I you follow me on Instagram and I hope you do, you would have experienced the epic fail, that was my first serious attempt at potty training that I documented for you my friends, to follow along with....
I mean it helped me keep my sanity for one, sharing it, and there was so much solidarity when I called it quits after 8 hours. I couldn’t clean up one more per puddle and my then two year old and I were both nearly in tears.
This time I was more prepared and she was showing the classic signs of being “ready.” She can pull her own pants up and down, she told us when she was wet or dirty (sometimes) I mean she just generally didn’t love being in a nasty diaper even taking it off sometimes on her own (facepalm). She was interested in other people going potty. So, for a week leading up to us starting I told her I was going to be throwing her diapers away and brought out all her character underwear and encouraged her to look and them and choose which ones she might want to wear. Then it began...
The Monday, admittedly, two weeks after I told her I was going to toss her diapers (I wasn’t mentally prepared the first week) I put underwear on her after I took off her nighttime diaper and was armed with “potty candy” and stickers. LET’S DO THIS THINGGGGG.
The mornkng started off very shaky, she asked for one of her friends to come over that day and so agreed only because this friend is potty trained, AND I knew her momma would keep me sane and encourage me to continue going through the trenches of my pee and pop cover house (Love you Kam!). When her little friend went on the potty for the first time at our house I rewarded her with a potty candy. Listen, pissed isn’t even a strong enough word for the emotion that came out of my toddler. Where was HER potty candy????
Me: “You did not go on the potty so you don’t get potty candy, when I see pee in the toilet you can pick any color you want.”
Who was I? Some hardcore potty candy wielding drill Sargent? I don’t know but something came over me and I was determined, I KNEW she could do it and there was no going back. We struggled through the morning but stuck too it and by lunch time I could see the light, the underwear were piling up in the tub but alas there was pee in the potty. Three potty candies were earned that day and her best friend said she was proud of her for going pee on the potty!!!
You have to up the ante a bit as you go, for every three stickers she gets a prize or varying sizes. Her Gigi got her a charm bracelet which is honestly genius, so every three that hit the pot and her characters on her underwear stay dry and “happy” as she says, which is too cute, she can pick a charm or something else. The rest of th prizes are random small things from the bins at Target! Once a whole sheet is filled she gets a big prize, like a new Barbie! My kid is most definely reward and attention motivated. EVERYONE in the house has to know every time she goes and they have to be proud, she even made me call my mom to tell her a few times. I’ll call the president if it lands a turd in the toilet ok kid?
So what else was different this time? She was older, by like fourish months I think. Up until we were ready to really give it a go this time we didn’t talk about, just leave it alone, we even put the potty seats away for a while. The praise is really really high, and the rewards are even better. Why would you want to just play all day and have someone change you? Never having to stop your fun for a trip to the bathroom right? Whatever gets her to do it has to be better than waiting and getting a diaper changed. So whatever that is for your kid figure that out. We only let her hang out with friends that were potty trained for the first week. Later that week another little girlfriend came over too and they got the potty candy and again that worked like a charm, no accidents during that visit.
Maybe most importantly my husband and I were on the same page, no diapers and NO PULL UPS! Stick it out until after dinner time when she gets into PJs diaper for sleeping only. Which honestly is such a relief when you aren’t on edge that you are going to walk through a pee pile. Best part of the night.
The thing is you have to let them lead though, no matter how you do it, read their cues. Are they proud? Do they want to do it? Are they ready? The most unexpected rewarding part is the changes in her. She is still a stinker, she’s three give me a break. But, she is definitely soak up something that’s just for her, Mom and Dad are more focused on her that we have been able to be since little sister came along. Of course she is still a three-nager, but there is a spark in her and more of a connection to me I think anyways. It was such an experience to kind of watch her grow through, and myself to be honest. It is so true whoever said you have not truly experienced parenting until you have potty trained. Godspeed!
Oh, and the letterboard is just a line from Big Daddy that won’t stop playing my head. I am still most definitely the wiper of asses.
Trying to make it look like you are not drowning every second of the day as a mom is totally harder than it looks. It can be compared to trying to pull off a wash and go style, or a natural makeup look, like, way more work than you would ever think goes into making something look natural. A few people have complimented me (like on an especially good day) and my ability to keep two children alive for almost three years for one and a ripe 7 months for the two of them simultaneously so I feel that gives me authority to give advice. Kidding, sort of. Here's my half assed advice on surviving summer with two, maybe a little diddy will be helpful here.
I never pictured that I would even have it together enough to ever leave the house with them both and no we do it multiple times a week in a relatively effective fashion. Bonus: we are typically on time if not early places.
More specifically, high value toys or snacks that can be used to peel your oldest child away from whatever fun activity they would like to keep doing when it is way passed time to leave. Think "rice crispy treat with sprinkles" or "themed fruit snacks." Save the "big guns" for emergencies, offer ICE CREAM. WE ALL DO IT PEOPLE.
