Potty Training Tip – Beware the Fancy Diapers!

toddler upsidedown $

Beware the fancy diapers!

I thought we were doing my daughter a favor by getting her the really soft disposable diapers. Sure they were more expensive, but she was our firstborn, our baby! I gathered up all my diaper samples from the various baby expos I’d attended and did a complete, almost scientific, brand test. Some of the diapers leaked on us, some were so papery they crinkled every time she moved and I worried the rustling would be loud enough to disturb her sleep (yes, I was paranoid), and some just seemed really scratchy. Didn’t we love our daughter enough to spend a few extra dollars to prevent an itchy and uncomfortable feeling that we wouldn’t put up with ourselves? Well, when you put it that way…

I later discovered our fancy disposable diaper brand also had a loyalty rewards program with some pretty cool “free” stuff we could earn (with points from our purchases) and I’m a huge sucker for that kind of stuff. So that, plus the fact we had no complaints (no rashes, etc), kept us from switching brands as she got older. We did eventually get a big plastic Little Tikes grocery cart for “free” which I still find totally awesome (please do not reply with logic about how with all the extra money we could have saved by buying cheaper diapers we could have bought 10 grocery carts – I don’t want to hear it. It was free I tell you, free!!).

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It was free I tell you, free!! (doll not included)

Then came potty training. Or it should have. We passed her second birthday and her third and still my daughter had no problems being wet or poopy. Like no problems whatsoever. She would have stayed in one diaper for the rest of eternity if left to herself. As I scoured potty training guides and parent manuals, many said the first step was for your child to show readiness, meaning discomfort being wet or soiled, or at least notifying you in some way before or after. Of course this is all usually supposed to happen a lot sooner too. We got nothing. I might have tried the “run naked and free until you feel pee dribbling down your leg” method but we have carpet throughout our house so I stuck that in the last resort file. I also read that rushing potty training can seriously backfire (constipation, taking longer to train overall, etc.) so I just kept telling myself, it’d be fine, no one goes to prom in diapers.

minnie potty chair

Our 3rd potty – the self “flusher” that says “hip hip horray” made this one the winner

We decided to move our daughter into Pull-Ups even before she was “ready” to potty train because 1. she was too big for the changing table, 2. we wanted to associate the changing table with babies, like her brother, not big girls like her and 3. we wanted her to get in the habit of pulling her diaper on and off by herself. But we stuck with our expensive brand out of habit. I tried giving O lots of liquids and asking her to try to use the potty every 10 or 15 minutes but she would go in her diaper directly before or after sitting on her potty. I tried demonstrating for her. I even tried a different potty that mounted onto the big toilet. Still no success. I think she knew exactly what I was asking for, but her body wasn’t cooperating; it just hadn’t clicked yet.

CVS brand pull up diapers

CVS brand pull up diapers. AKA not fancy.

Then we went to a CVS I’d never been to before due to a mix-up with a prescription at the pharmacy. I have a secret love for drugstores like Walgreens or Rite Aid; stores where there’s a little bit of everything and you never know what you’ll find, and where there’s always a holiday section filled with cheesy adorable themed knickknacks you don’t need (I always end up buying 1 or 2). While living in Boston, I discovered that very CVS is different, so I’d always wander the aisles whenever I was in a new store or just had time to kill (this is all related, I swear). While wandering this time for new and interesting products I didn’t know I needed, I noticed a super sale on the CVS brand pull-ups and I swear a light bulb clicked on above my head. What if the super plush, super absorbent, fancy diapers were part of the problem? What if she needs a flimsy, cheap diaper to feel that she’s wet and that wet is not good? What if she needs an uncomfortable diaper to motivate her to switch into comfy cotton undies? I still had fears about leakage but the sale was enough to prompt me to give it a try. Wait… what are my design options? Adorable alien monsters and/or pink butterflies? Ok, Sold.

It was like magic. Once we started wearing the cheapy diapers, O started telling us when she wet her diaper. So we started regularly asking her if she had to go, or to just sit and give it a try, and finally she successfully used the potty. I went the bribe route by offering m&ms for every attempt which worked sometimes but O was still going in her diaper frequently. The turning point was when she had 2 total leak-through accidents within 2 days (something that would never have happened in her expensive pull-ups) and suddenly the switch in her brain flipped. She’s been using the potty like a pro ever since. She has actually requested to wear her undies at night too and has stayed dry (5 nights and counting!!).

So there’s my cautionary tale. Should have saved this post for Halloween, haha. Beware!!

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Wiggle Monsters at Bedtime

I wonder if it’s just hereditary. My husband always sleeps with his head cocked at an unnatural angle, has a history of talking in his sleep and sometimes sleepwalking (well, more like sleep fixing cars). My parents, on the other hand, always joked I could sleep through an atomic bomb (that ended abruptly when I developed the mommy sixth sense upon having a baby). So it’s definitely Daddy’s fault, let’s just be clear before we begin, haha.

