Category Archives: parenting

La Di Da Di, She Likes to Potty*

Song Lyric of the Day:

La-di-da-di, we like to party / We don’t cause trouble, we don’t bother nobody / We’re, just some men that’s on the mic / And when we rock upon the mic we rock the mic right / For all of y’all, keep y’all in health / Just to see you smile and enjoy yourself

Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh / “La Di Da Di

Today marks 7 weeks and 1 day since one of the most magical, glorious, long-awaited things that can ever happen to a parent happened to me: Coraline became fully potty-trained. So yes, there will be some talk of pee and poop within this post.

Thanks to day care — probably the only time I’ll ever be happy about peer pressure — Coraline had been practicing going potty for more than a year. She first successfully peed on the potty just shy of her second birthday. For months now, she’s been accident-free at day care, wearing BIG GIRL PANTIES!!! (her enthusiasm, I assure you) and only wearing Pull-Ups at naptime. On the days I work from home, she’s worn her BIG GIRL PANTIES!!! during naptime without any accidents.

So on that magical, glorious, long-awaited day 7 weeks and 1 day ago, I was working when she walked over and quietly, almost shyly, said, “Mommy, I have to go potty.” Nothing unusual about that (except for the quiet shyness) since that’s what she said any time she had to pee. So you can imagine my surprise when she ended up dropping off the kids at the pool, a first. I could have thrown a party for her right then. As it is, I thought of her breakthrough as her early birthday present to herself, since it was six days before her 3rd birthday. She even came up with a potty-training mantra on her own: Pee and poop go only in the potty!

She’s had a few accidents since then, like an accident at school one day the teacher blamed on Coraline’s enthusiasm to get the job done, or not getting to the toilet quickly enough here at home. But overall she’s done great. And just two nights ago, she announced that she was going potty on her own, no doubt inspired by seeing her two big cousins do just that this past weekend. She was so serious about going on her own that she made me wait in the hall, around the corner from the bathroom door. You know, so she could have some privacy and, oh, not have to see her mother.

Even if Coraline were still working on the whole potty-training thing, I’d still be proud of her. But now that she is fully potty-trained, I thought I’d share it with all of you exactly how proud I am of my (big in her mind) little girl.

Coraline hamming it up the day of The Big Breakthrough (9/18/13).

*My apologies to Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, but I just couldn’t resist.

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And Bajingo Was Its Name-O

Song Lyric of the Day:

You want me to change, change, change / You want me to change

Churchill / “Change

Several months ago, Coraline started expressing interest in and naming body parts: “Mommy’s nose! Poppa’s eye! Coraline’s bell butt!” (In case you need a translation for that last one, “bell butt” is her way of saying belly button.) Her unrelenting interest in learning the names for various body parts led to an interesting discussion between Rich and I. We decided easily enough that her butt was to be called either — you guessed it — “butt” orĀ “tush.” As for her girl parts, well, that was a different story.

Calling her girl parts “vagina” seemed awfully formal for such a small child. So me being me, I suggested “bajingo.” For you non-Scrubs fans, that’s the term the uptight female doctor, Elliot, used for lady parts.

Everything was hunky-dory for a long time. Then we started potty training and lo and behold, our preliminary research taught us that in addition to not giving your child a complex about bodily functions (no “Oh dear God, what just came out of you?! So gross!”), you’re supposed to use the proper (formal-sounding *cough*) terminology for private parts. This is where I should mention that Coraline pronounces “bajingo” as “bingo,” leading to my recurring nightmare in which I get a call from her daycare about Coraline grabbing her crotch when the class sang “B-I-N-G-O.” So, on a subconscious level, I guess I already knew that it was time to teach her the proper word.

Coraline now knows that the correct name for her bajingo is vagina, although she will occasionally use the wrong term for it. We gently correct her when she does. God help me, though, because last Wednesday when I was getting her dressed for the day, she placed her hands over her chest and said, “These are my boobs.” I won’t even get into how she thinks her nipples are boo-boos.

At least we never used the term “whizzy winkles” with regard to potty training.

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Melatonin Down Bedtime

Song Lyric of the Day:

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping / Hill and vale in slumber sleeping / I my loving vigil keeping / All through the night

Harold Boulton / “All Through the Night

The last few weeks, Coraline has experienced a drastic personality change at bedtime. She went from this:

Video uploaded by thebrushborder

To this:

Video uploaded by babylonsfalling

We have no idea what caused the change. She used to be so easygoing and ready to go to sleep for the night after reading some books (oh, how I rue the day I introduced her to my old Disney reader of Three Little Pigs). Then bam! — she’d start screaming like she was dying the second you closed her bedroom door. Seemingly overnight what used to be a pleasant half-hour of quality bonding time turned into up to two-and-a-half hours of Rich and I tag-teaming each other, taking turns trying to calm Coraline into going back to sleep. (Thankfully, she has not been having night terrors.)

