Diary Of A Toilet Trainer

My blog has been a barren wasteland. My fingers two vessels filled with seemingly nothing to say .

But I’ve been busy.

An amazing girls holiday, a revival and re-acquaintance with all that is healthy after 28 long weeks of pregnancy, obviously growing a human inside my body (shucks, it’s nothing) and oh yeah, toilet training.

The kid was ready.

I’d done it before with the first child so I knew what I was in for…it was going to be a piece of…hell.

It was going to be hell.

I put it off another week.

Then another week.

Then another.

The kid took his own nappy off. The kid sat himself on toilet. The kid pooed and peed as we clapped on the occasions he did so.

Still Mummy did not take those nappies away.

But six months later Mummy felt…nowhere near ready but with a firm commitment and armed with five days worth of rest and restoration from afore mentioned girls trip away, I commenced.

Day 3 – Stuck in the Trenches 

4am:  Awake – its a beautiful day, I’m excited about life. Why the f”k can’t I get back to sleep.

6am:  He awakes, “Mummy I need undies.”

Smiling (as I am obvious a toileting genius) I whip the nappy off and put on some undies (old – ready to throw away at a moments Number 2 notice).

6:10: Put child on toilet. Clap as he pees.

7am: Throw first pair of undies in wash. Clean up puddle in playroom.

7:20: Throw second pair of undies in wash. Clean up puddle in playroom.

7:35: Put child on toilet. Nada.

7:40: Throw third pair of undies in wash. Clean up puddle in playroom.

Make lunches, cook breakfast, get first kid dressed, bring down five more pairs of undies, get showered, get dressed.

8:00: Put child on toilet.

8:05: Change fourth pair of undies and clean up puddle in playroom.

8:20: Throw out some undies with smelly contents. Clean up puddle in playroom.

School run.

9:20: Put kid on toilet.

9:30: Put kid on toilet.

9:40: Change undies. Clean up puddle in playroom.

10:30: Clap for seemingly non-existent pee in toilet.

10:40:  Change undies. Clean up puddle in playroom.

All is quiet.

12:00:  Step in puddle in playroom.

12:30: Put pull-up on him and take him out to an appointment.

3:20: Take dry pull up off after school pick up. Clap for a pee in the toilet. Put on undies.

4:00:  Clean up puddle in playroom. Kid wants to put on undies himself.

Lie down on couch.

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4:20: “Mummy I pooed.” Prepare for more undie throwing out except kid has put undies on by putting both legs in one hole. Clean up mess.

4-7pm: Kid takes himself out to grass four times to pee and refuses to go on toilet. Obviously has mastered self-control and timing of pee.

I am obviously a toilet-training genius. Pat self on back. Happily whip the nappy on for bedtime and put kid down.

9pm: Put self down.

10:30: Awaken to child number one peeing on the floor of our bathroom. Step in pee. Clean up bathroom. Get kid new pyjamas.

11pm: Finish writing down day and repeat mantra: “Daddy is toilet-training the third kid. Daddy is toilet training the third kid.”, so I am able to get back to sleep.

 

 

How Do You Get Your Kids To Be Themselves When They Just Want To Belong?

It’s taken me 33 years to become who I am.

Someone that I am proud of. 

Someone that can stand up for herself. 

Someone that is authentic and true to herself. 

To get here I had to unlearn a lot of things.

That is okay to not follow the crowd

That popular opinion is not always mine

That conventional ways of doing things may not be the right way for me

So it is confronting for me when Julian, now in full-time school, just wants to be like everyone else.

He wants to belong.

He wants to behave and please and fit-in.

It started with the uniform, something that is optional this year at school.

After it was clear that nearly a third of the class had chosen uniform and as he was not in one,  I asked him what he would like to wear.

“Uniform. I want to be like everyone else.”

A trip to the uniform shop entailed and when I got him the jacket and trackpants (he hadn’t expected them) he said, “I’m one lucky kid.”

Bless.

Next his beautiful hair.

“I don’t want to be like a girl. It’s too long. I want spiky, like lines.”

We tried to talk him out of it.

“Who has hair like this? You have gorgeous hair. You need to be you, not follow others.”

But it didn’t work.

I didn’t want our opinion of his hair to cause him to be teased or become something we wanted for him but he hated.