My oldest was always an excellent sleeper as a baby; like right out of a paid infant sleep program infomercial. She went down while still semi-awake, would chatter to herself for a while, and then sleep for 6-8 hours straight. (I know!). So whatever she did after we put her to bed we had no idea except that she would often be completely flipped around in the crib in the morning.

Turns out she must have been turning somersaults all night. Since her transition to a big girl bed, when we’ve become aware of these nightly escapades, it seems that flopping around like crazy, illogically as it sounds, is necessary to calm herself down to sleep. She pushes her butt up in the air so that she’s semi standing on her head, she lays on her back with her legs straight up in the air, she fiddles with her hands, then she flops side to side until she passes out. I’d say it’s restless leg syndrome except it effects her entire body. And she has fits of wiggles punctuating the night too.

Obviously my husband and I knew we could not possibly have the same sleep luck with a second child. And since I was able to breastfeed Number 2, our sleep routine was necessarily different as well. I learned about his wiggle addiction much earlier. As he’s nursing to sleep, Number 2 has to kick his legs (Has to. I’ve tried holding his legs against me, in a you’re safe and secure way, and he’ll struggle to get his legs free; not because he wants them straight or he’s getting into a comfy position, just to continue kicking). He also has to open and close his hands repeatedly. Usually he’ll grab around a finger or part of my nursing bra but lately he’s been going for skin (ouch!). He’s also been known to repeatedly smack himself in the face with an arm while nursing and almost asleep (not joking). And of course he doesn’t even flinch, self-inflicted face smacking doesn’t wake him up in the slightest, but I drop a blanket softly over his legs and he’s instantly awake. Anyway, he doesn’t stop moving some part of his body until he’s dead asleep and even then I’m convinced he’d still suck forever if he could.

On one level I’m thinking that all this wiggling doesn’t seem to bother my babies so why should I care? I almost want to liken it to the habit of a dog who has to turn exactly 3 circles before laying down on his designated end of the couch to sleep. Just one of those odd things, but if it makes you feel better, go for it. But on another level I’m in the shallow end of irrational paranoia predicting diseases that haven’t even been named yet. My daughter has also recently started having night terrors with no known trigger (you know, where your peaceful child wakes up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder and then fall back asleep like nothing ever happened with no recollection of it the next morning whatsoever? fun stuff).

So I wonder if this restless routine of fighting sleep is somehow related to sleep problems in general (current or future). Or maybe it’s just something lots of kids do? Or, like I said at the beginning, maybe it’s just a way of being that runs in families. I didn’t find much in my searches online. Anyone else have a wiggle monster at bedtime?

Potty Training on the Road

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This is as close to the water as O would go

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Adorable baby in a wetsuit. And super pale mommy in the SPF 50 protected beach tent

There always comes a time in every parent’s journey where something unplanned happens. As a super worrier, hyper planner and research lover, it doesn’t happen to me often. But, of course, it happened this weekend.

We decided (thunderstorm forecasts be damned!) to go to the beach and since we got there at about 9 am, we had plenty of time to play before the weather and waves turned nasty. O has been potty training at home but we’ve never done anything out of the house where a bathroom wasn’t very easily accessible (the mall or a restaurant, for example). Being the prepared mom I am though, I found these awesome portable, disposable lifesavers called Potty Flip. I think I actually bought a big set of them on sale when O was around 12 months old knowing I’d need them eventually. So, after having our beach fun, we got the car packed up and asked O if she needed to go. She used the Potty Flip for “number 2” (awesome!!) and it worked out great. I gave her a handful of trail mix that included 2 m&ms as a treat because I forgot to bring stickers and yes, we’re using the classic bribery method of training. I do a little I’m-an-awesome-and-totally-prepared-mom dance as I get in the car.

Well, everything is great until about 15 minutes later when O asks for “some more treat.” I tell her that we were done with treats for now but offer a cheese stick if she was feeling hungry. She passes on the nutritious food option. Guess what happens next. Never underestimate a preschooler’s brain. O puts 2 and 2 together and says, “I have to go potty!”

Clearly she’s asking to get another treat. But maybe she really has to go also. Obviously giving in and tossing her some candy in the hope that satisfies her for a while is not going to work (unfortunately). There is nothing around us but traffic. My husband and I look at one another. Neither one of us says a thing but I can tell his brain is churning out every scenario on the planet just like mine is. Do we stop on the shoulder and have her squat in nature? (ew). Do we just keep driving and pray for no mess? (at least we have towels).

