Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Living, Growing Scrapbook Update

I've heard youngest children complain about how their baby books pale in comparison to their older siblings', and I'm actively trying to make sure that doesn't happen to baby #2 (whose name might be Tate, Crosby, Harper, Sidney, Quincy, Sawyer, or--if Henry has his way--Po Po Brother). 

Of course every child's experience is different within the same family, but I don't want the experience to feel inferior in any way for our second child. I've been trying to keep a scrapbook going for the second baby, just like I did for Henry's pregnancy and first year. 

Luckily, the format is very laid back and easy to keep up with. I simply use double-sided tape to adhere photos to white cardstock. Then I slip the cardstock into a plastic sheet and clip it into the binder. I can write directly on the cardstock with regular pens (and I even override my perfectionistic tendencies by using different types of pens--sometimes even on the same page!).

I'm trying to write just as many letters to the new baby as we wrote to Henry. On the letter pages, I simply cut out a picture from a magazine to add a little decoration. I can also insert things like greeting cards from other people. 

I'm relieved that the process doesn't feel overwhelming in any way, and it's easy to keep up with. 

Even though I'm only making each boy a photo scrapbook for the first year of their life, we will continue to use it to keep important things for them, such as class pictures, acceptance letters, thoughtful birthday cards, etc. All of these things can be easily slipped into plastic sheets and clipped into the binder.

Henry absolutely loves flipping through his scrapbook. When we get to the end, he inevitably requests, "Again!"

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Growing into Motherhood

I spent the weekend at my cousin's wedding on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When I booked my ticket back in the fall, it was nearly $500, and we couldn't figure out how to spend $1,500 for all three of us to attend the wedding for a couple days (since we were feverishly saving up money to convert our 85% loan-to-value construction loan to an 80% loan-to-value 30-year-fixed mortgage).

Part of me was really excited to have a weekend away by myself before the baby comes. But as it got closer and closer, I grew sadder and sadder that my guys couldn't join me at the beach.

Although I had a fantastic time hanging out with my mom, brother, grandparents, and cousins at the wedding, I missed Henry with an aching quality (side note: I always miss Matt; I'm focusing on Henry because this post is specifically about how I'm growing into motherhood).

The aching made me realize just how far I've come as a mother. When Henry was born, I didn't feel that overwhelming unconditional bear-mama love that mothers are "supposed to" feel. I didn't feel like I loved him more than anyone or anything in my life. I felt like I needed to get to know him. I knew that the roots of deep love were planted, but I didn't know how long it would take for them to grow tall and strong.

And although I took care of him lovingly, patiently, and diligently through the infant stage, it wasn't until around 16 months into our relationship together when the joy started to outweigh the hardship.

And so when I was separated from my sweet boy for a mere four days and I ached to be with him, I felt a sense of relief that I had, in fact, grown into motherhood.

And when I read this piece in the New York Times about cultivating independence in our children so that they can go into the world and pursue their own lives full of meaning and joy, I cried. I am already saddened by the notion of our boys growing up, needing us less, turning outward more, and then flying off into the world.

Life is a staggeringly short and amazing opportunity. I'm working hard to savor each stage. This pregnancy is most likely the last time I will carry around new life and feel its movements on a daily basis. And then we will welcome a tiny new being into our family. Although he will push us is many ways, he will also allow us to experience the utter amazingness of life unfolding. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Some other texts that are touchstones to me during this parenting journey that I would like to keep in a consolidated place:

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stopping at Two Children

I know I might not sound like a reliable source when I say that Matt and I are done after two children, since we used to think we only wanted one child and then switched our minds. But, really, I think we mean it this time.