So we went to the hairdressers and he was happy with less cut off than we expected.

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Next came friendship issues. Or so we thought. But we are not sure…we could have caused it.

One of the first questions I ask him when he gets in the car is:

Who did you play with today?

So then he is telling me who he did or did not play with. Who did or did not play with him.

Then I’d say why didn’t you play with so and so? Were you upset so and so wasn’t playing with you?

I ended up chatting with the teacher who said he had lots of friends but sometimes seemed to like to play alone too.

Hmmm….was I causing him undue stress but placing extreme importance on friendships and playing with everyone?

I stopped asking and he stopped getting upset.

So…the truth is I don’t know the answer to the question – how to get children to be themselves because maybe there isn’t one. 

Maybe belonging and being part of the community teaches them to become who they are.

An essential part of their security to allow them to reach out with tentative steps to voice their own opinions and take their own actions.

There is certainly happiness is belonging and we all need a sense of community to anchor who we are and our position in the world.

What are your thoughts on this subject – have you gone through the same angst about it as me? 

 

 

Parenthood – The Thankless Task

Our job is not to get but to give.

To give love, to say love, to be love – yet we must wait until they use this love and become this love before they give.

But they will give, to you and to others. 

This is out greatest role as Mothers. 

Since I cried….see post here….I have been upbeat, on-top, constantly in motion and let me just say it….a seriously awesome Mum.

We have gone places, done things, been silly, been happy. I have let them be free, let them be themselves and not worried too much about the future (ie if I let them somersault on the couch will they always do it and become boundary-less criminals?).

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And you know what?

I expected to be rewarded.

I wanted great behaviour, unlimited “I love yous” flowing from their mouths and of course hugs and kisses that didn’t come with bribed conditions (ie if you hug me you can get the iphone back).

Yes unconditional love was there in the background but I was expecting – big time.

And when they didn’t deliver?

Well I had to have a talk.

To myself.

Expectations set us up for a fall and put unrealistic rules and conditions on our love.

By giving away expectations you find greater joy and understanding.

I have to lose the expectations that Julian will want to tell me everything 

I have to give up the fact if I say I love you I won’t get it back all the time

I have to give up the notion that if I parent perfectly then my child will be protected from the world’s disappointments 

But how do we give away expectations?

1. Try to be present – stay in your reality and stop future-tripping

2. Lose expectations and instead be open to possibilities

3. Believe in the love you are giving 

4. Be focused on what you give, not what you get, lose your attachment to outcomes. 

5. Realise we are powerless in controlling others – we can only be ourselves. 

Do you expect more when you feel like you are giving more? I would love to hear from you on this subject xx

 

Today I Cried

Because I am not a perfect Mother

Because I got angry at my kids

Because I knew that I was in a bad mood and couldn’t prevent it

Because life didn’t go as planned

Because I’m pregnant and hormonal

Because I’ve gone through pregnancy like this before, with all it’s ups and downs, and my baby didn’t survive

Because I’m tired

Because I woke up with a kid in my bed and an ache in my back

Because I can’t do it all

Because I don’t want to do it all

Because I turned on the TV for my kids

Because I have no reason

Because some days its too much

Because some days its all to the same

Because some days the kids just want to fight each other

Because some days they just want to fight me

Because some days I have no fight left

Today I cried because I can. Because tears are a luxury that clear the way for a better view of life. Because they remove emotions that have been stagnant and stale and need to be expelled from my body.

Because salt water cures everything.

Because a good cry heals.

Because sometimes it’s the only way you can let go.

 

Lay Off Yourself

I had a busy weekend.

Full of fun, laughter, friends, chaos and constant cleaning up and starting all over again.

On Sunday we danced barefoot under the stars. We picnicked by the river and watched dolphins cruise by. We also were honoured to watch two gorgeous people very much in love get married and then hip hop their way through a bridal waltz. It was an awesome night.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to just laze around most of the day and relax, regroup and reset.

I read my book, I went for a snooze and then we went to the beach for a quick bite to eat on the windiest day this summer.

Something has changed in my head and I want it to change in yours.

I was listening to what my body needed and constantly saying to myself, “You need this honey.” “Lie down gorgeous.” “Slow down, it’s ok.”

