The potty training journal

I kept a potty training journal of the last 9 days.  I don’t have any golden tips or magic tricks.  On the contrary, all you’re going to see is where I really struggled.  At the end of 9 days, we’re still not 100% done with the training, but we’re pretty close.

Day 1

I’m not sure if I’m just totally crazy.  I decided that we should try the 3-day potty training method.

Cliff and I booked this long weekend (Thanksgiving, which also happens to be Cliff’s birthday weekend) to be home, devoted to this potty training method.  I bought Joshua some really cute Cars (Disney movie) underwear.  The two potty seats have been in the bathroom for over a month now for him to get acquainted with them.  We rolled up our rug and stocked the fridge with groceries.

The training material indicated that Day 1 will be the most frustrating, and it certainly is true.  Joshua peed everywhere, at least 8 or 9 times today.  Good thing Cliff and I were both home all day, so one can watch him while the other one cooked or cleaned or walked Sam.

I think towards the end of the day, Joshua was getting the clue when he needed to pee.  He still couldn’t tell us before he went, but I think he was trying.  One of the last times he peed on the floor, he had told us a few minutes before that he wanted to use the potty.  We rushed him there and he sat on it for 1/2 a minute, but nothing happened.  So we took him off the potty and went back to reading a book, then he peed on the carpet a few minutes later.

Right now I’m not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, other than 3 loads of laundry so far in one day.  So far tonight he has wet the bed once.  We’ll probably be doing a couple more sheet changes at a minimum.  It’s going to be an interesting few days!

Day 2

It was a crazy, up-and-down, heart-breaking, and mixed kind of day today.  Joshua wet the bed late last night.  Then Cliff tried to take him to the potty around 2 am, but he didn’t pee.  Then he stayed dry for the rest of the night.

He came to our bed around 5:30 am, stayed dry for almost an hour, then at 6:15 am said he needed to pee.  Cliff took him to the potty, he sat down, and peed in the potty!!!  We were soooo proud and so excited.  Joshua got a new toy for peeing in the potty.

Then a couple of hours later, he wanted to poop, and he actually pooped in the potty.  We cheered and clapped and gave him a new truck toy.  Don’t worry, I won’t show you a picture of that event.

Just when we thought things were going well and that maybe he’s all done with potty training, the rest of the day went all the way down hill fast.  He had diarrhea, so 3 very messy accidents in a row.  Each time he would ask to go to the potty, but cried when we put him on the seat.  He would struggle and want to come off the potty, put his arms around my neck and just wail.  It just killed me inside when him hanging off my neck and crying, while obviously struggling with something.  Then he would come off, and have diarrhea in his underwear a few minutes later.  Obviously he knows his body is doing something, but he couldn’t time it well enough to go while he’s on the potty.

At the end of the day, he did pee in the potty successfully once and got a loader truck toy, but then proceeded to pee in the bath tub while having his bath.

So, that’s what I meant by it’s a very mixed bag kind of day.  On top of that, it was Cliff’s birthday today, so I made all the meals, and made cupcakes, and did all the cleaning and dishes.  I am exhausted.  I guess it’s really good enough that Joshua did go in the potty a few times today.  Apparently most kids don’t really get it till the third day.

I think for me, the most exhausting part today wasn’t all the clean-up and rushing to the potty.  It was the uncertainty of it all.  I have no idea what I’m doing!  It reminded me of when we were sleep-training Joshua when he was 6 months old.  It broke my heart when he cried in his crib with his big teary eyes.  I felt like a bad mother just leaving him to cry and not picking him up and comforting him.  I wondered if 6 months was too soon to sleep-train him, and what if I was causing him emotional damage?  Today was a lot like that.  Maybe 23 months is too soon for potty training.  What if he is holding his pee in and get a urinary track infection?  What if he is permanently damaged by the experience will never function properly as an adult when it comes to his bowl movements?  What if he grows up hating me because I forced him to do this?  What if I am doing something wrong and there’s a study out there showing evidence of my ignorance?

