Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sixteen Months (and One Week) Update, Plus Potty Training Plans

Every self respecting Yetti carries a sensible and earth friendly canvas bag or two for her
purchases, right?

The back view of her drugstore rampage

Current state of the mullet

We tried watching Tellytubbies while she was sick (a rare treat -- she normally
doesn't get more than two songs from her sign language DVD per day)... 

... But neither of us could bear its awfulness. Phew! (Plus she 
clearly wasn't feeling well.) 

I'm perhpas not all that, ahem, good about rules about
where she's allowed to eat. When she was sick, she
ate so little that I was all, "sure, honey, you can sit
on the counter and eat tomatoes right next to the 
paring knife, no problem." 

Calliope is newly obsessed with the parts of her body. She will pat her head proudly when asked, is constantly pointing to her own nose as well as mine, and her shirts have to allow access to her little round tummy or else she is tugging them down at the neckline so she can insert her arm into her shirt to gain access and slap heartily against her belly. I love that she sticks her stomach out and pats it so proudly -- may she never lose this love and pride in her body!

She just learned how to climb onto the potty today without having to step one foot into it ever so briefly. Her dismount has been great for ages but climbing on always required that one foot into the potty before this. She's very pleased with herself.

She has almost entirely stopped throwing food -- hurray! Now she just hands it to me with a shake of the head and a "neh neh neh" (no no no). As long as I take it away, we're all set and there's no projectiles off the tray.

New words include:
"heh" (head)
"bee" (belly)
"ah" (apple)
"dada" (banana)
"quack-ahh" (cracker)
"gheez" (cheese, her new favorite food)
"cap" (clap)
"Gah!" (Jack!, said with emphasis... any mention of the playground starts a long series of "Gah!"... though she's not necessarily interested in playing with her "friend" once we see him at the playground. We see Jack most weekends but she sees Eleanor daily... no clear sign of "Ellie" yet)

She's also got new signs: bath, and tooth-brushing (I invented this one -- not idea what the official one is). Tonight we were visiting friends and she was signing "bath" to everyone in sight, hoping, apparently, that someone would take pity on her and pop her in the tub? Never mind that we had a nice long time in the tub today. She seems to think one can never have too many baths. She's also very focused on tooth brushing, and wants to brush after every meal (we do it in the highchair because she's conveniently restrained already) but then fusses when I actually start to brush. I guess holding the brush and sucking on it afterwards for her "turn" make up for the indignity of Mommy brushing? I only manage a cursory job, as much as I can accomplish during a round of Itsby Bitsy Spider, but I figure it's a lot better than nothing.

She's also eating much greater quantities, which is awesome, but a strikingly small selection of foods. An SMC mom whose child has been in feeding therapy for a while (for sensory issues and resulting Failure to Thrive, neither of which Calliope has) recommended a book to me called Food Chaining. I just started skimming it last night. It recommends a meeting with a pediatric dietitian, which I hope to pursue next month if things don't improve. It also defines a "picky eater" as one who eats fewer than 30 foods, and will take a break from certain favorite foods but eventually start eating them again after a while, versus a "problem eater" who will eat fewer than 20 foods and once she stops eating a certain food, won't start eating it again after a break.

Calliope is definitely the latter. I came up with sixteen foods she will eat. Not including sweets -- I'm assuming they don't count.

But for now I'm just relieved she's eating and gaining back the weight she lost when she was sick. Last night she woke up at 1:30 am to nurse, which literally hadn't happened in many months before she was sick, and then woke up again at 3 am. She was really wailing, and I had just nursed her ninety minutes before, so I went in and asked her what she wanted, not really expecting her to answer.

But to my surprise, she immediately stopped crying and signed "food."

So I scooped her up and carried her to the kitchen, where we sat on the floor next to the refrigerator, bathed in the pale light of the nightlight, as she munched on cheese and crackers. After maybe one ounce of cheese and two half crackers, she handed the leftovers back to me and let me know she was done.

I popped her back into her crib (JenDDS, I know you'll be disappointed to hear that I most certainly did not brush her teeth) and she settled right down and slept four more hours.

I'm so grateful for having taught her sign language -- it would've never occurred to me to offer solid food in the middle of the night! Which would've made for a long night of crying if she hadn't been able to communicate with me.

Signing to the "Change Me" Song, Plus Having to Peek at Her Irresistible Belly

And finally, Calliope is very, very fond of climbing on and off the potty, and looking for "bay" (pee) in the potty and in the toilet, and is at least sometimes waking up dry from naps so...  we are counting down the days to a three day potty training boot camp.

PTTC will commence on Christmas Day. I'm following a program described on BabyCenter. Basically, you get up on the morning of day one and take off the child's pants and diaper. And the child goes pantless in the house for the next three months! Outside the house, the child can wear loose pants but no underwear for three months -- apparently underwear can feel like a diaper and be confusing in the early months -- and certainly no diapers again, except for sleeping.

And then, that first day, I have to stay home with her all day, intently watching her naked bottom, waiting for pee or poop. As soon as I see anything, I whisk her off to the potty. As soon as even a drop of pee hits the inside of the potty, I do an enthusiastic "potty dance." Apparently after 10-12 successes, children start to get the idea.

One day two, we can go out for up to an hour in the afternoon, right after she uses the potty, and on day three, we can go out for an hour in both the morning and the afternoon, again, right after she uses the potty -- apparently this teaches them that they can go "on command."

Supposedly, after three days, the child should have the basic concept down, assuming the process works, though there will, of course, be accidents from time to time.

I think that Calliope is ready, but I really don't know. My friend Emily told me that there is a window of opportunity for potty training at about 16-18 months, when children are often very interested, and are too young to be rebellious like a two year old. She had good luck training her child at about this age, as did another friend of hers.

The program is actually designed for 15-28 month olds, so that makes me feel like it's worth a shot, though in today's world, where so many children seem to start at age 3 or later, I feel like a bit of a lunatic sometimes when I talk about this.

So I'm trying to have realistic expectations. Truthfully, if she's not ready, I will be fine with that. The only thing I'm anxious about is being stuck at home and fixated on my daughter's tush -- I think that could make me a little stir crazy. So if it's  not going to work, I hope I can figure that out quickly. But I'm pessimistic on that front -- I think you have to just push through a lot of accidents in the beginning to see if one's child is ready.

Luckily my good friend, Salt Lick, is coming over on Day 2 and will spend the night and keep me company and help out. I think that will be a huge relief. Especially since Christmas Day is always a lonely day for me, not being one who celebrates.

I expect I will be reporting back with far, far more excruciating detail than you were hoping for on the potty training front in the coming days.


  1. I for one am quite interested to see how it goes!

  2. I am really keen to hear about this too. Most people that I talk to don't even attempt this for a while yet so I had decided not to.

    My parents keep saying I should be doing it now, they had chairs that they strapped us in until we'd 'been', which is something I want to avoid. It was also the chair we ate in, which I find a bit disturbing. needless to say I have so far avoided the whole issue. Looking forward to hearing how you go. I don't mind the details!

  3. Very interested in your potty training...well not your, of course Calliope's, lol!! I have just started putting Elena on the toilet & she's gone a few times & has started telling me when she pees & poos but I haven't landed on a method I want to go with yet...