Sunday, November 22, 2009

Update on Our EC Journey

As you may remember, we're practicing part-time elimination communication with Little Bit. For the most part that's meant we offer the potty when we change diapers, or if it's been awhile and she's still dry. But as she's gotten older we've made some changes, so I thought I'd update:

Nighttime: I had no plans to do nighttime EC, quite frankly, I like my sleep! BUT . . . she had other ideas. She started getting really restless during certain times of the night. At first I thought she was objecting to a wet diaper, so I pulled out the Fuzzi Bunz we used for the girls (that have a fleece inner layer that keeps baby from feeling wet) and even tried disposables at night, but neither seemed to make any difference, so I concluded that it was NEEDING to pee that was disturbing her (and therefore my) sleep. BUT she's always objected strongly to being pottied at night. After some trial and error, here's what I figured out that's working quite well . . . instead of a regular cloth diaper & cover, I just put her in a prefold held on with a prefold belt. Then I put a wool pad down under her. I made wool pads buy getting wool sweaters from Goodwill, washing them in hot water & drying them in the dryer (to "felt" them), then cutting a sweater into one long flat pad (cut the arms off, cut ONE side seam) then I put it in a king-size pillowcase so it's not scratchy. And I got a couple inexpensive fleece baby blankets & put one on top of her. Both wool and fleece work to keep any accidents from getting on the bed or blankets. I also have a felted wool blanket on the bed as a mattress pad, but by laying her on the wool pad I don't have to change the sheets if she pees, just change the pillowcase on the wool pad.

So . . . when she gets restless at night I sit up in bed, put a plastic bowl between my legs (I tailor sit, and have a bowl just the right size to fit between my legs), then I pull the front of the prefold out of the belt, and lay her in my lap w/ her butt in the bowl & the prefold behind her, then I latch her on & let her nurse while she pees. When she's done I set the bowl aside where it won't get spilled, tuck the front of the prefold back into the prefold belt, and lay back down all while she keeps on nursing. It only takes a couple minutes, because I can do it all WHILE she's nursing she never fully wakes up or cries, and once she's peed she's able to nurse back to sleep, whew!

So that was our unintentional journey into nighttime EC.

Now for daytime, honestly how many catches we have comes down to how much attention *I* am paying, although we also have "off" days where she objects to being pottied, only to pee 2 minutes later, but oh well . . .I've found that now that she's mobile, diapers are nearly impossible to put on her. She USUALLY poops in the potty, and if she does poop in a diaper, it's solid enough to be easy to dump into the potty (and she often does it standing up which means it's not all smeared around if I catch her right away). So . . . we've moved almost exclusively to training pants! I'd gotten some Gerber 2t ones and they're a little big, but work ok. I often will use the prefold belt to add just a little extra "security" around the top waistband. I found they aren't quite absorbent enough, but I have some thin doublers I'd gotten earlier which lay nicely into the trainer and make it just the amount of absorbency we need. Then, when I went to the Amish store near us to get more doublers I found that they have Gerber trainers in size 18mo which fit even better, so I got some of them too! At home I generally keep her in just a trainer/doubler (and am working on sewing the doublers into the trainers, just attached in front, so they'll dry faster when I hang them dry) when we go out, I often have a better rate of "catches" than here at home because I offer anytime we're at the car, but if we're going to be somewhere where other people might be holding her I usually put a wool pull-on cover over the trainer so that it's water proof.

I'm starting to notice a certain face she makes sometimes when she needs to potty, and sometimes she "grunts" like she would WHILE pooping, before she poops, so I can put her on the potty and then she'll poop, so I think we're getting closer to her consistently telling me when she needs to potty instead of relying on timing like I've done up until now. I'm hopeful that we'll get to a point where she makes a sound/face/sign that is easily recognizable so that the big girls, dh, etc will also be able to tell when she needs to potty. But for now, we go through 6-8 trainers a day, plus 1-2 prefolds at night, and she's definitely maintaining an awareness of her elimination which will hopefully mean easy/early "potty training".

