It caught us a little by surprise… Aiden wanted to begin potty training. We’ve had a lot of wonderful playdates with Jessica & Zayden during Spring Break and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Aiden wanted to be just like Zayden… who just began potty training. He got very upset one morning when he didn’t have underwear and had to wear his diaper instead.
Our “plan” was to put Aiden in his big boy bed this month then potty train during the summer; turns out, we were missing several key parts to convert Aiden’s crib (he’s upset about this almost every day) and the potty training wish came early. I wasn’t sure Aiden was ready, but how can you ever really know? Given he knows when he’s doing something in his diaper and his new desire to try, we figured we’d give it a go. I knew he had “most” of the signs.
After some emergency shopping for some big boy underwear and some cloth training underwear, we were set to begin. Our first day was mostly accidents. Once Aiden had a success and realized candy was involved? Well, that was a great incentive. He seems willing to go pee at the drop of a hat.
Aiden still has accidents, even at home, but he’s making progress. He’s not confident of his own ability to hold his bladder yet, though he did stay dry during his nap today (even with his diaper) and overflowed his night diaper (likely a big pee let go at once). He doesn’t completely void his bladder when he’s sitting either, which means he can have an accident even right after a success. But his skills are slowly developing.
Since nobody in this family enjoys staying at home, we’ve ventured out early. That’s just the reality of how we live. He goes out in his cloth trainers and is learning to ask to go pee when it’s time. He tends to need to be told to pee after one hour – his max point before he has a little accident. At least for now.
Being naked at home has helped Aiden be able to use the potty whenever he needs to – and it’s very often. It’s a fixture in the living room, at least for now.
We’re all VERY tired. Aiden has unfortunately been going through a bad sleep cycle, making us all more grumpy than is ideal in this situation. There have been a lot of tantrums in this house in the last 3 days.
We have, however, survived 3 days of potty training. It hasn’t been fun, but we are making progress and Aiden seems excited about that. Hopefully his bladder control catches up – I don’t want to back-track on potty training now that we’ve started, so I’m hoping his body catches up with his emotional readiness.
Wish us luck – I hope I’m not still reporting lots of accidents a few weeks from now!
Toddlers are picky eaters. It’s one of the only things in their lives they have control over, so you really can’t blame them. As a baby, Aiden would eat almost anything I put in front of him (except fish). As a toddler, not so much.
Though he does like his food with some pizzaz (heck, he’ll ask for hot sauce on a quesedilla), he has definite preferences for types of food and how its presented to him. He also goes through food phases where a much beloved food (butter chicken) can suddenly become one of the many foods on the “no yike it” list.
Though we try not to cook for Aiden, our cooking choices are definitely impacted by what Aiden will or will not eat. We try to offer him a variety of healthy foods, so we tend to cook meals where we can set aside items he may like before mixing, saucing or spicing them up for ourselves, if necessary. We will also less frequently make foods he has never enjoyed, which is kind of a pity when we like those foods ourselves.
Aiden likes foods unmixed. He prefers his vegetables steamed only (no sauces of any kind) and doesn’t like most foods that group together (stir-fry, casserole, etc). In some cases, we can deconstruct the meals, taking out the food items he’s likely to eat and presenting them separately. I recently discovered that he will in fact eat fruit salad – if I re-separate out the constituent parts. Go figure.
I wish feeding a toddler was a straightforward thing, but it’s not. There are mysteries to every food critic, including mine, such as:
- Why will Aiden only eat cheese that is melted? Or Babybel (sometimes)?
- Why will he eat Mexican rice, with carrots and corn, but not other rice dishes?
- Why will he eat skin on apples but not touch fruit like kiwi or strawberries (because they look like they have seeds)?
- Why will he eat steak with a sauce on it but not the broccoli with the same sauce?
Our Picky Eater Tactics
We’ve tried many things to get Aiden to eat a more varied diet. Some of them have worked. For example, I can get Aiden to eat more fruit if I offer peanut butter for dipping. The same trick has not worked for vegetables or other food, however, as he doesn’t like other dips of any kind or even ketchup.
I’ve found that if I offer a plate of food with at least one food I know he likes, in a smaller quantity, that he will sometimes continue after that food onto others. Sometimes cutting food into new shapes, or involving him in its preparation, will work – but mostly not. Bribery (yes, tried it) works to get Aiden to eat more of a certain food, but won’t compel him to eat other foods he’s rejected at that particular meal.
We repeatedly offer Aiden new foods to try. To give him credit, he does try a lot of foods – some of them are just spit out after a few chews or rejected after a couple of bites. Other times, persistence pays off. This past week, Aiden has tried a strawberry, ravioli, oatmeal and brussels sprouts. He’s been offered these many times before, and even used to like some of them, but had rejected them for a long span of time. We typically just place the food on his plate – a verbal question on trying the food will always be met with a ‘No’.
We will continue to make progress, and have set-backs, I’m sure. This piece of advice has helped me a lot in struggling with this issue: consider a toddler diet as a week-long balancing act. Some days they may eat a lot of protein, others a lot of fruit. So long as the week seems to balance, don’t worry too much about the day-to-day.
Is your toddler a picky eater? In what way?
Although Aiden slept like a pro in Hawaii, he did get used to sleeping in the same room with us. When we returned, a combination of jet lag and a subsequent cold made us slow to get him back to his firm bedtime routine. This resulted in one of us sitting on the rocking chair in Aiden’s room while he fell asleep about 50% of the time. Sometimes we could get away with a few Shh’s from the door. Mostly not.
