Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rule #135: Don't pee on Percy

*warning: This is a potty post. If you don't want to hear about the bodily functions of my child, DO NOT proceed. :)

Evan entered a new stage in his life last week. A diaper free stage! *cue trumpets and confetti*

We have been talking to Evan about using the toilet for a long time. I want to say it's been more than 9 months?!? He showed an interest once, and then not again for about 6 months. We didn't put a lot of pressure on him, he gets anxious enough with change as it is, and I was not about to create a complex about the toilet. So we talked, and talked, and showed him is awesome Thomas the train underwear, and talked. Nothing doin'

A few weeks ago I decided it was enough talking. Told him he was wearing underwear and had to use the toilet. He did okay for his first day. About 50% of the time he listened to his body. The other 50%? He went through his entire supply of underwear that day. :) Fully intending to continue with the progress we had made, we did laundry and prepared for another day.

Silly us for thinking we had any say in the matter. Evan woke up REFUSING to put on underwear. Super anxious about it. So back into a diaper he went.

Two weeks later, cute little Sanders came to stay at our house. Cute little Sanders is already potty trained. We took this opportunity of a small body in control to show Evan how it's done. Put him in underwear, "just like Sanders" and off we went. Evan did amazing! The first few days there were a few accidents, but also plenty of stopping on his own to do his business! Hooray! Sanders was a perfect example and he seemed to be the motivation Evan needed.

It's now been less than two weeks and Evan hasn't had an accident of any kind for three days! It feels so nice to have crossed this thresh hold with him. He is still in a pull up at night...oh, I'm sorry, I mean his "nighttime underwear" Evan refuses to wear "pull-ups." Anyway, his nighttime underwear is still soaking wet in the mornings, and I have a feeling they will be for a while. Once that kid sleeps, he is OUT COLD!

I'm proud of my little man for growing up and taking responsibility for his body. He always tells me when he's "squeezing" (his terminology, not mine) that it makes me so happy. And I am so happy!

Here are a few of the funnier moments of potty training my son.

Earlier this week Evan had an accident. We discussed how that made mommy a little disappointed and talked about listening to our bodies. As I was putting on his new underwear, this time of Percy, Evan looks at me and says very seriously, "I don't want to pee on Percy." It cracked me up. I went to work that night and called to say goodnight to Evan. I asked him if he kept Percy dry, to which he replied "Yes, I peed on Percy!!" Funny kid.

A few accident free days later we were outside. I asked Evan if he needed to go to the bathroom, to which he always replies no. Then he said he wanted to squeeze on the tree. I told him to go inside and use the toilet. He kept insisting on squeezing on the tree. Pulls down his pants, holds nothing, leans back and pees. The whole time squealing "I'm squeezing yellow on the tree! The tree is getting yellow!!!" Ahh, the luxuries of being three AND a boy. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rule # 134: Ain't no rest for the wicked

Alright, so I don't think anyone in my house is wicked, but no one in my house (save Graham) is getting any rest.

I haven't been blogging lately, for a few reasons. I'll admit it, sometimes I just don't want to. But the main reason this time is because I'm so completely frustrated!!! I didn't want to post about our sleeping troubles until we were well behind them and I could end on a positive note. I've come to realize that it might be a VERY long time before our sleeping troubles are behind us...and I just can't neglect the blog forever!

I've written this post a number of times. I'm just not satisfied. I started going through the nitty gritty of how the troubles started, many nights in detail...but I don't think I want to go there. I DO want to record of this moment in our lives, but I don't think it needs to be that specific.

It all started the first week in December. That's right, THREE months ago! Evan woke up terrified of the "yellow" in the corner of his room. Strange I know, but that is the son I love. A few nights later he woke up scared of "ants" in his room. Both nights, we comforted, reassured, laid next to in his bed, sang songs until he felt safe for us to leave.

The next week he woke up. Not scared, or wet, or hungry or needing anything in particular. He was just up. He talked about how he was scared of the yellow, but I knew that he wasn't. He was just remembering that he was that one he must be again. He was talking about it calmly, with no fear and little emotion. Definitely not scared. He started waking up every. single. night. No longer talking about the yellow or the ants. And he would not go back to sleep. He would be up for hours, bright eyed, ready for the day. It was exhausting. It is exhausting.

Alex and I have tried everything we can think of. We have checked out parenting and sleep books from the library. Those were not a total loss. We did learn some things that we are implementing in our families lives, for the better I'm sure. But it did not help Evan sleep. We've talked to everyone we know. Alex has given Evan a blessing to help him sleep. You name it, I bet we've tried it.

Evan normally doesn't have a problem falling asleep, the trouble seems to be STAYING asleep. I'm just not sure how I can help him there. His preschool teacher has been very concerned for us, researching anything she can to help us get some sleep. She did suggest making a social story for Evan. A social story is something typically used for autistic children. It helps them prepare for social situations and what feelings the might experience, how they can handle certain situations and stresses. For example, going to the shoe store to pick out shoes. Anyway, even though Evan is not autistic, he is very ritualistic. At this point it had been going on for two months. Ms. Jessie wondered if maybe he had forgotten what he was supposed to do if he woke up in the middle of the night.