And Now to Catch-up

Let's see . . . last weekend we ended up going to my parents. It was a last minute decision, we decided Tues night or Wed morning (don't remember which) to go down there on Thurs. So took some rearranging of our week, but we managed.

The one downside, the big girls had been doing REALLY well at doing their chores without reminders and somehow the trip seems to have messed that up, we've struggled with chores again this week, sigh. But such is life.

My aunt and uncle, and cousin were visiting, which is why we decided to go so close to Thanksgiving. The girls were beyond thrilled to get to see Cousin Dennis! They hadn't seen him since the weekend after Little Bit was born.

.sarvcravcxtvvvvvvvf, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The above is brought to you courtesy of Little Bit, I walked away from the computer for a minute and she decided she had something to say, hee hee.

What else have we been up to?

L has decided that she wants to be called by her full name instead of the nickname we've used since she was born. Which means she is no longer an "L" but now another "A". So, I guess to honor her request, even in cyberland, we will now call L "A1" and A "A2". Or at least I'll try to remember.

We've been busy doing Thanksgiving-y crafts and regular school stuff and playing outside as much as we can while the weather remains so lovely . . .

I was asked to be on the newly formed Investment Committee for the PA Conf of SDA (where hubby works) and the first meeting was last Wed. My plan was just to bring the kids along and the big girls could play in Daddy's office, or the yard outside Daddy's office, or talk to various people at the office while I was in the meeting. But the receptionist/secretary has a daughter a little older than A1 & A2, and she was leaving before I'd be done the meeting, so offered to take them home with her to play with her daughter. A was nervous about it, but agreed, and they had a blast, didn't want to leave when I came to pick them up LOL. Little Bit spent the meeting napping or crawling around under our feet (yes, I warned them before I agreed to be on the committee that baby comes where I go LOL).

In other "we're getting more independent" news, after Sabbath School this week the big girls asked Daddy "where did you go during class?" he said "I went to a grown-up class, you don't need me in here anymore" and they just said "ok" and that was that, so guess they're ok with that now too . . .

Little Bit is a VERY proficient crawler now and she continues to try to let go when she's standing up, she generally plops down or grabs back onto whatever, but still . . . she CAN stand just holding on with one hand, and even just holding onto rather unstable things, like my skirt.

She had a check-up week before last and weighs almost 18 lbs, and is doing everything a 9 mo old should be doing (she'll be 8 mo this next week) except playing pattycake.

She LOVES to eat food. Everything from cheerios to sweet potato fries to guacamole . . .

DH will be changing jobs (but not employers) as of Dec. 1. His new job will include more travel, but hopefully less weekend work. And the overnight travel, we can go with him when we want to. We're looking forward to checking out some new zoos and museums around our state, and surrounding ones and playing in hotel pools.

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but that at least gets us relatively up to date.

L's Haircut!!

I'm way behind and need to catch-up, and hopefully WILL, but before I do anything else, I wanted to post about L's haircut! A little background, last SPRING I tried to convince both big girls to let me cut their hair to a little below their shoulders. They have some straggly pieces that are that length from a toddler scissor incident (that conveniently hides well in their curly hair, but still) so I thought it would be cooler for summer and clean up those straggles. Neither of them were open to the idea at that point, but later in the summer L started saying she wanted to cut her hair like I'd suggested. I wanted to do it at my mom's since Mom &/or Grandma have actual hair-cutting scissors and some experience cutting hair, and there's a higher adult to kid ratio when we're there, and we just kept forgetting when we were there to do it. We FINALLY remembered on Sunday night when we were there last weekend, and went ahead & did it. First, here are the before pictures: L's answer to "how long do you want it" was "whatever Mommy wants" and my thought was a little below the shoulder BUT . . . see how that head is tilted for the first cut? Neither Mom nor I noticed that until AFTER the first cut, so we ended up with a little above the shoulder. But it turned out really cute just the same:
She's loving it this length and says she wants to keep it like this, and is thrilled to find that she can brush her own hair and that it doesn't hurt to brush. Daddy's not so sure about it, says she looks much too old this way, hee hee. A isn't real happy because "now we can't trick people", but is also adamant that she wants to keep her hair long for now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Last Week's Wrap-Up

I'm only a couple days behind . . . last week was a good week. We continue to have many warm, sunny days, most of which find us at the playground in the afternoon. It works out so nicely for the big kids to play while Little Bit finishes her nap (driving in the car generally puts her to sleep, just like it did her big sisters at this age) and I get to read, listen to CDs, knit, etc.