And I just let life go on around me. For once I chose to sit down instead of rush, I left my husband to his jobs and refused to feel guilty. I picked up my book again and again, hugging the kids in between and making sure I put it down when they wanted to speak to me.

I got about 10 hours sleep but felt tired when I got up. Again, I told myself to go slowly, urged my mind to understand that my body needed rest and that one day without various outings for Leo would be fine.

We did two short (very necessary) errands and then went back to the house to cocoon ourselves for the day and further recuperate.

When I put Leo down for a nap I thought I’d go to but instead I meditated. The fifteen minutes I gave myself today to do that allowed my body to surge with energy and my brain to start whirring again. I feel so blessed to have meditation available to me.

The lessons:

Listen to your body

Speak to yourself nicely

Refuse to be caught in the busy trap

Don’t allow guilt in

Learn to meditate – NOW – it’s a miracle tool

xx

 

 

 

Raising Boys

Last night I went to a talk by the hilarious Maggie Dent on the subject of Boys, Boys, Boys.

Maggie specialises in early childhood and adolescents, specifically in the area of raising boys into brilliant men.

Which is particularly relevant to our family, especially when we learned the sex of baby number 3 :)

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Friends of ours went to one of Maggie’s talks a couple of weeks ago and came back with information on electronics and children that my husband and I thought we had better get some knowledge on.

They had mentioned something about addiction and aggression being part of too much screen time and an escalation in bad behaviour.

Unfortunately Maggie obviously talks off prompts but doesn’t follow a script so I don’t have much information on that for you….

But I have a slew of other stuff.

She was funny and entertaining and kept the audience awake and following what she was saying.

The biggest take-aways for me were:

 

  • You cannot communicate with your boys the way you would with girls or other women.

They just don’t listen to a lot of verbal instruction. They cannot remember as many things and they do not want to have long discussions about anything.

Sound like anybody’s husband?

Instead we need to make sure that we have their attention. If we want them to get ready for school then we need to make sure we have eye contact, that they are not doing anything else – otherwise they truly do not hear up to 70% of the things we say.

  • The Car Meltdown.

Totally common. Phew. It’s been happening a lot to me lately. The reason that they come back from school and just throw tantrums or cry or get angry is because they have been trying so hard to be so good all day and it’s just all too much for them. Our societies structured learning with less play-based activities does not work as well for boys as it does for girls and they have trouble staying focused and it requires a LOT of effort for them to ensure they are behaving in the way that is expected of them at school.

 

  • Shaming a boy is one if the worst things you can do.

“Are you a baby?” “Don’t act like a baby” are pretty common sentences that come out of my mouth. Not good says Maggie. Boys forget very easily that you love them and that they are worthy. They spend their whole lives looking for worth and proving it. So don’t role your eyes, use sarcasm or any other put downs with them. It only works to make them feel small.

More love is what is needed. Put love notes in their luncbox – from Dad and you. Make some special connections to remind them that you love them, To the moon and back, To infinity, to the Universe. Make your love sentences unique for you and your child and have fun with it. They will remember that part.

 

  • Talk to boys about their day at nighttime

After school I ask Julian a million questions to which I get these answers, “I don’t remember. I don’t know.” or sometimes from what I can tell, I get completely made up answers. Just to shut me up I think. He doesn’t want to think about what happened that day. He is in the moment. Playing with Leo. Pointing out things in the car. Asking about what’s for dinner and probably thinking about playing with his skylanders when he has gotten home. The day is done. It’s in the past.

Maggie suggested after bath and bed is a great time to have a chat about what happened that day. Julian does often initiate conversation with me at this time of day and seems calm and happy. I just need to remember this next school pick up!

 

  • The coffee morning

Boys hate this! They can’t sit still and it doesn’t take them long to get up to mischief or annoy you with their behaviour. Sound familiar? It’s because they are boys. They want to get out, explore, do more than just sit and chat. I am very guilty of doing this with my kids especially Leo.

Maggie says that instructing them on how to behave better in these situations is not going to work. They don’t hear you or they don’t pay attention. Show them. Firmly pull their feet down if they are standing on chairs, if they are playing with their food- take it away from them, be firm and don’t over-verbalise.