Even though I’ve done the research, I am still just doing the best I know how, without ever knowing the consequences 20 years down the road.

Day 3

So I’ve decided in my head today that I AM STUPID AND CRAZY to try this potty training thing.

Joshua peed in his underwear half the time, and peed in the potty half the time today.  And he’s refusing to poop.  I can tell he wants to go, but every time he sits down on the potty, he gets up right away.

This is not what the book promised about the 3-day potty training method.  Everything is supposed to be done by the end of the 3rd day.  So what have we done wrong?  I have NO FREAKING CLUE!

After a long weekend at home with the potty training, I am totally stressed out, on edge, exhausted, and grouchy.  I am questioning my sanity right now.  Why did I think we should try this?  Why is it not working?  WTFFFFF?

I am heart broken and feeling so guilty.  I feel like I am torturing my child.  If he wants to poop in the diaper, why should I not just let him?  What if he holds in his poop for so long that he becomes constipated and have other problems later?  What am I supposed to do now?  Go back to diapers?  Or keep trying this training thing?  I wish somebody can just tell me what to do.

Day 4

After the long weekend, I went back to work totally exhausted and on edge.  Cliff took Joshua to the doctor today, and the doctor said it’s probably just a virus causing Joshua to have the runs.  While at the doctor’s office, Joshua told Cliff he had to go pee.  Cliff rushed him to the washroom, set up the folding potty seat, and Joshua actually peed in the potty.  I got a text message from a very proud daddy.

The rest of the day was many messy clean-ups because of the runs.  I was totally useless because I was at work.  I wondered how Cliff was doing with all the clean-ups.  When I got home, he kind of just shrugged and said it was not that big a deal.

We decided to keep the message consistent with Joshua that #1s and #2s go in the potty. It may mean more clean-ups while he has the runs.

Day 5

Another day for me at work.  Joshua managed to get all the pees in the potty, and a few of the poops too.  Still had a few messy #2s.  The poor guy still has the runs.   I am feeling VERY bad for Cliff.  He looked tired and worn out when I got home.

Day 6

First half of the day, Joshua peed and pooped in his underwear.  Second half of the day, everything went in the potty.  Maybe he’s “getting it”.  We decided that we need to buy him a backpack to carry his stuff, and get rid of the diaper bag.

Day 7

After my doctor’s appointment this morning, I stopped at MEC and bought Joshua a kids backpack.  I dropped it off at home for him, and told him it’s a “big boy backpack”.  We put a change of clothes in it, the folding potty seat, and a few toys.  We told him no more diaper bag because he is a big boy now.  He loved the backpack.

Today was a glorious day.  ZERO accidents.  Joshua still has the runs, but he managed to get EVERYTHING in the potty.

It was a bit unbelievable for me.  I mean, having the runs is pretty difficult (even for adults)! My little dude has learned his body’s cues enough in a week to communicate when he needs to use the potty.

Day 8

At 6:30 am, Joshua woke up.  I figured I’d test him with purposely NOT asking if he needed to use the potty.  A few minutes later, he said he needed to go but has already started to pee in his underwear.  That was really my bad.  I should have reminded him the option to use the potty.  It was first thing in the morning; his head was probably still foggy.

For the rest of the day, he used the potty like a pro and had no accidents.  His diahrrea seems to finally slow down a little.  We had brunch at a friend’s house.  He asked to use the potty twice and actually went twice.  We were invited to another friend’s house for dinner.  We brought a portable potty with us on the one-hour drive.  Almost at the end of the drive, Joshua said he had to use the potty.  We pulled over in an empty parking lot, set up the potty in the truck, and put him on there.  He actually pooped.  It felt a little ghetto to put my kid on a potty in the back of the SUV, but hey, it worked.  Then at the friend’s house, he would ask to go use the potty when he needed to.

Day 9

It was almost an accident-free day.  Joshua is quite good at telling us when he needs to go use the potty.  We did have 1 accident today when he was throwing a temper tantrum.  He was crying hysterically, then started coughing and gagging, then proceeded to throw up all over me, and at the same time peed on the floor.

