Teach me how to Potty Train!

Our first born is a little girl who some believe is the smartest little toddler they’ve ever met. For the longest time I believed this too. Don’t most parents? We all want to paint this picture of our kids being the next President, Olympic athlete, or rocket scientist. Let’s be honest, our kids aren’t perfect, and they are more than likely not going to be any of those things. That is OKAY. They have their meltdowns, tantrums, and can be completely and utterly disgusting, that doesn’t mean they won’t amount to anything later in life.

I came to this realization that our little girl wasn’t the brightest toddler ever when it came time to potty train. It’s easy, right? Take her to the potty every 20-30 minutes, give her a prize if she goes, buy her cute new undies, sing a “potty song,” and dance after she flushes. ANYONE can do that, right?

Wrong.

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We thought we would get a “head start” last winter while I was expecting baby #2 and we had a long weekend at home together to try to potty train our little 20 month old. We spent two solid days with her barricaded in the kitchen on the linoleum. Just her, Mommy, Daddy, and the potty. The cat wanted nothing to do with our little experiment. We had her wear cute new Minnie Mouse underwear, bought treats, and had the coolest potty for her to go on. She didn’t get it. She peed while sitting on my husband’s lap and didn’t care that she was standing in the middle of her very own puddle. She didn’t tell us when she went in her pants, or that she was wet. Not even an “uh-oh.” After two solid days wasted, we stopped fighting her to do it.

After the “long weekend” massacre in the kitchen, we didn’t push the potty on her. We would mention it here and there, took her in with us when we would go, showed her cartoons about using the potty, but decided we would let her take the lead. She STILL never showed interest.

It came time for baby #2 to arrive in July of this year, and the older sister was still yet to be potty trained. This meant TWO kiddos in diapers, twice as many wipes, and a busier lifestyle to even attempt to potty train her in. How was this going to be possible? Well, it wasn’t. 4 months after baby #2 and big sister still hasn’t figured out the potty training gig. She’s 2 ½ now.

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Immediately we think we have failed as parents. How can we not potty train her by now? We even got more serious about it while I was on maternity leave. We had her “parent trained.” We could put her on the potty every 20-30 minutes all day long, she would go, and her pants would stay dry, but the minute we let her try to tell us, she was wet. She can’t grasp having to tell us when she has to go or even taking herself to the potty on her own. It hasn’t clicked yet. She will continue playing in wet pants or pee right in the middle of the bathroom floor, she doesn’t care.

As parents, we can’t help but to get frustrated. We want our kids to be the most intelligent little humans out there. She knows all the words to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” can tell us her ABCs, but can’t remember to tell us when she has to pee? Come on! We get it stuck in our minds that a simple activity like potty training is going to shape our kiddos into who they will become as adults. If they aren’t potty trained by 2, then we’ve failed as parents.

Why was this my way of thinking?

Much like my previous blog, My Picky Toddler, potty training has taught me to accept that I am doing everything right for her and that eventually she will figure it out. Not every kid is the same and some kids just get things quicker than other kids. It doesn’t mean our kid is an idiot. It just means she’s not potty trained yet. She will be when she is ready.

For now, we are still not pushing the issue and we’re waiting until she shows us signs that she is ready to do it. It’s not worth our frustration to force it on her. It’ll happen someday and boy will we be ready with treats, undies, songs, and dances. Until then, I will look forward to the blog I can write about her actually being potty trained!

Do you have any tips that worked for you and your toddler when it came time to potty train?

-Megan

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Mixing Babies and Fur Babies

IMG_7652Many years before having our son Lucas, my husband and I adopted our cats, Edgar and Basil.

Our cats are mellow, and they’ve enjoyed the quiet of our home.

Alllll that changed once Lucas was born. We knew it would be a huge adjustment for them, and really started to plan for introducing the new baby to them. Their entire world was about to be disrupted by a tiny human that needs constant attentiontheir days of cat nip every day and warm milk in a dish were numbered.

When we brought our baby home, we let the cats first smell his blankets and clothing to get used to his scent. We then put our newborn in his infant seat and let the cats approach and smell him at their own pace. The transition went really, exceptionally well. 

I should note, we were even more concerned because both of our cats have feline herpes. You heard me. While it’s not quite as gross as it sounds, it still sucks. Edgar initially had it, and transmitted it to Basil. Thankfully, they can’t transmit to humans. Essentially, when they get stressed they get eye infections that require an expensive ointment. If you’ve never put ointment into a cat’s eye before, count yourself lucky. So, #firstworldcatproblems, I have to worry about my cats being STRESSED. HA. We painted our living room once, and it stressed our cats out so badly that they were both running around with eye infections (our vet told us any small change can trigger it.) Thankfully, bringing our baby home didn’t stress them out and we were eye-herpie free.

When we put our son in his nursery to sleep for the first time (around 8 weeks old,) we made sure to keep the cats out until they understood that they were NOT allowed in the crib. Until we were comfortable with the cats in the nursery, we had a baby gate up that was too high for them to jump over. To this day, we’ve only had a cat jump into the crib once (and I think it scared him so badly that he’ll never do it again.)

