Tag: toilet training

Sporadic “Newsletter”: January 2015 edition.

unnamed

OK, so this isn’t really a newsletter, it’s more of a “newsletter” because it’s not really a proper one. I am far too lazy and unfocused to actually send them regularly. Hence, the fact that it is a sporadic “newsletter”. Basically, this series will just be some random stuff I’ve been doing/thinking about/reading/watching…or whatever. Gee, I’m really selling this. 

Now that we’ve recovered from Christmas and New Year (trust me – a dear friend referred to it as an ’emotional hangover’ which described it perfectly), it’s been great diving into January with great excitement for all of the possibilities that 2015 might bring. I love that whole ‘fresh new year full of potential’ feeling.

So what have we been up to lately?

Losing actual sleep over toilet training. 

Yeah. I’m not proud. The night before last, I woke at 3am and started irrationally panicking about the Little Mister’s toilet training progress. I have no idea what possessed me as I lay in bed googling the shit out of the situation (or should I say ‘shit-uation’). Maybe the fact that he seemed to keep waking in the night (but not needing my help) because he’d held in his number 2s for a couple of days and was clearly not too comfortable. He has had a phobia of doing them on the toilet, you see. He’d get really anxious and freak out a bit, despite trying to please me. I was starting to worry about how backed up he might be getting and I didn’t want to pressure him and like scar him for life or anything.

So instead of learning that worrying in the middle of the night is not good for you, I came to the conclusion that an incentives chart was what he needed (revolutionary I know). So yesterday we gathered everything we needed. A hanging whiteboard, some dry erase markers and some cool little toy cars from K-mart that cost hardly anything, but would be FANTASTIC bribes to dangle in front of him. He has to get a certain number of ‘ticks’ on his chart to get a reward for various things, like doing wees without us having to ask him to go, wees when we ask him (he has to work harder for this because he’s already fairly good at it), and just one big tick for a poo on the toilet. When he gets all the ticks for a certain task, he gets a little car/truck/helicopter (one of whatever’s in the multi-packs I bought). As he progresses, I will up the ante – wearing jocks all day, standing up to wee, using the toilets at the shops (hey – I’d want a reward for that too) etc.

So on our way home from the shops with all these toilet training incentive supplies, he told me “I need to do wees.” He then held on until we got to our house 5 minutes later (I had offered that we could go to the shops if it was urgent). This never happens. Usually he has to be prompted or he wets his training pull ups because he doesn’t think to tell anyone ahead of time. Then we were home and right before his day sleep, he told me he needed to poo and blow me away with a feather, he did it. On the toilet. No accidents. No hiding anywhere, no crying, no fussing. Yes!

I have heard that sometimes the novelty wears off quite quickly, but I shall remain hopeful and try to keep things interesting and motivational (but still realistically achievable) for him. I don’t think he’d understood the concept fully before, so that’s probably why we didn’t introduce it earlier. The moral of the story? Insomnia pays off. Sigh. I am not nailing this whole ‘functioning as a grown person’ thing haha.

Planning our camping trip.

We’re really excited because we’re going camping soon. I’ve been excited about it since last year! I am looking forward to beach days, fish and chips from the front shop (the best ever) and watching the Little Mister run around. Mr Unprepared has done some stuff to make sure our camper van is ready for another year (it was made in the 80s – the type with the pull out ends) and I have been making some lists. Because I’m good at lists. It should be so much easier to pack this year, because we set so much of it up last time. Such a relief, because I HATE PACKING.

There’s been plenty of beach time at home too.  1743670_10152726859693218_2598099152522802652_n Yep. That’s my fam and that’s our local. A beauty, isn’t it? We’ve also been enjoying my parents’ pool (I recommend that everybody’s parents have a pool haha). The weather has finally started to heat up and while we’ve had some stinkers, it’s still worth it (and I know I only say that as a spoilt person with aircon in my house and parents with a pool). I love the summer.

I’ve been watching a lot of teevs.

Yep. I am loving the fact that now summer has come (and brought with it a lot of lame TV reruns and sports), I can finally start watching everything I’ve recorded on my DVR for the last year or so (I’m not kidding)! I’ve had a massive Parks and Recreation marathon (best time of my life) and now I’m obsessed with the MTV show Catfish. Like the episode where a dude sent a chick money and she bought an engagement ring and sent it to herself without him knowing (rendering them engaged for all intents and purposes) and it got all creepy, or the time a chick was a catfish but then came clean with the dude she was chatting with, but it turned out he was a (transgender) catfish too, but they fell in love anyway. Yeah, I know. Weird and wonderful stuff. If you don’t know what a catfish is, this doesn’t make much sense. Basically, it’s when you lure someone into an online relationship, by pretending you’re somebody else (usually a fictional person you’ve created by using stolen profile pictures and stuff). You’re welcome.