O cannot hear our brains and repeats herself. Mimi (Grandma) senses it may take longer for us to compose words than a 3 year old’s patience (or she sees the terrified look in our eyes) and says, “Ok, I hear you have to go potty. Let’s try and hold it for a few minutes and Mommy and Daddy will find a place to stop for you.” Oh thank god! … Wait, oh no…  we might as well have just told our daughter to go surf an eggplant because “holding it” is a totally foreign concept. As I’m cursing myself for not having thought about explaining this ahead of time and trying to find a way to phrase it in an understandable way now, we see a sight I never thought I’d be so grateful for: golden arches.

In case you’re wondering, yes she was able to hold it. Yes, she really did have to go (a little). And yes she got another little treat.

I was not endorsed, sponsored or compensated in any way for the product mention in this blog.

Planning O’s 3rd Birthday Party

This is the outfit she picked today (she's also recently mastered the stink face)

This was today’s outfit choice (she’s also recently mastered the stink face)

I just realized that having complete creative freedom (which I love) over my children’s birthday parties isn’t going to last much longer. Actually, I’m pretty sure this is the last party I’ll be able to dream up all on my own. O is turning 3 in a few months and already enjoys issuing commands and expressing her strong opinions (one of my favorites, complete with finger wag, is “No no no, Mama. No singing!”).

So, even though I have another baby who’s still too young to tell me he doesn’t want to wear the adorable faux suspenders and bow-tie I picked out, I’m sure by the time Number 2’s first birthday rolls around, O will have gained the ability to telepathically communicate his desires for him.

Soon, I imagine I’m going to have to come up with amazing parties based on vague but intense requests like: a big green garbage truck, sparkle magic, flying sharks or tomato soup (I had a nightmare about that last one). But for now I want O’s party to just be a reflection of her personality and interests at this time in her life. Last year I did a moon and stars birthday party because she was obsessed with seeing the celestial bodies every evening on our summertime walks. This year almost spoke for itself. Here’s a list of our most common exchanges:

  • What do you want to wear today? “This orange shirt,” grabbing well-worn Halloween t-shirt (pants are always optional in her book).
  • What do you want for breakfast? “Orange juice.” (repeat answer at all meal times)
  • We’re at the grocery store, what do we need? She points to a package probably containing candied octopus or something equally disgusting and says, “Orange box. In the cart, please.”
  • Here’s your lunch, honey. “Nooooo, orange bowl!!!!”
my rough but awesome cake idea

my rough but awesome cake idea

But, a party just based on a single color seemed a little boring. So, after looking around online for ideas, I found a gorgeous orange and blue party invite that inspired an accent color. And I kept my ears open for any new favorites cementing in my preschooler’s mind. Luckily, (since we’re t-minus 2 months for this party) more inspiration came quickly: O started talking about butterflies randomly and then non-stop. She makes everything from her toy train and pirate to her princess figurine and squeaky frog fly “with the butterflies” during playtime, and at night, if I tell her the butterflies are going to sleep too, it seems to make bedtime easier for some adorable reason. So it’s now officially an orange party with butterflies (Note: not just orange butterflies because in my mind that = monarchs = Halloween colors. I know, I’m difficult).

VintageConfections Large number 3 hard candy lollipop

VintageConfections Large number 3 hard candy lollipop

I’ve (very badly) sketched out a cake idea above – feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. My fabulous chef sister has offered to make butterfly cookies so I plan on showcasing her talents by sticking 3 or 4 on the cake. And, I think the number 3 is going to be a yellow hard candy lollipop from VintageConfections on Etsy (pictured left) – they have so many drool-worthy flavors, I might end up getting more to hoard and eat use as favors.

The rest is still in the brainstorm stage but follow my Pinterest board for more cool ideas as we get closer to B-day.

Surprise Subscription Boxes for Mommy and Baby

If you haven’t heard about the latest craze (and/or you remember the CD and video of the month clubs of yore), monthly subscription services are back! Online sites are now offering everything from beauty boxes and shoes to gourmet tasting packages and t-shirts– all shipped right to your door every month full of fun surprises. But, of course, it’s the cool mommy and baby stuff we’re interested in for this blog and there are lots of those to choose from in that category too! Here are your options:

Citrus Lane – I believe this was the first monthly box club to launch in the mother/baby category and they’ve grown quickly for good reason. Featuring 1 or 2 full size products per box, sample size products, coupons/gift cards and cute monthly themes like Bed and Bathtime Fun or Fun in the Sun, Citrus Lane is perfect for moms with newborns or children up to 3 years old. In past boxes I received things like: an iPlay Sun Protection Hat (with SPF 50+), an Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened reusable snack bag, Ella’s Kitchen food pouches, Green Sprouts Stacking Duck Set for the bath, a full size Seventh Generation Natural Hand Wash, and a Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum Deluxe Sample. They also have a special stand alone Pampered Pregnancy box and a Deluxe Baby Shower box which are both perfect to give as gifts. You get one box a month and Citrus Lane offers a few different subscription options:

  • pay as you go – $25/month
  • $75 for 3 month membership
  • $125 for 6 month membership (1 month free!)
  • $250 for 12 month membership (2 months free!)
  • $65 for the Pampered Pregnancy box (one box only)
  • $35 for the Deluxe Shower box (one box only)

Bluum – UPDATE: Bluum has changed their pricing, it is now $24.95/month and features more full size items in larger boxes. They also now have boxes for children up to 36 months. Bluum still focuses on items for both mommy and baby.

