brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko doesn’t take his clothing off, which is one of the potty training readiness signs. I mean, he assists in getting dressed and undressed (or strenuously refuses, if he firmly feels that a particular day should be a no-pants day), but he gets tangled up when trying to take off a shirt and when he tries to pull his pants down he loops his thumbs into the waistbands of both his pants and his diaper and then he can only scoot his diaper down so far, no matter how much he grunts and says “eesh! ish! EEEEESH!”

But he HAS started coming up to me after he soils himself and either grabbing his crotch or touching his butt and saying “baht.” He also says “baht” after he farts or belches. Anyway, he’s started indicating when he’s dirty and wants a diaper change. I’m torn between going out and obtaining underpants for him NOW and diving right into diaper-less (during the daytime at least) potty training, or waiting until he gives the alert BEFORE he soils himself.

He doesn’t poop while he’s sleeping, and he mostly pees in sudden bursts instead of little dribbles throughout the day. So he’s got some holding capacity.

I’ve never potty trained anyone before and I’m not really looking forward to cleaning up extra urine. But maybe the unpleasant wetness of peed pants will prompt him to use the toilet?

What say you?

Give me your best potty training advice. Also: give me the worst potty training advice you’ve gotten so we can laugh at it together.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Nesko came home today, came into the bedroom where Niko and I were sleeping (and I have a headache from too much sleeping, ow!), and announced that he had a free ticket to the auto show downtown. Did I think Niko would be interested in going?

Hell. Yes.

We explained to Nikola that he would be taking a TRAIN to see CARS and he basically went into a joyous frenzy of running, jumping, going in circles, and throwing himself dramatically to the floor. It was like a slightly older child encountering Christmas.

I forgot to pack my camera; I hope Nesko takes photos with his phone.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I got new shoes the other day. Niko was very excited to have these awesome new toys to play with.

Niko discovers shoes

Nikola discovers my new shoes in the kitchen.


Niko grabs the shoes

Niko starts moving the shoes around, creating order from chaos.


TOOT TOOOOOOOOOT SHOE

The shoes are a train. Did you know that? TOOT TOOOOOOOOOOT.


He tries to shoe me

Niko has a promising career shoe-ing people.


Shoes are reversed

He lined the shoes up in front of my feet. Sort of.


Then he remembered that he had his OWN new shoes to play with and tried to put them on.
One shoe off and one shoe on

One foot jammed in the wrong shoe, the other about to jam in.


Overbalanced

Who knew putting on shoes was such hard work?


Second Try at Shoes

Second try at putting on shoes (on the wrong feet)


Defeat

He gave up, I put shoes on him.


His original shoe fell off and he got upset and gave up. There was throwing. I put his shoes on the correct feet and he scampered off, then insisted I put his hat on his head and started putting his favorite toys in his diaper bag. OBVIOUSLY it was time to go someplace! Sadly, we were unable to leave the house.
broken key

Betrayed by the door!


Nesko’s key had snapped in half while he was unlocking the door, and he was borrowing my key. I had no way of locking up the house to leave. (I still don’t, he’s still borrowing the keys, he got copies of my keys made and NONE of them work. NONE. N.O.N.E. Not even one. Frustrating!)


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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that Niko refers to apples and oranges as “myum myum balls” because “myum myum” is food and apples and oranges are round, like balls. Food balls! He likes to eat both apples and oranges and in an attempt to accommodate his desire for fresh fruit and our own healthy eating initiative, we’ve instituted a fruit bowl that we keep on the dining room table, filled with washed fruit. It is ready to go! All we have to do is eat it! Niko is thrilled and spends a lot of time pointing at the fruit in the bowl and demanding myum myum balls instead of the terrible crap we try to feed him. You know. Like home made macaroni and cheese, or chicken quesadillas, or roasted cauliflower, or the eggs he specifically requested, or from-scratch chicken tenders and oven fries. They are almost as enticing as home made cookies, cooling on racks on the table.

Oh, how we torment him, with food on the table he isn’t supposed to eat in mass quantities!

So he tries to climb up onto the table and steal the food.

Recently, we picked up a bag of mandarin oranges. I thought they were clementines. THERE IS A VAST AND TERRIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANDARIN ORANGES AND CLEMINTINES. Basically: clementines are totally awesome and tasty; mandarins are syrupy sweet and foul. I WAS DISAPPOINT. Niko, however, disagrees with me and thinks mandarin oranges are the BOMB. And they are very easy to peel, with not much pith, Cara Cara oranges I am looking at YOU. So we’re spending a lot of time recently chasing him off the table.