Plus maybe don’t take them to coffee, get take-away and spend the morning outside with them where they can run and be free and you can both stress less.

 

  • A Pet

Between the ages of two and four children can really benefit from having a pet as they learn gentleness. All ages will benefit from the unconditional love pets show their owners.

 

  • The importance of a Father or Father Figure

Boys need their Mothers but they learn how to be a man through their Dads. Dads need to step up and give them:

Rules;Routines: Ridiculousness (fun, laughter, jokes); A “you have what it takes approach.”;Love and affirmation

In short (and a direct copy from the handout we were given) boys need:

To feel part of a team; opportunities to explore and investigate how things work; they need structure and help getting organised ; they need goals and good coaching; they need safe environments and a zero tolerance attitude to ridicule and shaming

These talks work as a reminder, a motivator and a shake up of your current parenting behaviour. Yesterday I walked the kids to school (less than fifteen minutes) so that Julian would get a chance to burn some energy before having to sit, behave and use his brain for the rest of the day.

Maggie is also a big advocate of getting some stillness and silence into boys lives. This is the only time that they can cut their mental chatter and reflect on anything (us women can do it all at once!). As you know I am a firm believer in meditation, reflection and gratitude and hopefully my children will follow suit.

Maggie lives in WA and I know she has some upcoming talks coming up if you want to check out her facebook page and website for details. She also puts up some really great information on her FB page and general parenting stuff.

xx

 

Dummy Disaster Week

Dummy Disaster Week was the title I had given the week that we removed the dummy from Leo, who is just over two years old.

He is utterly obsessed by his dummies and will carry them around day and night, holding as many as he can find.

He has them stashed all over the house and sucks them regardless of where they have fallen, whether they have sand or no sand, dog hair or no dog hair.

His passion is that great.

He is not so fond of the popped dummies but will take them in a pinch, if his plump and juicy ones are not on hand.

He would cry and scream if we tried to leave them in his bed and at some point go up and get them without our knowledge.

Sometimes I would take him out and be totally surprised when seeing him cruise around with the big, white, happy baby dummy in his mouth.

We knew the time was coming….he was getting older, the attachment seemed to be worsening and the season for cold and flus was heading our way (I’m sure all that hand holding of dummies and floor dropping is not good for preventing disease!). It was time to get him to let his dummy go.

I was dreading it.

So I put it off for a few more weeks.

Let him have his fun.

I spoke happily but with warning of the fairy who would come to take his dummies to give to the babies who really needed them.

I talked to him excitedly about the present it would leave him.

So this Monday, after purchasing said fairy present, I was finally ready.

The lunchtime sleep approached and I hadn’t organised the present and I couldn’t find a dummy…but seizing the opportunity I popped him into bed and closed the door.

All was quiet.

About ten minutes later I was surprised to hear him again. He was calling my name but wasn’t crying. I left him and was rewarded with a few hours of silence.

That night, he was given his presents (two Sophie the giraffes as he was very fond of his original one).

He threw out the Sophies and cried, “Dummy!!” We closed the door and he went to bed.

Till morning.

Tuesday he refused his day sleep but didn’t mention the “d” word. That night he was so tired he went down without fuss.

Ditto Wed day sleep, wed night sleep and Thursday day sleep.

Disaster week never eventuated. We truly don’t give our kids enough credit and we fret over things far too much.

He still won’t touch his new Sophie’s though.

A silent protest, in memorial and respect to his taken dummies.

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To-do lists

I have a terrible habit of putting off the boring stuff in life.

I get to-do lists like:

Sell things on E-bay/Fill out forms/Send this or that to this person/ Take your car in to get fixed/Go to the dentist (or even just…make appointment to go to the dentist)/ book carpet guy/ find grout cleaner

And you know what?

My heart sinks.

It’s boring. It’s tedious stuff. I never have the right kind of energy. 

I prefer lists like these:

Take more cooking classes/ Learn to surf/ Book and investigate holidays/ Write blog posts/ Catch up with friends/ Take the kids to the beach/ Go for a walk/ Schedule Yoga/ Date night

But the boring stuff is part of life. So you have to pick yourself up and get on with it really.

So how do we make tedious tasks more exciting?

