Monday, October 27, 2008

A word about potty training

Since my last post, I've had several comments from friends on the challenges of potty training. Let me say that I have read exactly zero books on the subject. I recall the author of the Girlfriend's Guide books saying something like don't rush it. And my mom telling me that M&Ms worked with me -- she kept them in a container on the back of the toilet as sort of an incentive/torture device. That's the extent of my potty-training training.

Despite some people telling us that M&Ms are a bad idea, we have used the M&M approach. And it has worked with magical success -- with #2. In fact, Caroline doesn't just tell us she has to go, her exact words are usually, "I need to poop in the potty and get some M&Ms."

If you don't think we're terrible parents for bribing out little girl, I'll share a few of our potty rules:

#1: In the beginning, whenever you suggest "trying," mention M&Ms. It's sort of Pavlov's dogs thing -- you gotta establish the reward in their heads so going in the potty is worth the effort.

#2: No M&Ms any other time. They are reserved exclusively for potty success. That makes them more valuable as a reward.

#3 No M&Ms unless she hits the mark. This will break your heart on more than one occasion, especially when she tries to get to the potty and doesn't make it. Stand firm. Toddlers are master manipulators. If you make an exception, you open the door for all kinds of rule bending.

#4 Reward success immediately, even if it's inconvenient. Even if your little one is on the verge of getting into the tub as shown below. Toddlers don't understand delayed gratification. And by the way, M&Ms may not melt in your hand, but they melt in the bathtub.

#5 - Pick a number and stick with it. Otherwise, you get into the "just one more" debate. Ours is 5. It seems like a lot to her but not enough to give a caffeine buzz at bedtime.

#6 - Praise, praise, praise. Tell her how proud you are when she earns her M&Ms. Tell her what a big girl she is. Call grandma and grandpa.

I can't guarantee these tricks will work for everyone, but we rarely have an accident anymore. When we figure out how to make all this work for #1, I'll share those rules too. Good luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in toddlerhood

It was a father-daughter Saturday as Caroline and Sarah, their daddies and our friend Kent and his dog Wonkers went on an all-day hike at Virgin Falls.

Here are Sarah and Little C all packed up and ready to go.

The buds had some fun teasing each other and getting dirty.

And throwing rocks into the water...

Earlier in the week, C got to spend some time with her cousins Baylee and Jordan at the Nashville Zoo.

And visit Middy, my grandmother's only living sibling.

Warning: a little potty talk
Today, Spence and C went for a walk to the river by our house. The rule around here is you only get M&Ms for using the potty. Well, nature called while they were out in the woods, so C did the next best thing: she used the woods "like a big girl" and got her M&Ms. Dad had taken a stash of M&Ms for just such an occasion. This girl's ready for backpacking!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Okay, I know I'm lame. I haven't posted in a month. Between working 10 to 12-hour days, including weekends, I haven't even collected Caroline anecdotes...and there have been many. But I have been tagged by Lori and Kara and Karey, so I'm going to come off hiatus briefly to share 7 random/weird facts about myself.

1. I have a weird aversion to mouth-related activities. This includes smacking, spitting, popping gum, eating marshmallows loudly, drooling and, yes, vomiting. Back when I had indoor cats and they barfed on the carpet, I was known to leave it there till it dried because I couldn't deal with it in fresh form. I'm better now that I have a kid, but I could NEVER be a dentist.

2. I showed horses when I was a kid, from age 9-12. Appaloosas, to be exact.

3. I once birthed a calf and a goat -- separate events, of course.

4. I cannot sleep with less than 2 pillows, and I prefer 3.

5. I have a birthmark on my right leg that I hated when I was a kid. I wore really dumb looking tube socks to cover it up. It doesn't bother me anymore.

6. I got paddled in first grade for scratching my friend. My fingernails were serious weapons, and they got me into lots of trouble.

7. My SIL dated Lyle Lovett. Sorry, AEI, to drag you into this. The closest I personally can come to a celebrity connection is my mom's best friend (when she was younger) was Toni Tennille's sister. (If you're younger than me, you probably haven't heard of Captain & Tennille.)

My blog/forum buddies are going through some rough times with a serious illness affecting several babies in our agency's transition home. So I'm not going to tag anyone specifically in case you're not feeling up to it. If you feel inclined to be're it!