Friday, July 30, 2010

Making good progress on potty training

I started letting the boy go naked a few weeks before we left for Japan. He was doing a great job of letting me know when he had to go pee with plenty of time for me to get him into the bathroom and onto the toilet. In the beginning I re-instituted the "Cars for dumpers" program which we had started during an earlier attempt at potty training. Basically any time he peed in the toilet he'd get another Thomas freight car, all of which I had purchased used off of ebay. He became so proficient with going that I was soon able to stop giving him any train cars as a reward; he was satisfied just with flushing the toilet himself and getting a high five.
And then we went to Japan. I was worried that all the progress we had made would be lost during our 10 days abroad, but there was no way we were going to attempt going without diapers while we were traveling. Fortunately he picked right back up where we left off once we returned home.
I admit that I ought to have checked out a potty training book from the library, but I just never get around to getting there so I have been winging it. During a trip to Target in search of a toddler harness and leash for our Japan trip, we bought a battery operated Bill engine. We bought it so that the boy and his best friend would stop fighting over the battery operated Henry engine. But then Mr. W had the good idea to save it for the "Cars for dumpers" program for a BM in the toilet. We used this as motivation before and after our vacation. He would talk about it all the time, but still wasn't ready to have a BM on the toilet.
I worried that he was stifling himself because I kept him bottomless all the time. One day last week he had to poo and kept asking for a diaper change because he wanted me to put a diaper on so he could poop in it. I remembered from my research on EC that we teach them to eliminate while covered up and then potty training is mostly teaching them to eliminate while uncovered. So I refused to put him in a diaper. But I knew he would still refuse to sit on the toilet. As a compromise I put a pre-fold diaper on the floor, sat him on it and told him to poop there. Begrudgingly he did. He was excited to "help" me dump it in the toilet and flush it down. But I had to explain that he still didn't get Bill Ben because he has to sit on the potty when he makes the poop too.
The next day he had to have a BM again; I could tell by his face, so I put him on the toilet. He was pissed at me and pitched such a fit! I gave up and we both went upstairs to play in the nursery. A few minutes later he told me he had to go. So I sat him down on the toilet to pee and before I knew it he made his poop face again. And then he pooped on the toilet!!! I was so excited! He got Bill Ben so he was excited too.
After that we had several days with no BMs. But he was doing such a great job letting me know in advance of having to pee that I decided to start taking him out on short errands with underwear on. No accidents. Although I admit that it is very hard to get him to go on other toilets, he seems to hold it until we get home. Unless of course I let him pee outside. He loves that. Perhaps a little too much.
I went out with a friend earlier this week and came home to discover that he had a BM on the toilet for Daddy. Inspired by the book Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi, he always used to say that he makes a mouse poop, Mommy makes a mouse poop, but Daddy makes an elephant poop. Always very funny. But with his BM in th toilet for Daddy he announced that he makes a Daddy poop. Apparently he wasn't kidding after holding it in for so many days. He also kicked Daddy out of the bathroom so he could move his bowel in private. I wonder why the same principal doesn't apply for me?
We have been happy with all the progress, so many eliminations in the toilet. So perhaps too ambitiously I decided to leave him in his training pants while we drove down to Hug Point on the coast yesterday. I hemmed and hawed over whether I ought to put him diapers for the ride down and back, figuring he'd be without while on the beach. He gives me enough advance notice that I thought I'd have time to pull over and let him out to pee on the side of the road. I stopped once at the drinking fountain on the way down and he very easily peed outside for me. On the way back he fell asleep before I could pull over. My mom wanted to go through the Dairy Queen drive through, but that woke him up. So I decided to go inside and put him on the toilet. It was a major battle with two separate attempts to get him on the toilet and two flat out fits. In the end I had him go outside beyond the parking lot. And then when we got home he had a BM in the toilet.
