Archive for February, 2010

Too Much to Bare

February 20, 2010

Regular readers must be wondering how on Earth the potty training is going. Yes, you must. Until today, I’d have said it was going very well. We’ve had a few dry days this week, ie days when Ella has only gone to the loo in the potty or toilet and not hit the floor or her clothes. We haven’t gone for leaving the nappy off overnight, as described before; and on nervous days, she’s had the nappy on during naps too. A quick word on naps: they are beginning to disappear, as Ella becomes more lively, less interested in the nap and not falling asleep early enough at night (sometimes she’s still awake at 10).

I’ve been off work since Wednesday, so I’ve been fairly involved and up-to-date on latest potty techniques with Ella, so I didn’t go into today as ‘first day of weekend, not spent much time with the kid during the week, fumbling-Dad’. I did decide to try and break the boundaries a bit and go for an outing to the library, followed by the park; a common excursion for Ella and I on a Saturday while Hannah is teaching singing. We left just after Ella had used the potty, to minimise likelihood of immediate need, and I went out armed with a change of clothes for Ella’s bottom half, wipes, potty, and kitchen roll. Almost immediately after arriving at the library, almost all of that was needed, and sadly it was the potty which was redundant, as Ella had peed. As discretely as I could (thankfully she was in a deserted part of the library, and on a rug in an area with kids toys, so fair game for children’s accidents, in my view), I cleaned her up and changed her and mopped up what I could with the kitchen roll. I then hurriedly chose some books (I’ve not checked to see whether they are any good yet), and decided that I’d take Ella home, and not risk the park. When we got home, I spotted a large lump in her tights, and oops, she’d pooed in them. I’ll give no further detail, but it could have been worse.

Unfortunately this form of mental torture didn’t end there, and some future potty uses were not 100% secure and further clothes changes were needed as a result of imperfect pooing. All-in-all, not a pleasant afternoon, and I was quite happy to let Hannah look after Ella while I took on the relatively restful, safe and secure task of cooking up some chicken and turning it into curry (nothing complicated there). I don’t think any of today was particularly down to schoolboy or naive errors, just that Ella isn’t quite ready for going out and warning of toilet need. I’m sure she’ll work it out soon, as she’s very quickly got the hang of it at home, and it’s not like we’re having to remind her frequently of the existence and purpose of the potty. She knows and uses it when she needs to. Of course, as scary as it is as a parent to go out with your nerves on a knife-edge, in fear of a toilet accident, one still needs to do so, otherwise one’s child won’t learn, so there is likely to be more trips like today’s.

Why did I choose that title? It represents my state of mind after we got back from the library, and of course Ella pushed those boundaries further when I thought I couldn’t face more cleaning up after her. Not that she acted in any malicious way, mind you, just the natural learning and development process.



In at the Deep End

February 14, 2010

That’s probably about the best cliche I can think of to term the feeling of kicking off potty training for real. Anything we’ve encountered so far in Ella’s development can be allowed to happen gradually: the walking, talking, eating etc etc. None of that requires a step to be taken all of a sudden. Potty training appears to be rather different, at least based on the advice we have. It’s a real case of ‘nappies off, use the potty’. Of course, the nappy is a safety net for the parents as much as the toddler, so both Hannah and I admitted to some relief at the end of today when we put a night nappy on Ella, and I certainly felt an increased level of security.

So how did it go? It didn’t start great, with her overnight nappy, and last of continuous ones, being full of poo, and like a true amateur, I stuck my finger in it while wrapping it up for the bin, Yuck. It didn’t get much better when after breakfast she soaked her pyjama trousers, only a couple of minutes after having been put on the potty. This was all before Hannah got up, and after than happened, we were on something of a roll. Maybe Hannah brought rather less tension to the situation, and Ella was more relaxed. Whatever it was, apart from one incident where Ella started to wee away from the potty, and then dashed onto it, the ‘Happy Panda’ biscuit reward seems to have worked very successfully. From mid-morning onwards Ella earnt her biscuits execllently well. Progress rather faultered around dinner time when she peed first before the meal because she was busy playing with my phone, and then in her chair during the meal, which wasn’t pleasant to witness. She did use the potty afterwards in the run-up to bed, so I think those were more due to lapses in concentration, rather than a breakdown in the regime.

With a final score of hits to misses of about 12-4, I think progress can be summed up as very solid, and maybe an A- grade. It was great to see her dash into the living room from the hall to plonk herself on the potty, that seemed like very grown-up progress. 🙂

So saying, we haven’t been confident enough, as suggested by the health visitor, to go the complete hog and keep the nappies off at night. Maybe someone can comment with a success story of just dumping all nappies in one go, but I doubt that can succeed without horror stories.

Out on Business

February 13, 2010

In a strange coincidence, both Hannah and I have had separate trips to Paris this week. This is strange because IBM hardly allows travel, given the economic climate, and Hannah doesn’t often do school trips (this is the first since Ella was born, I think). So that fact that we’ve both got trips in the same week to the same place is weird. Anyway, the overlap was quite small: Hannah left on Wednesday morning and I returned on Wednesday evening, having left on Monday morning. Hannah is back on Saturday evening. My mother, Clare, has provided most of the consistency for Ella this week, who’s got another cold.

My trip to Paris was very good. There were several of us heading there, including people from the States, who I have either met face-to-face only a couple of times or not at all, so it was really great to see them. The reason for the trip was to meet some other folks in another IBM team, and that was very productive too. We had the opportunity to experience Parisian hospitality in a few restaurants, which was pleasant. Our hotel was very nice: a Holiday Inn, much better than several of the ones I’ve stayed in here in the UK, some of which have been mentioned in this blog before. It was a bit of a long (in time) taxi ride from the hotel to the office, because of the traffic. There was some debate whether public transport would be quicker, but some in our party were a bit mass transit phobic. All-in-all, a good time was had by all.

I’ve only had sketchy details from Hannah about how her trip is going. Like mine, the weather is cold and snowy. Their visit to the Eiffel Tower was restricted to only the first viewing level because of the weather. Yesterday Hannah said she’d not had any sleep for 48 hours, and she is labouring under a cold as well.

So it doesn’t sound like Hannah is going to be well set up on her return to start on Ella’s potty training, which is what we have planned for half term. Joyful. I mentioned this to some folks at work, who encouraged me (sarcastically no doubt) to blog about it. Maybe I will, if I can spare the time from cleaning floors, pants, trousers, bed sheets etc.

BTW, the title isn’t meant as a pun or euphemism, in reference to the last paragraph.