As a toddler, though, Aiden likes to push his limits. The nights where he “needed” help were increasing, as was the time it took for him to fall asleep. He was yelling again for ‘more books’, even though we had a set rule on the number of books already. He’d ask for Mommy not Daddy and cuddles not just having us in the room. He tried to engage in arguments and we were losing focus on trying to minimize interaction. We kept putting off sleep training again because we were tired ourselves.
Finally, though, we put our foot down. After reading a few things online, I decided to make a Sleep Chart to help Aiden remember his sleep rules.
I let Aiden help me pick out some of the pictures and tried to make the steps simple. We modified his sleep routine to give him more choice and control, such as allowing him to turn off the lights and put on his night light. I made the steps after his books more drawn out (even though they are fast) so that he would have some distraction from wanting to read more.
We review the chart several times during the process of going to bed: it’s taped up in our bedroom (where he has his bath) and his bedroom near the rocker where he reads before bed. We encourage him to name each step. He’s very proud to point to the pictures and name the steps.
The first night was B-A-D. Aiden was super mad about the process, trying everything he could think of to stall – asking for water or Kleenex, but mostly for Mommy to sit in the chair. I kept calm and told him I would come every 10 minutes to rub his back, but that the “chart says sleepy time”.
After the first night, I put in one last sentence on lying down and trying to fall asleep, since his first night he refused to lie down for 1 hour. We talked about what would happen if he had trouble falling asleep (that he would get periodic visits only). Last night, he threw his blanky out once and tried to ask me to sit in the chair, but one reminder of “chart says sleepy time” and he went to sleep.
Last night, Aiden did better, but not perfect. He was a little wired going into bed (a surefire recipe for disaster normally), and though he didn’t escalate and start talking then crying and yelling, he did stay up for 45 minutes mumbling. He got frustrated at this point and needed a couple of reminders to go to sleep – he tried a few stall tactics at this point, but we did manage to calm him down quickly. Tonight should *hopefully* be even better.
As a bonus, the chart had the immediate effect of making bath time fun for Aiden again – he was putting up a fuss almost every night about it, but now he is eager to jump in. Go figure!
We arrived back from Hawaii on Sunday morning and are still getting our bearings. The trip was amazing and I have many many posts to share of our wonderful adventures. The only mar on the vacation was the airplane, and only because it involved sleep.
THE GOOD MOMENTS…
THE BAD MOMENTS… Visualize me, tears streaming down my face from incredible pain, putting up with a child squirming and whining every 2 minutes. For 4 hours.
The only direct flights available to us were at night. On the way there, it was earlier in the night and Aiden was able to play, be with other people, and sit in his car seat. It then took more than an hour of struggle, but he slept. Some in his car seat, more in my arms. But it wasn’t the whole trip, thankfully. On the return, not so much. Flying red eye, he fell asleep at the airport (go me!) and slept in my arms until I tried to buckle him in to his car seat. He slept about 30 minutes in his car seat, total, the rest of it wriggling to get comfortable in my arms. He was very unhappy.
Here is what I’ve learned from this whole experience…
- Never ever fly Red-eye with a child. NEVER do it. If your child can sleep anywhere, no matter the position, you’re lucky. Mine is fussy about lying a particular way and that’s without the disruption of lights, announcements, other kids…
- They cluster families together, probably to keep them contained from other passengers. Result – the kids keep each other up. If it’s a daytime flight, they play and that’s fine.
- Naps are easier to miss in the long run than night sleep. That takes days to catch up on.
- Even if you have 3 other adults to help, your child will only want Mommy when it’s time to sleep. So much for help!
- Toddlers are actually pretty easy to amuse when awake. Don’t stress over that. There are beverages, snacks, tv’s, iPhones, books and other people to smile at.
- The safest place for a child on an airplane is a car seat… but, does your child actually like the car seat? If the answer is no, don’t take it.
- If safety is still a concern for your family, there is the CARES system. We should have done this instead.
- An extra seat is still a good option, even for those under 2. Most don’t do it, but I think if our car seat hadn’t been in the seat, Aiden would have had a more comfortable place to sleep, draped across my lap and on the seat.
I don’t do well on airplanes with all my injuries to begin with, but having to hold Aiden made my pain so much worse. I could barely lift my arm for 24 hours after the return flight and am still very high on my pain threshold after the chiropractor and a massage. UGH
One of the ways to encourage language development is to narrate what you are doing and what your child is doing throughout the day. It’s a great way to build vocabulary even for a verbally adept child. It seems that the result of this is a child who also narrates. And nothing is more cute than a toddler who self-narrates.
Aiden running, chanting “Aiden running”
- Aiden running
- Aiden achoo
- Aiden cough
- Aiden ‘all done’
- Aiden smile. Big smile Aiden. (new today)
- Aiden yawn (while yawning)
- Aiden tired
The sentence structure is pretty obvious here, as you can see. Sometimes he’ll throw in proper-ish sentences such as “Aiden up the steps” or “Aiden in the car. Blue car.” Sometimes, also, the sentence is reversed to “Yawn, Aiden”, but typically the format is the same.
A few days ago, I asked him who was cute, and he said “Aiden cute.” I’d have to agree.