There are many reasons why two--not three--children make sense for us. First, I think we're going to be at capacity with two children. With each passing day as Henry becomes more verbal, more interactive, and more independent, Matt and I find that our joy is increasing exponentially. We anticipate that welcoming another infant into our lives (although we are over-the moon with gratitude) will re-introduce a lot of challenge back into our lives. Of course we will accept that challenge as part and parcel of expanding one's family, but we're not eager to repeat it a third time. We're excited to have another little walking, talking human being who expresses his personality through jokes, questions, preferences, and comments. We're eager to play board games and do science experiments and undertake sewing projects together. It's already scary enough thinking about shifting the ratio of adults to children from 2:1 to 2:2 or--frequently--1:2.

There are also financial considerations for us. Matt and I both work in the non-profit world, but we want to have plenty of money for traveling, turning our home into a sanctuary, eating out, and sending our children through college without the burden of debt.

There are philosophical and environmental considerations like not contributing to population growth and not wanting to need a bigger car or a bigger house to comfortably fit everyone.

There are physical considerations, like the fact that I'm already 35 (although my mother had my brother when she was 38), and I'm eager to have my own body back. I was pregnant with Henry for 9 months + breastfed him for 14 months + got pregnant right away for another two or so months + suffered a miscarriage + had three months to myself + got pregnant again. I've got another 1.5 months of pregnancy to go, an impending labor, and at least a year of breastfeeding. Of course all of this is worth it to bring life into the world (and I constantly count my lucky stars that I've been able to get pregnant three times), but I'm eager to reclaim my body. I want to run again, fit into regular clothes, be able to eat fried foods occasionally (when I'm pregnant, I suffer from choleostasis and have to be super-gentle on my liver), and sleep on my back (or stomach!).

Again, I don't mean to sound like these minor inconveniences aren't worth the privilege and opportunity to bring a person into the world and provide the kind of nurturing environment and love that helps them unfold into their enormous potential. It's just that going through it twice (three times, if you count the miscarriage) feels right for me. 

I also have other things that I want to give birth to in this world, like a network of public Montessori schools and more books. 

I was shocked when my midwife said that many of her clients end up back in her office, accidentally pregnant with their third children. Matt and I definitely don't want that to happen to us. Right now we're exploring vasectomy as a non-hormonal, permanent form of birth control. We wouldn't be able to afford it until after my maternity leave is over and I'm back at work, but it's definitely something we're considering. 

I want to reiterate that all of our reasons for stopping at two are not judgments against families who stop at one or continue to five or opt not to have children in the first place. I also want to acknowledge how difficult it must be to read posts like this if you're struggling with fertility or miscarriage or are working really hard to adopt.

There are times (like when I'm reading Soule Mama) when I idealize a larger family. But at the end of the day, we have to be honest with ourselves about what we want and what makes sense for us.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Homemade Popsicles!

I saw popsicle molds at Whole Foods the other day and was inspired to make some for Henry this summer. Instead of purchasing a mold on the spot, I did an Amazon search to find the most inexpensive one I could. Besides the awesomeness of only costing $6.41, the mold also seems to make smaller popsicles, which will be perfect for a toddler. 

I was even more elated when I realized that I can make and freeze green smoothie popsicles for Henry. Since Matt makes Henry's breakfast in the morning (which is currently oatmeal), Henry doesn't regularly drink green smoothies anymore. I'd love for him to have a daily dose of spinach. I think these popsicles will be the perfect way to fit it in. For those of you who haven't seen my green smoothie before, here it is:
  1. Enough orange juice to help the blender run smoothly (we use calcium-fortified)
  2. Greek yogurt (we made the switch a while back for the increased protein)
  3. Frozen mango and strawberries (although anything will work!)
  4. 1/2 a banana
  5. Lots of spinach!
I think these will make the perfect snack or after-dinner treat!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recipe for "Laborade"

Today marks the start of my 34th week of pregnancy! Can you believe it? It's been a simultaneously long year (with the miscarriage and then another pregnancy three months later) and a simultaneously incredibly fast pregnancy.
It's time to make sure we're prepared for our impending home birth (fingers crossed!). We transferred to the hospital for Pitocin after laboring at home for 40 hours with Henry. We'll see what happens this time.

