Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I like to Potty all the time, Potty all the time

Corwyn is making fabulous progress on the potty front. Many have asked how I did it so I thought I’d put it all in one place.

If you remember (or read back), Nathan pretty much potty trained himself. He decided he wanted to start and never looked back.

When Corwyn started showing the basic interest, I put him in a pull-up in the day and a diaper at night. I wanted the differentiation between day and night. Both end up in my bed overnight and until they are dry overnight.  This is what I did with Nathan. As with Nathan, I never called a pull-up a diaper, it was always a pull-up.  

After the incident I posted about a few weeks ago, I knew Corwyn was ready, although not really willing. Corwyn has very different motivations than Nathan does and that is a subject for another post. I’m not a big fan of using rewards, but I knew for this boy for this task, that was the route. 
I got some Wiggles stickers from the Internet (couldn’t find any local) and printed off a chart. I printed another for Nathan and got different stickers. Why does Nathan need a chart? Well, between the holidays and my caregiver being sick for more than a month, Nathan had slipped a bit. I knew he’d like the idea of the chart and would get it quickly.

To get a sticker they had to pee or poop in a potty or the toilet. I didn’t want stickers for anything negative (like not peeing in the bed at nap time etc). Once a row was complete, they would get a ‘present’. The presents are nothing big, and things I got on sale that I would have given them anyway, like a book or a puzzle. I got some small Wiggles suffies for Corwyn. I wrapped them to make it official.

Day 1: First step was getting Corwyn to take his diaper off from the night before.  Then I let him run around bottomless. It didn’t take too long before the chance appeared. He started to pee. I grabbed a potty and shoved it under the stream. Success! We celebrated (and ignored the part that started on the floor). He carried it proudly to the bathroom to be emptied. We celebrated more. Then he got a sticker and something clicked. Pee in a potty, get a Wiggles sticker. So within 5 minutes he managed to squeeze out another few drops. Another celebration and another sticker. He was hooked. So he wanted more pee to get more stickers, I have to point out that at this point, he was sort of crouched, sort of standing over the potty. And he tried, and tried and tried to get more pee out. A drop came out at the same time that some poop slid out the other side and plopped onto the floor. Again, ignore the fail part, celebrate the victory.

It was another day until he had the connection and actually sat on the potty to poop. But now he’ll do it every time and will happily tell me he’s had a ‘big, big poop’.

If he is clothed and told to, he will (usually) pee if Nathan does. Usually. If he is naked from the waist down, he will go on his own, whenever he needs to go. While I can appreciate the going on a schedule and learning to take off and put back on pants, right now his brain still needs retraining.  For his entire life up until now, he’s just peed where he is. The brain says have to pee, relax muscles. When he has nothing on his brain says have to pee, oh no, no pants, find potty, relax muscles. If he has underwear on, he just has the message have to pee, relax muscles. Eventually he’ll change to have to pee, find potty, relax muscles even when wearing underwear. But he needs more naked time to do it. I have  a great friend who is filling in for the month for my caregiver. He is wonderful and great but I think a bit uncomfortable with nekkid boys so he puts underwear on him when he comes over. He’s good about getting him to the potty on a schedule and that’s a good thing too. When their regular caregiver comes back tomorrow, he may get more nekkid time when I’m not there.

Like I said, I think the pee on a schedule method has merits too, but a kid isn’t fully potty trained until he can make the connection between having to pee and getting there himself to do it.

If I had to say a number, he’s about 75-80% there. It may be another week or two until we’re down to the odd accident. The picture below is a really good indication of how well he likes his 'presents'. Monkey and Dorothy he already had, Wags and Henry were from filling a row on his chart. 

Nathan really only needed the first day to get back into full blown toilet mode. He sometimes forgets to ask for a sticker now (which is good because his chart is full and stickers are just going on randomly now). He’s waking up dry again many mornings and once Corwyn is fully daytime trained, we’ll start night time for Nathan.

I’m happy to put the diapers behind us. It will be nice to get rid of the pull-ups at night too. In some ways it’s hard because it means their growing up. But in other ways, it’s so much nicer.

We've only had one battle for the toilet. In the picture below this was Nathan's reaction when Corwyn got there first. Nathan didn't have to actually go, but he was still put out.  

And to end on a nice note....

Friday, January 20, 2012

That's my boy!

Nathan was in fine form the other night, having me rumbling with laughter, none of it intentional on his part.
While in the bath, he was was playing.
"Where is my hand?" while hiding his hand under the bubbles.
"There's my hand!" bringing it back up again.
He did this a few times with feet, hands etc. Then he moved on.
"Where is my penis?"
"There's my penis!"

Ah, you make a mother proud.

And no, no nekkid kid shots here. Nathan has been working with scissors lately. We tried snowflakes. For most, I held the paper while he cut. For the last one (middle top row) he did it all himself. Not bad (and no blood). Corwyn had nothing to do with the art but couldn't pass up a chance to strike a modeling pose.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Potty Push

The timing could not be worse but I think I need to potty train Corwyn ASAP.

A month ago, he was not physically ready. He would stand in front of the toilet and gleefully say 'peeeee' with nothing happening. And off he'd go to play only to have pee magically come out 5-10 minutes later. He wanted to go, he'd run to the bathroom but it didn't happen. I didn't push it. I didn't yell, I didn't offer shame. I cleaned up (and let him help if he wanted). The mind was ready the body wasn't.

But now, he's physically ready but unwilling. Last night, while getting him ready for bed he wanted to play diaperless. I asked if he wanted to pee in the toilet. He said no, he wanted to pee there (pointing to a spot on the floor). I repeated the toilet question. He repeated his insistence to pee on a specific spot on the floor and proceeded to do it (then dance around in it).

So I need to get him to want to pee in the toilet (or a potty) again. I wasn't huge on the rewards idea before because they wouldn't get it, but now I think I may try it.

But the timing from a home front could not be worse. Our regular caregiver had surgery last month and wont be back until Feb. We have a great fill in, but its not the same. Its a break in their routine and their days are much less structured. Nathan, while still potty trained, is having many, many more accidents then he used to have just because things are not as consistent.  Its affecting sleep and eating habits too. And while she should be back in February, she will still be doing some recovering and things will still be a bit messed up.

So what to do.

I think I'm going to go forward, if not starting this weekend, then next weekend.

Corwyn should be easy to motivate. He loves the Wiggles, anything Wiggles.  So I have some Wiggles stickers (I need to find them) for each pee/poop reward. The local toy store started to carry some Wiggles toys for the bigger rewards. And there are always Wiggles DVDs on ebay. So one sticker for each pee/poop with a finished row getting a bigger reward and a finished chart a DVD.

Nathan is harder to pick something for. And while he's potty trained, he sometimes wont bother if he's deep into play. So I was thinking for him a sticker for each dry day, each dry nap and each dry overnight. There needs to be as many opportunities daily for a sticker as his brother, but just not for the same reasons. Now I have to think what sticker and what rewards. I may go the Sesame Street route with something electronic at the end (he loves gadgets).

And yeah, each will 'borrow' whatever the other gets, or have to share it (movie) but that is the nature of any sibling, more so with twins.

Anyway, that's where I am right now. What's up with your family?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The "Eyes" have it.

Or do they?

Huh, has she lost her brain, you're wondering. Nope, at least not yet.  This post is about eyes, vision and the brain. Obviously our eyes are critical in our ability to see. But our brains play a huge role that is often overlooked or taken for granted.  Where did this seemingly sudden interest in eyes come from?

As a child I had 20-20 vision. Somewhere in my mid-late teens, I started to need glasses for distance. I hated glasses. Not just because of the nerd/geek image that went along with them (as a straight A student I was aware of this though) but because they hurt to wear. I must have pressure points just behind my ears because no matter how well they were adjusted, within an hour or so, I was in pain. And it's not just glasses, I can't wear headbands either for the same reason (and not just the hard plastic kind, the soft ones too - which sucks).I think the day I was old enough, I switched to contacts. I've never looked back.

Now I know I was lucky with contacts. They were comfortable from the start. Other than some mishaps in University (like trying to take them out of really dry eyes the morning after a party only to find out that I managed to take them out before sleep already) and an incident where a kitten wanted to play with my eye lashes and managed to remove one (actually the contact probably saved my eye) I've never had issues with them.

I had an eye doctor more than a decade ago who encouraged me to wear them overnight for as long as was comfortable if I wanted. So I did. Up until a few months ago, I took them out monthly, tossed them and put a new pair in. And for day to day life it was as if I had perfect vision. I could see when I woke without fumbling for glasses. People would ask me if I'd have eye surgery but I figured why bother, I could see all the time. Almost.

A few year ago age started to creep up on me and I sometimes needed reading glasses, not always and only with the lowest magnification but sometimes. I didn't like these anymore than regular glasses but they were never on for more than a few minutes up to 20 or so at a time. I could live with that.

Then the worse happened. They discontinued my brand of contacts. Dang. The last time this happened, I went through 4 different types to find one that worked. And in between, I had to wear glasses again. Yuck. this time, though, I noticed that when I wasn't wearing corrective lenses/glasses that I did not need reading glasses. WTF? When I went to the eye doctor this time, along with trying to help me find a brand of contacts I could wear long term, he brought up something new, monovision. Mono what? Monovision.

This link gives you some information. What is Monovision. Basically what it comes down to is that the brain takes the images that ours pass it and translate it for us. In the case of monovision, one eye sees up close, one eye sees distances but the brain picks which parts from each eye to use. He asked if I wanted to try it. So off I went with one contact. My dominant and weaker eye is the right so that is the one I got the contact for.

It was weird at first. I found myself unconsciously closing my left eye when walking down the street. I'd force it back open and go on. After a few days though, it settled down and I stopped noticing it. But unfortunately these new contacts were not going to work for comfort, so back to the eye doctor for another try. He gave me another brand to try. But while there, I broached the subject of laser eye surgery. He said I could be a candidate and gave me a place they work with. He said some will do monovision correction too.

The place he gave me information was very expensive and did not include  the pre and post care. I put out a call to friends and had 7 different ones come back recommending a single clinic. Turns out, along with these rave reviews, it was less than half the cost of the one the eye doctor works with and includes the pre and post care. So I booked the consult only to be told I could not wear contacts for the 2 weeks leading up to it - it was in 15 days. Sigh. Glasses. This is one of the few and last pictures of me with glasses.

The consult went well. The place is a well oiled machine.The last step on the assembly line was with a basic eye doctor who told me I was a good candidate for PRK. I asked him about monovision but he said they rarely did it and I'd just have to get used to reading glasses. Okay. I put the deposit down.

Then two weeks after that (two weeks of wearing the dreaded glasses) I went for the surgery. I made plans for friends to stay overnight with the boys and for me to get a hotel room right next door. Some people have pain and the vision is the worse right after the surgery.

The appointment started off signing waivers etc and then paying the balance. Then I saw the senior eye doctors and the surgeon. This caused a lot of scurrying around, in and out by each and repeat vision tests by each. At one point, one asked if I had ever considered monovision. Seems they thought I'd be perfect for it. Some more scurrying and some more tests and we all agreed. They were going to refund a portion of the cost and I could get the other eye done in the future should I not like it. They gave me a months supply of weekly contacts for the uncorrected eye until the surgery results kicked in and a pair of reading glasses for the same period.

The surgery itself is quite painless and very fast. In the recovery room, I had to keep the operated eye closed for 10 minutes, but since my other eye wasn't done, I was in a unique position, I could watch the next person getting done on the close circuit monitor. So I did. Really neat. You can find it on you tube.

2 hours after I arrived, I left with (stylin') dark glasses and a bag full of eye drops. Friends met me and we went for dinner. Of course I could see. I still had one perfectly functioning eye. And the brain, being the amazing thing that it is, adapted. Honestly, unless I closed my left eye (the one not operated on) I had no idea that I couldn't see squat out of the right. But I still had the hotel room. I had the longest sleep that I've had in 2.5 years. I slept 9 hours straight in a bed all by myself. No one kicked me, or demanded TV at 3am. I missed them terribly.

Over the next couple of weeks, my right eye continued to improve. But again, unless I closed my left, I was sure it was functioning perfectly. The only thing noticeable was haloing of lights at night. After 2 weeks, I kept out the contact from my left eye and began the switch to monovision. My right eye was only about 50-60% healed though so it took some time.  It's up to about 80% or so now and honestly if this was as good as it got, I'd be very happy, but it gets better every day. I have another follow up the end of March and one a couple of months after that.

I can read without glasses (even the fine print). I can walk down the street and see the street signs or the number on the approaching bus without corrective eye wear. I can tell which kid is mine at the playground without being right beside him (although I usually am). I love it. Every once in a while I'm reminded of it though. I was reading one day, with the book in my right hand and a coffee in my left. Every time I brought the cup up for a sip, it would cross in front of my left eye and the words would go blurry for a few seconds.

I would highly recommend laser eye surgery to anyone contemplating it. Even if you cant get monovision, its still worth it. If my eyes continue to deteriorate and I need reading glasses in the uncorrected eye anyway, I'll have that eye done and wear reading glasses when necessary. It of course takes longer to heal if you do each eye separately, and may cost more, but there is no disruption to life if you do it that way. During the healing, if I closed my left eye, I got a taste of how bad it would be for a week or more if I had both done at once. I could have functioned, but I couldn't have worked for over a week.

And as a reward for those who stuck through this long email that was not about the boys, here is a picture of my favorite sets of eyes. This was taken while on the Christmas Train. It was right after the music changed to something out of Rudolf that Corwyn recognized.