We've stretched our Halloween out abit this year, after attempting to trick-or-treat at the mall on Sat. night (a disaster, it was SOOO crowded, it is NOT worth the candy to have to stand in line forever!) we visited our neighbor, Miss Judy on Sunday night & she took pictures (which I'll post when I can get the photo adder thingy to work . . . ) and we "wrapped up" Halloween by visiting another neighbor, Miss Denise THIS Sunday evening (she wasn't home last week).

School continues . . . last week for Bible one activity was to learn the books of the Bible so we are working on that. Conveniently the girls have been learning a song in Sabbath School for the OT books, so they have a good start on those.

We finished up Little House on the Prairie and moved into By the Banks of Plum Creek. Most days, after listening to the "required" chapters the girls, especially L, ask for more, but we're trying to stay on track . . . some of their favorite assignments have been the nature/art ones, where we read about/discuss a wildflower, etc and then they get to draw a picture of it, so I decided to expand on that and let them each start a nature notebook. Each week we (them, unless they can't think of something) will choose something they'd like to learn about and we'll read about it & they'll draw a picture. We'll also try to do nature walks, etc. Yesterday when we were driving home from the playground we passed a whole herd of deer in a field, so L decided she wanted us to learn about deer this week. I happened to have a Deer Unit Study in my files so I used that to give us something to read about & today had them draw a picture of deer, then the next couple of days I have some additional "lapbook" activities related to deer that we will do, and put in their nature notebook.

Another assignment I'd given them a couple weeks ago was to do all their chores one day w/o me having to remind them. I "cheat" some and . . . warn them that I'll be checking their chart soon, but the main thing I'm trying to get away from is the CONSTANT reminders/nagging . . . if I can get it down to just reminding them 3 times a day (their chores are essentially divided into 3 "blocks") I'll be thrilled. So anyway . . . last Wednesday they finally were successful in remembering all day, so on Friday (because I forgot on Thurs, bad mommy!) we went for donuts. NOW their new assignment/challenge is to go a whole WEEK without reminders, we started yesterday, so far, so good . . . A especially is really getting into it, which is, of course wonderful . . . the next challenge will be a whole MONTH, and hopefully by then it will be a habit that won't require additional incentive . . .

Something I've been working on in the last couple of weeks is getting Little Bit's morning nap to not be a "nurping session" (nursing/napping), sometimes on weekends dh will end up taking a shower after Little Bit's been up for a couple hours and put her in the swing in the bathroom while he showers, and she would fall asleep & take a good-length nap in the swing. But I was in the habit of taking a shower/getting dressed as soon as I got up each morning, so of course she wasn't tired then, and just played in the swing during my 2-3 min shower. Which was fine for getting me clean, but . . . it occurred to me that it is very rarely that I NEED to be dressed before late-morning, so there's really no reason I can't wait & take my shower/get dressed after she's been up for awhile. After experimenting with that last week & the week before, I determined that she seems to be ready to go down for a nap about 2 hours after she gets up in the morning SO . . . yesterday I talked to A & L and told them that if they could stay focused, I thought we should be able to get our morning chores/breakfast done in an hour and then school done in an hour so that we'd be done w/ chores and school when Little Bit's ready to nap. If we can do that, then they can do their copywork (part of school, but a part that doesn't require anything from me) while I take a shower & then we can do something fun (craft, baking, etc) while she naps. BUT if they dilly dally and don't get chores/school done, then we'll have to spend her naptime finishing that up.