I've been going through the handbook provided by the midwives. I have quite a few supplies to purchase at Goodwill.
I also need to gather the ingredients for "Laborade," which is a homemade electrolyte drink for labor. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon
  • 6 T liquid calcium/magnesium (Tropical Island or Bluebonnet brand)
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 t salt
Mix all ingredients to make a concentrate and store in the refrigerator. Add 1/4 c concentrate to 1 cup water--adjust to taste.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baby Routines

Oh, I can only begin to imagine the controversy that this post will inspire! There are many people who think I'm a bad mother because of my penchant for routine. They think that I try to control every aspect of Henry's life and get him to fit within a neat little box.

But I want to write this post anyway because each of us needs to figure out what makes sense to us and our families. The more we share information with each other, the more we can expose ourselves to different ideas. We can sift and sort through them to uncover what resonates with us.

I still remember the first three weeks of life with Henry. My guess is that new babies are even harder for folks like me with more Type-A personalities. I remember reaching out desperately to two friends who had trodden the mother path before me. One of them introduced me to the book On Becoming Babywise. It revolutionized my understanding of how to structure my day with Henry: feed, engage in a little activity, sleep (repeat every 2-3 hours). That rhythm worked perfectly to meet Henry's needs. It was so much easier to meet his needs when I had a clue about what he might need at a given time. After I breastfed him, I would give him some play time, but I would watch for signs of drowsiness. Since he took so long to eat, his awake time was actually pretty limited. Then I would help him fall asleep. Without reading this book, I most likely would have reversed the sequence and breastfed him to sleep (which wouldn't have been bad, per se; it just might have made it more difficult to help him learn how to put himself to sleep later on). 

Even though establishing a routine can feel very parent-centered, I think it can actually be done in a very child-centered way. Our routine changed every couple months, based on what Henry needed as he grew. We never followed any of the books exactly because we did what worked for Henry, but the books were still very helpful to us. They functioned as a starting place for helping us decipher exactly what Henry might need at a given time and structuring our time together to meet his needs.

As we gear up to expand our family, I wanted to revisit some of the books that proved helpful to me with Henry. Of course every baby is different, but I'm eager to try out many of the same strategies again. Having a routine with Henry allowed me to take a shower every day, write an entire book, go out to eat as a family, etc. I also think it helped Henry's temperament. 

I know it's going to be even harder to implement a rhythm to the day with a second child. For example, I'll need to pick Henry up from school every day at 2:45, no matter what the baby needs at that moment. But I think the predictability will be even more important. It will allow us to more easily carve out one-on-one time with Henry, get more rest in order to be more patient as we try to juggle our expanding family, and help us feel slightly more settled and grounded amid the inherent chaos (Matt and I both feel better within a structure).

We'll see what happens! 

To refresh my memory about routines for infants, I went to four sources: advice from our pediatrician, The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, On Becoming Baby Wise, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. I wanted to share the bullet points with anyone who's interested. I found that it was difficult to summarize and organize the information from each book. Although there were naturally inconsistencies from book to book (which is absolutely to be expected), I also found inconsistencies within the books.

Still, I pulled out as much information as possible, so that we can reference these various approaches for ideas when we're in the trenches and trying to figure out what our baby needs:

Advice from Pediatrician
  • At two months, babies should be able to sleep 6 hours without eating in the night. At four months, they should go 8-10 hours, and at six months they should go 10-12. 
  • Don't start any sleep training before 4 months, but finish it by 6 months.
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems
Birth to Four Months
  • 7:00 = Eat
  • 8:15 = Nap
  • 10:00 = Feed
  • 11:15 = Nap
  • 1:00 = Feed
  • 2:15 = Nap
  • 4:00 = Eat
  • 5:15 = Short Nap
  • 6:00 = Eat
  • 7:30 = Short Nap
  • 8:00 = Feed and then bed
  • 10-11 = Feed
Four-Six Months
  • 7:00 = Eat
  • 9:00 = 1.5 - 2 hour nap
  • 11:00 = Eat
  • 1:00 = 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap
  • 3:00 = Eat
  • Between 5-6 = Short Nap
  • 7:00 = Eat
  • 7:30 = Bedtime
  • 11:00 = Feed (until 7 or 8 months when solid food is firmly established)

