Monday, May 23, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Poo Back

I first of all wanted to follow up from my post yesterday and thank you being your usual supportive, loving selves. I appreciate each of you so much.

Lest you think I am all about lollipops and sunshine here, let me remind you that I am also realistic. I know that every day of parenting brings its unique challenges.

I was oh-so-humbly reminded of this the past three days as Will has hit a big obstacle in potty training. . . the potty training regression.

I had heard rumors of this phenomenon, but was hoping we'd somehow dodge this bullet. After all, Will took to potty training like a duck to water. We encountered none of the other struggles that I'd heard about, so I was hoping that we'd just keep. . . progressing.

No such luck.

Since Saturday, he has had a lot of accidents - both poo and pee. This is a kid who I would have counted as 100% day trained as of last Friday.

But Saturday morning, he started telling me that his "penis stings." He has a small adhesion from his circumcision that he occasionally complains about. We have been treating it with a steroid cream and if it's still bothering him at age 3, we will see a urologist to have it corrected. But he only complains irregularly about it and it isn't infected or red, so we usually just apply the cream as needed and it isn't a huge issue.

So, when he complained Saturday morning, I applied the cream. We went to my SIL's wedding and were gone all day, where he didn't complain of any burning and used the potty normally.

But Saturday night, he had an accident at the dinner table. I thought perhaps it was because he was tired from a busy day and not paying attention.

Sunday, he had three more accidents, including a poo poo in his underwear not five minutes after I had him sit on the toilet. Today, he only had one accident, but again, it was less than ten minutes after sitting on the potty. Each time, I have not made a big deal about the incident, have simply reminded him that poo and pee pee go in the toilet, quickly cleaned up, and gone about our day.

He has not complained about his penis "stinging" since Saturday. His urine isn't cloudy or foul smelling and he doesn't complain about any other sort of pain or have a fever (possible indicators for a urinary tract infection). Part of me wonders if we should have him checked out, but most of me thinks it is just a good old fashioned potty training regression. I made an appointment with our pediatrician for next week (she is tough to get into), so that if we are still having any issues by then, we can go in and discuss it and rule out an underlying medical issue. If it's better, we'll just cancel the appointment and continue on.

I have been able to keep potty training (and the expected accidents that go with it) very positive, but I'll admit, this is throwing me a bit. We went back to basics today, and I realized that I had become a bit complacent, asking instead of telling him if it was time to sit on the potty, and relaxing about keeping track of when he had gone last. Like I said, potty training is just as much about training the parents as the kids. So, back to basics for me, too.

So, any other advice on potty training regressions would be helpful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Just Don't Think It's Funny

I am having a problem.

I am tired of infertility and loss. People keep telling me that I should be over and done with it. But how can I get over something that is still happening? Just because it isn't happening to me doesn't mean that it is over.

I am so mad about my sister-in-law's loss. I am so angry about it that I could just spit.

I am so infuriated about Jen's loss. It makes me want to hit something (for the record, I am not a violent person and the only thing I have ever hit is a pillow. . . so that gives you an idea of how upset it makes me).

I don't know if this is normal. I mean, to be honest, I feel as if my perspective is just a bit too far skewed lately.

Let me give you an example. Did you see that "Go the F*ck to Sleep" book that circulated around the internet last week? I received it through two separate e-mails, saw it on countless FB walls, and it came across my Twitter feed half a dozen times.

That book makes me mad. The book makes me want to tell parents to "Grow the F*ck Up." You have been blessed with a child to rock to sleep. Do you know how many women and men would kill for that honor and privilege?

One of my friends pointed out that it's easy for me to feel this way, because my kids sleep well. Well, they didn't always. My blog is a living, breathing record of Will's poor sleep, especially when he was a newborn. But even after he started sleeping well, he still is a sensitive sleeper and our bedtime routine for him is lengthy and includes stories, "rock-rock", and songs. From my "logical" brain, I know that the book is just making light of the fact that kids and their endless stream of "needs" and "wants" can drive a person a little. . . twitchy. I am not going to sit here and post that I never feel tired, frustrated, or just ready to plunk Will and Emma in their beds and head downstairs to conk out in front of the television. I'm human, I get tired, so I "get it".

But then, I think of all the women whose arms are empty, still waiting. And I think of my friend, Elizabeth. Her daughter, Peyton, was diagnosed with a terminal pediatric brain tumor in November. They are living each day at a time, knowing that days are all they have left. Days, people. Months, if they are lucky.

And Ben Towne's mommy? She would give her life - the very breath from her body - to be able to read her son a bedtime story just one more time. Or to get him a drink of water. Or whatever he wanted. She'd get it for him and thank her lucky stars, no matter the time of day or night.