So far so good. (Although I worry it is too good to be true) We're hoping he is completely potty trained by the time we leave for Italy next month. I'm also crossing my fingers that we don't have a lot of regression when the baby comes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I love Japan Part II

A few days into our trip to Japan we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto for a couple of days and stayed in a really nice ryokan. The littlest W was having a bit of a problem with the time change still. He was pretty good, but would fall asleep for a nap every afternoon which would last until 4 am the next day. This meant we would have a sleeping rag doll at nearly every dinner.
Mr. W and I didn't really have much planned for the trip. Mr. W's brother in law, as a total foodie wanted to see the Nishiki Food Market and the next day his sister wanted to go to the Kyoto Handicraft Center. Our trip up to the handicraft center was a little overlong as we negotiated the subway system, eating, and trying to extract cash from banks. By the time we finally got there I knew our boy would be crashing soon. As much as I tried to contain him, he was running around the shops like a crazy person. Shopping was nearly impossible as we tried to keep him out of trouble. At one point I tried to grab him by the shoulder to prevent him from taking off running. He managed to pull out of my grasp, but immediately fell and slid into the side of a display table. It was a noisy fall, he started crying, but I didn't think much of it. I thought the crying was more indicative of him being tired. I found a chair and sat trying to comfort him so he'd calm down. It wasn't working and Mr. W's sister-in law asked if he had bumped his head. I told her I didn't think so. But she persisted and when I pulled his bangs back I saw that she was right. He had a giant golf ball sized bump protruding from his forehead. I was the worst mother ever!
She and I headed down to the floor that had a cafe in pursuit of ice while someone else went to let Mr. W know what had happened. The women working in the cafe were very accommodating getting us cold ragas and ice, but the boy was not happy having any ice packs on his head and frankly didn't want to have the cold rags either. Mr. W found us by then and we decided that we needed to take hi to the hospital. The bump was freakishly big.
Thank God for Mr. W's brother and wife being able to interpret for us! The information desk at the handicraft center gave us directions to a medical clinic right around the corner. It was a little hole in the wall place, but it turned out to be the best place ever. We got in and Mrs. WW interpreted the situation for Mr. W while I held our boy. He had calmed down somewhat by then, but his forehead didn't look any better. We were called back into see the doctor shortly thereafter where Mrs. WW continued to translated for us. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: He has a hematoma. You need to keep ice on it to keep the swelling down and he should have a CT scan
Us (as typical Americans) OMG how much is that going to cost?
Doctor: It will be $200, and really this is just the standard procedure for a head injury like this.
Us: $200?!?! Okay!
We were directed out to the hallway where we were told we would have to wait for about 30 minutes. As I sat cradling him trying to keep a bag of ice on his head I suddenly no longer felt guilty about our decision to leave him with my mom during our trip to Italy next month. Who needs the stress of foreign emergency room visits? It was probably less than 15 minutes that we waited before we were called down to the room where the CT machine was. As we started to strap our poor little boy into the machine the nurses noticed that I was pregnant and said that I needed to wait in the hall. I felt bad for Mr. W to have to keep him calm alone, but fortunate that I was showing early enough for the nurses to notice. I was in such momma bear mode that I really wasn't even thinking about the pregnancy and the x-ray machine.
After it was over we went back out into the waiting room and rejoined the family. Our experience was becoming just like that in Michael Moore's Sicko. I know a lot of critics thought that some of the scenes in foreign clinics were fake, but ours was just like that in the movie. We got right in to see the doctor. Those in our family who had had CT scans were charged thousands of dollars and had to go to another clinic, some times days later for the scan. And here we were in some random clinic that had it's own machine!
We were called back in to see the doctor to review the scan results. Everything was fine and the doctor advised us to keep an ice pack on him for the next 4 hours to reduce the swelling. As I listened to Mrs. WW translating this to us I must have made some sort of hopeless looking face because the doctor then suggested that we get some adhesive cooling pads instead. Mr. WW remembered that he had used this product for an injury he had while he was living in Japan so we went around the corner to a 7-11 type store and he found the product we needed. I hailed us a cab so we could take him back to the ryokan immediately to rest.