Six-Nine Months
  • 7:00 = Breastfeed
  • 9 or 9:30 = Morning Nap
  • 11:15 = Breastfeed
  • 1 = Solid food
  • 2 or 2:30 = Afternoon Nap
  • 4 = Breastfeed
  • 5:30 or 6 = Solid Food
  • 7 = Bath, breastfeed, book, bed
 After Nine Months
  • Five hours between feeds
  • Eating three meals a day
  • Two snacks 
  • Around 18 months, one afternoon nap a day 

On Becoming Baby Wise

2 weeks - 4 weeks
  • Feed every 2.5-3 hours
  • Activity
  • Sleep
  • (Average 8-10 feedings in a 24-hour period)
  • Wake baby around the 3-hour mark during the day to stabilize digestion, maintain lactation, and help the baby organize their sleep patterns
  • Early morning
  • Midmorning
  • Afternoon
  • Midafternoon
  • Late afternoon
  • Early evening
  • Late evening
  • Middle of the night

5 weeks - 8 weeks
  • Feed every 2.5-3.5
  • Set a time for the "first feeding" of the day 
  • Consider feeding closer together (~2 hours) for the last feeding of the night 
  • ~8 feedings a day (one in the middle of the night)
  • At the end of this phase, may average 7 feedings (often dropping the middle of the night feeding)

9 weeks - 15 weeks
  • Bedtime gets adjusted closer to the early-evening feeding
  • Weeks 12-15: Transition to 3-4 hour increments
  • By the end of the 13th week, baby can average 5-7 feedings a day
  • 3-5 months = 3 daytime naps (1.5-2 hours)

16 weeks - 24 weeks
  • Baby usually introduced to solid foods
  • Breastfeed 4-6 times a day
  • By 24 weeks, mealtimes usually line up with the rest of the family (i.e., solids at breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Nurse first and then offer solids
  • 6-16 months = 2 naps (1.5-2 hours)

25 weeks - 52 weeks
  • Two naps (1.5-2.5 hours)
  • 4-5 nursing periods

16 months + 
  • Morning nap is dropped

Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child

The First Week
  • Feed the baby whenever hungry and let sleep when s/he needs to sleep

2 weeks - 4 weeks
  • Do not expect a scheduled baby because the baby's needs for food, cuddling, and sleeping occur erratically and unpredictably

5 weeks - 6 weeks
  • Sleeps 5-6 hours through the night

6 weeks - 8 weeks
  • Sleep training may work for babies with an easy temperament

8 weeks - 16 weeks 
  • Works for babies with common fussiness/crying
3 months - 4 months
  • Morning nap starts between 9 and 10am

4 months
  • 6-8 pm = bedtime
  • Sleep training will now work for babies who had extreme fussiness/crying
  • 7am = Wake up
  • 9am = Nap
  • 1pm = Nap
  • 3rd nap varioes
  • 6-8pm = Bedtime

5 months - 8 months
  • Afternoon nap around 12-2pm
  • Late afternoon nap from 3-5pm

9 months
  • Late afternoon nap disappears

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Bathroom Tile

One of the nice things about the builder we chose for our house is that the company is a one-stop shop from real estate to architecture to construction. Of course there are definite drawbacks to this set-up (for example, I met with another architect who argued that it was better to separate out the architecture from the construction), but Matt and I have appreciated the simplicity of the process.

Part of their process includes limiting our choices (which I sometimes appreciate and sometimes feel constricted by). For example, we had a choice between two bathtubs, two types of faucets, two types of pendant lights, etc.

When it comes to bathroom tile, there are only two colors we like out of the handful of choices: a cream and a "light" gray, which is actually very dark (see photo above of a comparable tile). 

