Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Baby Daddy

I don't guess there is any sane woman out there who doesn't wonder just how she'd survive if, God forbid, something happened to her husband, the father of her (many) children. In my case with six sons I think, "God, if you are going to take one of us home, take me. These boys need their daddy!" (I mean, I am not discounting that these boys need a momma too...I mean, who'd trim their toenails or suck their snot out for pete's sake? :) But, about the age of three boys drift away from everything needs to be life is better with daddy! And, I have always loved this though I feel a bit sorry for the daddy of six sons who never gets free time. And my baby daddy...rises to the occasion. He loves to be loved by these little men. He is, after all, the one who teaches them how to kiss and hug tight so he can begin unapologetically begging them for lovin'! SO he gets what he deserves when a certain five year old lumbers onto his lap and covers him with smooches. And then a four year old climbs on top to add to the pile. And if a certain twelve year old (who weighs a ton BTW) is nearby, he joins in. That 12 year old is a lap one has told him he is more like a horse...least of all his daddy who would never turn him away. These boys love their daddy.

He is a good daddy. A daddy who loves them as much as I do. And for just that fact alone I don't know what I'd do without him. I mean, there is this precious thing that exists between a parent and a child. It cannot be replicated. Knowing he and I are always on the same page when it comes to how we love them makes life much easier. After all, as a man and a woman we are so seldom on the same page about least at the outset! :) I will never forget how the evening after Grant was born and the hospital room cleared out and there we were...the three of us. Together. Alone. For the first time. Ever. Keith and I cried our eyes out. Not out of love. Not out of joy. Nope. It was FEAR. YES. F.E.A.R! What in the world were we doing? We had not a clue. We loved that little baby but the events of the preceding labor were nothing short of life-altering. Not the pretty picture of giving birth I had imagined. Nothing about my body felt beautiful or "life-giving!" More like a train had run right up through...oh, never mind. You get the idea. The minute that life hit this world...our lives were changed. Shew. I am glad that man stood there with me and cried. I needed to know he was as scared as I was! The hormones settled down. A little rest settled on our weary bones and we adjusted. I never wanted to do that again. And I did it five more times. God is so funny that way! And that man of mine has stood there and laughed and cried and snuggled slimy babies the whole way.

I can write a book of the precious things he has done with our boys or the way he teaches them and nurtures them. Mostly, I am just so thankful he is here. Here to protect and provide and love us. If I had to be married to me...especially through six pregnancies and births...I'd have run. That stuff about the weaker sex...that's me. Totally. I am a hormonal, unpredictable, emotional mess. And he stays. And he loves me. Now he has teenagers who add even more of that to the mix...and he stays. And loves them. Thanks Sugar! You are my man! ~M.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Potty Training Update

I thought for the sake of full disclosure I should share how it is going on our PT front here. Grayson has been PTraining for a week now...or something close to that. I forget the exact day we began. Yesterday was his first FULL day of no accidents. So in case you were wondering if I had this down to some perfect He totally knows how to make it happen but still forgets he needs to go somewhere to actually deposit it now! And I will tell you, though some of you may cringe (but like I said...full disclosure) that I have spanked him a couple of times. He is quite a cooperative little guy in all of life but he is two after all. And I sometimes sense a laziness and control issue that occurs with probably every PT child. They figure out they don't actually think it is fun anymore to go to the potty like they might have in the beginning. And they realize they have a choice....well, at least they think they have a choice. :) That is where the small, albeit firm, spank on a naked be-hiny is helpful~and necessary. He needed to be reminded that his momma takes none too kindly to wet clothes and puddles on the floor!

All in all, he has an amazing little bladder and some mornings he is completely dry all night. Like yesterday morning Iwalked in his room and he said, "I need to go potty." I put him on the potty and he peed and pooed immediately! Loved that. He could have chosen the easy route and taken care of business in his diaper before I came in but he obviously held it waiting for me. And it was quite funny when I had to take him to the potty twice at the pool (at his request) to pee. I mean, the kid is there in a washable swim diaper-soaking wet in knee deep water and totally could have let 'er go right there but didn't!

