Friday, June 25, 2010

Parenting advice/ parenting someone else's child

Now that I have my son, I am confronted with parenting issues all over the place. If it isn't my own child, sometimes it's someone else's.

There are as many ways to parent as there are parents in the world, so I expect to rarely run into a parent with very many of my ideals. I'm also somewhat outside the box as far as modern parenting goes.

But sometimes I see something so bad I think...can't I step in?

For example, we recently went to a children's museum in another town nearby.  My son loved best the room reserved for infants and toddlers, dubbed "The Gentle Zone".  While in there, we encountered several parenting issues that I wanted to confront, but didn't, for various reasons.  The one that bothered me most, of course, involved disposable diapers.

A little girl was playing on the little bitty slide.  She had a very short little baby dress on, which I don't really object to in general (although I would have had a diaper cover of some sort on my child, but whatever, she was about 18 months).  However, it is relevant because I could see her diaper from every angle as she moved about the room.  She was in the same area with Jack and it was inevitable to notice that her diaper was pretty soaked.  You know how disposables look when they are saturated?  For boys, its mostly in the front.  Girls tend to be more in the middle, but this one was full up to her waist.  At one point, she bend over and I could see the tell-tale lumpiness of poop in the back.

I was pretty horrified.  See, mom and dad weren't standing to the side, barely watching.  No, they were interacting with their daughter constantly!  They were having a blast!  This of course could explain why they didn't notice - we are blind to some things when we are highly tuned into others - but I was sort of tempted to draw their attention to it.

I didn't.  Not because I feared the kind of ugly, defensive confrontation that the first scene could have caused, but because hygiene is so...personal.  Even for a baby or toddler. Parents who are obviously so head over hills in love with their child that they brought her to an awesome museum and are interacting with her so throughly shouldn't be the kind of parents who don't notice that their child is soaking wet and has pooped her diaper.  But we also live in a country that has come to think of diapers as "hygienic" for some reason.  We believe that disposable diapers are "clean and dry" even after a child urinates in them.  So telling another parent that it's time for a diaper change seems invasive in some way.

On top of that, some parents just don't think diaper changes are that important.  I have met women who have told me that they wait as long as possible to change diapers because they are so expensive.  One woman told me that she knew that it was "bad" but that her baby didn't seem to mind being wet and it was one less thing to do so she only changed on a schedule unless he pooped.  And in this incident at the museum, its entirely possible that these parents view the fun their child is having and the positive learning environment as more important than stopping all that for a diaper change.

And its possible that they just didn't notice.

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Potty Training - Day Whatever

Not sure why I was numbering those posts.  I have no idea what day we are in.  I do know it has been over a week and I have changed only two poopy diapers.  Once, I knew he was going but thought it was too late.  I then went to change him immediately when I thought he was done and found that he wasn't!  So I hurried him to the potty.  Which was delightful, as I then had to both empty the poo from the potty AND dump/spray a diaper.  The worst of both worlds, eh?  The second time, I wasn't watching him (as in, I was elsewhere and someone else was watching him who did not know the signs).  That time, it was also someone else who changed the diaper, so technically I have only changed 1but there have been 2.

He is starting to understand the ASL sign for potty, which may or may not be the real ASL sign.  Someone I spoke with today showed me what she believes if the correct sign.  However, we do not employ daycare or anything like that so it is really only our family that needs to know the sign so we are going to use the one we started, which is almost the same anyway.  At any rate, he looks toward his potty when I sign and ask if he wants to sit on it.

Since we have been having trouble finding signals that he is going to soon pee, we are concentrating on #2 ont he potty for now.  I feel like by the time he does learn the sign and associate eliminating with the potty and then use the sign to tell me he needs to use the potty, etc., he will start to associate urinating with all of that as well.  He DOES however still look down at his boy parts area whenever he pees, diaper or no, so I suspect that just having this diaper-free time has been helpful in learning to recognize the sensations.

Another small update - this morning, he sat down on his potty (fully diapered and jammied) and played with a toy for a minute or so before getting up.  So I think he is getting more comfortable with the potty in general.  I also think it may be somewhat novel for him to have a seat other than his high chair/booster or sitting on a couch or chair with an adult.