He was by no means a fan of the menthol sticky patch on his forehead, but it did keep him cool and he couldn't get it off or fight with us. Of all the places to deal with a head injury like that, Japan is by far the best place! We were in and out of there in about an hour and it cost us a total of $250, including the CT scan. Seriously can ther be a country more civilized than Japan? I will definitely want to return, once my children are a little older.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I love Japan

I will admit that I was a little reluctant to go to Japan for my brother in law's 2nd destination reception while I am pregnant. Japan has never been high up on my list of travel destinations, but if you are going to be invited to a Japanese wedding, you have to go! Plus, it is family.
But I don't like rice. I also don't like my meats uncooked. I do enjoy teriyaki, but that is the extent of my Japanese cuisine, and frankly I'm not even sure if that isn't an American food anyway. So with morning sickness still in full swing, and a positive attitude to try new things, I packed my suitcase full of granola bars, dried fruits, and snack foods and we flew off to Japan.
At the Narita airport we met up with Mr. W's parents and his sister and her husband, Mr. & Mrs. L. From there we were to take a train into Tokyo and then walk to our hotel where we'd meet up with his brother and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. WW, and her parents, Mr. & Mrs. S. I hope it will come as no surprise that this was a recipe for disaster. I'm not saying the idea didn't have merit, but with a toddler who never slept on the 10 hour flight until 10 minutes before we landed and then took an hour and a half train ride, we were unable to carry out the plan. The problem was we were tired, we were hungry, and everyone was staring at the subway map trying to figure out which direction to go for our "10 minute walk" to the hotel. Also there was a rumor that there was an underground passageway that would lead us straight there. Yeah, we had no idea where that was. So we headed off in the dark and rain only to discover that we were going the wrong way. At this point, with our luggage and the littlest W not in the best of moods, I told Mr. W that we were taking a cab and the rest of his family could do as they pleased if they were really determined to walk and find it on their own. A tad bitchy, perhaps, but I need to take care of my family.
Once we arrived at the hotel, which was very close, but in the opposite direction of where the family was heading, we met with Mr. WW and told him he needed to find his family while we checked in. I was so tired at this point that I told Mr. W that the boy and I would go to bed and he could join the others, once they finally arrived, at dinner. We unpacked a little so I could get into the snack food and get our jams. The room was very tiny, which I was kind of expecting, but yikes, the room was as wide as the bed was long. Unpacking proved to be slightly challenging and I couldn't find bear blanket. We searched high and low in that tiny room and I realized that I had left it in the cab. I was furious with myself! This trip was going to be a horrible, horrible nightmare because I left bear blanket, our most prized belonging that we brought with us to Japan, in the G_D cab. On the first G_D day! Poor little W. He was so tired and wanted to go to sleep so bad and wanted his bear blanket. I felt like the worst mother ever. The room was so tiny that all 3 of us would be sharing the same queen sized bed because there is no way a cot or crib would have fit in there, so I hoped that snuggling with Momma for the night would be an acceptable alternative for him.
Mr. W joined his family for dinner and came back tot he room, but I must have been sleeping pretty soundly because I don't remember that. At some point in the night though I had to get up to pee (thank you, pregnancy) The tiny little bathroom compartment had a light system that I couldn't quite figure out, so Mr. W turned on a small light near the bed. As I crawled back to bed, I couldn't believe my eyes! There was bear blanket wrapped around it's rightful owner! How did this miracle happen?
Apparently at some point the Japanese cab driver realized we'd left this fuzzy square of fabric in the back of his cab and took it upon himself to come back to the hotel. He also somehow managed to reconnect with the cab in which the rest of the family decided to take, having given up their quest to walk to the hotel. How he managed to do this I will never know. All I can assume is that the cab driver was an angel sent from heaven to save us from misery. I lived in NYC for 3 years. Never in all my cab rides did a driver ever return anything, certainly not a child's blanket! You'd be lucky if you left your phone in a cab to have the driver answer it and return it to you for a large fee. For this driver to realize the importance of a bear blanket and take his time to return it was beyond comprehension. Surely we had arrived in the most civilized country on the planet. It set the tone for the rest of our vacation in Japan.