But. . . I don't know if this is normal. To read this story that everyone else on the planet thinks is funny and to almost have a rage-like reaction to it? Oh, and this? This is just an example. Lately, I just feel as if my sense of humor has been misplaced. I can't see things as funny when I see so many good people hurting. This isn't to say that I never laugh or that I feel angry all of the time. But when it comes to things like this, I am decidedly "off".

What is wrong with me?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Life Goes On

My sister-in-law got married today. It was a beautiful ceremony at a family member's house on a lake. It was bittersweet to watch her and her new husband exchange their vows. There were two baby girls so poignantly missing, yet it was beautiful to see that their love for each other has endured the past few weeks and seems stronger for what they have lost. It was briefly mentioned in the ceremony, but other than that, it was almost as if they had never been.

The D&E was a horrible, painful, three-day ordeal that I can't imagine surviving, but she is a strong woman. She and her husband took a very scientific approach to this situation. They chose a D&E so that they didn't have to view the babies and there was no opportunity for footprints, pictures, gowns, anything. They donated the bodies to science and they will be buried in a mass grave in Seattle after that. They didn't name the babies or really do anything that would. . . personalize things.

My MIL is having a very hard time dealing with the way that they decided to proceed. I have to admit, it is so different than what I think I would have chosen. Not that they made a wrong choice and mine would be right or vice versa. It's just different, and again, I don't know what I would actually do in their same situation. It isn't for me or anyone else to say, it just makes it diffjcult to know how to approach her. I don't know if she wants to talk about the girls or just. . . not. I thought about getting her a piece of memorial jewelry, but. . . then, not. I really just feel stuck. And I wish I knew what to say or do. If she is truly doing "okay," I don't want to drag her back down by asking about the girls or her well-being. Then again, I don't want her to think that they are forgotten and I don't care. I have made a point of texting her at least once every day. Not something that requires a response, usually just a quick, "Thinking of you today." I also sent her an e-mail letting her know that I would be here today and down the line, too, if she ever needs someone to talk to. I am also clear that while I have experienced loss, I am in no way comparing our experiences.

In any case, today she was a beautiful bride and married a man that she loves and who loves her.


Life goes on.

Friday, May 13, 2011

So Much Sadness

My sister in law found out today that both of her daughters have passed away. She would have been 24 weeks pregnant tomorrow. She had an ultrasound yesterday, during which the technician kept saying that everything was perfect. Both girls had heartbeats. She had an appointment with a different doctor today. Both babies are gone. I don't know anything more. Just that we are all brokenhearted.

ETA: More information is starting to come in. Yesterday's ultrasound wasn't a good as my MIL thought. The baby was alive and had a heartbeat (151 BPM), but apparently, there were other indicators that all wasn't well. My MIL did say that Baby B was not as active as Baby A and that its head seemed to be lolling, but the technician said the baby was sleeping. I do think it's weird that the tech would say everything was perfect and even give my MIL a video clip of the babies, but I do know that they aren't really supposed to say anything.

When my SIL arrived at UW today, baby B had already passed (at 11:30 AM). There was a very large, very visible knot in the cords. Basically, the two cords were so wrapped and knotted together. Her fiance called my MIL at 4:30 and told her that Baby A had also died at 2:30 PM. She was given some things to soften her cervix and sent home. She has to return to the medical center tomorrow for the next step in the procedure and then again on Sunday. She will have a D&E on Monday morning and be home Monday afternoon. They will donate the babies' bodies to science.

They will still be getting married next Saturday. There will be no memorial service and they aren't naming the babies (they did have a name picked for one, but they will not officially be naming it).

Any of you with later losses out there. . . how do I comfort my SIL? We have a good relationship but I would not call us "close".

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Anonymous, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that I perhaps didn't explain myself clearly enough when I described how Will went #2 at the zoo. This was the comment:

"Yeah, let your not-even-3-year-old go potty by themselves at the zoo. Great idea. Not to mention the incredible amount of germs he probably touched since you were not in there. Good parenting."

This is what I had posted:

He still is shy about pooping in front of me. I know a deuce is on its way when he asks, "Mommy, you leave me alone, please?" I honor his request and stand outside of the stall, keeping the door shut with my hand and feeling a mixture of pride and a tug of sadness that he's "got this" on the other side.

