As June comes to an end, I can't think of a better word to reflect the Baker household this month than Change. And pretty much all of the change has been in Addy's world. I really can't tell you how proud I am of her considering everything she has been through this month. This intro sounds like she has been through something completely traumatic, and honestly, when your talking life of a toddler....she has. In the last four weeks Addy has gone from a pappy worshiping, diaper wearing toddlerbaby to a pappy free, panty Princess. Yes, I am crazy and put my child through two major life changes in one month. I do nothing but preach "one major change at a time" so all I can say in my defense is, she was ready. Seriously...for both. She has handled it like a champ! I had no intentions of doing either really, it just happened that way. I have had several friends ask me how I've done both. I am certainly no parenting expert, truly, I'm a daily disaster! However, I will gladly share our stories in hopes that something I did might inspire or help someone else.
It was love at first sight. My daughter has taken a pacifier since the day she was born. My niece, Lucy, who was about 20 months old and just beginning to talk when we moved to Nashville, once called it a "pappy" and from then on that is what we called it.
This photo was taken at the hospital right before we took her home.
The Princess LOVES her pappy. She has had one clipped to every outfit she has ever worn, she has clips to match most outfits she has worn, she slept with one in her mouth and one in her hand for comfort. Y'all, I've actually seen her with more than one in her mouth! We never left the house without at least three just in case of an emergency. Forgetting her pappy would have been worse than forgetting milk or diapers. She was so unbelievably attached to that thing that I really would lie awake some nights wondering how and if we would ever be able to take it from her.
I think you see my point :) I knew we were approaching the time where something had to be done when I noticed that she was no longer taking the pappy out to talk. The Princess at first would take her pappy out to say something, then pop it back it. Then she just got too busy for that and would talk with it just dangling out of her mouth like a cigar. That was really enough for me but I still had no clue how to approach this. A girlfriend of mine was posting on facebook about breaking her son from his pacifier and he is younger than The Princess, so I bombarded her with as many questions as I could think of about what she did and decided that now was the time for us too. She began by reducing his pacifier to only sleep time and gradually weened from there. That sounded reasonable. So I decided that first thing in the morning when I got her out of bed, I would ask The Princess to leave her pappy on her bookshelf and explain that pappys were only for sleepy time, big girls didn't need one during the day. On the first day, she just took it out of her mouth, sat in on the shelf and took off towards the kitchen to wait for her breakfast. I seriously had to laugh. That was too easy! I was fully prepared for meltdown city after she ate. I brewed a full pot of coffee and made it extra strong...it was going to be a long day.
Bizarre right?! At nap time I gave it to her, she slept, then I repeated the same thing when she got up. Again, she willingly surrendered the pappy and went on about her business. She never asked for it. I couldn't wait to tell Justin. He was as shocked as I was. This went on for a couple of days. She was a little clingier and whinier than normal, but she never ever asked for it. At the end of like day 4 or 5 Justin and I were getting The Princess ready for bed. We were following our normal bedtime routine: bath, get on pjs, brush teeth and dry hair, then come back to the bedroom for story time, say prayers, sing songs, then lay down. All through this process Justin had the pappy in his hand where she could not see it. She never asked for it and never seemed to be looking for it. After the last song was sung we looked eachother in the eye and kinda shrugged and without speaking agreed to just see what happens. We tucked The Princess in her crib, snug as a bug in a rug with her milk cup and Quack Quack. We walked out and closed the door behind us and both looked like what in the world just happened. I don't even think I sat down for over 10 minutes because I knew she was going to start crying for it any minute. I was prepared to give it to her if she wanted it. We had agreed to do this gradually and I had no plans of just making her go cold turkey. We heard her in there singing "Bitsy Bitsy" spider for a while, and then nothing....she was asleep. WHAT!!?? I text everyone I knew...Addy went to bed without her pappy! Everyone pretty much had the same response, WHAT!!?? Crazy, I know. So we went to bed. I heard her over the monitor around 2 am. I was sleepy and not about to endure a midnight meltdown so I went down with the intention of handing it over. I got her out of bed and sat down in the rocker. I held her tight, sang a song, and rocked her. She went back to sleep. She NEVER asked for the pappy. I put her back down and she slept til morning. Insane! I seriously could not believe it. I was convinced it was a fluke. But night two and then three rolled around. Nothing. Day 3 she asked for it while we were in the grocery store. She always had it while riding in the shopping cart, of course. I guess maybe that triggered a memory or something. I just told her pappy was gone gone, that big girls didn't need one. She bought it. Now I will say that the first week or so was ROUGH behavior wise. She wasn't bad, but super clingy and whiney and her tantrums were bad because I had no way to console her and she had no idea how to console herself without it. But it got better. She puts her hands in her mouth much more now that she ever has before, but she has not picked up sucking her thumb...knock on wood! She has only asked for it that one time. After her first night without it, I took her to Target and allowed her to choose a toy that she liked and I explained to her that this was a big girl present because she was a big girl now and did not need her pappy. She chose a bunny house, that was basically a doll house that came with a bunny family. I let her choose it with no influence from me, she carried it to the checkout, I paid, then she carried it herself to the car. It was her first big girl shopping adventure. She loved it. I did a major sweep of our house and searched high and low for pappys. I didn't want her to find one and have a set back. I warned my Mom too before we came for a visit. I think I gathered 8 :) I had to keep one pappy and one pappy clip for my Addy box. A special box where I keep baby things that will always make me think of my sweet angel. She has been three weeks without it!
