Monday, February 1, 2010

A Day of Change

I have a friend that besides being very smart, very wise, very connected to the Bible, and very unafraid to tell me that I'm being an idiot, is also more than qualified to give advice about raising children. So, long before I actually had any kids, I asked her to tell me anytime that I was being an idiot, and it was going to be detrimental to my children. For the first time ever, she sat me down last week and told me it was time to talk.

Here's the problem: The first trimester of this pregnancy, I started sleeping a whole lot more, and I slacked off in a lot of things. Areas that Laura was progressing well and hitting her milestones, she slowed down and stopped progressing. New milestones that she should have accomplished by now, she missed all together. Rules that were in place, and she knew and obeyed, I stopped enforcing, and Laura went backwards in those areas! Let's face it. I've been lazy the last few months. And the effect it was having on Laura was beginning to show.

So, after my discussion with my friend last week, we made some changes. Monday was a hard day because all appropriate changes went into effect then. Poor Laura. She had a lot of adjusting to do in a short amount of time. She has done really well, though.

No More Pacifier! Laura went to bedtime/naps only with the pacifier when she turned one year old. I had planned on her being totally off of it by two years old, but that deadline came and went, and in the meantime, Laura was sneaking her pacifier a lot of times that she wasn't sleeping! So, on Monday, we went cold turkey. The first one that I threw out, she cried and cried. So, I waited half an hour until she was happy, then asked her to throw out the other one. She did it quite happily, because she wanted to be a big girl. Of course, when she couldn't have it at nap time, it took a bit of crying before she fell asleep. The only time the entire week that we had a major problem was at 3 on Monday night/Tuesday morning. She woke up coughing, and she couldn't go back to sleep because she didn't have her comforter (aka pacifier). It was 5 a.m. before she finally fell asleep again. Poor baby. Other than that, however, it's been fairly smooth. She hasn't asked for it since Thursday at nap time.

No TV/Movie/Computer Before Noon! This is something that had been in effect since Laura was born, but I'd gotten really lazy about it. It's incredibly easy to get up, put on a movie, fix Laura's breakfast, and go back to bed in the mornings. But I realized while talking to my friend that because I was doing that, and putting in a movie whenever Laura asked, she was up to almost 5 hours of electronic entertainment time each day. That wouldn't be so bad if she were watching educational videos 100% of the time, but she wasn't. We'd gotten to the point that we only read one book a day, and we barely ever played with her toys anymore. So, on Monday, we reinstated the no media until after noon rule. Laura has actually loved this. We've spent more time playing each morning, and we've been having longer reading times. Plus, she's such a big helper, that she's spending a lot of time each day helping me with the housecleaning. She loves pushing the buttons on the washer, dryer, and dishwasher. She is thrilled anytime she's allowed to wipe something off. She's also been helping me cook dinner each night. She sits on the counter and pours ingredients into the pot. Now, when she watches tv or movies or videos on the computer, I make sure that most of the time is spent on an educational video rather than a brainless movie. She is counting to six now after just three episodes of Dora!

No More Half-Eaten Plates! Laura isn't exactly a picky eater. But if she doesn't LOVE something, she simply eats a few bites and then leaves the rest. She's really bad about asking for a new/different snack after having eaten half of the last one. So, we had to put in a new rule: You don't get more food until everything on the plate is gone. There have been a few tears/fits, but not many. Now that she's off the medications for the last virus, her appetite is back up, and she's willing to eat more. Even so, there have been times that Laura didn't get to eat what Mommy and Daddy were because there were still leftovers from the previous meal.

No More Diapers... almost! After trying and failing to do a 3 day method of potty training last summer, I decided to go with the method my mother used for all four of us: wait until they're ready! For each of us, she simply waited until we showed an interest in using the toilet, then she had each of us trained in less than a month. Most of us were between 2.5 and 3 years old. I'd decided to do this with Laura after she made it known that she was completely uninterested in using the toilet last summer. But then, I got pregnant, and I'd rather not have two in diapers. If I'd been less lazy, I would have started my current campaign as soon as I found out I was pregnant, but I'm starting it now. She may not be completely trained by the time Karen Joyce comes, but she'll be a lot closer! I'm not pushing anything. I've simply pulled together a lot of books and videos for kids about potty training (The librarian thought I was being over-aggressive. Ha!) Whenever we read books or watch movies, I make sure at least one of them is about using the toilet. And whenever she wakes up from her nap, I ask her if she'd like to use the potty; she's said, "No" each time so far. I've also started the line, "Big girls poop in the potty, not their diapers," each time I'm changing a poopy diaper. And that's it. She's thinking about it a lot more now, that's for sure. We've got a little less than three months, so we'll see how this goes. I don't want to push her too soon (that obviously didn't work this summer), but I also rather not be changing a million diapers a day.

That's it. Just four "simple" changes that went into place this week. But they all are pretty big in how Laura develops. The week has gone fairly smoothly, with very few hiccups. I've actually been surprisingly pleased at how easy some of them were. We'll see how potty training goes.

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