A couple of weeks ago I got desperate and called our pediatrician for advice. His nurse promptly called me back and explained that at this age toddlers develop “bedtime resistance.” She suggested giving Coraline two milligrams of melatonin drops about a half hour before we wanted her to go to sleep. Since our bodies naturally produce melatonin, she said you could, in theory, take melatonin drops indefinitely (which we aren’t going to do). Desperate for a return to normal evenings and uninterrupted sleep, Rich and I went straight to a vitamin store after work to buy some. We were giddy at the thought that something might finally help Coraline go back to her old non-screaming, non-head-spinning-and-pea-soup-spewing sweet, sleepy self. I very well may have skipped into the vitamin store.

That night we were only able to get one milligram of melatonin into Coraline, but it did the trick. It was Rich’s turn to put her to bed that night (OK, so I chickened out and traded nights with him. She was THAT bad at bedtime), and he said that she got drowsy right on schedule. He put her to bed without incident, and we didn’t hear a peep from her until it was time to get up the next day. It was glorious.

We’ve made giving her that milligram of melatonin part of her bedtime routine. It has an orange flavor, and since she loves taking medicine, it’s not a problem to get her to take it. We’ll probably stop giving it to her after a month, like her nurse suggested, and see if she’s been “retrained” to sleep by then. If she hasn’t, back on the sauce she shall go.

Now if only I could figure out a way to get her to sleep in on weekends …

Coraline with Red Panda and Nemo. Not pictured: the 72 other stuffed animals and dolls she sleeps with. (10/15/12)

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31 Day Blog Prompt Challenge Day 20

Day 20: Your biggest insecurity.

Being a good mom and parent. Coraline is my first (and likely only) child. I freely admit: I was virtually clueless going in. The most consistent contact I had with babies up until then was hanging out with or babysitting my nephews. Now, if I’d been about to adopt a puppy or a kitten, I would’ve known what to do with my eyes closed. But a baby? My baby? Talk about being terrified you’re not doing something right before you even start.

I skimmed through but didn’t actually finish reading most of the parenting books I bought or was given — there are so many books out there, and a lot of them give completely contradictory advice. Instead I Google things all the time (symptoms, milestones, etc.); I told Mom a while back I have no idea how she or anyone else parented without the Internet there to provide answers or support 24/7. I (and Rich) have learned a lot along the way, and continue to do so. We’ve turned to our family and friends who are parents whenever we’ve had questions or needed advice; thankfully, that hasn’t been a frequent or regular thing. Oh, and I call the pediatrician about the seemingly most trivial things. They’ve got a great nurse line, and I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to something I never have to think about for myself (is it OK to use Neosporin on a cut? How much allergy medicine since she’s under 2? Is it OK to have peanut butter in the house?).

I’m doing the best I can to be a great mom to Coraline, and I will continue to do the best I can for her. She and I (and Rich) have gotten very good at learning as we go. I will say I truly believe I am mom enough for her. She’s happy, she’s smart, she’s healthy (save for those blasted allergies), she’s kind, she’s sweet, she’s confident, she’s fearless. I’ve had a hand in a lot of that, you know.

Walking hand in hand (5/7/12)

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All Work and No Fried Food Make Pattie a Dull Girl

Song Lyric of the Day:

Prepare a meal I can make / Sing funny songs / While it’s in the oven / Then take a bath with bubbles

I’m a recovering Catholic. I haven’t been to a Catholic mass in years, although I have been to other church services since (Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Unitarian Universalist) for various reasons. And while I’m not actively practicing Catholicism anymore, in recent years I’ve found myself giving something up for Lent. Turns out you can take the girl out of the church …

In recent years I’ve found myself sacrificing something for Lent not necessarily out of a religious need (OK, a little, but not a lot) but more to practice some self-discipline and sacrifice. I’ve given up fried chicken (which I LOVE), soda, and swearing (which was far harder than I expected), among other things. This year I decided to go one step further and really hit myself where it hurts: I’ve given up deep-fried food. And let me just say, it has not been easy. In addition to the obvious stuff like fried chicken and French fries, I can’t eat my beloved kettle-cooked potato chips, donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, even the complimentary tortilla chips at Mexican restaurants, to say nothing of my beloved fried chicken chimichangas (or taquitos for that matter). I knew I ate a lot of fried food, but I had no idea exactly how many things are deep-fried until I started asking, like hard taco shells (which I thought were baked) and my favorite restaurant shrimp dish, which I thought was pan-sauteed. Nope — turns out they’re deep-fried, too.

So why go with deep-fried food? Because not only am I a little thicker around the middle than I like these days, but I have a certain little someone in my life who is going to start eating solid foods in the very near future. And I have to set a good example for her. Which just might kill me, but that’s what being a parent is about, right? Setting a good example no matter how much it sucks. Now, if I don’t lose any weight after the 40 days are over, well, then I just might have to kill someone myself. Time — and exercise — will tell.

Coraline’s high chair awaits her.


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