Friday, March 15, 2013

The Singing Contest

I was all set to write this post yesterday, complaining that Elliot was STILL pooping in his pants.  Today he proved me wrong- YAAAAAHOOOOOOOOO!  One successful squat on the pot is such a big deal that it has to promise more.  Right?  We were close this morning, with  him at least sitting to try when the prancing started, but to no avail.  We had places to go (tumbling class and an indoor playspace at a local church) and we trucked on.  The good deed happened at the church and trust me, I was mouthing "Hallelujah!"

Last night, though, the prancing started and I just have to share this tidbit.  Elliot had been acting nasty as well (which often goes hand-in-hand) and Pat had been dealing with the behavior as I slipped out for a walk and lake therapy.  I came home to Pat strongly encouraging him to sit on the potty and the frustration was getting the best of him.  I reminded him (as is so easy to do when you're not the one in the midst of it!) that we needed to take it in stride and not connect the pooping to his other punishments. 

That morning, Elliot and I had had a good talk about his successes with bms last fall at Kathy's and with Renee and how he was 3 then, not even 3 1/2.  He readily told me all about those times.  I also have tried to treat his moaning and pacing/circling with a "Yay!  Everything's working!  Your body is telling you exactly when you need to go to the potty!  How great!"  without much luck.

So, when he was eating dinner, I decided to simply sing some encouragement.  Again, all these damn things you readily do as a parent that seem so weird... I was now singing about poop.  I can't even remember the tune I made up but it included phrases like, "Elliot can poop in the potty, Elliot can poop in the potty, he's done it before, many times before.  You can do it, you can do it, you did it last fall, all of the time..."  He was giggling and laughing and I thought, "Hey, I can make light of this and plant some deep seeds."  Soon Elliot joined in and was singing the tune.  For one verse.  Then he made up his own lyrics that were, "I'll never poop in the potty, I'll never poop in the potty, I'm making poor choices, I'm making poor choices.  I will only poop in my underwearrrrrr, I will only poop in my underwearrrrrr."  Yep.  The little twerp.  I couldn't believe it.

He certainly feels proud of himself for overcoming this OVER A MONTH LONG issue for at least once, so I hope that carries him through the next time he gets the urge to go. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Still Amateurs...

Fun photos first, followed by the blabbering...
 She's been grinning and responding like crazy.  One evening, she just laid there and cooed and ahhed and smiled at Pat for a good 15 minutes or more- guess she's just already practicing how to work Daddy!
 Um, Dad?  Could you put her down to sleep, please?
 I'm lucky that another baby loves the Moby wrap! 
 Big brother, helping out.
 I think every Friday night my camera can find Leah asleep on Pat, him asleep too!  So exciting, this family life. (Although she looks awake here...??)
 Dave White, cousin from CO, was in town and stopped over for a visit.  We had a great time and Elliot loved him.  Of course, any fancy phone is a hit.
 Leah was NOT up for the photo shoot this day, but mom persevered, all in the name of fashion.
 This is the new bed we ordered for Leah- it's awesome.  Like a hammock for babies.  She sleeps very well in it (before, she would only sleep on us or propped up on our pillow in our bed).
Love capturing this moment, even if it's so grainy. 
The best I could get, trying to coerce Elliot into a shot with Leah as she was hamming it up.  He was there a split second and my camera has a delay.
The latest-- trying to use my reading/writing teacher brain to think about how to organize my updates- by child or by topic?  Let's start with Elliot.
Elliot is still struggling with the bms, which means we are, too.  The abnormal has become the norm.  This is where we are all still amateurs- I said to Pat the one time, "What do you think we should do?" and he responded with, "I don't know, I've never done this before..."  We're still trying to take it in stride.  Last week, Elliot went from Saturday until Thursday, using all his efforts to hold in his poop.  (And he's already on daily doses of Miralax... man, this kid has stamina!).  Called the doc, we were ready to go the suppository route when nature prevailed over his strong will.  He's been a bit more regular since- he's eating much better and I am trying to coach him with "You're eating things to make yourself go, then you're not listening to your body.  Your intestines are yelling at you and all the veggies are working, go with it!" 
His palette has expanded, which is more than wonderful.  He still is resistant to new foods, but with the positive chart we have up, rewarding trying new foods, eating vegs, staying in his seat, feeding himself, eating without a battle, etc, it seems to be working long-term.  Some days he works against it on purpose if he's in a rotten mood, and other days he's super proud.  It is so true, though, after too many battles over food, that going with the flow and taking it stride is a much better choice.  (Which, in hindsight, only makes sense, but it's not so obvious when you're in the midst of it all!)  Our meal times are rarely rough, as we have to hold onto the old notion that he'll eat when he's hungry.  And, although he's stubborn and would hold out for a long time, he seems to let down his guard so much when there isn't a battle-- no battle?  No fun, ok, I guess I'll eat a little.  We're timing meals and putting up the food when it's time, and my job is to refrain from nagging (and he reminds me of that!- "Mom, you can't say anything...").  It is the same outcome short-term and much better outcome long-term, so we're winning on this front.  Many days (like today), he went to bed without taking a bite for lunch.  We were awaiting another bm, of course, so we just put lunch in the fridge and assume he'll eat it later.
The big plus that has come out of this is that his snacks have been minimized without any effort on our part- his choice is only the food he didn't eat before. 
He is more quick-witted than ever- yesterday, when he demanded I warm up his lunch, I said, "Elliot, could you please ask me nicely to warm up your lunch?"  and he responded with, "Mom, could you please do anything I want you to do?"  Wow.  We are working very hard to coach him on proper, less-attitude-filled responses.  We hate to admit it, but we're giving a good whack immediately when he tarts back with major nos, "I don't want to..." or "I will never..." which is his favorite lately.  We explained that if timeouts or explanations had worked, we would not have to go the spanking route, but we tend to give too much lee-way and chances, and then, of course, he takes all those liberties and pushes it one step further.  I am realizing (again, duh, right?) that he begs for these boundaries with his behavior.  It's unfair to do otherwise and then expect him to police himself at this age.  Nip it fast, and he knows.  Give him an inch, and it's a mile mess later. 
I don't know how many times a day I say, "Elliot, please say that in a normal tone."

