Tag Archives: parenting

The Potty Training Chronicles…

17 Mar

If you would have told me when my son, Cody, was first born that he would still be wearing Pull’Ups at age four, I would have laughed and told you “Over my dead body.”

If that were the case, lets just say, I am lucky to be alive.

I also would have told you that I wanted just one child. Funny how things change! When my son reached about 2/12 years old I decided I was dang tired of changing diapers- not to mention spending money on them-so I decided it was time to start potty training him. I was a little worried about trying to potty train a little boy, as I had heard stories of it being notoriously difficult, but my theory was that if he wasn’t ready yet I would back off, I wouldn’t push him. After all, we still had lots of time…or at least it seemed like we did. That very next day I went out and bought him a cute little potty, some big boy Lightening McQueen underwear and a box of training pants. I even fashioned a rather delightful potty chart out of some computer paper and Crayola markers, if I do say so myself. I was determined to do this, and do to it as painlessly as possible. I promised myself I would not pressure him nor would I get disappointed if things didn’t move along a quickly as I would have like them too.


If you would have asked me two weeks into things if potty training an almost three-year-old boy was difficult, I would have said “No way! This is easy peasy!” Little did I know… Within a week of potty training 101, he was already a natural. He rarely even had any accidents during the day, I think it was because he just felt so independent and grown up peeing and pooping like a seasoned champ.  I thought I was the potty training queen, and would often “Pfft” at all those other mom’s that claimed it was so difficult. This was a cakewalk! All was well and dry for the next few weeks and I thought I was home free. I dreamed of the diaper-free days ahead. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

The day of reckoning started like any other day, Cody woke up, still dry to my pleasure, and I herded him off to the bathroom to take care of his morning business. As I was in the kitchen whipping up breakfast, I heard a wimper from the bathroom. Hmmm. As I cocked my head and listened a little more,  the whimpers quickly progressed to true tears. I rushed in the bathroom to see what the trouble was. There on the potty sat my little fella, red as a tomato with his veins bulging out of his little neck, crying and pushing with all his might. “M-m-mommmmyyyy, my p-p-p-poopy hurts my bum…WAAAA.”  Uh oh. After a good 20 minutes of pushing and encouraging and back rubbing and tears, my poor little guy finally ejected the biggest poop I had ever seen escape his little body, and it was as hard as a rock. (You know, the old wrap-your-finger-in-toilet-paper-and-poke-it-to-see-how-hard-it-is, trick) No wonder the kid was crying! This thing was colossal.


A few words of encouragement and one racecar sticker later, we were finally out of the bathroom, after a good half hour. The next day or two were uneventful, and he continued to pee like a big boy. He didn’t have another poop for the next few days, probably because the last one cleaned out every last bit. Later on in the evening as I was sitting on the couch I noticed Cody standing in the corner, three shades of red, looking rather tense. “Honey, do you need to poop?” I got up and went over to him, ready to usher him into the bathroom, thinking it was a little strange that he didn’t tell me he had to go, as he had been doing so well. When I was less then a foot from him he let out a shriek, “MOMMY, DON’T. TOUCH. ME! ” Whoa. “But you have to come sit on the potty,” I reasoned with him. He wasn’t having any of it. As soon as I attempted to uproot him from his spot, I realized it was a big mistake. He started screaming like a banshee, crying and trembling, the whole nine. What the H? What was wrong with my pro potty user? Then it clicked. The super poop from the other day. That HAD to be the reason for this behavior. I finally managed to get him into the bathroom, which was goo because there was no way I was cleaning poop off of the carpet. Except, when I tried to sit him on the potty, he would make his whole body go stiff, making it a near impossible feat. Clearly he wanted to be left alone (As if his screams of “Leave me ALONE!” were any indication.) So I told him that I would be close by if he needed me and to call me in once he finished pooping in his potty. I figured if I left him alone he would eventually go. Well, about ten minutes later he called out “Mommy, I’m done!) I trotted on into the bathroom to congratulate him and help him wipe. However, as I bent over to empty out the potty, I noticed something was missing…Huh? No poop? Crap! (No pun intended). Then I spotted it, smack dab in the middle of my bathroom floor. A perfectly formed piece of fecal latter.

