Saturday, February 20, 2010

Victoria at 21 months


Tuesday, Victoria turned 21 months. Victoria and her sister seem similar in some ways, but mostly, they seem so different in personality. Victoria, precious Victoria, is a bit spirited; even a friend who met her for the first time ever yesterday noticed it almost immediately. Victoria knows what she wants, how she wants it, when she wants it. Good thing she was talking by 12 months, or we'd be in deep, deep trouble. Spirited yet a cuddle bug.

Some of the things she's fond of doing lately:
  • Singing songs. Not sure how many she knows; too many to count. Loves, loves, loves music.
  • Climbing and finding new "seats."
  • Um, nursing. I had been in the process of weaning her, but then less than a couple of weeks ago, she was sick. To help her get better faster, I nursed her more. Her sickness, whatever it was, didn't last long; not more than a few days. But, the repercussion was, she wanted to nurse more frequently. I was down to 2x a day, but now it was back up to 4-5 times a day. Kinda cute - when she wants to nurse, she says anything from mu nai (Mother's milk) to huan bian (switch sides, because after nursing for awhile on one side, I'll ask her if she wants to switch sides) to xiong bu (breast).
  • Answering the question, "Where are we going?"
  • Twirling and dancing.
  • Throwing tantrums. I thought I should mention the good and lovely as well as the not-so-fun. She's even gone back to some of her simultaneous two-tone screams. I figure it's terrible two's behavior (though she's not quite two yet). Most of the time, I don't give her any attention (which is what the little screamers are usually desiring), positive or negative. Sometimes, I show her there are better ways or alternatives of getting what she wants.
  • Sleeping with her three dogs: Aaron, Christine, and Bai Gou ("white dog," who is actually white with red ears and a green tale - a Christmas dog).
  • Playing.
  • Looking at books.
  • Dressing up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Potty training complete


Two big lesson I learned from the process of potty training our older one are: 1. it should never be a battle of the wills, and 2. succumbing to pressure to potty train by a certain age is overrated. The two aren't exclusive. Unless parents have issues, such as developmental disorders, parents normally don't worry about having a five or six year old that is potty trained. That being said, our older daughter was a bit over 3 years old (about 3 years and 4 months, to be more exact), before she was fully potty trained. We started actively potty training her in June or July of last year, before she turned three. It wasn't a lack of effort on our part, and it wasn't an incapability or an issue of mental prowess (or lack thereof) on her part. She simply processes things differently than other little ones her age. Putting pressure on her to "rush" her process of potty training didn't speed her along but brought unnecessary stress on her life and actually slowed down the process.

Our personal journey through potty training our older daughter looks something like the following:
  • We moved quite a distance, from close to the southern most tip of Texas to the middle of the country in June 2008, when the younger one was only 2 months old and the older one was three months shy of 2 years. I had heard that one big life change (moving or introducing a new member of the family) is enough to throw any little one back a few steps; Isabella had two huge changes. Anyways, around that time, we introduced two things to her to get her interested in the potty: Joanna Cole's My Big Girl Potty (book) and Elmo's Potty Time (DVD) Disclaimer: I am not being given any perks - money, gifts, or anything else to advertise for either. My dad got her a portable potty around that time, after we moved to Colorado.
  • Isabella read the book and watched the movie with interest, but doing the actual potty thing didn't interest her much, not for lack of effort on our parts. By around May of last year (2009), I was able to get her to poop on the potty but not pee. Strange, huh? She would sit long enough by playing with toys while on the potty and looking at books. Not that this is necessarily the conventional way of doing things, but we let her sit on the potty in our living room, kitchen, where ever I was. I didn't necessarily want to spend half an hour or so in the bathroom; I had things to do.
  • In June or July, I moved into active potty training mode, taking her to the potty every hour to hour and a half. I gave her incentive to be compliant and do some kind of business on the potty. First I purchased training underpants and told her she could wear underpants like Elmo (her most favorite at the time) if she peed or pooped on the potty. She could also have a cracker or two if she peed or pooped on the potty. Interestingly, when I moved into active potty training mode, she reversed; she peed but wouldn't poop in the potty. We still put her in diapers when we went out or when she went to bed. I was even skittish about putting her in underpants all the other times, because cleaning poopy underpants was grossing me out. But, I eventually did it (put her in underpants most of the time).
  • A few months later, I continued with more incentives for her to use the potty. I threw a party of praises any time she did either. If she pooped on the potty, we would call Daddy at work and announce how proud of her we were. Perhaps in the initial stages we also called both sets of grand parents as well. I also purchased her some Elmo underpants (they're not training pants; so if she peed or pooped through them, tough luck).
  • Shortly after returning from our visit to Tennessee in December (Isabella was three years old and some change), I talked to her about getting a potty seat we could put on top of the regular toilet. The idea of getting an Elmo seat interested her a lot. Involving her in the process is a huge deal to her; so, we went to Babies R Us and she picked out an Elmo seat. Eager she was, to sit on it as soon as we got home, using her old potty as a stepping stool. Around Christmas time, both girls formed a new love, the Disney princesses - starting from Ariel and moving to Jasmine, Snow White, and Belle. To further encourage her to use the big potty, I bought her Disney princesses underpants. Still gave her loads of kudos every time she went, telling her she was using the big girl potty like her mommy, daddy, Elmo, and whoever else she fancies at the time.
  • A few weeks ago, we stopped putting a diaper on her at night, and she actually asked to wear underwear. She also has been wearing underwear on outings. On the night time thing, the first few nights and every now and again, she can't hold it and has accidents. My husband changed the sheets and her clothes the first two times she had accidents, so I could acclimate myself to the situation and accept that she simply needs time to get used to holding it in that long.
  • It has been only in the last week or so that she has started going to the potty on her own without prompting. Even with doing #2, I basically know when she needs to go, and she doesn't always sit herself on the potty or want to stay. But, she's been good about staying at my request (I bring toys or books to her in the bathroom, and I sometimes have to keep her company). What's really neat is witnessing the change as she can hold her pee in for several hours during the day and for nearly 10-11 hours overnight. And watching the transformation of her initiating and going to the potty on her own has been amazing, too. When I approach either child with the attitude of working with where they are, instead of you had better be doing such and such by a certain time or else - seeing the changes are so rewarding and the girls feel proud as well.
  • Oh, and one other note is that she still isn't willing to go to public restrooms, yet. But, I'm sure, in due time, she'll overcome that. Changes, for Isabella, needs to be on her own terms and when she's ready; she's very sensitive about that sort of thing.