One of our cats, Basil, does like to push the nursery door open. We’ve (mostly) solved this problem by spraying him with a squirt bottle when it does it.

BUT, more importantly, now that our son is old enough to understand the word “no” we are teaching him to be gentle with the pets. We never allow him to chase them, tug at them, or get in their faces. I have let Lucas pet the cats with an open hand and tell him to be “soft”. IMG_7647

Our animals are gentle animals. But they are animals. If provoked, they will likely revert back to their instinctual cat selves and hiss or scratch if they feel threatened.

When I see photos of small children pulling on dogs, or up in their faces, I instantly get anxious.

No matter how much you love and trust your pet, keeping your child safe is your first priority. Animals are unpredictable, and whether you think you know your pet or not, it takes a split second for their demeanor to change.

Here are some basic guidelines that we abide by with our pets, and with other pets that our son is around:

  1. Make sure all pets have had the proper veterinary care. Keep your pets healthy, and keep their nails short to avoid scratching.
  2. Do not leave your pet unattended with your child.
  3. Do not allow pets to cuddle with infants that are not old enough to move away if they are being smothered. (We don’t allow our 9 month old to cuddle with our cats anyway.)
  4. Pets can be extremely dirty. Keep your animals clean. Don’t allow them to get into the habit of licking or putting their paws on your child (especially their face.) Our cats use litter boxes, and for that reason I try to keep Lucas from touching their paws.
  5. Keep animal things out of reach of your baby (food, medications, litter, etc.)
  6. Start teaching your child as soon as possible not to provoke animals, and that they should always be handled gently.
  7. Keep large animals from sprinting through your household and injuring your child in the process. (I’ve been hurt more than once by a large dog that is too rambunctious.)
  8. If all else fails, keep your animals contained to a part of the house that your children are not in until they can be properly socialized.

The ASPCA has some great resources on co-mingling babies with cats and dogs. The Humane Society also offers some great advice.

I’m a huge animal lover, and as such, I want my family to be a cohesive unit where our son can hang out freely with our pets. Precautions are key to avoiding issues and injury. Know that this is an adjustment for all of you, and that it sometimes just takes time and understanding.

-Katie

Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker Product Review

untitled (6)Pros: BK#1 LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this swing! I mean it was the only way I could get her to sleep in the first few months of life. Between colic and being a new mom this thing was a God send! (BK#2 Likes it, but doesn’t seem to fall asleep as easily in it.) It has 6 swing speeds, which is really nice because when they get up there in weight you need a swing with a little more umph.(This swing has a 30lb weight limit!) Multiple songs on the music setting, and multiple noises on the soothe setting (birds, heartbeat, water, and white noise). images (2)The seat itself can adjust to 3 different incline positions, and you can also turn the direction that the seat swings! Which was fabulous for our little apartment we were in at first with BK#1. My favorite part of this swing, that most swings don’t have, is the plug-in option! I hate buying batteries! Can’t stand it, and charging batteries is just as annoying. My second favorite part is that it is not only a swing, but also a bouncer. This was extremely convenient when the baby is sleeping and you want to take them with you into another room! Just lift and go, it was fabulous!

untitled (7)Cons: Did you see that there….was fabulous. Last night as I went to place my sleeping infant in the swing, and I found that the swing wasn’t working! The power light turned on, and the music worked, but the swing wouldn’t move. The motor had burned up. I called the company this morning and because I don’t have the paperwork etc. from purchase, and it is barely over the one year warranty mark, there is nothing they can do! Even though they admitted that it was a product defect. It was a shower gift, so of course I don’t have the paperwork a year later! (I registered at Babiesrus and it was purchased there) That is beside the point, a swing should last over year. If this swing hadn’t died on me I would be telling everyone to go buy a dozen of them! We seriously loved it! Sad, sad day! The swing is fairly large, so some people might not like it, but it worked well for us. Also, the vibration on the seat was pretty noisy and might wake a sleeping baby, or prevent sleep.

Overall, I was a little let down. Being a huge Graco fan, I expected the usual high quality product. This did not meet my expectations. Hopefully the company fixes the defect for future products!

~Amanda

Stupid POS

Alright. I know. I’m a mom; I shouldn’t use foul language. Verbally, out-loud… I don’t very often. But in all honesty, my brain is constantly spewing out the most vulgar sentence fragments. Typically, my vulgarity is stemmed from idiot drivers, stubbing my toes all too often, forgetting that I have the wash in, and too-expensive groceries (like, $10 for cat litter? My cat shits in this. Like, my cat is shitting, in my money.)

Most recently, my anger is fueled by inefficient, poorly-made infant/child products. Hello. This item is for a child; could companies MAYBE take some time and ensure that they are good quality? I’m consistently amazed by the number of infant product recalls.

And I’m going to tell you, the infant product that brought me the most anger only cost a few dollars. I’m guessing many of you can identify. THIS, demonic Safety 1st Baby On Board sign. No matter what you do, this thing is NOT going to stick to your windows. I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve seen with this sign taped onto a window because it won’t stay up. I bought several of these 1. Because I want emergency responders to know that I have a little one in the car should anything happen (the original Safety-First-Baby-on-Board--pTRU1-8476090dtintent of these signs.) 2. I want moronic drivers to know that I’m not speeding up to satisfy their psychotic speeding, and that I have precious cargo that I’m transporting around.

So this thing should stick. It just should. How hard is it to make a safety sign that stays where it’s supposed to? Evidently, it’s rocket science.  So new mommas– don’t bother. This thing sucks.

I went searching for other solutions. I found a magnet that could go on the back of my car, and in all honesty I’m just not a fan. Car magnets can leave fade marks around the edges if you don’t move the magnet often enough. And, there are people that walk around taking car magnets off of cars for the fun of it. (Like, get a new hobby assholes.) Really, I’m just not the “car magnet” type of person.

So finally I found a window decal. Cheap, effective, and looks as decent as a baby warning can look. I quickly ordered two of them from ebay (just search “baby in car decal” on ebay or etsy and you’ll find plenty of sellers to buy from.)

Here it is on my car. Cute, right? (For my husband’s car, I simply peeled off the heart on the “i” to make it slightly more masculine (lol.) So this comes on paper backing, with a clear front to peel off. You peel off the paper backing, puIMG_6060t the decal on, press down over all of the white decal, and remove the transparent page. The instructions say to pop any air bubbles with a pin, but I found a much simpler solution by taking my credit card over the decal to push out any air. So far, it’s held up really well. The directions say that they last 4-5 years easily. It peels off just like tape would when you want to remove it.

I used windex and dried the glass completely before application. In all, both decals took me a total of maybe 3 minutes.

So parents, save your money and vulgarity, and go buy these decals instead of the Safety 1st suction cup version. You’ll be happy you did.

Order one here on Etsy. 

-Katie

Infant Tub Comparison (Budget Edition)

Making a registry is overwhelming. For me, it was even more so since I hadn’t been raised around many babies or small children. Before making my registry I spent some time researching, and ultimately went with what seemed safest and had the best ratings. I SO wish I had asked other moms what ended up working for them, because it would have saved me a small fortune. So, with several things I purchased I ended up returning them, selling them for new things, or outright not using them. And let’s be honest here, none of us want to spend a ton of money on things that will be used for such a short time. One such item? The infant tub. Unfortunately necessary until our LOs can sit on their own, but these things can get PRICEY! I mean, I’ve seen them for up to $100, little tiny human spa tubs that are nicer than my adult human bath tub. So here’s a quick analysis of the three tubs I purchased and either used or didn’t use, with their pros and cons. All are $20-$25, depending on where you’re picking them up (you can find all of these at Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, and probably a few other sites.)

The first tub I purchased: The Safety 1st Modular Tub 

This tub looks basic enough. A basic, white toddler tub, with an infant insert that can be placed vertically or horizontally within the larger tub. Foam backing to keep the baby from sliding, and some small accessories. The small infant tub has holes so that the infant isn’t actually sitting in any water, but the water is draining into the larger tub.

I found this tub to be totally impractical. My LO was nowhere near stable enough to even use the infant insert, and by the time he was, he was too big. The infant positioner seems to have a very low weight limit, and my LO slid all over the place. It took forever to clean up, having two separate pieces. There was nothing I ended up liking about this tub. Sure, they include some accessories… but not one of them did I actually use. Perhaps Lucas was too wiggly for a tub like this? Either way, not my top pick.

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Next I purchased: The Summer Infant Bath Sling

This thing is seriously cool. Fits in the tub, in the sink, and can be used as a chair too! (We’re actually taking it on vacation to use for a beach chair and for bathing.) It folds up easily, and has two recline positions. My little guy didn’t slide at all. The bad? I thought it took some torque to actually fold flat, but nothing too serious. I also didn’t like how cold the mesh got if you didn’t continuously pour water onto your LO. Definitely don’t get that thing into the water until you’re ready to bathe your baby. Also, you need to fill your tub a few inches with water to get your LO submerged some. Not really helpful for saving water, and you have to make sure your tub is totally clean 100% of the time. I also hated that any stray hair of mine could make its way around my guy’s appendages. (And let’s be honest, postpartum shedding is no joke. I cleaned my bathroom several times a week and still had hair everywhere.)

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I also purchased: Summer Infant to Toddler Tub

I knew I wanted to get my LO sitting up and more stable. This tub has a recline position, and a spot for them to sit up straight. The reason I purchased this tub? You fill it with water and it’s all secluded to that one spot. No momma hairs floating in the water to get stuck to or wrapped around your LO. I do think this tub is better for babies with some control. My guy really started using this tub all the time around 4 months. Otherwise, they slide all over still. Putting a towel down inside of the tub helps with some slipping until they have better control. Once bathing is done, easily dump the water and store your tub. It’s a no fluff/frills kind of tub, and I think that’s why it’s fit our needs best. This also comes with an infant sling that can be attached to the tub, and MAN do I wish we would have had this when our guy was small enough to use it! This tub was perfect. It was the cheapest of the three, and by far what I would pick of the few tubs I tried.

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-Katie