  • Get in the right frame of mind – write it all down on cute paper and get ready to tick it off and feel good
  • Have a coffee and get things done before you leave the house for the day – tedious tasks will allow you to make excuse after excuse for not doing them – just get them done
  • Reward yourself after. Take yourself to lunch after a victorious morning of doing. Do something from your WANT to do list.
  • Get what you can done today and rewrite the list for tomorrow.
  • Give yourself a break sometimes and just forget all about it.

Even writing this post has given me more energy to just get it done. I find that the tasks weigh me down and the thought of the tasks actually weigh heavier than the task itself.

So get it done. Write it down. Do it. Then it’s done.

Then concentrate on having some fun and step lighter through the world.

xx

How To Keep It Together

School’s back.

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The whole world has got back into the swing of routine and holiday days are long forgotten.

But I’m still adjusting. Still trying to get into the swing of a five-day school week, with a toddler and a growing belly. Deciding what is right for me and our family and trying to keep it together.

Last week I couldn’t find any pajama shorts for Julian. They were in that haze between washing, on the line and piles of clothes to put away. In short, they were usually MIA when I needed them.

Ditto day shorts for Leo, underwear for me and anything remotely comfortable for a 24 week pregnant lady.

I was too tired to play catch up.

Lunches were rice cakes and honey for Julian and a whole lot of different fruit. I was thrilled to get organic blueberries and organic seedless grapes for the first time this season. He was happy but it didn’t feel good enough.

I also felt blah.

Whether it was holiday comedown, exhaustion, pregnancy hormone fluctuations, I don’t know, but it is hard to get through the day when you don’t feel motivated – hence the washing pile up and food shopping shortage.

The feeling, when in it, feels like it is going to last forever and you have that panic of, “How will I ever get on with this and get everything done?”

But the feeling does finish and everything eventually gets done. Sometimes in one day, in a burst of amazing energy and inspiration. For those slower days…how can we make it easier on ourselves?

Five Ways To Keep It Together: 

1. Pre-cooked meals. A freezer full of dinners and a fridge full of pre-cooked sushi rice, quinoa and cut up salad ingredients would be heaven.

2. Ask for help. Get hubby to put on a load of washing or put away what has been done but not put away.

3. Get in to a routine. Maybe a wash load a day would help unburden the build up of work in the laundry. Perhaps thought to meals with less dishes and clean up. Some clearing of clutter so life in general is easier.

4. Unburden yourself. Maybe you have too many responsibilities and can unload some? Get the kids packing up their toys and getting themselves dressed. Put hubby in charge of something that will make a difference to you – if he puts them to bed – will that give you more time for you? Get some take-away when needed and maybe don’t think about doing all the washing and maybe just make it your mission to find the clothes that are essential to wash!

5. Accept what is. We got through the week despite Julian sleeping in undies and Leo wearing the same shorts over and over. I found outfits to wear and just got on with it.  With the knowledge that I am still a great Mum, a great person and with kindness to myself, I accept what is.

And you should too. 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Pregnancy

Varicose veins; Extra weight to lug around; The inability to carry my two year old for long periods; Swollen feet; Insatiable hunger; Queasiness; A ban on alcohol; Limited food options; HOT; Weary; Tired

These have been my thoughts on my pregnancy thus far.

So it’s time for some gorgeous reflection. Some let’s get real – it hasn’t been that bad- stop complaining Nic – reflection

  • I always look back on my pregnancies and ooh and aagh over my gorgeous little bump. So today I am going to be in awe of that bump in front of me.
  • I miss the feeling of those little (and not so little) kicks from the inside so today I am going to stop each time he kicks and feel the blessing.
  • The feeling that sometimes when I am alone, I am never really alone for my gorgeous little bundle is with me. I am going to consciously be with my baby today. 
  • I am lucky that I don’t get too swollen, or big or put on too much weight - today I am going to be grateful.
  • I am lucky that morning sickness doesn’t really happen to me – today I am going to think about and appreciate that.

Today I am going to rest, nourish myself and be grateful for this gorgeous little creature growing, healthy and happy, inside me.

And I vow not to complain.

Nope, not even once.

Photo: Bump pic! 22 weeks and also enjoying a short stint as a brunette after my hairdresser took my "blend in the roots with a toner" comment a little too literally!

 

 

 

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