Cody continued to pee in the potty with no problems, whatsoever. Number two was another story. Things continued in much the same way for quite a while. He had no qualms about peeing but when it came to pooping he would tense up, stand in the corner grunting and yelling and crying. I would always try to coax him onto the potty. It would always end up on my floor. I talked to his doctor, to public health nurses, and to other parents. They all assured me that it was quite normal for a child to do well and then backtrack. But this was not just him regressing. The small bout of constipation clearly traumatized him. And I have no clue how to reverse the damage. I thought the birth of my daughter might help. I hoped that him being a big brother would encourage him to be the big boy and show he how using the potty is done, but really he was just ticked off that sissy could wear diapers to poo and he couldn’t.

Cody has just recently turned four and I wish I could tell you that the phase has passed and he is back to peeing and pooping in the potty, but that would be lying. And truthfully, I am probably making things worse by resorting to him wearing Pull-Ups again, but I got sick and tired of finding poop on my floor. And every other surface. One time a piece of poop was even discovered in my fiancees work boots. I thought it was pretty funny. Unfortunately, at six in the morning getting ready to leave for work, he failed to see the humor in it. When later confronted, my son innocently told me that he put it there because he wanted Daddy to stay home. Aww, I guess it was a sweet gesture.

As the days and weeks keep passing by, I find my self getting more and more stressed over this potty training dilemma. I now feel that I am on a deadline as far as how soon I have to have Cody FULLY potty trained. You see, my son is set to begin Kindergarten in September. And do you honestly think I am going to send him to school in a diaper?

Over my dead body…

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Is your toddler eating enough?

16 Mar

Parental Concerns

If I had a penny for every meal that ended up on the floor instead of my daughters tummy, well lets just say I wouldn’t be living in an apartment building staring at a ten-year-old computer monitor.

When it comes to toddler eating habits, it is safe to say that they are never on par with parental expectations. One day they seem to go all day on no more than milk and juice and then the next you can’t help but wonder where they are putting it all. Three common parental concerns are that their toddler has suddenly become a picky eater, that they throw more food than they eat or do not sit still long enough to eat at all, and that all they want is liquids. It is also common for children this age to eat something one day and then totally reject the same type of food the next day for no apparent reason. All of these issues can become a cause for much frustration for parents. We know that our children need to eat a well-balanced, variety of nutritional foods in order to grow and develop properly, however, who wants each and every meal to become a battle?

Normal Toddler Eating

There are a few things that parents need to keep in mind when it comes to feeding their toddler.

Many parents, including me, will give their child a banana and then after their child takes three bites, try to convince them to eat the rest. However, it is important to keep in mind that a normal serving size for a toddler is only about 1/4 to 1/3 of an adult serving. So in reality, it only takes about 1/4 of a banana to fill their tiny tummies. Do not expect your toddler to eat what you would consider a normal serving for yourself or even for your six-year-old. Keep their meal size proportional to what is the normal toddler serving.

As most parents have already realized, toddlers are at an age where they are fiercely independent. They are determined to do everything by themselves and to challenge mom and dad in any way that they can.  Unfortunately for parent, what and how much they eat is one thing that they can exercise some control over. So while it may be tempting to spoon feed their entire meal to them for your own piece of mind, the better option is to feed them a few bites and then show them the proper way to hold the utensil and allow them to have a go at it. Better yet, forgo the spoon altogether and let them have fun with finger foods. Not only are they more likely to eat without a fight if they get to do it themselves, it is also critical is helping them develop their fine motor skills. Try offering them a variety of different finger foods  such as crackers, cheese cubes,  apples slices and banana wheels,  and boiled egg slices as opposed to serving one large meal. There is nothing wrong with them eating what the family eats for dinner just make sure that it is cut up into smaller pieces so it is easier for them to handle. It is also a good idea to add a few finger foods on the side of the main meal in case they aren’t too interested in eating what is on the menu. Although I have found that all it usually take is for my daughter to see mom, dad and big brother enjoying a certain food and then she is more than happy to join in.

Tips to make mealtime more enjoyable

Thankfully, there are many simple things that parents can do to encourage healthy eating habits and make mealtimes  happier and more relaxed for everyone.

  • Offer a wide variety of nutritional foods. Even though toddlers may refuse a type of food one day, it is important to keep offering it along with a wide variety of other nutritional options. It may take toddlers five tries before they will even consider eating something, so be persistent!
  • Have fun with food! Making meals more appealing can be as simple as making a smile face on their plate with grape eyes, a banana nose and melon slice for a mouth. By keep things bite sized, colorful and fun children are much more likely to try a few different things on their plate. I know that smily faced pancakes always tasted much better than plain ones. Makes sense, right?

