Friday, July 30, 2010

Training Days - Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, Kai went all weekend last weekend without a diaper during the day and she only had one accident. And, we didn't just sit around the house either, we went to the zoo and the park and did other normal weekend activities. That was enough to convince me that Kai was ready for full on potty training. You might recall that we sort of started potty training many months ago But, back then, Kai had frequent accidents and I didn't want to deal with any serious potty training outside the house. In fact, for months, Kai would ask to go potty while we were out and about and I would just tell her to go in her diaper. I'm a good mom like that.

I just wasn't ready to deal with potty training while we were out and about and - really - I didn't think Kai was really ready either. Maybe I was underestimating her. But, it made sense to me to keep the potty training to hours when we were home, which aren't that many hours, so we weren't making a lot of progress.

Then, last weekend, I decided we should just go for it. See how ready she was to move beyond the house. I was pretty nervous about it - not really wanting to deal with a big accident in public. But, I loaded the diaper bag with extra clothes, diapers, underwear and decided there is no time like the present. And then I proceeded to ask her every 2 minutes if she has to go to the potty. Ha ha. But, despite my worrying, she did terrific!! No accidents during any of our outings. Woo hoo!

So, we decided to continue the potty training experiment by taking her to daycare on Monday in her underwear. I didn't know how appreciative they would be of that, since I didn't really talk to them about potty training much before embarking on our potty training journey. But, I figured they must be used to it (and Jacob told me that accidents and potty training were still preferable to all the diapers they deal with... they do start taking kids at 15 months, so they are used to all of this).. Anyway, they were very excited and encouraging when they heard that Kai had gone two days with one accident.

Monday and Tuesday were a little rough -- it's hard to remember to go to the potty when you are busy playing with 11 friends and having a great time. She had a couple of accidents on Monday and one on Tuesday. But, that was it. She hasn't had an accident since then. And apparently, several of the others kids have taken an increased interest in the potty as they watch Kailey going to and from the restroom.

Now when I ask her about potty training, she is very emphatic. She gets it.

And, despite my early laziness on the subject - I am SO proud of her and really excited to be moving beyond diapers!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The weekend Kai became a big kid!

I know I've been saying for some time now that I cannot get over how quickly Kai is shedding her babyhood -- and even her toddlerhood. But, this weekend was truly several leaps forward. First, there was the tricycle riding. We bought Kailey a trike for her birthday, and she has enjoyed scooting along on it (as in walking along while straddling the trike... no pedals required!) We have been trying to convince her to try pedaling for some time, but she has been quite content to walk her trike rather than pedal her trike. That is until she noticed one of her favorite friends at daycare pedaling, not walking, the trike. And now? Kai is pedaling along with the best of them:

Except when she nearly topples (don't you just love how the near crash cracks her up? This kid has no fear):

Kai and Eric also made up a running joke on Friday, which has carried throughout the weekend. It started with the ride home from daycare on Thursday. Kai was whining in the backseat, as usual, and Eric looked out the window and shouted "mouse! mouse!" in an attempt to quell the whine. And it worked. Kai looked out the window and realized Eric was joking, and she started cracking up and pointing out the window herself, shouting "MOUSE MOUSE!!" That night, while we were eating dinner, she started in again. And, as you can see, she finds it quite amusing:

And, to top it all off, Kai went the whole weekend without a diaper - except nighttime and naptime on Saturday (she napped without the diaper today) -- and she only had one accident the whole time (on Saturday afternoon).

Trike riding, a budding sense of humor, and potty training all in one weekend!! Who's this new big kid that has moved into our house?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Discovering the Power of Music

This morning, Kailey dug a toy out of the depths of her toy box... the baby MP3 player we bought her a year ago, that she promptly broke. Well, we thought it was broken. I think she dunked it in water or something. We had long ago taken the batteries out and just tossed it in her room, annoyed with ourselves that we had spent $60 on a toy that lasted a week (although, she loved it for that week). She brought it to us this morning, punching the buttons and saying "bok-en". I decided to try to put batteries in it again and see if the year of drying out in the toy box had helped. It had!! New batteries and it was as good as new. Kai was delighted, and promptly marched out onto the deck, sat down, and started bopping along to the songs as she sat on the steps. It was too cute. And, even better, entertained her for a good hour. She kept coming over to me and saying, "DAN-Ssss" ("dance") and we would twirl around together. After a bit, I left her to her music and started cleaning the back deck and doing other chores.

