting for...THE ACCIDENT FREE DAY!!!! She had told us every time when she had to go and didn't have even the slightest tinkle or poo in her pants.  I was so proud and excited for her and can't wait to see her continued progress.

Our next steps are weaning her from her pull up during naps and night time.  She is still going quite a bit at night so that might be the last thing we do but we've already began to put her in panties for nap 1.  So far, she is still having difficulty staying dry but we will continue to work on it.  When she seems to begin mastering that, we will move on to doing the same for nap 2 and then on to bedtime eventually.  She is still young so I know that will come in time.

I will continue to update you as we progress through our potty training journey.  Thank you for reading and being a part of this with us!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Adventures of Potty Training - Days 2-7 (Post 3)

Thanks for hanging in there with me on our journey of potty training Stella.  You probably just finished reading day 1 and are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for an update on day 2 and beyond ;-) Ok...ok...maybe you aren't that eager but hopefully you are interested.

As I stated in my previous post, day 1 had not gone as well as hoped so Matt and I talked about it and we decided to pivot and adjust our method.  After some additional research, I read about a bare bottom method that is best used between 15 and 27 months.  Stella is smack dab in the middle of that age group at just under 21 months so we thought it might be a good fit.

Day 2:

We woke up on day 2 and removed her diaper, left her long sleeve shirt on and went about our business bare bottomed.  Matt had a commitment that day so it was just Stella and me for most of the day.  We opted to keep her toys out of the room and TV off to limit distractions so she could focus more on her body signals.  We started off with smiles and excitement and I had great confidence that it would be a great day!

We weren't pumping her full of liquids, as we had the day before so we knew she wouldn't be going as much.  However, by 10am we had our first accident but it didn't look anything like the accidents the day before.  This time, Stella froze when she started to pee.  She immediately said, "Uh Oh" and began to get visibly upset because she was peeing all over her legs and feet.  Yesterday, although some urine leaked through, she was mostly kept dry by the training pants.  Today, she was allowed to feel truly uncomfortable without the restriction of fabric.  I caught her in the middle of her accident and we went to sit on the potty.  Unfortunately no urine made it into the potty but we were beginning the association between going pee pee and running to the potty. We had 2 more accidents and were well into the afternoon but it was obvious to me that this type of training method had much more of an impact on her than the prior day. 

[PAUSE FOR EXPLANATION] I should also mention my timing system that we used between pee pees.  Although this wasn't really part of the method, I decided to try and prevent accidents by encouraging her to sit on the potty periodically.  I had an incremental time system. The longer she went without peeing, the shorter the time between potty visits.  I let her collaborate on which chime would play when the alarm went off so that she was a part of the process and I think that actually helped increase her excitement at the "potty time" ritual. Here is a brief outline of what it looked like:

20 minutes of play time then 3 minutes sitting on the potty
15 minutes of play, 5 minutes on the potty
12 minutes of play, 8 minutes on the potty
10 minutes of play, 10 minutes on the potty
8 minutes of play, 12 minutes on the potty
5 minutes of play, 15 minutes on the potty
3 minutes of play, 20 minutes on the potty
Repeat 3 minutes; 20 minutes till potty came

You may be thinking that I am crazy to make a 20 month old sit on the potty for that amount of time but the reality was that she didn't seem to mind it.  We would read to her, sing songs, play on the iPad so she was having fun and in my mind, it was increasing the chance of her having a successful experience that she could model from.  Again, this was my own incremental chart that I came up with and not a part of the model so you can choose to take it or leave it. Back to the story...

We were well into the afternoon and had 3 accidents and no successes.  My energy and excitement were, yet again, beginning to dwindle.  However, I was still noticing a huge difference from the day before. The major differences were that she was reaffirming that she could go several hours between pees and that she was uncomfortable peeing on herself.  Both things that lend well to potty training so my hope was not completely gone.

We were now at about 5pm on day 2 and we had not had 1 single success.  By now, she was also growing wearing with the "potty time" alarm and she started to fight us when we wanted her to sit down on the potty but at one point, she pointed to the big potty.  We had the potty seat insert for our regular toilet so we slapped that in and popped her up on the big potty and sure enough, she focused...pushed and I heard the beautiful sound of a tinkle! I NEVER thought I would be so happy to hear someone peeing!! Matt was home at that point so we all did a huge celebration, danced, sang, ate potty treats and called Grammy.  It was exactly what we needed!  A success!