We are softies and are trying to compensate.  It's hard when we think his little quirks are entertaining and funny- really bad for parenting.  We do better with the infant stage, ha!  I believe, at this stage, it's half nurture, half nature.  We don't hesitate to share with others what a challenge he is, and lately, I've begun to think that we need to take this in stride.  We know it's our Elliot, we should expect the like and tackle it, it's our job, and stop bemoaning it (like on this blog?!).
Elliot is a sponge for information lately.  He is obsessed with outer space and the details there- this has lasted the last month or so.  We've had to brush up on our knowledge to get him the proper information.  I thought one of the coolest things he did the other day was say, "Hey, dad was wrong.  Mercury is NOT close to the sun..." as he saw on Cat-in-the-Hat that Mercury was still very far from the sun.  Kinda neat that he's questioning parents, as I remember thinking as a kid that my parents were right about everything.  Then, two days later, he says out of the blue, "Dad was right, Mercury is the CLOSEST to the sun..." clarifying the details after we had discussed it a few times. 
He can rattle off facts and planet names like you wouldn't believe.  He's constantly making connections between words and meanings.  A dunk tank was in one of his books, and he referenced the gas tank in a car after inquiring what a tank was.  It's always with the little index finger in the air, "Just like...."  Yep.  Love those little ah-ha moments and they seem to be often at this stage.
Leah had her 2-month check up yesterday- healthy and doing great!  She's responding so much more lately.  She weighs 10lb, 3 oz, is 22.5" long.  Around the 25th percentile almost across the board (a bit higher for height).  I went back on this blog to see where Elliot was at this point, as we all think she's so much thicker than he was-- he was just over 10lb at 2 1/2 mo.  So she's 2 weeks ahead in weight. 
It's fun to compare them- I took Elliot to school at Byrne at about this age and he was inhaling bottles from us, no issues at all, even cold.  Leah, well, she'll fuss and fight it.  It'll get in her, but nursing is so much easier and cleaner!  She has spit up maybe 3 times? whereas Elliot was a big spitter-upper.  She also has a lot more head control than he did, but his noggin was so large!
Her latest is the cooing and ahhing, as well as doing this periscoping with her head- she'll turn it consistently from side to side, seemingly taking in all of her surroundings and lodging the new information in her brain. 
Nights are better- she's getting good at sleeping 4 hours or so, eating in bed with me (not even a need to sit up), and going back to sleep relatively soon.  Sometimes she stays awake to play, but she has been a really good baby and not very fussy at all.  I feel rested and pretty good, overall.  The baby pounds are not melting off as they did with Elliot, but I'm older (bleh), it's winter (more bleh), and there's two of them to get out for walks or movement.  I've taken the exercise bike and placed in the living room- not ideal, but I've been using it consistently.  I am sure this is helping with my sleep and feeling ok.  Do I dare say I think I feel better personally overall than I did when there was one infant? 
I was thinking back and calculating just how much our routines have been upturned because of Leah.  I am one of those people who counts things like this.  We've had 6 overnight guests, plenty of other guests (all whom have come with yummy food!), have gone to OH once so far, spent two late nights at friends' houses, all in the past 2 months.  That alone might upset a toddler's rhythm.  I keep thinking we'll start laying low soon, but there are still people we have not caught up with who are on my list to contact. 
As I look ahead, though, I keep scheduling more.  This week, we are attempting a trip to the farm in OH without Pat (a friend of mine is coming along, yay!).  My dad is up and down, and I was hoping to help mom a bit by visiting him during the week so she could get more accomplished at home.  Then, we have close friends coming in 2 weeks to stay (more yay!).  After that, we realized that we need to use Pat's spring break at the end of March to go see his side, as we always need more time on that end to catch all the different people who are spread out (compared to the farm where we just stay put mostly).  Just after getting all that organized, I found out that my sister will be at the farm in OH the following week- of course we can't miss them!  So after spending 4 days with Pat's side, Pat is flying home so he can be back at work after break and I am trucking on with the kids to catch the Carpenters for a few more days, then coming back to Chicago.  Maybe we can lay low in April...?  I just hope the travel gods are with us.  We love staying connected and really don't see any other option than to utilize the time we have.  I can say that I hope the messiness we've had lately (literally!  ha!) isn't exacerbated by all this running around, but at the same time, I'm not willing to stay put simply because of the few struggles that come with the territory as we're already in that mess, right?