Hey, I’ve had to fill the hole in my life that has been left after I finished listening to the Serial podcast!

Catch up on Awesomely Unprepared here!

Here are some of the blog posts I’ve written lately (and some updates on those situations)…

Happiness starts with us. I’ve been reflecting on what happiness means. The whole toilet training insomnia thing shows me that I need to work on the ‘not stressing excessively’ part, but we’ll get there 🙂

Reading list. I listed the books I am keen to devour. I am making good progress with Mindy Kaling’s book because I’ve sacrificed some stupid time wasting I was doing before bed (playing a rather addictive word game on my phone). I am really enjoying it, thanks for asking 😉

My thoughts on spiders…and how to kill them. So I confessed to my ridiculous arachnophobia and how to kill a red back spider the Aussie way (hint: it involves footwear). Just last night, Mr Unprepared saw a huntsman spider jump out of nowhere. He emptied his lunchbox (for work the next day) and threw it at the spider, in the hopes of trapping it…but accidentally killed it in the process. It was equally horrifying and hilarious and terrifying. I mean, killing a spider with a lunchbox? Who does that? My husband does. The lunchbox was re-packed (well – a clean replacement one was) and I sat there for the rest of the night, wondering where the spider had come from and how many times I had walked past it. Also, THEY JUMP. Spiders should NOT be allowed to jump. Oh holy sh*t.

What have you been up to lately? Tell me everything! x

We broke all the rules, but that’s OK.

10295242_10152344933403218_7863992835697558531_o

Before we headed away on our big holiday, things were going quite well in the toddler stakes. The Little Mister hadn’t needed a dummy (when not sleeping) in a really long time and he was toilet training like a little champion! He’d even recovered from his night time anxiety and was sleeping again after a rough few weeks (his last molar not doing us any favours with teething). Things were looking optimistic!

We’ll just give him his dummy and his giraffe blankie (“Giraffey”) when we’re in transit (on trains or planes) in the hopes he’ll nap and we’ll figure out a way to get hold of a cheap potty training aide of some sort (like a toilet seat or a portable potty) to take around the place with us for the hotels. Easy, I thought. 

YEAH RIGHT.

One thing about life is that you can never fully predict how things are going to be when you jump into the unknown. Especially when a toddler is involved!

Of course we got overseas and everything went right out the window! The Little Mister wanted his dummy EVERY minute of the day and everyone knows that Giraffey comes too! It was hard to accept because it felt like a massive backwards step for him. He was dribbling everywhere (despite not teething anymore), you couldn’t understand any of what he was saying on account of the dummy, and he was chewing on it when he was anxious, which seemed dangerous when he broke them. If I’m honest, the ‘from back home’ me was also expecting to be judged for it like I am at the bloody supermarket here. Silly, I know. If someone was to ever judge me, I should have just thought my usual mantra, “F*ck them. I know my truth,” but I think I was feeling vulnerable with the whole ‘visiting my place of birth for the first time since I was adopted’ thing. I wasn’t my fierce mama self and we were all in a crazy, new situation to adapt to. It was no surprise that the Little Mister was searching for more security and comfort too. Besides, it wasn’t even an issue in the end. No-one cared. They still thought he was incredibly cute. They saw past the dummy and blanket and that was it. A kid is a kid. In fact, it was refreshing!

May I also add that the fear of losing the one and only Giraffey was nerve-wracking haha. Our whole family group was always on Giraffey patrol which could be exhausting! Make sure he doesn’t drop it on the train tracks boarding a train! Make sure he doesn’t drop it when he falls asleep in his stroller! AAARGH! We had to rig up a complex (haha) system where Giraffey was attached by the neck to one end of a safety restraint (a wrist to wrist strap designed for parents and toddlers) and the other end hooked over the handles of the stroller (or to him when he was walking)! I have done some scary things before in my life, but nothing was as important as keeping Giraffey in one piece!!

As for toilet training, well that was a bust. We had hoped that he would toilet train when back in the hotel and that we would just use nappies when we were out and about. In our minds, we thought it would help keep his training topped up and we could just be more intensive when we got back home. I didn’t want him to forget any of the progress he had made before we left home.