It was like a light bulb went off after she had a success in the big potty and the rest of the night was AMAZING! She began to associate the feeling she had when she had to potty with going to the bathroom.  She would let a tiny bit out on the carpet, freeze and say, "uh-oh" but would hold it in till we got to the potty and then push to get the rest out.  Believe it or not, we had 5 successful pees in the potty between 5 and 7pm (her bedtime).  I am sure I looked like the Cheshire cat with my grin going from ear to ear.  Talk about a roller coaster of emotion! Whew! But what a way to end the night.  Stella was starting to get it and I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel!

Days 3-7

Moving on, I'm going to lump days 3-7 together because this part of the roller coaster was not as dramatic as the first few days.  Day 3 was a Monday so Matt and I both had to go back to work.  We are lucky enough to have a nanny so Stella was able to keep training in the same environment with the same method, even though it was a different person for a few hours during the day.  Our nanny was great about learning what we were doing and modeling our system.  Which brings me to the results...

Have you heard that song, Opposites Attract?  There is a part of the chorus that goes:

We take 2 steps forward
We take 2 steps back

Well...that is how the whole week went.  It seemed like she would start to get it and then she would completely revert.  I would get encouraged and then completely discouraged.  However, I maintained hope because she was having about a 75% success rate on average which was better than the 25% rate that was required (per my reading) to continue on.  I kept reminding myself that this wouldn't be something that could change overnight, despite the promises of the 1 or 3 day potty training methods.  So we powered through and continued on the journey.

The first few days we continued with the potty alarm and Stella began to enjoy it and get excited to hear the alarm, however that excitement began to fade by mid week so we went back to the drawing table and readjusted.  I have to emphasize, AGAIN, that flexibility was our savior during this process...being able to adjust and pivot when needed seem to be what kept the momentum moving forward.  When she began to resist the potty alarm (and I'm talking really resist to the point of throwing herself on the ground and crying when she heard it go off) we decided it was doing more harm than good at that point and decided to do away with it all together.  We then moved to asking her if she needed to go pee pee.  By this time, she had really begun to associate the feelings of her bladder with going to the potty. 

It seemed like our vocabulary had been limited to 7 words - "Stella, do you have to go potty?"  That was pretty much all we were saying.  She was actually very good at responding with a no when she didn't have to go.  When she did, she would usually just freeze and not respond so we would rush her over to the potty.  We were still having occasional accidents but we were still having a much larger success rate but like I said, it was a 2 steps forward, 2 steps back process and 1 day would look completely different from the day before so we were still lacking the consistency we were looking for and every time we conquered a challenge, another one would make its way to the surface.  I'll sum up some of the challenges we experienced and how we overcame them.

Challenges during days 3-7:
  • Should we reward partial pee pee in the potty?
    • We opted to reward anytime anything made it into the potty, however the amount of the reward varied.  1 M&M for an attempt or very little up to 4 or 5 M&Ms for a complete pee or poop in the potty.
  • Temper tantrums around the potty alarm
    • We first tried changing the alarm sound to another sound Stella helped choose.  That worked for a few potty timers and then stopped working.  We then opted to remove the actual timer and continually ask her if she had to go potty knowing that she was going between every 1-2.5 hours.
  • Temper tantrums around attempting to sit on the potty
    • We began to reward attempts with 1 M&M. She had begun refusing to sit on the potty at one point and we definitely didn't want to make sitting on the potty or going to the bathroom a negative thing so we rewarded attempts in an effort to avoid negativity. 
  • Accidents on the floor
    • When she was sitting on the potty, we would continually ask her, "Stella, where does pee pee go?" and she would say, "Potty!" Then we'd ask, "Does it go on the floor?" She would say, "No." We'd ask if it goes in her pants..."No"...and we kept asking these questions to really drive it home with her. 
  • Poop
    • Man...this is a tough one because I'm still not certain that we have a system down for handling it besides being aware of typical pooping schedule and continually asking if she needs to go poop or pee pee.  We have about a 50% success rate on poop and that is partly because she has been going during her nap when she is diapered and because it is a different sensation and harder to catch "mid-stream" for lack of a better term. 
  • Refusing to push or try when on the potty
    • She began to catch on that she got a treat when she sat on the potty so she would say she needed to go potty when asked, sit on the potty, ask for a treat and then refuse to really try.  So we started to only reward effort.  This actually became kind of cute because she would push hard and then clap for herself if she tooted.  Yes...toots get 1 M&M :)
By Friday, I was really proud of the strides she had made but, if I'm being honest, I was still frustrated by the lack of consistency.  Thankfully, I had my mom to remind me of how well she was doing.  I have nothing to compare it to so it is hard for me to know.  She reminded me that just like learning to walk or talk, it takes time for a child to learn to control and use new muscles and there is a lot of trial and error.  Overall, looking back at it, I am so glad that I didn't listen to the doubting voice in my head and I chose to listen to my mommy instincts.  The process may be taking a bit longer than I thought or hoped but Stella is getting it.  She's doing so well and learning every day.  We've done a lot of laundry, cleaned up more pee or poop than I ever cared to, and rode the roller coaster of emotion but it was definitely all worth it.

