Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Heaven and Potty Training Hell

We had a fabulous holiday. I loved Christmas this year. Afton was a total blast. She totally got it, and she is seriously the funniest thing! I got a lot of really great stuff--surprisingly, I am totally LOVING my Nook, which I didn't expect. It's just so darn convenient! Trevor always does such a great job with my Christmases! Here are a few photos from our fun holiday!
The chaos at our annual Nielson Family Party.

Afton and Tyson bouncing on their "horsies" that my Mom gave them. Afton calls hers "Wilford."

Mom made had the grandkids all do a little act to "Rudoph the Red Nosed Reigndeer. Though why Rudoph's nose was in the middle of his forehead is a mystery to me...As you could predict, Afton LOVED performing for her family--probably more than any of the other grandkids!
 I had to include this one for those of you out there who remember my nephew Sam but haven't seen him in a while. Yeah, he's HUGE. Only 14 and over 6 feet tall! Certainly didn't get it from the Nielson side of the family!
My awesome sister Jen playing with Scarlett at Mom's party. I actually rarely held them at that party...
Our tree on Christmas Eve, after Santa came to visit.
Afton on Christmas morning in her Fairy gear, and playing with the microphone I got her. She loves it! Only...she tries to eat it more than sing into it...
Trevor's awesome grandmother, Luzenia, and his Dad, Stan. The babies got a lot of attention Christmas afteroon at Trevor's parents house!

I surprised Trevor with a new Lord of the Rings sword--this one is the Sword of Isildur.
Afton got some "Bitty Babies" from American Girl for Christmas. We HAD to get her her own set of twins! One that looks like Scarlett and one that looks like Ripley! Only, we named them Rose and Lily.

You know it's a successful Christmas when you get BOTH your mothers crying. My mom cried when she got the book I made her that had notes from all her Grandkids and her kids. It was called "I Love  You Because..." And then Karen cried because Stan, with Trevor's help, got her wedding rings re-made--her ring was stolen in Hawaii when Trevor was a little boy. She still had the band, but not the diamond ring. So Trevor picked the diamond and had his friend Ryan re-create both the ring and the band.

But, although Christmas was just heaven, the week following was pretty  much Hell. I am back at school today and TOTALLY ok with it. And that is because, starting December 26th, our campaign to potty train Afton began. It was the only time I had that I KNEW I would have a full week with her to really teach her to get it. Otherwise I'd have to wait until Spring Break. My other goal was to FINALLY get the twins to eat solids. They just always spit it out. It's taken them forever to learn something that Afton picked up after only a few tries!
And now, a week and a half later, I have a potty-trained kid and twins eating solids. And I am EXHAUSTED. A classroom full of 7th graders is a total piece of cake by comparison. But today was a big day because it's the first day that Afton went the whole day without an accident. I'm so proud of her! She's still in pull-ups at night, but she's getting through her naps, and most of the time she gets on the potty without our urging.
One thing that is hard about potty training is that EVERYONE has an opinion. On one hand, you want to ask for advice--your friends and family have done it themselves for their own children, and what better way to figure out how to do it than to ask those who have done it before? But the opinons on "the right way" are so diverse, and then of course every kid is different.

I decided to follow the advice of my mother-in-law on this. She purchased in ebook about 3-day potty training that she used to potty train my neice Madison. Totally worked. The problem I am have is that you need 3 days straight with no distractions--a tall order when I work full time and the kids go to FOUR different people for daycare. So I knew I had to do it over the break. Then Trevor would be home to help me. Because we had so many distractions, it took longer than three days--but she got better at it every day!
This is what bothers me most about potty-training advice. I'm so tired of people saying, "Just wait till she's "ready."

What does that really MEAN?

I am sure that if I wait and wait and wait, one day she'll be old enough and prepared to just choose to be potty trained and it will be done in a day. And I'm sure if it worked that way, she'd have far less accidents and it would be a lot easier for me. My sister's little girl did that before she was 18 months old. My other sister's little girl(s) did that at the age of 4. Well, I'm not waiting until Afton is 4!! I really don't think that "ready" means that they completely figure it out on their own without me having to teach her anything. I suppose I could wait until my twins are "ready" to eat solids when they are asking for it. But...no. I need to teach them how to eat solids, just like I need to teach Afton to use the potty. And if I choose to teach her, rather than waiting for her to teach herself, then I need to be prepared to have a hellish week, a few accidents, and constant worry that she's about to have one. Is it worth it? Heck yes. I spend approximately $40 a month on Afton's diapers. Add wipes, and that's about $500 a year. I'm just poor enough that I'd much rather use that money for something else. So yes, its worth it. Plus--only two bums to change now instead of three.

Afton is ready, in my book. She's intersted in potty training. Seems to understand the concept. She's watched her cousins and friends use it. She is physically capable of pulling down her pants and getting on the potty by herself. And she can certainly communicate with me when she needs to go. What else is there?

Thus began our long week. I almost gave up the first day, I was so frustrated. But I kept on--I would NOT let the first obstacle be my last. So we worked on it, and each day she got better. She is finally getting through her naps without an accident, and she is so proud of herself when she does it right! Stickers are like the greatest invention ever. She'll do practically anything for a sticker.

But I'll tell you what. I am so freaking sick of poop!

Tomorrow she will go back to daycare. I hope she does well. I hope we don't have to start all over once her schedule changes.

Well, there you go! Christmas Heaven and Potty Training Hell!