So, this morning was our first test . . . and wouldn't you know it, for some reason Little Bit was WIDE AWAKE by 5:30 (she normally wakes up between 7 & 8am, similar to when, usually soon after, the big girls wake up), sigh . . .I was SOO frustrated. I was afraid this was going to really ruin the whole "experiment" because the girls would be upset if we couldn't do things like we'd planned (since of course they weren't awake at 5:30am (thank goodness!) to start their chores, etc). BUT . . . thankfully the dishwasher hadn't been quite full the night before so I hadn't run it, so that was a normal morning chore that they didn't have this morning, when they woke up I told them "Little Bit's already been up awhile, so I'm not sure what's going to happen with her nap, but let's just try to get through things as fast as we can and see how it goes", we were through chores/breakfast in 1/2 an hour! (granted dishwasher is the most time consuming chore, but they often dilly dally over breakfast and make IT take 1/2 hour or more, just to eat their bowl of cereal & fruit). And jumped into school. We made it through Bible time (which is slightly longer on Mondays because we read a chapter out of our mission book to learn about the country we are praying for that week) but then when we started listening to Little House, Little Bit started nursing to sleep (my mistake there was sitting down to check e-mail and such while the girls were listening, me sitting down meant Little Bit crawled up to nurse, I think if I'd busied myself in the kitchen, etc she might have held off longer, although it had also been over 2 hrs since she woke up, so who knows . . .) anyway . . . when I noticed her starting to "nurp" I told the big girls I needed to go shower, I left them to finish listening to the chapter they were listening to & told them when it was done, to go ahead & do copywork. They'd finished both when I came down from my shower and Little Bit was sound asleep. So we went ahead & did a craft (they got some 3-D water-color kits in Sabbath School for knowing their memory verse every week last quiarter, so they're working on those) while she napped, then finished up school after she was awake again. . . so it was a partial success, but considering the monkey-wrench of her early wake-up, things went quite smoothly. And the big girls are very excited with that dedicated "mommy time", so it's a very good thing.

And a few more pictures to share . . .
The girls were eating lunch on the ottoman in the family room to watch tv while they ate. Little Bit kept trying to grab their food so I put some "Gerber puffs" on the ottoman for her to eat, she was so proud of herself to be eating right along with her big sisters.

And is anything sweeter than pictures of Daddy sleeping with his baby girl? I LOVE this picture :o)

Little Bit's Check-up - Seven Month

Little Bit's 7 mo check-up (yes, we're on an odd schedule LOL), was last week. She weights 17lb 10 oz and is 26 1/2" long (I think, should have written it down). The computer system only has developmental questions for 6 mo & 9 mo, so the nurse asked the 9 mo questions, and the only one that Little Bit can't do is play pattycake, which we haven't actually tried . . . I told the big girls they should start teaching her LOL. The rest of the questions were things like crawling, pulling up to stand, etc all of which she does quite well.

And really, that's about all there was to the appointment. She's growing well, nothing really to report . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week, and Last Week . . .

Little Bit isn't giving me much typing time these days, when she's nursing she's generally too wiggly &/or distractible for me to type (sometimes even for me to surf the 'net), and she no longer has a long (3+ hour) sleep stretch at the beginning of the night, so I have to greatly prioritize how I use the half hour or so of baby's asleep time that I DO get at night . . . and blogging hasn't made the cut.

So now we'll attempt it while she eats her cheerios, or at least get it started.

Let's see . . .

This weekend my parents came up. My wonderful Dad helped us babyproof by installing our gate at the top of the steps and anchoring the bookcases and game cabinet to the wall, methinks Little Bit will try scaling such things more than her sisters did, plus the bookcases were hidden away in an extra bedroom when they were her age.

On Sabbath we went to the Philadelphia Zoo. It was rainy (forecast was only 10% chance of rain but it drizzled most of the day) but that kept the crowds away and we spent most of our time in the buildings anyway, the girls spent large blocks of time watching the naked mole rats and later a family of monkeys that were eating lettuce.

We've been being more consistent about doing school each day. We're just finishing up Little House on the Prairie for our Unit Study, and we're starting on v.17 for Polished Cornerstone (our year-long study of Prov 31:10-31) we started some seeds for winter container gardening week before last and the girls are excited to see sprouts coming up already. We started lettuce, cilantro, basil, chives and parsley.