As for Sunday when I had to take him to church, this mother of six was a bit perplexed as to how to handle the whole thing. We go to a small church with only two child rooms. Grayson is in the baby nursery of course since he isn't PT yet. (that they know of) I knew that if the room was crowded or if it was staffed by younger ladies that it'd be a lot to ask to have them be in charge of his PT. And because our little church is in a strip mall the bathroom is not connected to the nursery. SO...I toted the potty seat in a bag with me! Yes I did. I had him wear a pull-up which I hated to do but felt I could not ask them to deal with messes he might make. Well, to make a long story short...I spent my 18th anniversary staying with the 2 year old myself! I didn't mind one bit. Seeing the crowded nursery and the younger workers I knew I had three choices: 1) I could just say, "Let him pee and poo in his pull-up" (which I honestly didn't know if he'd do that or not). and 2) Ask them to carefully watch him and ask him every so often to put him on the a crowded room full of curious kids OR 3) keep him with me and keep the PT on track. I chose the third of course and was so glad I did. He peed and pooed while we were there and none of my diligence was lost! In the past (at other, larger churches) I have been able to ask the workers to help me and they have. They have usually had pottys in the room and had enough help to do this. The boys also have done well while at church but I always pack extra and all. I am not sure how this week will go. If he continues to have accident-free days then I may throw caution to the wind and send him in underwear and take his potty to put in the adjoining room or hall for them to use. I don't know. These are the hard choices when you have to leave them in someone else's care.

Anyway....there is the update. He is not naked anymore BTW. He can handle underwear and usually shorts too. Praying we get this thing fully handled soon but thrilled nonetheless to see how well he is doing! ~M.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Potty Training!

Six boys. Count em. I have potty trained SIX boys! (well, to be fair...number six is still in training.) So I feel pretty certain I can share some knowledge with you on how I have done it since as I look back it is one area as a mother I have actually had a pretty successful go of. (Excluding the spirited four year old who took a whole year to be PT at night. But he has that all under control now so let's forget that ugly year even happened!)

Anyhoo...let's reminisce shall we? Approximately 12 years ago I had a 2 1/2 year old boy and a newborn. I knew I wanted to PT Grant soon after Garrett was born because HELLO? who wants to pay to diaper TWO children at once? No one. No one who has a choice anyway! Right after Garrett was born we had two trips to go on and when we returned I was intent to begin the PT process. I was armed with nothing more than a desire to NOT have two kids in real knowledge or experience was on my side...just pure willpower! We returned from the second trip on a Sunday and Monday morning I thought, "I am not ready to tackle this just yet." But I gave Grant a bath and he was running around in the buff when he announced he needed a diaper on! Poor little guy didn't know he had played his hand! If he knew he needed to go potty then that meant he had control over those muscles and it meant he had an awareness it was coming. That was all I needed to know to proceed quickly! I grabbed the potty seat (BTW the SAME potty seat Grayson now abides on!) and quickly set him on it. Voila! The deed was done! Then he begged for a diaper to which I firmly said NO WAY! He refused big boy underwear. He was in no way motivated by the thought of being a big boy and he immediately caught on that this new found ability meant more work for him and he was not excited. Thus was born the main way I went on to PT all the other boys. I told Grant that he couldn't wear a diaper and that if he didn't want underwear on then he had to be naked. He chose the latter! And I am glad he did because it was the key to helping me PT the other boys! is my advice in as concise a form as I can muster.

1. I watch for three signs they are ready.

~they know they HAVE peed or pooed. (exhibited by signs such as wanting their diaper changed or acknowledging it when you ask them if they have)

~they know when they ARE peeing or pooing. (exhibited by signs such as disappearing behind the chair or standing very still and working hard to make it happen. Also, this is a good time to acknowledge ANY chance you get when you see them doing this. When they pee in the it by name..."Oh look, you are peeing!" Or if you see them straining to poo then say so. When you change their diaper tell them..."You peed or pooed." Giving the action a name helps them in the future.)

~ And finally...the BIGGIE...they know when they ARE GETTING READY TO pee or poo. Now, you may not always get to see this one exhibited but if you do...don't turn back. (This has been exhibited just as I shared with you that Grant knew he needed to have his diaper on which told me he felt it coming and he knew how to stop it. This was also how Grayson began his PT by being naked after the pool and I saw him looking down at his penis as if he was waiting on the pee to come. I saw this and immediately said, "Do you need to pee?" He said uh-huh and I ran to get the seat and put him on it and now we are on the journey!)