Play places with gates that lock, strollers, outdoor play yard, exersaucer, high chair, BABY CARRIER, it is best to have one child contained in a specific area at any given time, especially if both children are mobile! Just spend the money on ALL of the baby gear of all varieties to maintain your sanity (sell it later). I have a carrier and TWO strollers in my car at all times because, life comes at you fast, your containment play can change on route to your destination.
Sunscreen BEFORE you get to the fun place, you don't want to chase a toddler while the swimming pool is dangling like a carrot in front on them! TRUST! Pack all the snacks because toddlers who loved gold fish yesterday wouldn't be caught dead eating them today! Also, keep a well stocked diaper bag, go check out my packing list for our diaper bag, I always restock when we get home so we are good to go whenever at least with the bare minimum of supplies.
Take your time.
I know its normal to feel anxiety when your kid decided to have a blow out of barf on you right when you are ready to walk out the door but that's life honey buns, your friends and destination can and will wait. Take your time, handle everything appropriately and make sure you have everything y0u need before walking out the door, nothing like forgetting your kids water and paying $7 for a bottled one at the zoo. 🙃
Just say no.
Don't take your kids into a situation you are not ready to handle with both. Some things are two extreme for us still, I know they will just end in tears flowing from multiple family members. The best part of saying no is that your kids has literally no clue what they are missing? So, don't beat yourself up, kay?
Choose your tribe.
DO NOT HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO WILL JUDGE YOU! Chose a tribe at your level and stage of motherhood, the ones who will give you the nod a wink, who will say "oh just glad it isn't my kid this time" with just the amount of empathy and sarcasm you need because NEXT time Lord it will be there kid and you will feel their pain! Smile and nod to that momma peeling her kid of the ground or breastfeeding without a cover because her toddler is using it as a cape, I FEEL YOU! I SEE YOU! Life is too short to act like you are out here momming harder or better than someone else. Share your secrets!
Having a second kid is like going from 1 kid to 100 kids. You are so much more tired, so much more anxious, and its so much more amazing. We are all hot messes I'm just here to help you hide it as well I do...some days.
The Old Man and The Teat
Gather ‘round the teat babes it’s story time.
As you all know I took my stroller for it’s inaugural outing to the zoo.
Things were going pretty smoothly and it was time for the baby to eat so we rolled up into the giraffe house. I felt oddly comfortable nursing coverless among the beasts.
Big girl ran around and shouted things to her bff as they pointed at the giraffes.
My sweet friend thankfully wrangled them both while I nursed.
I packed myself away and got the baby strapped back in, started getting the big one back in the front of the stroller and it happened...
@kamajalundh and her sweet babe exited the building and I thought we would be right behind...but...my toddler decided this was an opportune time to turn her body into linguini.
Linguini can not be strapped into a stroller.
Cue the poor old man who didn’t know what was about to hit him.
“Ma’am do you need some help what can I do should I hold the stroller for you?”
Guys I didn’t mean to but, I was sweating, milk covered, in a heightened state of anxiety in public with two kids.
“No, no I’m fine.”
Would you believe he persisted!? So, I HAD TO, I let him have it.
“SIR I DO NOT NEED HELP THE STROLLER IS LOCKED WE ARE FINE!”
Yes I am well aware I am a mom-ster. But, at that point I had to commit and do it alone. Eventually I got my little Italian carb dish into the stroller. And off we went to the dairy facility (how perfect right?). I started to feel bad for the old man. But, when I got outside and told the story to my girlfriend she said
“What the heck? What does he think you do when he isn’t around?”
I almost pissed my pants. How fucking true is that? Old man how would I get through life without your help? Now, don’t get me wrong yes, sometimes I wish someone would save me when I’m drowning in children. Unfortunately, for that fine gentlemen, on this particular day, I was on a mission with a point to prove and this lady didn’t need no help! Not from him! Maybe from my friend, but not from that strange man judging a hot mess momma.
He didn’t know this was no where close to worst case scenario. I consider that little episode an successful, even easy day. A win for momma. Barely a scene that raised a need for a life vest. It’s ok to not take help too. You know what you can handle, and I knew my girl would be there in a heartbeat with a preserver if the tides rose! But, some people don’t know a monsoon from a sprinkle, everyone’s perception is different.
I hope that poor old man still offers to help someone whose drowning. Just not me. Ha!
So guys, remember that post when I was like, asking for advice on how to survive a plane ride with a toddler? None of that mattered, all she wanted was the tablet and to watch Trolls while she was awake. But, that's not what really matters, something no one could prepare for happened.
I solemnly swear this is the truth! I am not going to embellish because the story is already unfuckin' believable.
Before I get down to the details, if you don't have kids, or even if you do we need a reference point for the stages of toddler poop:
Turd - self explanatory, belongs in a toilet but kid refuses to put it there.