I had vomit on my shirt and pee on my socks, just as a friend arrived to pick up something from us.  I actually really wanted to laugh.  Sometimes life can be so comical.

Trying to do the right thing

Joshua arrived almost 2 years ago.  It has been some of the most rewarding and some of the most challenging times in my life.

Since day 1, I struggled with trying to be the mom who always does the “right” thing.  I was so worked up over breastfeeding because I didn’t produce enough milk.  So should I keep breastfeeding?  Should we supplement with formula?  Should we do just all formula?

Then it was the sleep training issue.  Would sleep training traumatize him?  What if he becomes a serial killer because I traumatized him?  Am I being selfish by sleep training him so I can sleep through the night?

Then it was the solid food battle.  Joshua hated solid food for 4 months, and screamed every time I tried to feed him.  Am I doing something wrong?  What is wrong with Joshua that he won’t eat solid food?  Am I forcing him to do something he hated?  What if he doesn’t get enough iron and his little bones don’t grow properly?

And what about discipline?  Should we spank him, or give him time-outs, or try the reasoning method?  What is he grows up to be a complete brat?  What if he has no respect for authority?

No one had all the answers for me.  Joshua didn’t come with a troubleshooting manual and I felt lost at many times during his little life.  If you put any of these parenting topics into Google and hit “search”, you are bound to end up being more confused with all the studies and research published by everybody and their dog.  There is conflicting information on every topic, and there’s controversy on every parenting theory.  If you do something one way, there will be someone there to cheer you on and another 5 people to tell you that you’re screwing up.

All I really learned, is that this parenting gig is pretty hard, and a lot of times there’s no right or wrong answer to something.

I remember that I often asked my mom why she raised us or taught us a certain way.  She always said that she did the best she knew how.  I always wondered if she read enough books, or sought enough advice, or did enough research before deciding on something.

But today, what I’ve realized is that regardless of how much reading and research you do, as a parent, you still have to make a decision on what might be best for your child.  And you will never know if that was the best choice for your child.  And then even if you did your best, the damn kid may still one day tell you that you did it wrong and that’s why she is going to run away from home and become a cold blooded serial killer.

What’s my point to this whole post?

Well, first of all, Mom, I’m sorry that I ever doubted you.

Secondly, I was scared shitless about writing a post on what we’ve been doing this past week–potty training Joshua.

I was not convinced that potty training Joshua right now (almost 23 months) is perfectly acceptable because most people train their boys a little later.  I wasn’t sure if my motivation is purely for Joshua’s sake, because I did think it would be easier for ME if I didn’t have to wash two sets of cloth diapers once Savanna arrives.  And I really haven’t heard much about this “3-day potty training” thing until recently, and Google turned up a bunch of controversial studies about how you could harm your child emotionally and physically if they’re not ready to be trained.  I was mostly afraid of being judged by other parents or experts because of whatever I’ve chosen to do.

I feel like I have no control of the outcome of a choice, be it breastfeeding or sleep training or potty training.  And this is what makes parenting the most rewarding yet most challenging gig all at the same time.

I’ve missed you

Dear sweet pea,

Today was our day at home together.  In many ways, Fridays are my favorite day of the week!  I selfishly get you all to myself.  I always look forward to this day, and it’s such a great way to get into the weekend when all four of us are home together.

Once you’re a little older, you’ll understand that winter is always a busy time for me at work.  You may not know what time I tiptoe out of the house for work in the morning, or how long I stay up to work after you go to sleep, but it feels like work was all I focused on for the last two months.

When I woke up this morning to your singing and babbling in the crib, I had a huge smile on my face.  We had breakfast together, took Sam for a walk in the rain, went to get groceries, rode the bus for the first time (for you), visited with our very dear friends, had some lunch, and by then you were so wiped and ready for a nap.