I am thinking of getting a squirt bottle.

I mean, it works for cats, right?

Yesterday, Nesko and I were hanging out in the bedroom laughing at something (probably fart jokes, we are totally mature that way) and enjoying the way I’ve rearranged furniture in there, when Niko edged in with a huge grin on his face. I mean, the little dude sidled in. Like he was hiding something, or trying to. He had his hands behind his back. What was in his hands? Why, two mandarin oranges of course!

It was some hilariously inept sneaking, let me tell you.

So Nesko congratulated him on his ninja moves in getting the oranges off the table without any tell-tale chair-adjusting scraping, and went to put the oranges back in the fruit bowl… at which point he did a quick count and realized that Niko had actually removed the oranges and stashed them somewhere previously. Like, the day before previously. About half an hour later, I intercepted him with a Halloween Treat Bucket full of mandarin oranges. He was swinging it around, learning about Centrifugal Force.

The fruit bowl is now on the kitchen counter.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Nikola uses a pacifier, but only when he’s sleeping (or really sick and miserable). The transition from all the time to just in bed was pretty easy. We gathered up all the pacifiers, put them in the bedroom out of his reach, and told him that pacifiers were only for bed time. Was he sleepy? He can only have one when he’s sleepy. For a while at first he’d sleep with one in his mouth and one in each fist JUST IN CASE but now he just sleeps with the one. We leave them within his reach, and if he gets sleepy he’ll go into the bedroom and get one and walk around sucking on it and being chill. Part of his going-to-sleep ritual involves getting his pacifier. When he’s done sleeping, part of the “I’m really awake” ritual is handing the pacifier to whoever is with him. (or throwing it across the room, if he’s in a pet.)

He’s almost two– he’ll be two in March– and his teeth are really crooked. This isn’t a surprise because my teeth were really crooked, and after over ten years of braces, are still KIND OF crooked. I have very large teeth, a small mouth, and supernumerary teeth. Nesko had braces, too, but only for a year or two. So we were very prepared for Niko to have orthodontic problems. But even with his limited use of the pacifier, I’m starting to worry that the sucking is contributing to his tooth problems.

Then there’s the fact that when he’s asleep and the pacifier falls out of his mouth and he wakes up and it’s gone, he has a hard time resettling himself unless he can find it. Since it’s often tangled up in covers, between the head of the bed and the wall, otherwise hard to get to, what usually happens is he wakes all the way and starts crying and needs help finding the pacifier. This is a sleep disruption for ALL of us (we share a bed), and although we started using the pacifier to help him transition to sleep and learn to self sooth (he was a GREAT sleeper for a LONG time), I think it’s now hindering him from developing good sleep habits.

I was originally going to wait until he was potty trained to dump the pacifier, but he is almost 2 and shows NO interest or inclination where the toilet is concerned.

One of the techniques I’ve heard about involves talking about the pacifier fairy, or giving the pacifiers to babies who need them, etc. I don’t think he’s old enough to understand that, and I don’t think he has the empathy to care about another baby (he is a toddler, after all), unless we talked about a specific baby we know. Then there’s the “trade in the pacifier for an awesome toy” strategy but again, I don’t think he has the brain power for that due to his age.

So. Any suggestions?

What have you done? What have people you know done? What have you read/heard about?

Give my ANY suggestion, no matter how obvious you think it is.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Nesko worked, no joke, something like 60 or 70 hours this week (he had one “shift” that lasted well over 30 hours, because of the blizzard) and today wasn’t any respite. He did some electrical work for his dad, and then spent several hours shoveling snow in his winter get-up, which includes big gloves, the big yellow coat he wears all winter, and a masked hat that hides all of his face except for his eyes. He called me to tell me to get Niko ready to go to my in-laws, and I did, and just as Niko was all shod and coated up, Nesko came in the back door.

Niko screamed.

“Nah! Nah tata! Naaaah! Nah tata!”

And then he ran and hid behind me.

Nesko flipped his face mask (which keeps his nostrils from freezing together AND keeps his glasses from fogging up) out of the way, revealing his face, and Niko recognized him again. Yay! He ran over to Nesko and gave him a big hug and off they went to Baba’s, Niko narrating the whole way what was going on. “Bye bye! Baba! brrrrm beep beep! Car! bye bye car! Baba! brm brm baba!”

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

My wonderful, amazing, beloved, child:

You may have heard that I have eyes in the back of my head.