 

  • Eat together at the table. While many families are often so busy during the day that everyone may very well be somewhere different (work, daycare, school, etc), it is very important to make an effort to sit down as a family for at least one meal a day, AT THE TABLE. Turn off the TV, ignore the phone and put away the toys. As a child I can remember my father’s rule: If we didn’t want to eat, fine, but we had to sit at the table during mealtime. I claimed to hate it at the time, but looking back it was often the highlight of my day.
  • Schedule regular mealtimes. Having set times for each meal helps prevent children from grazing on everything they can get their hands on to curb hunger. A small snack is fine, and often necessary, for toddlers to keep them satisfied and energized. Just be sure to keep it relatively healthy, keep it small as too not fill them up too much and give it to them at least an hour before their next meal.
  • Be a good role model. We’ve all heard the saying: “Monkey see, Monkey do.” This has never been more true than in reference to toddlers. If they see mom and dad enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods then they will be much more likely to do the same. However, if they see their parents eating junk all day every day, it is safe to say that they will probably not have the healthiest eating habits. You set the biggest example for your child because you are their whole world. It is your responsibility to provide them with healthy, well-balanced regular meals and snacks each and every day. It is their choice how much and if they will eat it.

Which brings us to the last, and probably most important, piece of advice:

  • RELAX! Stop keeping track of every morsel of food that passes their lips and just relax a bit. Getting your child to eat healthy should not be a full-time job. While it is important to ensure that they are getting the vitamins and nutrients that they need and are not malnourished, you don’t have to stress about a few unbalanced meals-or even days. Children will NOT starve themselves, when they are hungry, then they will eat. If they are happy, active and growing well then it is safe to say that you are doing a good job. You do not have to cook up complicated and elaborate meals each and every day. As long as you keep on offering nutritious choices, children WILL eat them. Stop begging, threatening, bribing and encouraging and simply step back and let them be. Before you know it they will have eaten their full meal and be asking for seconds.

Eating Well for Life

When it comes right down to it, there is only so much that you can do when it comes to getting your toddlers to eat. You can provide them with a variety of good, healthy food, you can make mealtimes a calm and enjoyable experience and you can set a good example for them, but that is ALL you can do. At the end of the day the rest is them. Keep on doing what you’re doing, give the above tips and try not to make a huge deal of it. If you are doing these things already then your toddler is already well on their way to a great relationship with food and a lifetime of healthy eating.

**CALL YOUR DOCTOR if your child is losing weight, doesn’t eat anything for more than a day or you are concerned that they aren’t eating a balanced diet. Follow you gut, you know your child best, if something doesn’t seem right or you are concerned do not hesitate to discuss it with your child’s doctor or pediatrician. NEVER give a child vitamins, supplements or meal replacement products without the advice of your doctor. SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION if you child is experiencing persistent vomiting, severe stomach pain and/or cramping, refuses to take any liquids for over 8 hours or shows signs of dehydration.**

Little liars: Your preschooler and honesty

14 Mar

 

Have you caught your preschooler telling a lie?

 

Child misbehaving mother talking to child

 

Busted!

Yesterday morning I was in the bathroom putting on my makeup when I heard a distinct SMACK, immediately followed by a long wail from my 18 month old daughter. “MOMMMYYYY”, my four year old son yelled, “Sissy fell off the bed”. I ran in the room to find my daughter still, in fact,  on the bed with a bright red, perfectly formed, four year old’s hand print on her little back. ‘That little sh*t!’ was my first thought…Until that point I had never actually outright caught him in such a lie. Sure he would spin tall tails when recounting an event or telling me a story. But this was a deliberate lie, a lie made in an attempt to avoid something…in this case a timeout. After cuddling and soothing the little one I then turned my attention to my son. “Cody”, I said, “Why did you tell mommy that sissy fell off the bed when she didn’t?’ “Yes, she did” was his reply. “Well she was still on the bed when mommy came in, if she fell she would be on the floor, wouldn’t she?” “No, because she climbed back up really fast”..Uh huh, this is going no where. “Cody, tell mommy the truth please, sissy has a hand print on her back, someone hit her and you were the only one in the room”. He blinked up at me for a few seconds before dissolving into tears.”S-S-S-Sissy was bugging meeeee…WHAAAA *Sniff*” After quickly debating the best way to handle this situation, I proceeded to kneel in front of him and look him in the eyes, while explaining calmly that it is not nice to lie, and if you tell lies then people won’t always believe you when you are telling the truth. He told me that he lied because he didn’t want to get into trouble. Which, in all honesty, is totally understandable. I mean how many times have we, as adults, told a lie to avoid consequences to certain actions. I know I have before. I am not proud of it, but lying does happen. This is incident made me realize that I was, in fact, not quite sure exactly HOW I should handle a lying four year old. So, like I do when any great parenting dilemma has me stumped,  I stayed up until 3am pouring over every article and study I could find through  “Google.”  I only powered down my computer once I felt pretty confident that I was armed with the knowledge necessary handle the next incident. And now I am going to pass that knowledge on to you!