As I watched you fall asleep, my heart melted with how sweet and peaceful your face looked.  I sat beside you and just enjoyed the rare luxury of watching you sleep.  Your little chest raising and falling at a rhythm, your little hand resting on your chest, your little toes curl up involuntarily, and you almost looked like you were smiling.  I said to myself, gosh, I’ve missed you! I missed having all the time in the world to spend with you, I missed knowing everything about your day, I missed being the first to see the new things you’ve learned or a new word you’ve learned to say.

Today was exactly what I needed to feel more connected with you.  I truly treasure the time we get to spend together.  Thank you for making my life so amazing.

Love,

Mama

 

Settling in to motherhood

Last night, I finally came to the realization that it has taken me 10 weeks to get used to the idea that Joshua is ours. Before this, it almost seems like at any moment someone will knock on our door and inform us there has been a mistake, and that it was an error to let me be Joshua’s mother.

Maybe this realization has something to do with my decision to stop feeling inadequate, and start enjoying motherhood. Now that I have decided that I’ll never be perfect, I am actually more ok with the idea of raising Joshua the best way I know how and be allowed to make mistakes. This is likely why I finally felt like we’re “allowed” to keep him.

Two months old and first immunization

My baby is two months old today!

It’s hard to believe how fast time flies, and how much he has grown. He is now 13 lb and 12 oz!

We went back to see Dr. L today and got Joshua’s first set of immunization. I have been dreading this day for a whole week. He received THREE shots! He cried pretty hard for less than 10 seconds, and then slowed down to a small sob. Myself, on the other hand, was sucking back tears as hard as I can, but still cannot contain myself. It breaks my heart to see him in pain. As soon as we came out of the doctor’s office, he fell asleep in the car seat.

For the rest of the day, Joshua nursed a lot, and was fussy as expected. After some baby Tylenol, he seemed to be better. Cliff gave him a bath and a massage tonight and that made him quite happy.

We didn’t do anything to celebrate the two months mark, partly because we were prepared to just spend the day soothing him, and partly because we are just bagged.

Dr. L gave us advice completely contradicting what the lactation consultant said. Dr. Lee said we should feed Joshua as much as he will take, and not restrict his formula intake. This really frustrated me. Who am I supposed to listen to when I am getting contradicting advice? The doctor who received medical training? Or the lactation consultant who specializes in lactation related issues? Can’t someone just tell me what to do so I don’t screw up my son’s life?

Motherhood is a very humbling experience. I went from thinking I know quite a bit, to thinking that I know nothing at all. Even the medical community is giving contradicting advice. I think it’s time that I just use my maternal instinct and figure out what would be best for my own son! I think I’ll increase his formula by a bit (going from 60 ml to 70 ml) and see how he does.

 

What a year!

The start of the year was a bit of a low for me, as I was still dealing with the miscarriage that happened late in 2009. Emotionally, I was a wreck. Work wasn’t all that inspiring either. The only thing that I was looking forward to was the Olympics coming to town.

During the Olympics, that’s when I found out I was pregnant again. Then a few scares in terms of complications came along the way that kept me on my toes. All the while we were apartment hunting, and finally bought the condo in April.

We moved to the new condo in June, in time to enjoy the summer on the deck. My belly was getting bigger and the complications never came back. We had a nice summer, and went away to Cannon Beach in September.

The highlight of the year, of course, is the birth of Joshua. Nothing can compare to the rush and the joy of having this baby. I am so grateful to God that Joshua is a healthy baby, and that he is now in our arms safely.

As the year closes out tonight, all I can think of is how grateful I am. I have no regrets this year, and I look forward to watching Joshua grow into his own person in the next year.

 

Josh and Sam hanging out:

Exhaustion

Joshua is almost a month old now. That means a month of sleep deprivation. I have never been this tired (yet happy) before. Most days and nights are blurred together, and time seems to go by so fast! It felt like it was only last week that we brought him home. How can he be 28 days old already!