At one point, I glanced over at Kai, and she was listening intently to "sleep, sleepyhead", the music box on her lap, her lower lip quivering. "Sleep, sleepyhead" is a song we learned when Kai was in her very first Music Together class when she was 4 months old. I've been singing it to her at night ever since. She calls the song "Sleep, Sleep". It's very pretty, but also quite melancholy. I used to tear up singing it to her when she was a baby and I'd get to the part that goes "I will keep you safe and warm, so sleep, sleep, sleep sleepyhead." Something about it just got to me.

Apparently it got to Kai too as she sat there on the step, lower lip quivering away. When the song finished, she hit the button to make it play again, and walked over to me with the music box. I was sitting in the doorway at that point, and Kai crawled into my lap, buried her head in my shoulder and started to sob. I rubbed her back and asked her if the song made her sad and she moaned out, "yeeessssss." But, when the song finished, she dislodged herself from me long enough to start the song again before continuing her wailing. Ahhh, the cathartic affect of music. Kai listened to the song about 20 more times, just like a brooding teenager obsessing over some depressing song and contemplating the state of one's existence.

As I watched her relish in the feeling of sadness and longing that gripped her as she listened to the song over and over, I couldn't get over the fact that she was able to internalize the song to that degree. She wasn't just listening to the song, she was feeling the song and all the powerful emotions that song brought up for her. I have no idea exactly what those emotions are for her. When I listen to the song, I think of all the time we have spent cuddling together, me rubbing her back, talking about the day we just had. The song is incredibly comforting to me, but also makes me sad a little bit -- thinking about how fleeting all these nighttimes of her babyhood are and how soon it will be before I will no longer be rubbing Kai's back and singing her lullabies to get her to go to sleep. Even though many nights I am gritting my teeth as I sing the song, willing Kai to go to sleep faster so I can have my evening time to myself, I also relish these moments with her and know that they will be gone forever before long. But, I had no idea that the same song could or would conjure up similarly powerful emotions in Kailey. It is just one of so many examples lately of how Kai is growing into such a KID - a thoughtful, empathetic, and emotional KID. And, it makes me even more wistful about the song and my little sleepyhead (who is sleeping on my lap as I type this rather than letting me start the laundry while she naps. And even though I wanted to get more done today, I realize that these are such sweet moments).

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Kai is truly having a language explosion, which has led to us playing a lot of detective trying to figure out her latest and greatest word. She busts out with 5 - 10 words (or more, who knows) spontaneously on what seems a daily basis. Some words she just repeats when we say the word, and then we don't hear that word again for a long while. Others she tries to get us to understand for awhile -- and she can get quite frustrated when we run past 3 - 4 guesses (we're idiots, we know).

For example, the other day, Eric walked in with Kai from daycare and said, "what's dobbett?" I told him I didn't know. He asked Kai to say it again and she cocked her head to one side, as if to say, "what are YOU saying?" because, clearly, "dobbett" was not what she had said. A few hours later she was in the bath and she yelled out, "DOBBETT" while pointing at the water. "Water?" I said, like an idiot. Because, first, she has been saying wa-wa for eons and second, dobbett and water have no sounds in common. Kai looked at me with disdain. "Dobbet", she said again, this time pointing to the faucet. "Faucet?" I said. You could almost see Kailey sigh an exasperated sigh. Oh what she puts up with. "Dobbett", she tried again. "OHHHH... STOP IT", I said. "YES, YES!" Kai yelled - clearly relieved that I had cracked the code. I turned off the water and she busied herself playing, continuing to mutter "dobbett" under her breath.