The girls have been doing very well at keeping their room clean, I'm proud of them! We're going to work on doing some additional decorating in there now, they're excited about that.

Yesterday Mama helped A to mend the dress of the doll that she got in Williamsburg, she was so excited to "sew" and L was wishing there was something she could mend too. Mama said when the girls are at their house for our anniversary, she'll help L make a bib for her doll. L is very excited and went down to my fabric box and chose the fabric she wants.

Last week the girls painted pumpkins. We'd gotten them a few weeks ago & the big girls had each chosen a big pumpkin for themselves and a small one for their dolls. When we got ready to paint them, L decided that Little Bit needed a pumpkin more than her doll did, so she painted her little pumpkin for Little Bit instead.

We started reading the Addy American Girl books. Addy was a slave girl who escaped at the end of the first book, the harshness of slave life was hard for the girls to understand. When Addy & her mother decided they had to leave baby sister behind and escape, L was in tears at the very thought of leaving Little Bit behind. A was more "practical" about it all, pointing out that there aren't slaves in this country now, and that "President Obama has brown skin, so he wouldn't let there be slaves again". The 2nd book, after Addy & mother had successfully escaped and were making their new life in the North was less traumatic for the girls LOL. For some reason it's taken almost a week for the library to get book 3 since I reserved it (and even now, it just says it's "in transit", hopefully it'll be there by this afternoon) when they had multiple copies checked in, just didn't happen to have one at our closest library, sigh . . . anyway.

Speaking of American Girls, I somehow got on the American Girl mailing list so a catalog came a week or two ago. A & L have had great fun pouring over the catalog trying to decide which doll they want (when they're 8) and generally planning out future purchases, at the time, they also were very gung-ho to start saving their spending money NOW to get additional AG stuff when they're old enough, we'll see how long that lasts . . . LOL.

Last Sabbath (a week ago) for Sabbath school Teacher Joyce went all out for the story of Jericho and made a kid-sized Ark of the Covenant to have A & L carry as they "marched around Jericho" the girls had alot of fun.

We've been having unseasonably warm weather alot of the time recently, so we're taking advantage of that & going to a playground we discovered nearby. It works out nicely to leave at naptime (or run errands before naptime, timing things for the errands to be done at naptime) and let Little Big fall asleep on the way to the playground, then the big girls get to play on the playground while I stay in the car and read or knit while Little Bit naps. The playground includes monkey bars and both girls are now proficient monkey-bar-crossers and are quite proud of themselves.

Little Bit continues to pick up speed and venture farther from Mommy in her crawling/exploring. She also is working hard to be able to stand unassisted, pulling up on things often and carefully trying to let go with both hands (she does pretty good holding on with just one hand, and enjoys having us put finger foods on a chair seat or the big ottoman we use as a coffee table so she can stand to eat.), so far she plops down on her behind when she lets go w/ the second hand, but she keeps trying. Yesterday Daddy was watching her while I was working on organizing bookcases and such (inspired by having to take the books off the non-built-ins so my dad could anchor them to the wall) Daddy had put a laundry basket across the living room doorway so she couldn't get to the entryway (a very tempting place w/ all the shoes piled by the door AND leaves that track in every time anyone comes in) but then it was very unfair that MOMMY was standing in the entryway, so she was trying harder to get past the laundry basket. She finally figured out & turned it 90 degrees then proceeded to walk (holding onto it) around it to get to me, she was quite proud of herself.

And in other "Little Bit is growing up to fast!" news, she has her first tooth! You can't see it yet, but can definitely feel it! Fri evening she was fussy in the car & I was riding next to her so tried giving her my finger to suck on (I'd forgotten her paci, which she usually likes in the car) and felt the tooth. Might actually be both of those bottom front teeth, it feels "bigger" than one tooth, but hard to tell till we can see it/them.

I think that's all the news from our house. Tomorrow the big girls are scheduled to give the worship talk at Daddy's office (it's his turn to have worship and they want to tell their story about the model rockets (where they lost Ashlyn's, then prayed, and found it), we'll see if they get cold feet when they actually get there, but at the moment anyway they're excited about it.