The Potty Diaries

Yep, potty training.  That part of parenthood that is unavoidable, sometimes messy, and can even make adults want to run and hide, but that’s only if you’re one of the lucky ones.  Yes, lucky ones.  Parents not dealing with a child who seemed to have no concept of the difference between wet and dry and would spend all day in a messy diaper if I didn’t catch her and wrestle a clean diaper on her.

Our pediatrician made sure that I was thinking about starting potty training during A’s last check up.  Not in a pushy-you-should-really-start-this-now way, but more of a this-might-take-her-longer-to-grasp-than-most-kids-so-start-the-introduction-now kind of way.  While I completely understand and mostly agree with that assessment, I balked.  Why?  Did I not want to push my daughter into something before she was ready?  Did I think it would be too much of an upset to her routine to try to add potty breaks?  Yes and yes.

Let’s face it, when you have a child who is already majorly resistant to routine changes and attempt to add something major in while getting another child ready for school it’s nothing short of a recipe for disaster.  Okay, maybe not disaster, but a massive headache at least.  I figured the smartest and probably easiest thing to do was to wait until school was out and I could devote my full attention to potty training.  That was my fabulous plan.

Wait, hear that?  That would be the sound of my fabulous plan flying out the window.  Yep, A went and decided to start potty training on her own.  I blame the Huggies pull on diapers.  I bought some to try since changing A’s diaper is a bit of a challenge, especially when we are out and about.  Apparently, after wearing them a few times A decided she liked the “big kid” feel much better.  Next thing I knew, she wanted to use the potty.  Granted, it has still been a slow process.  As eager as she is to use the toilet, we still are taking it slowly.

Initially, A wanted to use the toilet as much as possible, but she was having trouble with the transition between play, potty break, and back to play so I made her slow down.  After spending a couple weeks slowly adding one more bathroom break every few days, she has finally settled into a routine and can handle the transitions.  I figure she must be really determined to do this because usually it takes her longer to acclimate to a schedule change.  Of course, the promise of Minnie Mouse underwear might have something to do with that…

So far, she has been doing really well with potty training.  We’ve had a bit of a set back this week since she has been sick, but since she is still staying dry through naps and for most of the day and using the potty when she’s feeling up to it, I’m not complaining.

This is a major triumph for A.  From everything I had heard and read, kids with SPD can be very difficult to toilet train.  So far, A has been the opposite.  Granted we still have a long road ahead, especially given her extreme dislike of public toilets (too noisy), but I think that with some patience and a good set of earplugs, we’ll make it.

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Pizza, Easter Eggs, and Physical Therapy

No, we did not serve pizza and eggs for Easter dinner.  Besides, A wouldn’t eat an egg no matter what color we made it.  Kind of makes me feel like I’m inGreen Eggs and Ham some days, except the ending would have to be rewritten.  Hhhmmmm…I think I feel a new project coming on.

Anyhow, pizza.  It’s good, cheesy sometimes, and not usually considered healthy.  I, however, am endeavoring to change that.  I like to make pizza with the kids.  G loves it, especially when I let him pick the cheeses to use.  The last few times we’ve had pizza, A has refused to try a bite so I quit offering it to her for a while to see if reverse psychology could help me out.  To my surprise, it worked almost too well last Saturday.  I cut one large slice in half and A not only took a bite, but she ate the whole slice (both halves)!  She even went on to eat a small scoop of ice cream afterward!  I was completely overjoyed and obnoxiously happy about the whole thing, much to A’s amusement.

Thankfully this was not an isolated incident.  She repeated her amazing pizza eating feat again this past Friday.  Of course, it was just plain homemade cheese pizza both times.  So, now I just have to see if I can alter the recipe enough that I can slip some healthy stuff in there without her knowing.  I have one recipe that uses sweet potatoes to make the dough and I think I’m going to start with that one while I hunt around to find some more.  I am looking for simple, but nutritious recipes that tolerate being topped with cheese and I welcome all ideas!

Another thing we learned this week is that A loves eggs.  Especially if they are filled with candy, chocolate candy.  Empty eggs or regular eggs, not so much.

I let the kids color some hard boiled eggs this year.  Still not sure what I was thinking…oh right!  I figured that maybe dyeing the eggs would get A to at least try a bite of one.  Yeah, I know, wishful thinking.

She did enjoy coloring them and I learned that she does actually know some colors even though she can’t really communicate which she wants beyond pointing and saying “dat un!”

A’s Easter dinner was fabulous!  She enjoyed a lovely dish of strawberry yogurt, and a biscuit, all washed down with a nice cup of juice.  Yep, yogurt and a biscuit.  Sounds fabulous doesn’t it?

Okay, sarcasm done, for now.  Sadly, no matter what we tried, the ham, sweet potatoes, and rest were not coming anywhere near her plate.  I wasn’t too surprised since she hasn’t been eating much of late, but it was still frustrating.

A goes through cycles where she’ll eat more solids, then she has zero interest in anything for a week or so.  Of course, her system is not used to large amounts of actual solid food (instead of yogurt and the like) so I think it plays havoc with her sense of hungry and full.  Right now, we’re in the zero interest in food.  If it weren’t for yogurt and instant breakfast I don’t think she would eat.  Not something I like to think about if I can help it.