At first, I was completely set on the cream title because I like spaces to feel light and airy. Then the architect came back with the argument that the cream would feel dingy against the white subway tile we'll have in the shower and the bathtub. When Matt and I went to the house this weekend, we laid the cream title next to the bright-white tub, and the cream actually looked like a nice light gray. Matt and I decided we would like to keep the space light with the cream tile. 

But then a quick Pinterest search led to the photo above. The contrast is actually nice (although our cabinets will be birch, not white). And now I'm torn. 

Does anyone have thoughts about cream tile versus dark gray? Will light-colored dog hair be more obvious on the dark gray? Or will dark gray mask more dirt and actually look better between cleanings? Will we be able to brighten up the dark gray with rugs and accents or will it look dark and distracting when you walk in the front door and can see into the guest bathroom? 

Of course these concerns are quite trivial, but I'd like to feel good about the decision since we're settling into this house for the long haul. 

Thank you in advance for any insight you're able to share!

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reflection & Rejuvenation: May

Hello, May! Welcome!

Only two months left until we welcome a sweet little one into our family. My, how time is flying! As I mentioned in last month's reflection, I thought the four months between turning in the charter application and having a baby would be calm and quiet. No way! Our non-profit organization is now under contract for nine acres of land for the school. April, like March, has been spent learning as much as I can about development: conducting a feasibility study, meeting with civil engineers to create a site plan, hiring an architect for schematic design, understanding zoning issues and city ordinances--the list goes on!

I am ecstatic about the property we found. Nine acres will provide a beautiful, natural environment for children to learn within. There are two city bus stops right by, and the lot is located in a diverse area, which will help us better achieve our goals related to fostering a racially, culturally, and socio-economically diverse community of learners. It's also within walking distance to a new 7-mile trail that the city is building on the east side.

Plus, our new house is only five minutes away! I promise I didn't push for this property because of its proximity to my house. Quite the opposite. First, I worked with various organizations and individuals to understand the demographics of poverty in Austin. Then we created a target geographic area for our facility search, based on the demographics. More than a year ago, I started doing home visits with families living within our target geographic area. After several visits in the same neighborhood, I asked my realtor to do a property search for our personal home, and that's when we discovered a relatively inexpensive 1/2-acre of land, adjacent to a creek, on a cul-de-sac. When it came time to search for land for the school, we used the boundaries of our target geographic area and found nine acres just outside our target triangle. Amazingly, the land is very reasonably priced. The plan is to house the school in portable buildings for three years while we conduct a capital campaign and seek the financing we need to begin construction on a permanent facility.

There's still a ton that can go wrong at this point, so I'm definitely not counting my chickens, but I'm very optimistic and excited about how this process is unfolding.

In other news, I've been feeling so much better since I started walking for an hour at least three to four times a week and going to prenatal yoga regularly. With Henry, I walked nearly every day and went to yoga once a week, and I honestly think it helped me avoid so many common pregnancy symptoms. Walking just seems to tighten up all of the muscles that get so loose in pregnancy. My back feels so much better, and other muscles aren't nearly as achy.

As far as what I wanted to accomplish this month, I did a much better job. Instead of just listing the goals here, I transferred them to my weekly action plan, which meant that I read over them every single week. It helped me keep them at the forefront of my mind.

Here's how I did:
  1. Update our scrapbook: Yes! This process took forever because I hadn't done it in a while, but it's finally done!
  2. Organize the garage in preparation for moving: No. I want to work on this one with Matt, and we had trouble finding time over the course of a weekend to do it. Maybe this month we should work on it one evening after Henry goes to bed.
  3. Plan our baby shower: Yes!
  4. Organize our closet in preparation for moving: No, see Point #2 above.
  5. Finalize Henry's baby binder: Yes! 
  6. Make a binder for the new baby: Yes!
  7. Finalize summer daycare: Yes! 
  8. Read Barbara Kingsolver's new book: I tried, but I couldn't get into it. I read all of Active Birth (recommend it!) and some of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (also recommend it!). 
 And on the docket for this month?
  • Enjoy quality family time at my cousin's wedding in North Carolina (on the Outer Banks)
  • Get all the surveys done on the land for the school, in addition to contracting with an architect and a civil engineer
  • Make significant headway on additional fundraising for the land
  • Get prepared for our home birth by following all of the steps laid out by our midwife
  • Work through the Hynobabies Self-Study Course to master some relaxation techniques in the upcoming months
  • Find a doula
  • Enjoy our little family of three!
Photo Courtesy of the Nikki McClure Calendar