This is true! So don’t, you know, try anything.

However, I do not have eyes in my ass. Shocking, I know. This means that when I am standing at the sink washing dishes (a chore I hate, and thus you whining and moaning through the entire ordeal adds NOTHING to my joy) and you come up behind me and shove an open book against my ass repeatedly?

Yeah. Not helpful.

Sadly, I am unable to multi-task and both ensure the dishes are clean and won’t poison us with salmonella or e-Coli or whatever, AND read you “Mike Mulligan and his Freaky Machine Wife Named Mary Anne” yet again.

I’m working on this.

I promise.

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Moo

Thursday, 3 February 2011 14:20
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko has three kinds of trains. He has a wooden train that he calls “too too,” tub time squeezy trains that he calls “wawa too too” and a small brio-compatible train that he calls “baby too too.” He also has a wooden block puzzle that has parts of a larger image printed on the blocks’ surface. You can assemble the blocks into different farmyard scenes: a pig, a cow, a hen, a duckling, a horse, etc. Sometimes he’ll bring you a block and make the animal noise he wants you to help him assemble the puzzle into. In general, though, he refers to it as “moo.” When he lines up the picture puzzle blocks behind one of his trains, it becomes a “moo too too.”

He has a (large) number of cars, all of which are just called “car,” except he also has some farm yard animals with wheels instead of feet. There’s a cow, pig, horse, sheep, rooster, hen. He calls them all “moo car.”

He apparently likes cows quite a bit, or maybe he just likes mooing. Sometimes he’ll point to a horse, then moo, and then laugh. Because horses don’t moo! Oh man. What a joke! MOO. Am I right, folks?

He’s also lately started asking us (mostly me) to move. He’ll usually come up and pat/gently push the person, then say “moo?” I’m trying to get him to include please in this, and can occasionally coax out a “pees mama moo?” but usually he just begins stridently demanding that one moves out of his way, often while navigating around the blockage just fine.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko has a cold. It’s pretty awful! He’s a terrible snot beast and he’s got this awful gaspy wracking cough that’s worst when he’s lying down, so night time has involved a careful corralling of pillows and propping him up against my body so he’s more or less upright and can breathe better. It’s rough, but he’s getting better, and THANK GOD (knock on wood) I’ve managed to avoid this death cough.

I’m a little lax on the baby cleanliness department, I’ll admit it. He gets a bath about twice a month, more often if he gets dirty. But mostly he’s fine with a wet wash cloth on his face and hands or anywhere else he’s gotten icky. A bit part of this is because of his eczema which, let me tell you, this not bathing him? Is GREAT for his skin. His tata and I both are sensitive to a lot of soaps as well, so avoiding them, I’m sure, is good for him. The last time I gave Niko a bath, I washed his hair. Then we had pudding and he rubbed pudding in his hair. So I had to give him another bath and another hair washing. I guess he felt he had to restore the filth equilibrium or something. But both those hair washings were really hard. He did not like the water on his head! NOT ONE BIT!

I gave him a bath today, and I told him ahead of time what I was going to do (pour water on his head three times, one two three, shampoo his hair and get it clean, and then pour water on his head three times, one two three), asked him if he could pour water on his own head (he could! sort of. He mostly missed. He got some of it! And he looked very pleased with himself.) and then narrated what I was doing as I did it. He took this hair washing better than the previous ones, although he rubbed some baked beans in there during lunch. Again, filth equilibrium.

I’ve been trying to clip his nails for the past few days. They are getting, like, french manicure long. And although for a while we had a nice little nail clipping routine worked out, he was totally rejecting my grooming advances. Then, today, he came up to me with our copy of “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.” (To clarify: he came up to me for the fourth time today with our copy of “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.”) Before I settled into reading it (again!), I told him that I had to clip his nails FIRST before we read the book. And AFTER we clipped his nails, we could read the book together.

This pleased him.

The promise of the book was so compelling that he even picked up the nail clippers and brought them to me (he had, previously, hidden them (although not very well)). I set to, clipping his nails. When he tried to pull his hand back, I reminded him about our deal and gestured to the book, and he was once again all compliance. So we read about Good Old machine-lovin’ Mike (who is helpfully referred to as “an Irishman” on the dust jacket) and then read “Bread and Jam for Frances,” which is a great book and I’m looking forward to getting ALL the Frances books.

For your amusement, check out these following videos involving “Werner Herzog” (not really Werner Herzog) retelling children’s stories:

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