Parent scolding preschool aged child

The Tall Tale

When it comes to preschoolers there are two main types of lies that are told. Number one: Telling Tall tales-All mothers of young children are familiar with the concept. You know, the one where you ask them what they did at daycare and they proceed to tell you the teacher was  turned into a monkey by the evil magician because she wouldn’t let the children eat candy for lunch and so on and so on… These type of lies are not an attempt to deceive, they are simply a preschooler’s way of exercising their imagination. And truthfully, many preschoolers don’t yet have a firm grasp of where “real” ends and “fantasy” begins. These tall tails are usually just a way to express what they wish would have or will happen. When you find your child spouting off a tall tale you have two choices. You can either say “Is that so?” And leave it at that. Or you can help them elaborate by asking them questions and giving suggestions. Why not make a game out of it by taking turns adding to the story. This is a great way to help children exercise their imagination and practice pretending. It will also provide hours of great fun as children love spending time with mom and dad and they really love having control of the story and how it plays out. You will be amazed at how creative your little ones story can become.

The lie to avoid consequence

The second type of lie is the one that we, as parents, especially dread. It is the lie that is told to get what they want or avoid something that they don’t want. A common reason is obviously to avoid punishment, such as in my sons case. Depending on the age of your child there are important factors to consider when doling out consequences of lying and teaching children how to tell the truth. Preschool age children, around the ages of three to five, as I said earlier, do not necessarily understand the difference between a lie and the truth. When your child says that they “Didn’t hit sissy” when sissy clearly has a hand print on her back…ahem, I am familiar with this scenario, Your child could really mean that they wish that they didn’t hit sissy. They are not really mature enough to even realize that lying is wrong, which is why a child sees no problem in fibbing to get something that they want. We, as parents need to keep this in mind when reacting to our children lie. While it may be tempting to scold, discipline or even shout when we catch our child lying, cease and desist, because all that will do is reinforce the belief that they have to lie in order to avoid punishment. Instead make a promise to your child that, no matter what, if they tell the truth, you will not get angry. Also be sure to make it clear that even if they tell a lie or behave badly, that you still love them, you just do not like the behavior. Sometimes children feel that if they do something wrong they must lie because if mommy finds out “she won’t love me anymore.” And never, EVER, not matter how angry you are, EVER tell your child you hate them or that you don’t love them. These types of statements can cause the problem to worsen, because the child will feel the need to lie in order to gain your approval or “love.” At the preschool age the main things you can do are to letting your child know how happy it makes you when they tell the truth, make sure they know that if they tell the truth they will not get yelled at or punished and explain to them the basics of truth telling, and how not telling the truth makes it hard for people to trust you.

Child crossing fingers behind back

Practice what you preach

One last thing to keep in mind is that children are ALWAYS listening. You may have even encouraged you child to tell a “white lie,” such as telling them to tell grandma how yummy her not-so-yummy  brownies are. Children take everything very literally and do not understand what a “white lie” is. Even if you attempt to explain it, it will just confuse them more. To children, a lie is a lie, and if they see mommy not telling the truth, then why should they? So make a conscious effort to be honest, even if it  may be a little embarrassing. I know that this is going to be the hardest part for me, as I have told many a white lie. So often, in fact that it is almost a habit.  Oops! I guess it is for the best, though. All the lessons in the world about truth telling and honesty do not measure up to what your child will learn simply by observing you. Children learn by example, and it is our job to set a good one. And hey, maybe if grandma finally knows the truth, we can stop feeding her poor dog those brownies!