Kailey says, "Shou-d" for "shower", "Or-D" for "orange", "Sar-D" for "Sarah", "Dee Dee" for "Katie". She likes her Ds, it seems. And, I think this may illustrate why it can be a little hard to figure out exactly what she is saying.

She is also starting to put together pronouns. She declared "YOURS shoe, mama", the other day. Although, the "yours" sounded like something else and, again, took awhile to figure out. Everything is "mine" "me" or "yours". There is no "ours" in her world yet. We'll get there.

Anyway, even though I haven't been posting as many videos lately, I've still been taking some now and again (although, not as much as I would like -- work is keeping me very crazed at the moment). But, what I've found is that it is nearly impossible to capture her language explosion on video. When the camera is running, she doesn't try out all her new words. But, I still like the videos and want to keep a record of them here.

For context -- this first one relates to Kai's latest obsession -- "bugs", a word she says quite clearly. Kai is both fascinated and repelled by bugs, and seems convinced that any time something foreign touches her it must be a "BUG!". She'll start yelling, "BUG, BUG" while in her carseat, while scratching at her neck. It's more likely sand, since the car is a sandpit, but there is no convincing Kailey that there is not a bug on her neck. The other day, Eric said, "Did you see the bug?" Kai hesitated, clearly considering this question. "Yes", she finally responded. "What color was it?", Eric asked. "Bue", Kai replied. "Ohhh... a blue bug?" Eric said. "BIG", Kai yelled, clearly getting into this. "A BIG blue bug", Eric said, feigning terror. "YEL-OH", Kai yelled. Yes, a big, blue and yellow bug was crawling around her neck. Gotcha.

This next video is about Kai's trip to the dentist. Anytime we talk about the dentist, the first thing she says is "up" and then, after a pause, "down". Clearly the dentist is all about the chair.

And this video demonstrates Kai's ongoing obsession with her ABCs. Kailey LOVES the ABCs. When she sings the song, she only gets as far as "A B C... AAAA BBBB CCC" -- but, in fact, she knows all of her letters. She has an alphabet puzzle that she can put together in record time, no matter how it is presented to her (meaning, we can hand her random letters, and she'll name them and put them in the proper place, or we can ask her to find certain letters, and she can do that as well). It's funny that she doesn't sing the whole song yet, but, she is all about those ABCs.

And I'll end with a video of Kailey doing what Kailey loves best -- climbing!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Managing Toddler Tantrums: Kai vs. the Experts

Lately, I've been reading some books on managing the toddler tantrum. According to the "experts", it helps to acknowledge what your toddler wants and mirror their emotion, so that they feel "heard". And then, once they know they've been heard, you can redirect them to another activity, and they will stop flipping out because they feel were listened to and are now happily onto another activity. Because, you know, toddlers are easily redirected.

Maybe they are. I don't really know. I only have the one. But, based on my sample size, I would say that toddlers are far less flexible then these books give them credit for. Or less forgetful. And, also, at least some toddlers (maybe one in particular) are less interested in being heard, and more interested in getting their way, or at least making sure I don't get my way. Just saying.

Take last night for example. It's bedtime, and we head into Kai's bedroom to do a last diaper change and put on her PJs. I open the PJ drawer and grab her red fleece PJs. "No", Kai says. Fine, she can choose her own PJs, I just want her to get dressed. "Green?" I say. "No," she replies. I go through the rest of the fleece PJs in her drawer (it was cold last night... hence, the fleece). Purple? No. White? No. "Kailey, those are your only choices." "NO -- POLKA DOTS," she screams. Well, the polka dot PJs were dirty and in the dirty clothes. I have no idea how she remembered the ONE other color of fleece PJs we own, but, she did and those were the ones she wanted.

I tried what the books say, I acknowledged what she wanted. I mirrored her distress. And, she did stop whining and looked at me with this expression that said, "yes... you seem to be getting it..." But, when I tried then to redirect her towards picking out a book while I slipped her green PJs on her... all hell broke loose. She screamed, more pissed off then before (because she had clearly been tricked out of her tantrum when I pretended to get what she was saying and then turned around and denied her the very thing I supposedly had understood her to want!). I abandoned the books and wrestled the PJs onto her. I won (I am bigger). The green PJs were on. Victory!