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Two months past his second birthday, Henry still hasn't entered "The Terrible Two's." However, he is definitely growing in his desire to be independent, to follow his own pace, and to assert his will. There are several things that Matt and I implement proactively to support Henry at this stage:
  • We set up our home to facilitate independence. Henry can open the pantry to get out his plates for snack, access his own glasses and fill them up with water from the Britta inside the fridge, take out the cutting board/knife/whisk/wooden spoon/colander for helping with food preparation, move a stool over to the counter to reach the bananas first thing in the morning while Matt and I are still in bed, climb in and out of his carseat (and snap the buckle across his chest), carry his own bag to and from the car to school and home, climb in and out of his high chair, carry a snack to his weaning table and eat, etc.
  • We try our best to create wide open space and time for Henry. We devote a full hour from wake-up to departure for school every morning. It still feels a bit rushed at times, but, for the most part, we can slow down to Henry's pace. When I pick Henry up from school, I let him dictate how we spend our 2.5 hours together. Most days he likes to sit on the bench in front of his school to watch the construction work across the street, look for bugs on the way from our car to our house, help prepare snack, do a little dancing, and go to the park for a full hour.
  • We try to say "yes" as often as possible. We try to create a prepared environment that allows Henry a full range of exploration. I let him put golf balls in his mouth and even climb on the windowsill. That way, when we say "no," we really mean it. For example, when Henry gets too far away from me at the park, I can call out, "Henry, that's too far" and he will come closer.
  • We try to fit our lives around Henry's need for routine. On weekdays, we try our very best to be home in time for Henry's 6:30 bedtime. We'll definitely stay out late to attend potlucks or other special events, but, in general, we try to honor Henry's need to wind down and go to bed early. On the weekends, Henry really needs to nap at noon. Again, we try to honor that need as much as possible. We don't completely put our lives on hold for Henry, but we understand that these kind of restrictions won't last much longer, and Henry really is much happier when he's well-rested and fed.
I suspect that many of these proactive strategies help Henry to be the fun-loving, content, and curious boy that he is. Of course I have no way of knowing, since my "science experiment" only has one subject and no control group!
Sometimes, though, there is a need for reactive strategies. For example, if Henry is particularly tired and melting down, he might resort to hitting. When that happens, we tell him that we don't like to be hit and if he hits again he'll need to go to time-out until he's ready to be kind to others. Usually, he will hit again, and we will put him in his room. We leave his bedroom door open and tell him he can come out whenever he's ready to be kind.
The other struggle with have with Henry is that he sometimes doesn't listen to us when we ask him to do something. For example, when it's time to clear his plate after snack, he sometimes prefers to go straight to playing. For me, it's important that Henry understands that some things need to be done. In those moments, I now say, "Would you like to put your plate away yourself or would you like me to pick you up and we'll put it away together?" So far, Henry picks the first option every time. He wants to do things independently. I like that the expectation is clear that the plate needs to get put away but I also like that Henry has a choice about how it gets put away.
I use this strategy in other situations, too, such as:
  • When Henry wants to play in the car rather than get in his carseat: "Do you want to climb in yourself or do you want me to put you in?"
  • When Henry wants to look at a book rather than get dressed: "Do you want to put on your underwear yourself or do you want me to help you?"
  • When Henry wants to leave his tools outside rather than bring them in: "Do you want to get your tools yourself or do you want me to carry you outside to pick them up together?"
This discussion is reminding me that I need to learn more about handling interactions with toddlers in ways that cultivate the foundation for self-discipline and self-management, while also ensuring that there are boundaries and consistency in our lives. If you have any book recommendations, please let me know!

