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Posts tagged with Toddlers

Failing at Potty Learning

Remember that post I wrote a few weeks back in which I polled people on the most annoying things parents post on Facebook? One of responses was potty-training posts.

Well guess what?

I am one of those people. You know why? Because potty learning (that is the now the preferred term, I've been told) is equal parts hilarious and frustrating as all hell. Reaching out to a support system (a.k.a. Facebook) is sometimes the only way to retain your sanity.

HJ will be three years old in May and she is determined to wear diapers for the rest of her life. However, since it’s frowned upon to send a kindergartener to school in Huggies, we decided to start taking this whole process a lot more seriously lately. We've been gently encouraging toilet use for the past year. It went well the first two weeks and then crashed and burned since. We've desperately been searching for ideas that would work. So far, here’s what we've tried:

  • Buy her really pretty or really special underwear and she won't mess in them: I bought her Bubble Guppies and Minnie Mouse undies. I talked them up, got super excited with her about wearing them, and made a grand production about the fact that she was wearing “Super Special Big Girl Panties.” Aaaaand she peed in them five minutes later. She was completely unfazed by the wet undies and I didn't realize it until I stepped in the puddle in her bedroom.

  • Start a sticker chart: I got a piece of cardstock out, drew her name in some block letters that I mastered in my dance squad days, and excitedly explained that she'd get to put a new sticker on her name every time she used the potty. Well, that was cool for a day. The stickers lost their luster when she realized that they couldn't be removed from the cardstock.

  • Stage a lockdown: I got this idea from Pinterest. It claimed “Potty Train your Child in just ONE day!” I should know better. Pinterest is full of lies. This one said to lock yourself in your house for a day or two, put the kid in underwear, wear an apron full of candy, and set a timer for every 30 minutes. You're supposed to have the kid try to go when the timer goes off and reward them with candy. These constant visits to the potty gave HJ a complex and she refused to use the potty for weeks afterward. She was beyond over it. Thanks a lot, lying Pinterest mom.

  • Tell her the potty is hungry and thirsty. She didn't care.

So that brings us to our current strategy:

  • Bribery: Yes. I know this is the frowned upon solution, but a combination of taking away all electronics and giving them back after potty trips with a piece of candy has shown a 50 percent success rate. The times it does not work are when HJ decides she just wants a piece of candy and yet does not need to use the potty. Instead, she has a meltdown.

Super awesome.

Now, I'll need to finish this blog because HJ just peed on the fireplace brick ledge and the girls are playing in the puddle.

Please send wine.

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The Day You Realize They’re Paying Attention

HJ NOT eating her broccoli

HJ NOT eating her broccoli by Megan Spreer

It’s not the proudest day in a parent’s life. It’s also not one of the ones that make you want to call up Grandma and Grandpa to share. But it’s a day that happens to the best of us and is what keeps us humble when we think we have this parenting thing down.

I’m talking about the day you realize your child is paying waaay more attention to what’s going on around them than you thought. This can come in many forms (from stories I’ve heard) and each parent’s realization can be quite different.

Lucky for the not-so-observant folks at my house, our realization was as subtle as a Mack truck.

Aaron and I have struggled with the transition of shifting our conversations and television entertainment to more toddler-appropriate topics. After spending the last two years with a tiny person who couldn’t speak or understand most sentences, it’s hard to change your habits. I mean, her attention span is so short, is she REALLY paying that much attention?

OH yes. She is.

The other day we were having dinner. It was just a typical evening at our house. I set down HJ’s plate of food and her sippy cup of milk. As I was walking away, I heard a thud (obviously her milk tipping over) and her tiny voice say:

“Ahhh, damn it.”

If a tiny, two-year-old voice saying that phrase in correct context doesn’t move you to side-splitting, laughing tears, I just don’t even know how to relate to you. It was the funniest, most horrible thing to ever come out of my toddler’s mouth. And because I couldn’t laugh about it in front of her, it made it that much more hilarious.

So of course, I did what every responsible parent would do in that situation: I left the room with my shoulders shaking violently and tears rolling down my face as I tried to stifle my giggles.

She continued to go about her dinner as if nothing happened.

Once the humor subsided, the dread set in. We chose not to acknowledge what she said because she’s very much at a stage where she does many undesirable things solely for the attention. I totally stressed out that she’d be THAT kid at the next play date though. I didn’t say such things until I was in third grade and in the safety of the unsupervised part of the playground at recess! How will this child turn out if she’s saying it at two? TWO?!

We totally failed. This is what everyone was talking about when they warned us about them being tiny sponges.

Thankfully, our tactic of ignoring it has so far worked and since the incident, she’s never said it again. We’ve shifted our adult conversation to more kid-friendly vocabulary and are better at waiting to watch our TV shows after bedtime. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

But... is it bad that I’m kind of proud she used the word in the correct context, at least?

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