She continued to whine in distress, tugging at the collar of the green PJs in an effort to tear them off. I decided to go back to the advice in the books -- maybe distraction would work better now that she had some PJs on, I reasoned. I grabbed the polka dot PJs out of the laundry and, again, acknowledged/mirrored her desire to wear them... but also showed her that they were wet and dirty, and told her the green PJs were clean. Kai stopped crying, looked over the polka dot PJs, pointed to the dirty spots. It was working!! She was calming down because I had acknowledged what she wanted but explained that they were dirty. She was getting it. Then, she started examining the green PJs she was wearing with some intensity and, after a minute or two, pointed at the tiniest little spot of brown something on the zipper and, narrowing her eyes at me, shouted, "DIRTY! DIRTY!!" Siiiiiggggghhhhhh.

Since she wasn't crying anymore (just feigning indignation), I decided to move onto redirecting her, steering her into the bathroom to brush her teeth and then back into her bedroom to pick out stories. She settled in. We read the stories. Ahhhh.... the PJ battle was over.

Once the stories were read, Kai turned to me and said, "purple." Uh-oh. "Purple what?" I said, knowing full well that this whole time she had continued to be fixated on the damn PJs. She had clearly decided that if the polka dots were, indeed, unavailable, she wanted purple (since, you know, the green ones were clearly dirty as well). "Purple," Kai repeated, pointing to her dresser. I explained to her that she already had on green PJs. Kai, clearly thinking me dense, got out of bed, opened the drawer and grabbed the purple PJs. "Purple," she said and started tugging at her green PJs while looking at me with this look that said, "are you starting to see what I want here?" I decided that this was a battle not worth fighting and I helped Kai change into her purple PJs. Now the PJ battle was really over:

Acknowledging/mirroring/redirection - 0
Stubborn toddler - 1.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

World Cup and Other Sports

We've been watching some world cup lately, and Kai's caregivers at daycare have also had the games on (usually I would not approve of television at daycare, but this is an obvious exception to that rule... the games are only once every four years after all). I think Kai has learned how to be a good sports fan:

And, as a result of all the world cup viewing, she also has taken to dribbling with her feet more!! Kai has been in "soccer" (using that term loosely, since they are really more about bouncy balls, bubbles and singing the ABCs then playing actual soccer... they are toddlers, after all) since she was 17 months old, but has had a hard time with the concept of "feet only". She likes to kick it a few times and then pick it up and try a drop-kick or she starts dribbling using her hands. Indeed, soccer has not been among Kai's favorite sporting activities thus far -- ranking below climbing, tumbling and... her favorite at the moment.... basketball. She LOVES to play basketball, and practices dribbling every time we go across the street to the school playground. She is getting pretty good at it, too:

(in fact, she is much better than what is portrayed in this video. I almost never bring the camera with me to the playground. This was on a day when she was doing some impressive dribbling and I didn't have the camera so suggested to Kai that we go back home and get the camera, which sort of took away from the moment and, when we returned, her heart wasn't really in it anymore. Oh well).

Basketball is all fine and well (I suppose), but (as you might have guessed) my favorite sport of all time is soccer. And, while I know that Kai is her own person and will choose her own activities and that if playing basketball, climbing mountains and jumping out of airplanes is what she prefers (ahem... just picking random examples out of thin air, obviously... these are not activities that I in any way see Kai wanting to partake in as she gets older...), then I will cheer her on in those endeavors (well, maybe not jumping out of airplanes. I might protest a bit about that one... for all that it would matter). But, certainly, I would cheer at all her basketball games. I am just secretly hoping (or maybe not so secretly hoping, since I am writing about it in a post on a semi-private blog that Kai will one day read) that soccer creeps up among the activities that Kai is drawn too. And, thanks to the world cup, I think soccer is gaining traction. The other day she dribbled the basketball across the playground using her feet. Progress!!

And, she did score a nice last goal of the "season" at her last "practice":