This is the least expensive option, so it’s great if you’re feeling unsure about the whole subscription club thing, commitment, money in general, etc. It is also the smallest box, about 6×4 inches, but you’re still getting a lot for your money. Bluum boxes feature tons of sample size products for mommy and babies 0-12 months – and if you try something and love it, it’s easy to find information on purchasing the full size versions. In past boxes I received things like: Adagio Pai Mu Tan Tea, Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion, So Easy Portion Storage Bags and PINXAV Diaper Rash Ointment. Plus Bluum places a high priority on organic and natural products – bonus! You have 3 subscription options with Bluum which are:

  • pay as you go – $11/month
  • $33 for 3 month membership
  • $60 for 6 month membership

PetiteBox – UPDATE: PetiteBox is temporarily suspending subscriptions. Not known when they’ll resume business.

This company just launched, their first boxes went out in June. Unlike the other companies mentioned, PetiteBox will begin catering to you while you’re still pregnant and then, based on your due date, will change over to baby-related products when your little one is born up to 12 months old. The subscription ends automatically at baby’s first birthday. The PetiteBox representative I spoke with at the Big City Moms Baby Shower said that PetiteBox is striving to be a more luxurious, higher end alternative (which is evident just from the gorgeous ribbon trimmed boxes they’ve got – definitely saving those to reuse somehow).

  • pay as you go – $25/month

TeetheMe– UPDATE: TeetheMe stopped service in October 2012.

Similar to Citrus Lane, TeetheMe is for moms with newborns to kids up to 3 years old. However, TeetheMe is also a full-out community too – they want members to write rate and write reviews for the items they received, share pictures and milestones of their little ones, and find a one stop destination for blogs and trends on the site. The Little Teethers Community for Moms just launched with Facebook and Twitter integration and it looks promising. But going back to the boxes, every month TeetheMe sends you 4 to 5 products. In my past box I received: a Green Sprouts Plate Set, Earth Mama Angel Baby Calm & Clean Hand to Toe Wash and Bottom Balm samples, and NurturMe dehydrated baby food pouches. Their subscription options include free boxes for longer commitments:

  • pay as you go – $24/month
  • $72 for 3 month membership
  • $120 for 6 month membership (1 month free!)
  • $240 for 1 year membership (2 months free!)

Stork Stack – Stork Stack sends out 5 products a month customized for you and baby and can start as early as your 3rd Trimester of pregnancy and last up until your child’s 3rd birthday. As with the other companies, they promise mom-tested (and loved) products tailored to you (click here for an example of one of their past boxes/Stacks). They also offer a never changing Shower Stack to use as a baby shower gift – you can also see a picture of that box using the link above. But what makes Stork Stack special is that they give back to philanthropic organizations to “deliver Stacks of love to families in need.” Stock Stack is currently partnering with Operation Showers of Appreciation (baby showers of support for separated military families) and BabyBuggy.org. Just by being a member you’re helping out those in need, but depending on the membership option you choose, you can also give a little more directly too:

  • pay as you go – $28/month
  • $84 for 3 months + one donated to a family in need
  • $168 for 6 months + 2 donated to families in need
  • $336 for annual membership + 3 donated to families in need
  • $40 Shower Stack (one box only)

Honorable mention to these other monthly subscription sites:

  • Spark Box – age appropriate toy rental for ages 0-4
  • Wittlebee – age specific clothing for sizes newborn to 5T
  • Kiwi Crate – crafty boxes for ages 3-7
  • BabbaCo – themed boxes containing projects, activities & books for ages 3-6
  • Little Passports – global exploration kits for ages 5-10
  • Green Kid Crafts – 3 or more planet-friendly crafts monthly for ages 3-8
  • MommeBox – seasonal products & services for moms
  • The Little Book Club – 3 or more age appropriate books monthly for ages 0-6
  • The Happy Trunk – themed crafty boxes in 2 tiers: ages 3-7 and ages 7-11
  • Parents TLC – baby, kiddo, mommy & me and even pet boxes all on one site
  • ZooBean – book subscription boxes
  • M is for Monster – weekly themes with 2 to 3 projects for each theme

And one last thing to add (hint to future entrepreneurs): Where are the Daddy boxes?!!

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