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Update on Toilet Learning


We've been following the Montessori approach to toilet learning for quite some time now. At 26 months, Henry pretty much only wears thick cotton underwear (the ones from Hannah Anderson are better about containing urine, but we now use the ones from Target because they are less expensive and not so tight). He just recently told us for the first time that he needed to pee in the toilet. Mainly, we ask him to use the toilet every 1.5-2 hours, and that strategy works to keep him mostly accident-free. 

When we leave the house, we ask him to pee right before we get in the car. We usually bring his little toilet with us because he prefers to pee in it rather than use the toilet seat we bought or the real toilet. He now prefers to pee standing up while leaning both his hands against the wall.

Henry still doesn't poop in the toilet, but his thick cotton underwear usually prevent it from coming out the sides.

We've definitely had ups and downs throughout the process (and it doesn't feel like we're close to being done with it!). We tried Elimination Communication on and off for a long time. In retrospect, I found the process to be mostly a waste of time (for us). Although we were able to catch several poops and pees, Henry went through a lengthy phase when he refused to sit on the toilet at all. It didn't seem like the process of sitting him on the toilet as an infant made him more comfortable with the concept as a toddler.

I am 99% certain that if we resorted to some kind of extrinsic reward system (mainly candy) to bribe Henry to use the toilet, this process would have been complete a long time ago. As tempting as it's been, we've resisted it so far because extrinsic rewards are not incorporated into the Montessori approach. We want him to learn to use the toilet because that's what humans do, not because he's going to get a treat.

We just started letting Henry sleep in his underwear (for naps and at night). He's been begging us, and we've been resisting because of laziness. So, every night as he's falling asleep, Henry takes off his pajama pants, takes off his diaper, puts his pajama pants back on, and gets back underneath his comforter. We finally decided to listen to what he's trying to tell us (both with his words and actions!). 

The first time we let him sleep in underwear, he pooped the bed within the first 15 minutes! Luckily, Matt had double-layered the bed (waterproof pad + fitted sheet + waterproof pad + fitted sheet). It was very easy to strip the bed, get him cleaned up, and put him back to bed.

The night toileting seems to be hit or miss. Some mornings he wakes up dry; other nights he pees a couple times (and wakes up). Some nights, he pees once but sleeps through it (and we change him when we're checking on him). We'll just keep at it with patience!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ball of Joy Baby Shower

When I was pregnant with Henry, Matt and I planned our own "baby shower." I put the phrase in quotes because we didn't follow any of the conventions. A) We hosted it ourselves. B) It was co-ed. C) We had it at a bowling alley. D) We didn't open presents.
I'd like to continue the tradition of hosting a pre-baby party to bring together our nearest and dearest. It's fun to congregate to honor and celebrate the new life that is about to enrich our family.
Since this baby will join us in the summer, I immediately thought about having some kind of gathering near the water. And that's when the idea hit me: Instead of painting my belly like a bowling ball like I did for Henry's party, I can paint my belly like a beach ball (it's the small things that make me smile!).
We'll be hosting it at a free public pool in Austin, so we decided to have it in the morning to avoid peek hours. Fortunately, the pool will let us bring in food, so we can provide some light snacks.
Here's what I'm thinking:
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Hummus, pita chips, and vegetables
  • Chips and homemade guacamole
  • Muffins
  • Mimosas
  • Juice & Sparkling Water
I'd also like to do something to acknowledge and thank the folks who come. Perhaps we could pass out little bags of goldfish crackers that say something like: "Thank you for coming to swim with us today! We're so glad you're in our lives. Thank you for being part of our 'school' of support."
Okay, it's a little over-the-top cheesy, but it might be cute nonetheless.

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