To clarify, here is what I did:

I walked him in to the stall itself, helped him get his pants and underwear down, put one of our very own seat liners down, and physically put him on the potty. I then crouched right in front of him and he nicely asked me to leave him alone, and I believe respecting the privacy of my not-yet-three year old is important when he needs private time to use the bathroom. I certainly don't like an audience, so I appreciate this need. So, while guess you could say he was "alone," I was on the other side of the stall door, with my hand on the door, keeping it closed. I was within a quick arm's reach of him at all times and opened the door a few times to check on him during his. . .process. When he told me that he was finished, I came in, helped him off of the toilet, wipe and flush, and then pull up his pants. We washed his hands thoroughly with soap and water and used hand sanitizer when we were finished and back at the stroller (oh, and after we fed the birds and visited the petting zoo, too!).

I didn't put all of those details in the last post, because if I could be accused of anything, it would be hovering and protecting my children too much. I guess I figured that any regular readers would have just assumed the above information. I take my parenting and the safety of my children very seriously, so I guess you got my hackles raised with an insinuation to the contrary.

There are two issues within your comment: safety and germs. First and foremost, no, I would not let my children go into a public restroom by themselves. At the zoo, at a restaurant, at the local toddler gym, anywhere. He is just too young. He doesn't go anywhere by himself.

The second issue you raised is exposure to germs. Germs are everywhere. The keyboard you typed your comment on is riddled in icky, nasty germs. The phone you use, the grocery cart you shop with, the book your child reads. Everything has bugs on it. Everyone has bugs on them! In fact, if you were take a nasal swab out of your very own nose? Guess what you'd find? Germs! 25 to 30% of the U.S. population has MRSA (that's the BIG! BAD! SCARY! HOSPITAL DRUG RESISTANT! BACTERIA!) colonizations (that's the presence of the bacteria that is not causing any adverse reactions - infection - in the host). The best thing we can do for our children is to expose them to naturally occuring bacteria while they are young. It builds immunity. Also, there are even good bacterias that live within our body that do good things for us that we need to be healthy. This is why hand sanitizers are somewhat controversial. So, yes, I let my child use public restrooms and toddler gyms and sit in grocery carts. Because I do what I can to keep him healthy, but I also know that he will be exposed to nasties despite my best intentions and you can't keep kids in a bubble. I plan to do the same with Emma. Now, I do realize that some children have special health needs where you might need to be more careful about exposure to germs, but I am blessed with two healthy children so I don't need to be extreme.

Now that I have clarified my actions and my position, what would you have done/do differently? What did you do when you were potty training your children? And if you truly felt my that I had made a poor judgment issue, why the need to be so catty about it? How about offering an alternative or e-mailing me privately? Or both? Your comment doesn't seem to come from a place of true caring and concern for my children, but rather a place of judgment (well, I certainly felt judged).

My bigger issue here? Judging another parent when you didn't know the whole story. It reminds me of the video parodies on this blog. Parents can be so mean to each other. While I hate that; the judgment, the derision, the lack of understanding of another persons' situation, I do love making fun of it, because it is just. so. pointless. We are all on the same team here, even it we might make different plays. I want the very best for my children and I do my very best to make that happen. I stumble along the way, make mistakes, and learn from others. I am sure that if you are a parent, anonymous, you are the same way. We all want the best for children; ours and others. So, why so much competition? Why the need to be derisive?

This isn't just for anonymous. I see this type of stuff everywhere. The MommyWars, the DaddyBattles, whatever you want to call them. And I don't like it. I seek to understand and learn from others. Will we always make the same parenting decisions? Absolutely not! But can we respect diversity along the way? I certainly hope so!

Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Milky Blues

I nursed Will until I was eight weeks pregnant with Emma. By nursing, I mean that I nursed him every morning when he first woke up and then once in the afternoon, right after nap. When I got pregnant, we dropped the afternoon feed pretty much right away. And then one day, we were just done. I don't really even remember the last time I nursed him because weaning was that gentle and uneventful. As my pregnancy progressed and the morning sickness caused me to all but stop eating, my milk supply dropped, and feedings just got shorter and shorter until one day. . . they were gone. I had dreaded weaning, but it turned into a non-event, possibly because he was so ready and I could already envision nursing another baby.

I loved nursing Will. We were forunate in that it was easy for us. We did supplement with formula (for medical reasons in the beginning and then just because he had no issue going back and forth and sometimes it was just easier to give him a bottle as time went on). He had a few nursing strikes where I didn't think we'd make it through, but we did.

When Emma was born, she was a champion nurser. She was also a champion sleeper, which is always a good thing, except that I was super engorged for a few nights in a row and ended up with mastitis. The breast that was affected never quite supplied milk properly after that (I've heard that the infection can make the milk taste funny and she definitely stopped nursing as enthusiastically on that side, which then made the supply drop even further).