My expectations?  I think that over the next 4-6 months he will slowly learn to make these associations and let me know when he needs to use the potty.  I expect that by the time he turns 2, he should be using the potty and hopefully out of diapers at least most of the time - although I am not holding out hopes that he will be completely out of training pants.  When we are ready for trainers, I'll stick with cloth of course.

I'm thinking that once he is signing or vocalizing his need to eliminate, he can switch to trainers.  This way, we can bypass the fancier pocket trainers that are, ultimately, just a diaper that pulls on and off and go right to something that isn't waterproof at home and maybe some that are when we go out.

I've also read that a lot of kids respond well to a system of having to go back into a diaper if they wet their training pants.  The extra incentive sounds effective and not at all cruel.  Boogie is not in love with wearing anything, let alone a diaper, so I suspect that this method will work well for him!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Potty Training - Day 2ish

So Boogie has definite signals that a #2 is coming, but his pee signals are not clear yet.  He seems as surprised as I am when he suddenly stars to pee!

We had some outside naked time Wednesday and he only peed once, and was thoroughly amazed when he crouched down and saw himself pee for the first time.  He then proceeded to play with his little boy parts for a bit, but that's nothing new...boys, right?

So we have been having daily naked time in the kitchen and he seems to enjoy it, since we have not really ever let him spend much time in there.  Our cocker spaniel is pretty incontinent and that's where he spends most of his time, so it was always easier to gate him in and keep Boogie out.

For right now, we will be sticking with some daily naked time and try to get him on the potty often and whenever we see signs of impending elimination.  However, of the 5 times he has so far peed while naked, twice he has crouched down first, but three times he hasn't.  I haven't recognized any other signals but I'm going to just keep watching until we do.  Eventually it will happen.

My goals for now are to learn his signals and teach him the ASL sign for "potty".  He did well with the ASL sign for "milk" and has started signing again after a hiatus of pulling on my shirt instead.  We re-instated the milk sign recently and he took it back in really fast, so I have high hopes that we can learn the potty sign within a few weeks and at least learn to associate the sign with the potty itself.

Fortunately, he seems more than able to eliminate without a diaper, which I credit to his being in cloth.  However, he is still not bothered at all by a wet or dirty diaper, so I'm also hoping he will start to feel the wetness and signal to me that he needs to be changed.  I think this will help in the process if he can learn to be uncomfortable with a wet or dirty diaper.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Potty Training - Day 1

So we have started the earliest stages of Potty Training.  Although, to be fair, many would claim that teh earliest stages should mean starting at about 3 months of age.  Personally, while I believe that Elimination Communication (or Natural Infant Hygiene) can and do work for many families, cloth diapers worked well for us.

And they still do!  I'm not parting with diapers anytime real soon, but I noticed recently that my son does not seem to be bothered by wet or dirty diapers and I believe this is problematic.

Back in 1961, when Proctor and Gamble were first developing disposable diapers, they hired a pediatrician to do their dirty work.  He was hired to convince parents that disposable diapers are cleaner, dryer, and safer than early potty training.  In the early 1900's, even in the US babies were potty trained from very early ages and most children started by 9 months.

Now, the average age of potty training is around age 3!  Many parents are waiting longer and longer to potty train, waiting for a mystical, magical "readiness" that may not actually exist.  Pediatricians are telling parents that waiting until their child is older is fine, but the reality is that as kids get older, they crave stability, control, and schedules.  So I've asked myself, "Does it make sense to wait until Boogie is older to teach him to use the potty?"

The answer I have come to is a resounding no.  But, I do understand that modern life means not everyone can potty train their young babies and toddlers.  Day cares are not always able to help working parents and it just isn't always feasible to potty train based on watching your child like a hawk to see the often subtle cues that signal impending elimination.

However, I am fortunate in being able to stay home with my son.

And this morning, I got him on his potty in time for #2!  Not that he understands yet, but he will.  Naked time is fun for him!

I'd post a picture but...uh...ew...

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