I had been thinking of starting potty training with The Princess for a while. She has been interested in the potty since Mom bought her one last fall. She has loved going to the bathroom when I go and sitting clothed on her little potty. She would "wipe" and throw her toilet paper in the potty. She really just seemed to like the process. Even at my Mom's house she would go with her and sit on her scale that sat next to the toilet and pretent to potty. She also would tell me sometimes when she was wet or dirty, but she was never really consistent with it. I have done a ton of reading online about potty training and solicited advice from family and friends. But even with all of this in mind, I still had no plan of action for us. One night last week, out of no where, Justin suggested I potty train her before I start working in August, that it would be easier to do it now. I just kind of laughed like, yeah ok I'll get right on that. She was only 2 weeks out from giving up the pappy and I just felt it would be too much. But then I also kept thinking how well she did coming off the pappy. She was a total rockstar with it! Still, I wasn't convinced it was the right time. So last Wednesday The Princess and I were in Costco. We were looking through the clothing and of course something Dora caught her eye. What a coincidence, it was Dora panties. She had a fit for them and this just seemed to be my sign! I bought them. I went it to it with this attitude: We will try it for a few days. If it isn't working, we will stop and try again in a few weeks. I did not want to put a lot of pressure on her or stress her out about going to the potty. We had a busy day so when we finally got settled in at home that afternoon I asked her if she wanted to wear her new big girl panties. She did. We sat on the potty forstinkinever and nothing. So I put her panties on and let her go. About 2 minutes later she peed on the couch. I didn't freak out. I cleaned her up, we sat on the potty again and nothing...because it was all on the couch. Panty #2 and off she went. About 30 minutes later, while I was cooking dinner, she peed in the kitchen floor....so did Darby. I didn't freak out, but I put a pull up on her, we ate dinner, she got a bath, diaper and jammies, and day 1 was over. I was discouraged. I talked to my Mom and she suggested doing something with stickers because The Princess is ca-razy for stickers. I did some reading online and came up with a plan. She got up the next morning, we sat on the potty, nothing. Panties on and off she went. She peed in her panties during breakfast...on the couch again. I stripped the couch cushion covers off to wash and thought about calling this whole thing off. I waited about 30 minutes after she finished her breakfast and then asked if she wanted to go potty. She went. We sat and we sat and we sat and we sat...and then I hear a PLOP. Houston, we have a poopoo. She Pooped in the potty. People, I swear to you, I teared up. It was one of the best moments of my life. I couldn't believe it. My little baby was poopooing in the big potty! Faith was restored. I put a pull up on her and we headed to the Dollar Tree. I let her pick out her own poster board and we picked a ton of stickers. During her nap I made her potty chart and taped it to the wall in the bathroom. I made it calendar style and was pretty impressed with myself :) When she woke up from her nap, I sat her on the potty. We sat and we sat and we sat and we sat...and then I heard a tinkle. She PEEEEEED! I was so excited. I showed her the chart, talked about the stickers and let her put 3 of them on the chart. She didn't really get the whole calender concept and I didn't care! She could stick those things where ever as long as she was peeing in the potty! She didn't have an accident for the rest of the day! We are one week into potty training and she is doing awesome! I am so impressed with her, she really is an amazing kid, but maybe I'm just a little partial :) Yesterday she had NO accidents! She has even started telling me when she needs to go. In the beginning she only did this once or twice when she needed to poop, never pee. But now she is starting to get both. Here is exactly what I did:
1. The potty chart: The potty chart hangs in the bathroom where she can see it and show it off to visitors :) She has stickers with her favorite cartoon characters, which she loves! She gets 1 sticker for sitting on the potty, even if she doesn't do anything. She gets 3 stickers for peepee and 5 stickers for poop. And on the occassion that she pees and poops (it has happened twice) we go a little sticker crazy. I make a HUGE deal about her chart and tell her how awesome and pretty it is. I say "WOW! Look at all those stickers Addy. You are a big girl for peepeeing in the potty!" She loves it!