Stay tuned for Days 8 & 9 (week 2) - The weekend and our first outing in big girl panties!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Adventures of Potty Training - Day 1 (Post 2)

Day 1:

We woke up excited and nervous for the big potty day.  The night before, we had cleared the living room of all of her toys and were very intentional about not providing distractions like TV and toys.  Other than that, we began the day just like any other day and decided to get a good breakfast in her before we began the potty training adventure.  Once she had eaten her breakfast, we pulled out her new present.  She opened up her new potty doll and we named her Dolly (I know, I know...sooooo original).  We began to take Dolly's diaper off because Dolly was becoming a big girl.  We said, "Bye, bye diaper," and then Dolly got to put on some big girl panties. 

We then gave Stella and Dolly something to drink.  Normally Stella only drinks water and milk but today, she got to drink juice because we intended to pump her full of liquids and wanted her to slurp them up.  We chose V8 Fusion strawberry banana light and boy oh boy, did she love it!  Once Dolly had drank some water, we checked Dolly's pants to see if she had dry pants.  She did so Dolly got a big dry pants celebration.  Then I asked Dolly if she had to go potty and she did so we ran to the potty and sure enough...Dolly went pee pee in the potty.

[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - There were several dolls online that can be used for potty day.  I fear I made the wrong choice.  The doll that was suggested was the Potty Patty doll.  After reading reviews and checking prices, I opted to get the Little Mommy Princess & Potty Doll rather than the actual Potty Patty.  It was about $20 less expensive and had better reviews.  What I failed to note was that it didn't actual take in and pee out any liquid.  The Mommy Princess doll that we bought came with a potty that had an insert that flipped from blue water to yellow and brown but the doll didn't actually pee.  To circumvent this obstacle, we used a medicine dropper behind the doll when she was sitting on the potty so you could still hear water when she was going "pee pee".  If I had to do it over again, I would probably spend the money on the Potty Patty doll because no matter how sneaky I was, I don't think I was actually fooling Stella. And back to the story of Day 1...

After Dolly had her first success in the potty, we did a big celebration and gave Dolly a potty treat (an M&M).  We waited a bit longer and did a dry pants check again.  She had dry pants so we celebrated!  After about 10 more minutes we did a pants check and Dolly had wet pants so we did the potty run with Dolly 10 times.  The potty run consists of running from the scene of the accident to the potty, pulling pants down, sitting on the potty and then running back to the scene of the accidents 10x. During the run, you say, "No pee pee on the floor.  Pee pee goes in the potty," over and over again.

After Stella had seen Dolly go through a few celebrations and a wet pants experience, we asked her if she wanted to have big girl pants too.  So we took off her diaper and said, "bye, bye diaper!" and put on our new big girl underpants.

[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - I purchased several different types of training underwear.  The Potty Patty underwear had, by far, the best reviews but they were also the most expensive. I bought a few of those to try out.  I also bought the 3 pack of babies R us training pants in plain white and then also the Gerber in a girly design pack.  In addition, I bought a few 2-in-1 (with a more waterproof feature) for going out.  The Babies R Us 2-in-1 versions are SUPER bulky but the Potty Patty ones are less noisy and more natural feeling.  If I were doing it again, I would just invest in getting the Potty Patty versions of both, however if the money is too much to spend, go with the Gerber cotton training pants and the Potty Patty 2-in-1. And back to the story...

