It’s been the good, the bad, and the ugly around here lately as the kids are hitting some milestones.
First the good: I’m finally down to one kid in diapers! At two years, eight months old, my sweet Jack is potty-trained. Hooray! He started showing interest just before we left for our week out of town at the beginning of the month. He was showing all the physical signs of readiness: waking up dry most of the time, being able to hold it for a reasonable amount of time, and recognizing when he felt the need to go. He was also starting to tell us that he wanted to use the potty, and had gone successfully a few times. I didn’t want to get too far into potty-training just before a major upheaval in his routines, so we decided that we’d start when we got home. After Pittsburgh, no more diapies. He was going to wear big-boy underwear!
This is a huge contrast to both of Jack’s older siblings’ potty adventures. Gracie started training when she turned two, and was done not long after. She practically trained herself, and I thought, “Gosh, I must be good at potty- training. This is easy! I don’t know what people complain about.”
Then came Max. We tried the same plan, starting at two since it had worked so well with his big sister. This led to over a year of stress for all of us, repeated trying and failing, inconsistency and frustration. He was finally trained a few months after he turned three. I was definitely humbled in the potty-training arena, and I learned my lesson. Potty-training has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my kids. When they’re ready, they’ll go. I just have to be ready to seize the opportunity when the time comes.
So for round three, we decided to keep things extremely low-key. When Jack turned two, we started mentioning the potty occasionally, and let him know that he could use it and wear cool big-boy underwear whenever he was ready. He had four role models to demonstrate usage. There’s no such thing as privacy in this house! I showed him a brand-new pack of character underwear that was waiting for him when he was ready. And we just waited. Occasionally we’d ask if he wanted to try; sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn’t, but if he did, we got really excited and congratulated him. At the beginning of summer, he started being more consistent with waking up dry, so we thought we might be close. It turns out having a specific “No More Diapies” target date was helpful for him. He told lots of people he was going to use Big Boy Pants when we got home, and there was no turning back. We used pull-ups for a week or two when we went out, but we called them “Going Out Underwear” and treated them like the real thing; just a safety measure so we didn’t have to worry.
I had a few second thoughts when my co-trainer went down with his injury, but once we had started there was no turning back. We had a few mishaps, including some middle-of-the-night sheet changes, and one horrific runny mess after too much fruit that snuck up on him, then got stepped in and tracked through the house as he came looking for me to help him. SO, SO gross! But now, a few weeks later, he’s in big-boy pants all the time, and rarely has issues. After Max, I was dreading training Jack, but it wasn’t bad at all. I truly think the key was going on his time table rather than my own.
So that’s the good (with a little of the ugly).
The bad: my teething monster. Zachary is almost eight months old, and my suspicions about teething were right. But it’s not just one or two teeth keeping him up; it’s a whole mouthful. In addition to the two bottom teeth he already has, he’s cutting FOUR more, all at the same time. The top right has cut through, along with one on the bottom to the left of the ones he already has. The other two are just below the surface and ready to pop any day now. The whole milestone-reaching thing is great. The downside is the fact that he won’t sleep for much longer than an hour at a time. Day or night. Last night, I was up six times with him between bedtime at 10:30 and when he woke up for good at 6:45 a.m. The only thing that makes him happy is nursing. He won’t take his binkie or be soothed by rocking, singing, or any of my other tricks. He just screams like a banshee, then roots and tries to rip my shirt open as soon as I pick him up.
I’ve thought about letting him cry it out, but the fact that he seems to be really uncomfortable, plus the fact that he’ll wake up the whole house (and every living creature in a two-mile radius), are holding me back. Now that the first two teeth have broken through, at least I have hope that he’ll go back to his old routines once they all come in. It’s been a long, extremely tiring month, so that hope is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. It’s a good thing Zach’s such a cool baby the rest of the time. His sweet, roly-poly smile makes it all worthwhile, even if I do grumble with the fourth wakeup call at 4:30 a.m. Hopefully he won’t take it too personally.