So, we took pictures of Evan doing his nighttime routine and made a book. Talking about how we get ready for bed, and if he wakes up in the middle of the night, he doesn't need to get mom or dad, or be sad. He just needs to stay in his room and get his blanket, close his eyes and fall back asleep. And when there is light coming through the window, it's daytime and time to get up. Simple stuff. He loves this book! He reads it several times a day. I was hopeful this might help us turn the corner into a better habit.

It worked.

Sort of.

He is still waking up every night. BUT, he no longer demands our presence while he is awake. He will read books to himself, play in his room...or wander the house :( I'm not a big fan of the wandering, but locking the door created more anxiety than it was worth. Eventually he will come up to our room, to be escorted back to his bed and back to sleep. It's great that Alex and I are able to catch a few more zzz's than before, but my child is not. For some reason he's decided that his body no longer needs sleep, and definitely not in big sections of time.

We took him to see his doctor. She looked at his tonsils to see if they were making it difficult to sleep and that's why he was waking, but they looked fine. She talked with us for a long time, trying to determine what was waking him up. Who knows. She suggested we try giving him some melatonin at night, maybe that would help him stay asleep and create a new habit.

We've tried melatonin for a month. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't. In the past three months Evan has slept through the night maybe 12 times. 12 times!! The frequency has increased since we started the melatonin, but not consistently enough to be sure that it's working.

His doctor also suggested we call a sleep specialist. I wanted to try the melatonin for a while before making an appointment. I finally called early this week. They can see us in a month. *sigh* If this is still a problem in a month I think I might cry. (And I'm sure it still will be a problem) Alex and I have started a sleep log, so that we will be able to give the specialist an entire months worth of information. I'm not sure what I expect the specialist will be able to do for us...but at least it feels like I'm doing SOMETHING in this hopeless situation.

So there you have it. My three and a half year old went from being the "perfect" sleeper, to this nonsense. I wish I knew how to help him, and not just for me. It can't be good for a little growing body to get so little sleep! Poor kid.

Rule #133: Even the smallest word is still a word

Awhile back my baby was 15 months old. Before he reaches ANOTHER milestone, I want to document what he was like then. (I've been in a blogging funk, which will be explained in a later post....hopefully not another month from now) :)

Graham's 15 month old stats:

Height: 31.5 inches (60%)
Weight: 21 lbs 7 oz (15%)
OFC: 19.25 inches (90%)

He's slowly and steadily growing into his head. I am told that it looks smaller than it used to, by those who do not see him everyday. It's hard for me to judge if his head looks more proportional today vs....yesterday. I'm extremely grateful that we have not had any complications with his shunt. I realize that I'm counting my chickens a little here, he's only had it for 9 months, and a lot can happen in...the rest of his life. But, I'm still grateful for the complication-free 9 months we've had. :)

Did you know that Graham is not a baby anymore? He's not. I don't know when it happened, but when I look at him now, I see a little boy. I can't believe that he's already so big, and can do so much for himself. Or, at least he thinks he can do so much. He really wants to be a big boy and use forks and spoons. He does pretty well with forks, spoons on the other hand.... Well, it's a struggle. He resents being fed by me or Alex though, so sometimes we have to sneak a bite in here or there. And in typical toddler fashion he prefers snacks and grazing to actual sit down meals.

Graham loves books, of any variety. Board books, lift the flap books, hymn books, books on dog breeds...anything that has pages to turn. When he reaches the end of a book he instantly flips it around and starts again. Many a morning are spent reading and re-reading his library.

He also LOVES the sink. He loves to stick his hands in the water, splash around. He also loves to hold a toothbrush under the water and then suck on it. It's not uncommon to find random toothbrushes all over the house. Alex and I have a few extras just for this reason.

While at Graham's doctor appointment Alex and I were asked if he was talking. I replied "yes". Alex looked at me like I was crazy. To his credit, he saved the look until the doctor had stepped out, then he looked at me like I was crazy.

Here's the thing, it's true that Graham will not walk up to me and ask for something. BUT, he will repeat words, often times WHILE he is signing the same word, and pointing at a picture. To me, that's totally talking! Alex disagrees. He doesn't think the doctor was asking if he was capable of saying a word, but if he used it without being prompted. (Alex might write an addendum saying that's not what he meant...) Regardless, I think I'm right. Graham is talking.

Here's what he can say:

Shh/Sleep (very similar)

Here's what he can sign:

Dog (while saying woof)
Cat (while saying meow)

See, he's totally talking. :)

Graham is finally sleeping through the night now...only waking on rare occasions. *Cue Evan's sleep problems to be discussed in a later post* He still takes one great nap during the day, which we are all grateful for.

He is a generally happy baby...oops, I mean kid. :) He loves to be around people, always wants to be in the middle of things. He loves his brother, and Evan loves him right back. That's not to say they don't get mad at each other, of course they do. But the last few months their friendship has really blossomed into something wonderful. They play well together (mostly) and seek each other out throughout the day.

I love this little man and can't imagine a single moment without him. He is such an important part of our family!!

Enjoy a few videos of everyday Graham.