Once we gave Stella her big girl underpants, we asked her to feel and check if they were dry.  Of course they were since we had just put them on but it was our first chance to celebrate dry pants.  After we celebrated, we went to sit on the potty.  If you recall from my first post, this is something that Stella did frequently whenever I went potty.  So she sat without hesitation.  We sat for a while and then she started to get squirmy so we went back to play with Dolly in the living room.  As I mentioned, we were pumping her full of liquids so we could make sure she had lots of experience with the pee pee sensation and we set our timers for 15 minutes.  When the timer would go off, we would run to the potty and sit down and hope for the best.  Unfortunately, our first potty experience was one in her pants.  And she didn't seem to mind or be uncomfortable with the wet pants.  I'll note that it was also hard for us to tell when she was going so we were constantly feeling her pants to make sure she hadn't gone. 

When she had her accident, we did the potty run 10x.  At first, she kind of liked the potty run and thought it was a game.  We reset the timer for 15 minutes and started over again.  Again, we had another accident so we repeated our potty run.  I was determined to get her to have a success, thinking that if she did she would want to have more.  So when she sat on the potty this time, I did everything I could to get her to stay there until she went.  We read books, sang songs, ate snacks (gross...I know but it worked!), drank juice and I turned the faucet on thinking that it might help start the flow.  Finally after sitting on the potty for about 20 minutes, she went pee pee!!! HALLELUJAH!!! We all danced and jumped and gave Stella a potty treat!  She also got to call Grammy and celebrate the big occasion.  It was all very exciting and motivating to keep going. 

We put her down for a nap around 1pm after lunch and had decided to not diaper during the nap.  She woke up about 30 minutes in crying very hard with a wet everything.  She had soaked her bed, clothes, underpants...everything! So her nap ended up not being very restful and that wasn't helpful for the rest of the day.  We ended up having about 7 accidents and 3 successes.  The successes we did have were only from sitting on the potty for long extended periods of time so she wasn't yet indicating that she needed to go and rushing for the potty.  I was still counting my blessings that she had some successes but I was feeling very overwhelmed and discouraged. 

At this point, all of my doubts I had been feeling started to flood back.  In addition, Matt kept making comments throughout the day that didn't help. "Maybe she's not ready", "Are you sure M&Ms will motivate her?", "She's still awfully young."  All things that I had thought but it was difficult feeling like my spouse wasn't supportive.

[PAUSE HERE FOR AN EXPLANATION] - Matt is an extremely supportive husband and daddy but it was easier for him to verbalize these things because he wasn't as invested in the training as I was.  I had done months of research, read 4 books, read countless posts and articles online and been watching for signs in Stella.  The reality was that I was knee deep in the experience and he had only touched his toes in to feel the water.  He was doing everything I asked him to do but he just wasn't as invested as I was.  If I were to do it again, I would involve him much more in the prep and decision making that way we are on a level mind set going in.  OR, I would opt to do the training day by myself rather than with both of us.

By the end of the day, I started to do some more reading.  I had briefly read posts and information on bare bottom training and had heard lots of successful stories from friends about bare-bottom training so I regrouped, re-strategized and pivoted for the next day.  Matt and I talked about it and decided that we should diaper her for the night, especially since we were going to try a new strategy in the morning. 

Now...some of you might be thinking that we are flakes.  Some of you might be thinking that we were fools to try this early and that we should give up.  Some of you might understand our thought process but I have to tell you that one of the best things we did was remain flexible and be able to pivot as needed.  I think it is what ultimately saved the day.  So, think what you will but we had to make a decision about whether to continue, stop or adjust and we made the best one that we could.  We chose to adjust.

After my additional reading and researching, we decided to do the bare bottom approach the next day because the resources online were pointing to that as the most effective method for early potty training.  We also set a 3 day threshold on it.  I read that if she wasn't successful more than 25% of the time by day 3, to wait 6-8 weeks and try again.  That gave me a bit of hope and boosted up my energy to try again.

Stay tuned for details about day 2 and beyond...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Adventures of Potty Training - Potty Training Prep (Post 1)

Here it is, folks.  A real life, vulnerable, honest, and accurate picture of our adventures during potty training.  I am sure that some of you will disagree with things that I've done, thought, felt or experienced along the way.  Everyone has their opinion and you are all certainly entitled to it, however, I desperately wanted to hear/read something like this before embarking on our adventures and I just didn't find it. it is...the good, bad and the poopy!