2. Activities: In the bathroom I have some of her favorite books to read while she sits. Sometimes I take the IPad so she can play games and she also likes to take her VReader. Basically, I turned our bathroom into a happening place to be! I try to make it fun so that she doesn't mind sitting in there. Sometimes we are sitting for a loooong time, really like 30 minutes so I don't want her getting bored. Fun is the key! We sing songs, tickle, count, name body parts...etc. Whatever shes in the mood for!
3. Potty Treats: I found a cute little princess bucket in the dollar bins at Target and I filled it with M&Ms. I got this idea from my sister in law, this helped with my niece's potty training. I have never given her a lot of candy, so this is something special. I call them Potty Treats and she only gets them if she actually potties. She gets 3 for pee and 4 for poop. Trust me, she never lets me forget this step!
4. Accidents: I never shame, punish, or get upset if she has an accident. I am as cool as a cucumber as my Mimi would say. I don't make a big deal out of it at all. I take her by the hand, we walk into the bathroom and I just clean her up and put on a fresh pair of panties. I reassure her that it is ok and everyone has accidents. She has always told me immediately when she has an accident. She usually says, uh-oh I peepee in the floor...or I peepee in the dogcage. Yes that happened. In the last day or two she has even stopped herself and told me and we made it to the potty in time to finish, both pee and poo. That makes me feel like she is getting it. I just keep it calm and easy breezy. No pressure no stress on her.
5. Panties: You gotta have cool panties! The Princess has Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Minnie Mouse panties. I keep them in a drawer that she can access so that she can pick out the pair that she wants to put on. I did a lot of reading on pull ups vs. panties. What I got from it was that really pullups aren't that effective because they aren't much different than diapers. They are more convenient to get off and on, thats about it. With panties, they can really feel when they have soiled themselves. When she has on a pullup, she never tells me when she has had an accident, just as she never did in a diaper. So at home, she wears panties. It is messier and I've had to clean pee off the couch, the carpet, and the kitchen floor, but thats ok. She naps in a pull up and if we go out she wears a pull up. She only wears a diaper at night. For the last three days she has been dry through her nap and this morning she was dry.
This was after her first day of potty training. She earned 8 stickers! I am so so proud of my girl!
Reading Cordurory...in all her jewlery. Pretty cute huh!?
Potty Time with Daddy
The Potty Chart after 1 week. She has earned a bunch!
The potty station
Princess toilet paper. A must :)
The stickers and the Dora Potty Book. It makes various potty sounds when you push the little buttons at certain parts of the story. She loves it! In case you can't tell, she loves Dora!!
My little potty princess tonight during her bath. I couldn't resist sharing this one :)
So this is what is working for us so far. I know this is only the beginning and we have a long road a head of us. I have not seen the last of the peepee on the couch! She is by no means potty trained, but I think she is off to a fantastic start. That little girl is so precious to me and she is so smart. She surprises me every day. I just love her so much.
At the same time I am feeling so excited and so proud of all of these changes and the progress the Princess has made this month, I have also felt some sadness. I don't have a baby anymore. There are no more bottles, pappys, or diapers. The only baby thing that remains is her crib, and that will more than likely not be around much longer either. She is a little girl. I cleaned out her closet last week and came across several baby things.It got me a little emotional. I can't help but miss that little butterball that just warmed my heart with every giggle and drool. But I also can't imagine my life without the crazy little ball of energy that tornados through my living room with 10 necklances on, pushing a shopping cart and singing Jesus Loves Me.