2. When you see at least two of these signs, and hopefully all three, you should JUMP quickly. In fact, as I said, if you see that last sign clearly, as I have with a few of my it immediately if you can. Get the seat out, let them pee or poo, and consider yourself in the throes of PT! Seriously. Last night when Grayson peed on the potty (and did it so easily) I knew I had to keep going. If you hem and haw about it they will LET YOU flounder forever! They will ask for their diaper back and they will refuse you but they must see you resolute! Believe me, I was in no way mentally ready to tackle PT with a lot of my boys but as soon as I knew they were ready I knew I had to go for it. The amazing thing is with ALL SIX of my boys, they all were ready around 2 1/2. Like clockwork. Of all the ways my boys are so different, this was not one of them!

3. The best way I have found to remind my sons and myself that we are now potty training is to leave them naked. Grant's stubborn refusal to wear undies and my stubborn refusal to allow him to wear a diaper led to this great discovery for me. I have NEVER used Pull-Ups to PT....except at bedtime. And honestly, even underwear is a problem. If they are naked they know something is up. They are constantly reminded they are supposed to be thinking about something. They know if a puddle forms beneath them that UH OH...they forgot. And if you see your child half naked all day then you are reminded to remind them to get on the potty. I mean, teaching them how to pee and poo is one part of PT. But the other, equally as daunting task, is to teach them to REMEMBER to get to the potty. And for a child who has been freely peeing in their diaper for two years and a momma who has changed their diapers, it is hard to remember to have them sit on the potty...A LOT. And I know you think cleaning up puddles...or worse...sounds worse than cleaning undies are mistaken! It is all awful! But, I'd rather mop a puddle or pull out my little carpet cleaner if necessary than clean out dirty britches. Plus, the point here is this...if they are naked you will hopefully have less of these messes to clean up because you will remember to have them sit on the potty...a lot...did I say that enough?

So that is really it. No tricks. No prizes. No gimmicks. TONS of praise and hugs and kisses. Tons of books read while they sit and sit and sit. And perhaps a ton of messes and mistakes. But, if you are lucky then maybe it won't be so bad after all. Once you see the readiness signs then strip them naked and go for it! There is no magic key except to make them sit on the potty a lot. Some of your kids will know how to work their muscles easily. Others will struggle. There is no way to help them than to have them sitting there on the potty and trying. If Icould just keep them on the potty then I knew eventually they'd go. And once they went I knew I had a precious 15 minutes or so before I needed to ask them to sit again! :) Honestly, it takes about one week for me to get my boys to the point of getting it. Grant and Grayson were/are star students. Grayson has complete control over it. I just have to teach him to remember. And honestly, I look over and he will be on the potty without me even telling him. He loves the whole thing. Amazing. (that's just luck by the way...) The thing about the readiness signs is that if you KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW your child is ready then you dont' have to feel badly about pushing them. At some point it is as much your will as theirs that is involved. Don't let them convince you that it is all about their will. Once you feel they are ready then assert your will as a parent and make it happen. (I fully acknowledge that some of you are saying..."But my child doesn't exhibit any of these signs and he is FOUR!" Or, "My child exhibits the signs but refuses to cooperate." I apologize that I can't help you there-except to say at some stinkin' point you are going to have to take charge. All six of my boys showed some readiness by the age of 2 1/2 and (nearly)all of them asserted their will against it...but momma won out. I don't have any children with limited capacities as far as physical or mental limitations so I would never presume to tell you how to PT your child if that is an issue for you.)

Overall I'd say, don't be scared. Be patient. Be ready to devote a week to being as focused as you can on PT. Obviously, if your child is naked then going outdoors is troublesome. If I needed to go somewhere with that child then I put them in a pull-up or underwear and I made them try to go once we got there. I tried avoiding that they'd go in their pull-up if at all possible. Then as soon as we were home I'd go back to naked land! Always have spare clothes and plastic bags and wipes on the ready. If your child is really reluctant then rewards and incentives may be good. I never found it necessary but do what you think is best. I haven't said everything I could say so feel free to ask questions and pick my brain! Good luck! ~M.