The Pre-Potty Training Days

Stella will be 21 months in about 6 days.  I'm sure many of you are thinking that she is too young to be potty training but she was showing signs of readiness so we opted to train young rather than miss a window. What were the "signs of readiness" that I saw?

Stella's signs of potty readiness:
  • She would race to the potty and sit on her potty while mommy went potty.
  • She would occasionally (hit and miss) tell me when she was going potty or poop.
  • She would stay dry for hours at a time.
  • She would grunt, push, and sometimes cover her eyes or hide to poop.
  • She could verbally express when she went potty or poop.
I am sure there are others that I just can't think of right now.  However, with all of those signs, there were things that all of the books say she should be doing but wasn't.  She never attempted to take off her diaper or ask to be changed and she never seemed uncomfortable once she had gone in her diaper.  Not having those items checked off did worry me and lingered as a warning in the back of my mind that she wasn't ready and I was pushing her too fast.

I'm going to get vulnerable and honest here so please be nice.  I am a competitive person by nature so even though I was seeing the signs of readiness, I was worried that I was pushing her too fast, too soon and that she wasn't really ready.  I was worried that I was interpreting things as signs of readiness because I wanted her to be potty trained and not because she was actually ready.  I basically was worried about pushing my agenda on her instead of embarking upon it as a team, as it should be.  I'm sharing these pre-potty training feelings with you because they were an integral part of the emotions I experienced during our first days of potty training and they were something that I never read from other moms, so I simply felt isolated.  Don't get me wrong...I'm no tiger-mom; But I do have a competitive side to me and I am trying very hard to not push that on Stella in an unproductive or unhealthy way so it always sits in the back of my head as a concern as I parent her.

With all of that in mind, we prepared for the big potty day.  I had read several books, blogs, parenting posts and opted for a method that I thought fit our family best.  We opted to try the Toilet Training in One Day method.  I spoke to my husband about it and watched some YouTube videos of other parents' accounts with it.  I bought all of the supplies needed for our big potty day, per the suggestions of the blogs and book.  If I am being honest, choosing this method sort of gave me an out.  I figured I could try anything with 100% commitment for 1 day.  Plus, I figured that if she wasn't showing progress after that first day we could disregard the whole thing without scarring her or making potty training a negative thing.

What did I buy to prepare?
  • Spot Shot carpet cleaner (since we would mainly be in a carpeted area of the house)
  • Cheap clean up towels x12
  • Salty snacks like Pirates Booty
  • Potty Treats (M&Ms was our treat of choice)
  • Juice
  • Potty Patty training underwear
  • Potty chair
  • Potty seat for the big toilet
My husband and I prepped for the big day but if I had to do it again, I would definitely loop him in on the process a bit more and get his buy in.  You will understand why as I progress into our experience during the first day.

I went to bed anxious that night.  We were about to embark on a new phase of our lives and I wasn't sure which direction it was going to go.  I was unsure and nervous.  I had doubts any of it would work and I feared failure. However, I was also optimistic and excited.  Just like the rest of Stella's life, we were about to experience a new phase.  One which indicated that my little girl was no longer a baby but growing into a full fledged big girl!

My next post will be about the first few days of our potty training adventure...

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Sweet Sick Stella

Here we are 4 months later and Stella is 20 months old!  We have done so much over the last 4 months but it all blends together like one big blob.  I've started my new job which is a grand new adventure.  Stella is talking up a storm and learning new words and things EVERY day!

She enjoyed the holiday season because on Thanksgiving, she got to eat as much as she could (for those of you that know Stella, you know that is her heaven on earth).  She also met Santa (picture above) and she had so much fun visiting family! We visited Matt's side of the family (Grandma Red, Grandpa Troy, Uncle Tony, Uncle JR, Aunt Erin, Aunt Amanda, Collin, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma) on Christmas eve and Christmas morning and then flying with me to San Francisco to visit Grammy, Papa, Uncle Chris, Aunt Saira, Roan and Ananda.  Unfortunately while we were there she picked up a nasty cold which we have been battling for the past 4 days.