It’s harder knowing that she’ll be going in for a weight check soon (about 3 months, but with how time has been flying by…). Her pediatrician wanted to keep her on whole milk even though A is 2 (when most kids switch to 1 or 2% fat milk).  I made the decision to switch her over to 2% because I noticed that she was drinking the milk throughout the day and not eating much.  I wanted her to rely more on actual solid food for her calories than on the milk.  This may seem a bit pushy, but I didn’t want her becoming dependent on the milk and her development suffer more.  Thankfully, we have a wonderful pediatrician who agreed to try switching her but, it she doesn’t show progress in the weight gain department it’s back to whole milk we go!

It does seem a bit strange to be worrying over a child being underweight, especially when that can be subjective sometimes.  In A’s case though she is actually underweight.  She looks and is healthy, but her development is suffering because she isn’t gaining weight like most toddlers.

Her lack of caloric intake means less energy available to run around and do all the climbing and playing like most of her peers.  This, coupled with the other sensory issues has resulted in A having low muscle tone throughout her body, but especially in her legs.  We have known about this for a while and A has done one round of physical therapy, made good progress and was discharged with a program of home exercises to do.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t been enough and she is now back in PT, this time twice a week.

It is very hard when you are handed an evaluation report on your child and what you knew is staring back in black and white, only it’s a bit more than you expected.  I knew A had low muscle tone, but the extent was more than I had realized.  I know it’s not my fault that I didn’t know, after all I’m not a physical therapist, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  Skimming that report in the office was like being punched in the stomach.  I sat there thinking what did I not do that I could have done? Why didn’t I think to try to do more?  Did I do some of the exercises with her wrong?  Did I forget something?

Oh wait, I did forget something!  I forgot that it’s not something I did or didn’t do.  It’s just A.  It’s part of her unique sensory issues and I have been doing what I can.  But there is only so much I can do before I need someone who is trained to deal with this to step in and take over.  After all, I have a disabled husband, our son, A, plus a small house to take care of.  I can’t afford to buy the equipment I would need nor do I have the space for it.

Okay, deep breath.  Check. Pull self together. Check.  Hug daughter.  Double check.

Did I still want to cry?  Yes.  Did I still feel like I had let her down somehow? A little.  Would it get better?  Definitely.  After all, the sun still rose this morning and last time I checked it planned on rising tomorrow.

Indy Cars and Spring Break Lessons…

Sounds like an interesting time, doesn’t it?  Sadly, a lack of internet and Spring Break, but mostly the lack of internet,  got in the way of my posting.  But, I’m Back!  Thank you!  Thank you!  I’ll be here all week and then some!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way…

The past couple of weeks have been a learning experience for all of us.  With my son’s Spring Break falling the week before Easter I decided that it would be a good time to find out just how much stimulation A could stand before she went into meltdown mode.  Sound like fun?  Well, sarcasm aside, it actually was a lot of fun.

We started the “stimulation overload test” (not very original, I know – I’ll work on it for round 2) with a day at the IZOD Indy Grand Prix.  It’s something we take G (our son) to every year (thank you Dad for the tickets!) and I decided to take A this year.  Amazingly, it went very well.  A loved seeing the Indy cars, waved to a few drivers, and got to spend time with some family and friends.  Granted, she barely ate while we were there, but I figure that eating four (yes, 4) yogurts and drinking a Pediasure over the course of the 6 hours we were there is a marked improvement over past excursions.  The best part of all?  Both kids were so tired by the time we got home that bed time was a breeze!

We followed this adventure up with visits with grandparents (both sets), a trip to Busch Gardens, and swimming at a friend’s house.  Things were going pretty well at this point.  She hadn’t had a melt down, was eating her usual foods pretty well and even ventured to try out a french fry.  She didn’t make it past the first bite, but she tried it so I was happy (G wasn’t, but since she had stolen one of his fries can you blame him?).  Then we hit the Spring Break halfway point, and boy, did she ever hit it.  To say she had a melt down would be grossly understating things (and gross pretty much described her place after most meals…after she upended the dish of food she refused to eat).

After about 3 days of doing….wait, what did we do?  Oh right, NOTHING!  I really could not expose the public to my child at this point.  It would have been considered cruel and unusual punishment, for the rest of the world, had I taken her out somewhere.  The poor baby could barely tolerate her brother saying good morning to her without covering her ears and crying.  At least G understands what’s going on and doesn’t take it too personally when A does that, otherwise she would give him a complex with the number of times she has cried when he looks at her or talks to her.  Although, the one thing she did seem to tolerate well was music.  Specifically, Celtic Thunder.  Anything else seemed to set her off, but Celtic Thunder has a calming effect on her, except for the times when she was dancing to their music.  It worked like mini therapy for her little neurons.

For those who haven’t heard of Celtic Thunder, they are a group of 5 guys from Ireland (and Scotland) who perform a mix of traditional Irish/Celtic music and some more contemporary pieces as well.  They are fun to listen to and watch (if you want more go to www.celticthunder.ie).  No, I’m not affiliated with them in any way, my kids and I just happen to like their music, and the affect it has on my sanity.  Moving on…

Suffice it to say, we made it through the rest of the week (barely) and by the end of the weekend A was back to her old self.  I don’t know if the rest of us have recovered yet or not…Stay tuned for further adventures!