Cream cheese - either they at something a little wrong, or, it was a turd and they decided that it was acceptable to continue normal activities with it in their diaper including sitting.
Mashed potato - no outward signs that your kid has pooped are present because it slid right out and they continued about their business.
Melted smoothie - specks of food are visible, overall liquid texture, likely will leak out the side of the diaper.
Vinaigrette - smells God awful, acidic, your kid's stomach is fucked, mostly liquid, features small pieces of poo "shrapnel"
So, the night before we were headed to leave on our big adventure. It began. Right before bath time, toddler squatting and screaming inconsolably until "vinaigrette" poo escaped her tiny little body, took 2 to hours get her down for the night, no bath before plane travel, not a good start. Then, her worried parents paced around the house continually checked the monitors and did a middle of the night diaper change only to discover.... A FIVE ALARM DIAPER RASH!
Fuck. We are about to board a plane = two hours of sitting, followed by a one hour car ride, with a hot booty tot. Not good. I scraped the last of the triple paste from the bottle, slathered that booty, and hit a 24 hour Walgreens on the way to the airport. Jesus help us.
Ok, we're on the road and everyone is so nervously excited!!! It's freakin 5am, I'm jazzed, game face on, all the toys and snacks are ready. Baby Phee here we come (oh and Britt and Erin, and Baby S).
Just hanging in the back of the truck singing Trolls jams with my baby and then it happened. One second I forgot one minor detail, before we left at 4:30am, the hot butt baby slammed not one but two drinkable yogurts and I was too sleep deprived and distracted when she screamed for a second one that I just gave it to her instead of thinking that through. Big mistake. DAIRY PUKE, in the car seat that we are taking on the plane. What a cruel world we live in. And side note, why do kids ALWAYS put their hands right in the projectile puke path?
Incase you wanted to know, wipes are good for cleaning a multitude of messes, Danimal barf removal from a car seat is not one of these. But, a mom on a mission, on a curb, in an airport unloading zone, is a woman with a way. So, I did the best I could, packed that stink bomb in the bag and off we went.
Oh one good thing did happen, babygirl was going to be a lap rider because why wouldn't I take advantage of that while I could? She won't be two until next month, boom, money in the bank. Luckily, the flight was not full so we got to occupy the whole row, and I'm sure everyone else was grateful for this as well. Because...during boarding, a devilish child, I mean my sweet offspring, squatted down in front of her seat, and "melted smoothie" happened. Did you hear me, during BOARDING. People are coming down the aisle, there is no hope of getting this poo out until we are in the fucking air.
Everyone strapped in, own seats, Princess Poppy is at the ready. As soon as the seatbelt light is off I'm up for the impossible task that is changing a giant toddler in an airplane bathroom. Time of take off 6:25 am. Time my poo clad toddler fell asleep on the plane. 6:35 am.
Now, I had a choice to make here. Wake a sleeping, chapped assed, beast, then attempt to change said beast in a glorified port-a-john, and have both of us make it out alive. Or, let the beast rest, survive the flight, deal with what lies beneath when we get there. Third possibility which was out of my control is deal with it if and when she wakes up mid-flight.
What time do you think Ursula woke up. If you guessed "right when the seatbelt like came on and we began descending," step on down and claim your prize! There we were trapped in a three seat, doo doo death trap, inside of a flying tin can. And now that she is awake she is miserable, refusing to sit, bouncing on my legs in sneakers, and screaming. My husband even asked the flight attendant if there was anyway we could just go change her quickly in a desperate plea. Denied.
I think I blacked out for the rest of the flight. We made it. Somehow. Got to the nearest bathroom, screaming, wiping, second wardrobe change of a the day, and a ring pop later, we got our bags and sour car seat and made our way to Long Island with the sweet smell of upchuck in my nose in the back of a rental car.
The weekend spent with family was rather uneventful in the best way possible, and in relation to the horrifying events of the aforementioned car, and plane ride. There was a really, really cute one month old baby who is my new Niece! How lucky am I!?!? Two crazy toddlers, my sisters (parents of the most perfect niece ever born) who we were so happy to see after not being in the same state since last Christmas. However, 3 kids under two and 4 adults in a cozy, two bedroom, rental for four days could really be a blog of its own...
The plane ride back was far less eventful, I think the Lord knew I was too weak to handle much more. But, she did not sleep a wink and there was a "mashed potato" diaper. If you think I let her sit in that diaper after spending 3 days tending to a diaper rash that was one wrong wipe from broken skin and ended our beach trip early, you are a very silly person.
"Center seat changing station for two please." You know what really seals the smell of sweet diaper changed victory away from other passengers? Puke bag. See how we came full circle here? Fold over twice, and bend the tabs like so.
'Til next time, I wish you all SAFE, bodily fluid free, travels. Bon voyage.
Just a momma trying to figure it all out and survive this crazy life I love.
Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.