I cleared the mastitis and got a kidney infection. The antibiotics gave us both thrush. With a sore mouth, she became less enthusiastic about nursing. My milk supply continued to dwindle. Then another bout of mastitis, which pretty much dried up that breast completely.

About this time, we started supplementing with formula. Unlike Will, Emma had a decided preference for the bottle. It tugged at my heart strings a bit when she so eager glugged down a bottle, but I just wasn't making enough milk to keep up with her.

I would say she was mostly breastfed until she turned six months. Solids took over a big portion of her caloric intake for the day. She still nursed in the morning and afternoon, but she refused the breast at night, screaming for a bottle instead. And this was not the nursing strike that I was familiar with, that I had experienced with Will, where he was just too interested in his surroundings to really focus on nursing. This was a hungry baby that would take both hands and push my breast away with all of her might, twisting her face away from the nipple and angrily protesting the intrusion. When she was finally handed a bottle, she would greedily gulp it down and promptly go right to sleep and stay asleep for 12 hours. If we refused to give her a bottle, she wouldn't settle for sleep, or would fall asleep only to wake multiple times. She would then suck a few times desperately on my nipple, but get frustrated and push it away. It seemed cruel not to give her what she wanted and needed - food. So, finally, we dropped the evening nursing session and just gave her a bottle every night before bed.

Eventually, all feeds but the very first morning feed of the day turned into this battle. Each time, as I handed her a bottle instead of pulling out Da Boob I felt a bit of despair at nursing slipping through my grasp, but it was better not to have to fight the feedings.

Well, for the past couple of weeks, even the morning sessions have been hit or miss. At nine months old, Emma has decided she is "over" Da Boob. I am really trying hard to be okay with this. I know 9 months is an admirable run. I know that there isn't really a lot that I can do about it. I could pump, though I have always been a lousy pumper, and honestly, I don't know where I'd find the time. I know there are people who would tell me to keep fighting it, but that would take away the very part of breastfeeding that I enjoy the most: the bonding and the sweet, natural feeling to it.

Also, I will admit, there is a small part of me that is ready to have my body back; to be able to take medication for a cold or antibiotics for an infection without having to worry about how it will affect the baby.

This is such a small thing, truly. I realize that. Though I have turned into a bona fide "mommy blogger" with my most recent potty training posts, I have not forgotten my roots. I know that my I am grateful that I was able to nurse both of my children for such a long time. But as we are "done" having babies, this is the end of an era. And it tugs my heart strings just a bit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Kid Is An Animal

Well, I have officially become that blogger. You know, the one who just talks about her kids potty habits. My apologies. For those of you who have potty trained, however, you know how it is. Potty and training become your world.

I have to admit, potty training has been much easier than I expected. I think this is largely due to the fact that my kid was R-E-A-D-Y. He has honestly been ready for quite some time. I was the one hemming and hawing. Call me lazy, call me realistic, call me a fan of less laundry, I just didn't see the point.

But three weeks ago, Will started taking off his diapers himself and putting on underwear (albeit inside out and backwards, but still) and wearing them. That's pretty much a neon sign of potty training readiness.

Even then, I deferred until after we got back from a weekend trip to my parents', which added another few days to the wait for Will. So. . . he was raring to go.

We stayed home all last week. He spent the weekend at his Gramma's house, but again, they stayed close to home. He regressed a small bit at Gramma's with both a poo and pee accident, but he has been a rockstar at home.


It was time for an outing.

We went to the zoo today. I brought four pairs of pants, five pairs of undies, two pull-ups, and even a diaper, just as a "break the glass" emergency back up. I am not even kidding. Nervous much?

I knew we would be gone all day and, for some reason, Will becomes an eating machine at the zoo. I think it's the combination of the fresh air and the fact that he runs his legs off when he is there. But he eats and drinks constantly. I know the law of what comes in = what comes out so that added to my nerves.



He never had an accident AND. . . AND? He pooped! TWICE. AT THE ZOO.

He still is shy about pooping in front of me. I know a deuce is on its way when he asks, "Mommy, you leave me alone, please?" I honor his request and stand outside of the stall, keeping the door shut with my hand and feeling a mixture of pride and a tug of sadness that he's "got this" on the other side.

Oh, yeah, we had fun at the zoo, too!

So. . . if you've never potty trained a kid, you probably wonder why in the world this is now the third post I have dedicated to this topic. All I have to say is read this post and wait. You'll understand soon.

Oh, and that giveaway post to celebrate the 1000th time I've blawged? I've got a great idea! You will love it. Stay tuned!!!