In reality, this wasn’t going to happen. We were always on the go. We changed hotels every 3 days on average (sometimes more than 3 and other times less). We were always in transit. It wasn’t the ideal ‘toddler friendly’ holiday but we had so much to see and it was a group effort. The Little Mister was often overtired or looking for comfort and familiarity. He was also intimidated by grown ups’ toilets (as opposed to a smaller potty – something we had a hunch would happen before we went away). We did find a rather nifty toilet training seat at Gangneung (where my brother was born) on one of our crazy looking for ‘diapers’ missions, but would he have a bar of it? No way! He did love that the seat had Pororo (a friendly cartoon character) all over it, at least.

Not-so-helpful (or even slightly rational) thoughts ran through my head when I was tired and weary.

What if he never toilet trains again in his life?! What if he takes a dummy with him to high school?! THIS IS A DISASTER! 

But let me tell you, Holiday Kez. Everything will be OK.

The Little Mister was obsessed with his dummy and Giraffey for maybe 3 days when we got home. After that? Back to normal as if nothing had happened. On our first longish outing since we’d got back, I did secretly pack them in my bag in case of an all out, ridiculous meltdown but that meltdown never happened. Awesome.

Oh, and 3 days before we headed for home, the Little Mister asked me out of the blue if he could use the toilet. And sat on it. And did a wee on cue. And was so proud of himself. I wanted to jump up and down and throw a parade, I was so proud of him!

We’ve been home a month now and toilet training is progressing. We had some accidents as he tried to adjust back to winter weather and the need to wear warm pants around the house (he now has learnt how to take them off properly and is working on going on his own without being scheduled or prompted again). It feels like we’ve started again in some ways, but it’s great because he’s a few months older than when we started and understands so much more easily. The world did not cave in on itself. I know am hopeful that we’ll be kicking arse at it by the end of the coming summer. Everything’s coming together. Yay!

Another thing we did while we were away was to try and save money by sharing a bed with the Little Mister. We tried to get twin double rooms in some places and king sized beds in others. Sometimes I shared with the Little Mister in our own bed and other times the Unprepared Three huddled in together. We did struggle in Tokyo with a rather small bed between all of us (the cute little improvised bed we made for him on the floor was great until he woke in the night and thought he’d fallen out of bed and got back in with us EVERY TIME). He got used to being with us in bed and it comforted him as we were in all these strange places, with no room being the same as the last. When we got home? He wasn’t that anxious at all. He knew he was home and while he wanted his room floodlit (I hear it’s a pretty normal phase for this age anyway), he started to settle well within the week.

Discipline wasn’t always easy while we were away either. There’s no place for time outs – something that had been so effective at home. That was difficult. I would have to continue to cuddle him while he played up because we were stuck together, so he’d get more hyped up and think he was being rewarded for his behaviour. It made life harder for us as parents too. We had nowhere for ourselves to get away for a few minutes and cool down when we felt our patience evaporating. We’d feel shitty and be like, “UM – I’M GOING…TO THE OTHER CORNER OF THIS SAME TINY ROOM BECAUSE I’M MAD. DON’T LOOK AT ME.”

Cabin fever did become an issue!

BUT…The Little Mister has come home and is his good little self (as good as a 2 and 3/4 year old can be haha). He hasn’t suddenly become some kind of monster who will never be reformed.

GUYS, WE DIDN’T BREAK HIM!!!

Also, I learnt a lot too. I learnt to just go with it. Remind myself it’s not forever. Have faith in him. Have faith in us as parents. Not feel guilty for not being able to provide him with the creature comforts of home. Remember that this was a once in a lifetime journey and sometimes you have to compromise more. The Little Mister was SO GOOD for a two and a half year old. He adapted as well as he could, with a couple of compromises (i.e. constant bribery and sometimes fast food was the only option) and a couple of tools (dummy and Giraffey). He was happy. He loved seeing so many new things on our daily adventures. He went with the flow as best he could. He didn’t go to bed at the right times and he didn’t always have a day time nap, but he was loved and he was protected and we had a lot of help which we were grateful for. We did our best to keep him happy and catered to (which wasn’t always easy). He bonded with my parents and my brother so well and that was really special. He got to be so much more of a ‘big boy’ and do so many more things than he’d experienced at home. He loved it.

EVERYTHING IS FINE!

While it was stressful bringing a 2 year old on this kind of journey, we learnt so much. If we hadn’t taken the opportunity, citing having a toddler as an excuse (and a valid one at that), then we would never have done something so meaningful with my family and we would have never learnt so much about ourselves and about the amazing places we visited. I feel so happy that we went. I don’t regret it one bit and we feel proud. We could conquer anything now! Although, we’ll wait a few years before doing something like that again!

I will never take the fact that I live in a house (with different rooms in it) for granted again!!

I always say that you make the rules (and routines) so you can break them. This holiday was a perfect example.

Have you ever travelled with a toddler? What weird things did you worry about? Was it all smooth sailing? x