She has had a low fever, runny nose and awful cough but she is still my sweet, upbeat Stella.  On Tuesday night, she fell asleep in my arms at 6pm watching cartoons (something she never does) and so Matt just laid her down in her crib for an early bedtime.  She then woke up at 7pm crying really hard.  Normally we would let her soothe herself but I went up to comfort her since she was ill.  I kept the room nice and dark and just rocked and sang to her.  We sang all sorts of songs from the ABC song to Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  I think I even threw in a few tunes from Jersey Boys :)

While I was singing, Stella looked up at me, put her hand on my cheek and said, "Tay too, mommy" (English translation is Thank you, mommy) in her sweet little squeaky, sick voice.  I think at that very moment I melted into one gigantic mommy puddle and I responded, "You're welcome, Stella."

Then she responded by asking, "More?"

I said, "More singing?"

She said, "Okay!" (Like it was my grand idea :) This is one of her new tricks to make us do things she wants!)

I asked, "Do you want twinkle twinkle?"

"No," she responded.

"Do you want Itsy Bitsy Spider?"


So I proceeded to sing my baby the Itsy Bitsy Spider and many other songs while I rocked her.  After about 45 minutes, I put her back down in her crib.  She wasn't asleep but she was no longer crying.  I gave her BunBun (her grey bunny from Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Layla - a regular crib companion) and she said, "Ni-ni, Mommy."

You have all heard me say that Stella has her moments where she is more terrible toddler than my sweet Stella but then there are moments like these where she is the sweetest, kindest little person, even though she doesn't feel well and these moments happen far more often than her monstrous ones.  I thank God every day for picking me to be her mommy.  It is truly a blessing and a gift!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stella the Gymnast

Stella is enrolled in gymnastics! heard me.  Sure, she is only 16 months old but hey...why wait to begin building coordination and kinesthetic awareness?

The class is 16 months-3 years old, so she is definitely the youngest in her class.  She doesn't quite know what to do but still seems to have a good time.  We've only done 2 classes so far but she is already improving.  The first class consisted of me lifting her and carrying her through different stations.  But the second class was much better.  She went on the trampoline by herself (granted she still can't hop with 2 feet but she liked it all the same), and ran to the vault by herself.  She is even getting the hang of tucking her chin to do a forward roll by herself. 

Most of all, I'm proud of what a good listener she is.  She stays in circle time to stretch (even though she has no idea what we are doing) and follows the cirtuit activities well.

Here is a picture of her in her new leotard after our first day of gymnastics (9/19/12)

Miss Frequent Flyer has been way too long since I have updated this blog.  So much has happened in our lives since the last post but as Stella gets older, her progression slows down a bit so it is hard for me to remember to post something about her new accomplishments and journeys. 

In the last few weeks, Stella has become quite the traveller.  We all know that she has made countless 5 hour car trips to Auburn and back over the summer but she has now officially crossed the country.  In Mid September, Matt had a softball tournament in Orlando, Florida.  He's competed in this tournament for several years but I've never gone with him.  However, this year my brother and his wife live in Florida so we decided to make a vacation out of it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit nervous about flying across the country with a 16 month old.  I knew she would be missing both of her nap times and she really never falls asleep in people's arms anymore.  To state it simply, I was scared of the unknown (and the dirty looks other travellers give to parents of screaming children). 

She was great from Spokane to Seattle and then was great on the 6 hour flight from Seattle to Orlando.  She was sitting on daddy's lap while the plain taxied down the runway and wouldn't you know...she fell asleep before we even took off (So did daddy)!

She slept for the first 1 1/2 hours of the flight.  Then was content watching Bubble Guppies for the rest of the flight.  Yes...she had a few 2-3 minute melt downs but overall, I think she did really well.

This gave me a bit of confidence for the flight back but I was still nervous.  She didn't fall asleep quite as easily on the flight back.  She fought it and cried for about 10 minutes but eventually caved and slept for a good portion.  Poor monkey probably had no idea what time zone she was in.  That night when we got home, we gave her a bottle at about 5:45 (much earlier than normal but 8:45 Florida time) and she fell asleep drinking her bottle.  Poor thing!  She ended up sleeping 14 hours that night and woke up at her usual 7:30am the next morning.

To make her life more complicated, we went to Kansas the next week to visit my grandparents (her great grandparents).  These flights didn't go quite as well.  She really fought going to sleep.  I definitely felt the eyes of the people around me glaring into my soul!  She really probably only cried a total of 15-20 minutes but I know that is a long time for people travelling without children.  Shoot...that was a long time for me.  By the end of the second flight (from Kansas City to Seattle), I was just about in tears...exhausted, frustrated and hurting for my upset baby.

Needless to say, we had wonderful trips but we are done traveling for a while.