This past whole month has been the best time of my life. Every day I feel tired yet exhilarated. However, yesterday afternoon I felt so tired that I just bursted into uncontrollable tears. Maybe it was the visit with Dr. L in the morning that brought up some emotions I haven’t dealt with. Breastfeeding is still a sore point in my heart because I can’t produce enough milk for my baby. When she asked me how things are going, I started crying in her office. Once we got home, that’s all I could think about. Then when Joshua cried and I couldn’t calm him down, I just felt so exhausted that I had to hand him to Cliff and I just cried and cried.

I have often wondered why God designed parenthood to be this way. It starts with months upon months of sheer exhaustion. Maybe it’s to prepare one for the future challenges. I’m not sure. It certainly is interesting why things work this way.

Doing all the work for Joshua is the sweetest burden I’ve ever had. It would only be this short period of time in his life that I can do all these things for him. I don’t care if I am exhausted. I am so in love with him!

Intensity of love

It’s hard to describe how it is at all possible to love someone so much. Since the moment I knew of the pregnancy, I loved him. Since the moment I saw the little heart flicker on the ultrasound monitor, I loved him. Since the moment I felt the first kick, I loved him. Since the moment I first saw him, I became madly in love.

Every day, I wonder how it is possible to love a little creature this much. He doesn’t do things for me, he doesn’t talk to me, he doesn’t respond to everything I do, but I can’t take my eyes off of him. When he’s asleep, I can’t stop staring at him and sometimes I burst into tears. He is such a wonder and such a gift.

When he cries non-stop, sometimes I smile because I love how full of life he is. He puts all his energy into crying and turning beet red. He doesn’t hold back, and he’s not shy. Life is simple to him, and he makes life simple for me.

Since Joshua has arrived, I have had thoughts I’ve never had before, as conflicted as they are. I want to do more with my career, so I can make more money to give him the life he deserves. I want to do less with my career so I can spend all my time with him and raise him right. I want to show him to the world and proclaim how proud I am of him. I want to hide him at home all to myself because I enjoy being with him.

It’s hard to explain how all these emotions and feelings are possible.

Josh contemplating life:

First time going for a walk in the rain, using the rain cover on the carseat/stroller combination:

Hanging out at home with Sam:

Are you tired?

The last three weeks have been a blast and a blur. I am having so much fun being a mom, and yet all the short “naps” make days and nights seem like a blur.

When I took Joshua out for a walk the other day, I was a little surprised to see myself in a mirror, pushing a baby stroller. Oh, how has life changed! Not very long ago, I was travelling the world, riding my motorcycle, and riding my snowboard. Now I am pushing a stroller with my baby in it! If you ask me, I wouldn’t trade this for the world. Having Joshua has been the greatest gift in life.

People ask me if I am tired from the lack of sleep. Of course, I am! Joshua’s last feed is usually around midnight. Cliff would usually feed the bottle to him, so I can get a bit of sleep. Then Joshua would feed again from 2:30 to 3:30 am, then 6 to 7 am. So that means I get just under 5 hours of broken-up sleep. During the rest of the day, I’d be lucky to get an hour nap somewhere. That’s only 6 hours of sleep in total in a 24-hour cycle. This is the least amount of sleep on the worst schedule I’ve ever had.

Yet, I am exhilarated.

I love looking at Joshua after feeding him. Sometimes after he has fallen back asleep, I don’t really want to put him back in the bassinet. I would hold him and just stare at his beautiful face for a long time. Sometimes I cry tears of joy in the dark. Nobody needs to know how grateful I am that he is finally here. Sometimes I still wonder about what kind of baby I would have had if I didn’t have the miscarriage, or why I had bleedings at the 5th and 14th week of the pregnancy with Joshua, but all that wondering just makes me more grateful that he is actually in my arms now.

Physically, yes, I am tired. But I always think that there is only so little time to be this needed in Joshua’s life. Soon, he’ll want to dress himself, feed himself, tie his own shoe lace, or pick his own friends. Soon, I will become obsolete in his life. So why wouldn’t I treasure this time I have with him to do things for him?

Snug in daddy’s arms:

Our first walk with all four of us together: