Saturday, February 15, 2014

Potty training "in one day"

Three weeks ago I bit the bullet and started potty training Tatum. I read a few different variations of a one day method. They all admitted that there would still be accidents after day one, but that the bulk of the teaching happens that first day. It hasn't been as close to a one day training as I would have liked. Maybe that's just because I'm a rookie though. :) However, I do feel like it was successful and I will be sticking with this method for future kids so I thought I'd share. If nothing else I will have this experience documented for when it's time to do it again in two years.


1. First I tried to get Tatum psyched about the whole idea. She was definitely showing signs of being 'ready' but I really wanted her to be excited. I took her to the store to pick out underwear, thinking she would think that was awesome, and she didn't care at all. I'm sure every kid is different and some might love that part. But not Tatum.

2. Besides the underwear, I made sure to have some special treats on hand that were only for going on the potty. I also bought extra sheets and mattress covers. I made sure I had juice. I made a sticker chart and got stickers. And I also made a calling chart.

Day 1:

When Tatum first got up we had a normal breakfast. Then I took her in the bathroom with one of her baby dolls. I put a pair of Tatum's new underwear on the doll and talked to Tatum about how the baby was a big girl now, etc etc. Then I had the doll say she needed to go potty and ran her to the little potty and with a medicine syringe behind her I had her pee in the toilet. Tatum was none the wiser, I swear, it totally worked. We sang and clapped and cheered for the baby. Then the baby got to choose a sticker, get a treat, and call someone on the phone. Then I asked Tatum if she wanted to wear underwear and go in the potty so she could all those things. Of course she said yes! :) I kept her naked all day that first day, except for underwear and except for nap time. It just made it easier. After we got her underwear on we played in the bathroom for a little while and then the baby had an accident. So I said oops! And then ran the baby over to the toilet saying "we don't go pee on the floor, we go pee in the potty". I ran her back and forth from the accident to the toilet ten times while saying that. Tatum totally just laughed at me but then when I did it to her a few minutes later when she had her first accident you could almost already see it clicking. After that we just played in the kitchen all day and had lots of juice and snacks. And she peed a lot. I think that first day we had 18 successes and almost that many accidents. I set a timer and took her every 15 minutes. I put a stack of books by the toilet and we would read and sing songs while she sat there for a minute or two. And then we would go back to playing. If she peed on the potty she got a sticker, a treat and she got to call someone off her calling chart. I think the calling was her favorite part. I put pictures of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma and papa and she loved being able to call all of them. If she had an accident we went back and forth to the potty ten times. This is supposed to help muscle memory and I really think it is key. You don't have to play in the kitchen, I was just pretty sure there would be lots of accidents and I didn't want the trouble of cleaning it off the carpet. And she was getting so much undivided attention from me she didn't seem to care. (That's another thing, if you have other kids be prepared to feel like you are neglecting them. I certainly felt that way, but we all survived. )

Day 2:

 I put Tatum back on her normal diet on day two, so there wasn't nearly as much bathrooming going on. I will definitely consider doing day 2 just like day 1 in the future. I'm not sure how I feel about it at this point. We still stuck around home. I wasn't brave enough to go out with her until the end of day 4. We pretty much stopped calling people on this day, she just got a sticker and a treat. And I still did the 10 times for every accident. I took her potty every 30 to 45 minutes. She only had 2 accidents on day 2, which sounds great, but it was an awful day. Be prepared for day 2 to be worse than day 1. The excitement from day 1 is gone, they are totally over it. And they are realizing that diapers were way easier.  Tatum fought going to sit on the potty all day long. There was a lot of bribing going on. I would let her watch a video from Frozen while she sat. And by the end of the day she was getting a sticker just for sitting and trying.

Day 3:

Tatum definitely improved from day 2. We still had one accident, still didn't leave home, and I took her every 45 min to an hour.

Day 4:

This was her first accident free day! We went out to eat with friends and I took about five changes of underwear. I was nervous. But I made her go before we left. I made her go when we first got to the restaurant, right before our food came, and right before we left to go home. She never fought it and never had an accident. She also didn't go every time I took her, not surprising.

Day 5:

Another accident free day and we took her to the mall to ride the carousel that evening as a reward for staying dry all day. A word on that, find out what makes your kid tick. For Tatum, having bigger rewards for longer goals seems to have worked well. It helped with the nap time and night time training too.

Day 6:

We had friends over for dinner and had some major regression. I think she had something like 4 or 5 accidents in the 2 or 3 hours they were here. It was incredibly stressful and frustrating. I think you should expect more trouble every time they are in a new situation at first. This was really the first time we had people over and weren't very focused on her. And by the next day she had worked it out.

Day 7:

Another accident free day. We were at church and then my parents' all day long and she even told an adult multiple times that she needed to go that day.

Since then:

We did not have an accident free day for the entire second week. It was typically one or two a day. Most often between 7 and 8 at night. I'm guessing it's harder when she is tired. Sometimes they seemed blatant, sometimes legitimately an accident. She still fights going to the potty sometimes, but we have mostly cut out all bribes for that. I just lock us in the bathroom and sit and wait for her to decide she will sit on it. It doesn't usually take more than a couple of minutes and works better than trying to reason with her. I still take her to the potty ten times in a row if she has a bad accident, like she hides to do it or has it right next to the toilet instead of getting on it, etc. If she tells me she needs to go but we don't make it in time I usually don't do the ten times thing since she kind of hates it now. :)

I definitely wouldn't use the past tense and say she is potty trainED. It is definitely still a work in progress but we are getting there. It's frustrating that I can't get inside the mind of a two year old, it really is. It is baffling that sometimes she comes up to us and tells us she needs to go and other times she stands right next to you and goes in her pants. It's hard to know why, or what she is thinking, but I am really trying to be patient. After all, she has been going in her pants for 2 years without ever having to think about it so I'm sure it will take awhile to break old habits.

We seemed to turn a corner about 4 days ago when she started to consistently tell us when she needed to go. We had about three days in a row without any accidents. Today has been harder. She had a late night last night so I'm hoping it's just because she is tired and we can get back on track tomorrow.

Night time and nap time:

We decided to do it all at once, no looking back. So Tatum is in underwear when she sleeps too. Within a week she was waking up from her naps dry and most mornings she is dry too. We have been waking her up when we go to bed to have her go potty and I think that might have been helping. We are going to probably stop doing that now because some times she is cooperative and sometimes she hates it. I'm sure she will still wet the bed with some frequency but that's why we bought extra sheets. :) She has to figure it out eventually, so we just decided she might as well figure it all out at once.

*We did completely stop waking her up to take her before we went to bed almost a week ago, and she has still been waking up dry!

Her sticker chart. We actually never even gave her a reward for filling these. Putting the stickers on ended up being reward enough for her.
 Getting her fingernails painted for staying dry all night.
On the phone with some lucky person during day 1. Notice all the toys in the kitchen. And the chemicals in the background. I'm not a horrible mom, we just had frozen pipes that morning. Fun. Her calling chart is on the bench, nothing fancy just black and white photos of people she knows.
 One day her reward was to play the Wii if she stayed dry all day. It was the first time Brennan and I have played since before I was pregnant with Tatum. She thought it was neat.
Potty training is basically awful. I'm convinced there is no real avoiding that. I'm hoping next time won't seem as bad because I will have a better idea of what to expect and hopefully that will keep me from getting too frustrated.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tatum at 2ish

I have been needing to do an update on Tatum for quite some time. She is learning and changing so fast it is crazy. Most days I find myself wishing I could slow the passage of time (well, maybe after we get through winter). They really do grow up too fast. I wish I was better at writing down all the funny moments that happen with Tatum. She says and does some pretty funny things but I find myself forgetting them just hours later.

Tatum went for her 2 year check up at the same time that Declan went in for his 2 month visit. I didn't have high hopes for the appointment since Tatum was a basket case at her 18 month check up. She did have a major meltdown when they first called us back and she was supposed to get on the scale. The nurse had to weigh me, then the two of us together, in order to get Tatum's weight. But after that she did a pretty good job. She didn't cry, even when they pricked her finger. She was stubborn about having to say "ahhhh". She opened her mouth but wouldn't stick her tongue out so he had to gag her with the stick. All in all I was definitely pleasantly surprised with out it went.

Her stats:

36 inches tall (~90th percentile)
27.6 pounds (~50th percentile)

Now the rest of this post is going to be rather long and full of cute or funny or naughty little things Tatum has done recently, just so I can remember them.

-She has a few phrases or words that she will use all the time. They change regularly but right now they are "every day" and "soon". Soon I can kind of understand, I'm guessing I use that word with her a lot. But every day? I have no idea how she decided that was a phrase that should be used frequently. For instance, we will sit down to dinner and she likes to reassure herself that what we are eating isn't hot, only warm. But now she will say "it isn't hot every day". Or if we are taking her to use the potty and she doesn't want to (we are potty training, more on that in a separate post) she will say "I can't go potty every day". I wish I had it on camera because the way she says every day makes it pretty funny.

-Declan had a habit of crying until he sort of blacked out and in order to avoid it getting that bad we would blow on his face to force him to take a breath. Now anytime he cries Tatum is right there, blowing in his face. Kind of funny, kind of super annoying.

-I'm sure it was inevitable, but sadly she has learned the word "mine". But she always says "mines" (probably from us saying yourS). Again, kind of annoying that she has to point out that everything is hers, but always makes me smile that she adds that s at the end.

-She will spread her legs as far apart as she can, like she is going to do the splits, and say "ah ah ah" (what she calls the letter A). I have no idea where she learned it, I can't imagine she figured it out on her own, but it really does look like an A.

-The other day she was standing on the bench for our table and I was sitting by her. All of a sudden she grabbed my shoulder, sort of bent over to look me in the face and said "mommy be happy please". I about died. Of course, I thought it was something she pulled out of thin air but apparently it is something Brennan says to her when she is upset about going to the bathroom. Not quite as impressive but still funny and cute.

-She LOVES to sing. She sings some real songs but lots of the time she is just singing randomness.

-When Tatum counts it's like this, "one, two, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, fourteen". Not sure where three, four, twelve and thirteen have gone but we'll get there eventually.

-We were at Kohls the other day and Tatum was wearing her winter boots. They just velcro on the sides and they are a little too big so they are the easiest shoes for her to get on and off herself. We were in the shoe section and Tatum would go off on her own and say "oh cute" and pull some shoes off the shelf, sit down and take her boots off, try on the shoes, walk around, take them off, put them away and put her boots back on then go on to choose a different pair. She always chose the most hideous shoes but it was so fun to watch her complete the whole sequence. I really didn't think I had tried many shoes on around her, but man she's got it down.

-A couple of weeks ago Tatum started this thing where she switches people's names around. So she'll tell grandma that she is Tatum and that Papa is grandma and so on. Once again I have no idea where she learned to do this. And sometimes she pretends to be a dog and if you ask her what her name is when she is a dog she will always say grandma (I'm not sure why she doesn't say Duke). And if she is playing with her baby dolls and you ask what their name is she will also always say grandma. And if you ever tell her she is crazy, or silly, or stinky, or goofy, etc she will yell "no! I'm Tina!" Yes she still says her name is Tina. I've been working on it with her, and she can copy me correctly but independently she will always say Tina. I have recently started saying Tatum and Declan in the place of character names when I read books to her. She LOVES it. Yeah, lots of name things lately.

-When Declan starts crying in the other room she will yell "just a minute Declan!".

-She likes to pull mine and Brennan's heads down and plant a kiss on our forehead. Too sweet.

Sometimes I feel like our days are spent at odds with each other. There are days I feel like she is driving me to the edge of insanity. Last fall she got into a hard core pushing phase and I struggled with how to teach her and how to handle it. She seems to be mostly past it, but is now old enough to be extremely territorial with her toys, and we are back to trying to learn how to share. Then two weeks ago I started potty training which is still an ongoing battle. The problem is sometimes I let these little things (Yes, they feel HUGE but they are little.) keep me from enjoying my sweet daughter. We have our moments, but she really is a good, sweet kid and I love her death. Yet somehow it always feels like she is the only kid acting out and I compare way too much. But how many millions of kids go through a pushing phase? Or struggle with learning to share? Did I do something wrong? Well, yes, I'm sure I have made mistakes and there are behaviors of hers that I could have prevented to a certain extent. But am I doing my best? Yes, and I think when all is said and done she will turn out all right. She is obviously too little to understand the struggles of a parent but sometimes I wish I could express my feelings to her and she would understand. When I have been hard on her and she comes over and wraps her arms around my neck and says "squeeze tight" , I just wish I could explain to her how much I love her and that I just don't want to fail her as a parent and that's why I do the things I do. I guess maybe one day she will read it here and understand. :)

I feel like I am probably rambling and not making much sense. This, as well as a couple other topics (more posts to come!), have been on my mind for awhile and I've been wanting to write down my thoughts, more for myself than anyone else. My thoughts in summary:

My daughter can be a handful and sometimes frustrates me and that's okay.

Even though she is handful I love her so so much and I'm not sure I would choose to have her personality be any different. And that's okay too.

And here are a couple of pictures and videos. I dare you not to love her spunkiness. It's impossible. :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Declan at 2 months

Now that Declan is almost three months old I will finally get around to doing his 2 month update. It was while we were on vacation that Declan hit the 2 month mark, so we took a few photos in a plain white onesie for the same project we intended to do with Tatum and still haven't. :/

In case those pictures don't convince you he is a chunk here are his 2 month stats:

14 lbs 11 oz (~85th percentile)
25 1/4 inches (~95th percentile)
42 cm head circumference (~90th percentile)

Yep, he is big. :) More importantly, he is healthy and getting happier by the day. His frightening trick of crying until he blacks out/stops breathing is becoming less frequent and for that I am grateful. His smiles are to die for and he has recently starting laughing a bit. The poor guy has had a rough week. A combination of a bit of an upset stomach and a mom who is busy potty training your older sister can make for a pretty tough life for a 2 month old. He is mostly in size 6 month clothing. He needs to slow down! He was sleeping through the night quite regularly but lately he has been back to one feeding during the night. Usually around 4 or 4:30 in the morning. I certainly can't complain. Once again we are experiencing the odd combination of feelings when it comes to the passage of time and little ones. It seems like he just got here, that these last 2 months have flown by, but at the same time it feels like he has been here forever. Were we ever a family that didn't include Delcan? It certainly doesn't feel like it. We love him and are so grateful he is ours forever!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


When we were done in Arizona we decided we just hadn't had enough of the car yet. ;) So we went home via Utah. We got in the car around 8:30 at night and drove the 10 or 11 hours up to Utah through the night. It wasn't the funnest, but really wasn't bad. We never heard from Tatum, she slept the entire time, so I guess that was a plus. 

Our first stop was Rex and Jennifer's (Brennan's dad and step mom). We wasted no time since we didn't have a lot it and headed to the Dinosaur Museum that morning. Tatum was a little shy and clingy at first but she got better by the end.
Grandma Jennifer definitely won some points by building giant towers with Tatum.

Besides that first play room the museum was a little over Tatum's head but we still had a great time.

I figured she would love this sand and water area with buried dinosaurs but she was just being too shy and scared. She cried when Brennan made her touch the sand haha. But after the room cleared out (it was pretty packed when we got there) she did play for awhile.

After the museum we went to get some lunch at Chili's and see Jentri. Later that afternoon we walked across the street to visit Brennan's grandparents. His Grandpa just got the shingles vaccine and was told to keep his distance from kids. I think he was pretty disappointed to not be able to interact with the kids more. His Grandma held Declan, though, and received a nice amount of vomit on her lap in return. And she gave Tatum a copy of a book she illustrated and Tatum still will open it to the back and point to her picture and say "Grandma". There were lots of new people for Tatum to meet and lots of new grandmas, I'm sure it must be confusing.
Photo cred on this one goes to Tatum. :) She thought it was pretty neat to take pictures of everyone in the room.
The next day we spent some time with Nathan and his family and went to Libbie's soccer game. On Thursday we headed up to Salt Lake. I took the kids to the children's museum with Marci, Wyatt and Finn while Brennan worked. Tatum and Wyatt played incredibly well together. It was nice to not have to worry about her pushing! Although...I guess I have to take that back. She did attempt to push Finn a few times but luckily he was able to hold his own.
After the museum we hung out at Caleb and Marci's house for the rest of the day. Brennan went out with Tatum and the boys for a snowball fight in the fresh snow.

Gavin was pretty cute with Declan. He kept hanging around wherever he was and I was pretty sure he wanted to hold him. I think I even heard him ask once but it was so loud I couldn't tell if that's what he had said and he didn't hear me ask him. Finally, just before bed he got his chance. Of course when we asked he had to act like he really didn't care one way or the other. ;) It was pretty cute.
On Friday Brennan and I ran a few errands and then just hung around at Nathan and Stacy's house. Tatum thought she and Claire were best buds. Claire was good to humor her.
And Brennan was good at helping to wind up Jaren. :) Here they are waiting for some toy to fall off the ceiling that they threw up there. I'm scared for life around our house when Declan is older.
Speaking of Declan,  here's the cutie himself. Is there anything cuter than baby yawn pictures?
Or smiles?
Friday night all of the adults (plus Tyce and Declan) got to out for dinner. Libbie was nice enough to watch Tatum for us in addition to her four brothers and sisters. We went to a place in downtown Provo called Station 22. They are known for their chicken and waffles and that's what I got. It was delicious! And thanks to Marci we got a rare group shot!
Saturday brought the whole reason for our detour through Utah. Nathan and Stacy's adoption of Tyce was finalized, so they were able to have him sealed to them in the temple. It was great to be able to be there on such an important day for their family. I had never been to a family sealing like that and it was a neat experience. And we are so happy to have Tyce in our family forever now! Congratulations to their family! Pretty good looking bunch.
Saturday night brought wind and snow to Utah and Wyoming so we delayed our departure by a few hours. A few times. We ended up leaving Sunday morning around 8. The goodbye was no easier than it has ever been. Why do we all live so far apart again? I couldn't tell you. The first few hours of our drive were slow and scary. And there were a few more scary hours later on. Luckily dad was willing to drive during all the scary times and we made it home safe and sound. But it definitely felt like the longest drive of my life. Mostly due to the fact that this little guy decided he had had enough of the car. Little stinker.
Unfortunately, we did not arrive home to find our home safe and sound. We had bitter cold temps while we were gone and some crazy wind. The door between our house and garage blew open which may or may not have contributed to breaking our water heater. So at 4 in the morning we were welcomed home by soaking carpet and no hot water to shower and bathe in. It was a long week as we worked to figure out what to do. We finally decided it wasn't salvageable and figured out exactly which water heater we needed to get. Brennan went to pick it up with Tatum while Declan and I went to a baby shower. Turns out it was too long for our van so he had to tie the back down. And then the power steering went out. So we drove 30 miles home with a very pricey water heater sticking out the back, bitterly cold winds whipping through our car, and no power steering. It was quite a drive. But we (slash my dad) got it installed and have never been more grateful for hot water. We also got our van fixed. It was a long and stressful first week home. Not quite how we pictured it. But isn't that how life usually goes? We just got our water bill from the time we were gone so now we know the full extent of the damage and can work on getting over it. :)