Truth: I dreaded potty training long before I even had kids. I am a total germaphobe, so the thought of taking my tiny child into a public restroom completely grossed me out.
Fast forward a few years to this week, where I found myself sitting Parker on a toilet in the women’s restroom at Busch Stadium. Was it gross? Yes. Did I cry a little inside when he insisted on flushing himself? Undoubtedly. But did I survive? Here I am writing this blog post.
The real truth is, potty training has been surprisingly easy. Parker was excited to wear his Olaf underwear, and pretty much understood the concept of staying dry and using the “potty train” (he is going through a total choo-choo phase right now, so his misunderstanding of the phrase has worked to our advantage) from day one.
We didn’t use any special method or books; what worked for Parker was spending a full 3 days at home with the potty in the living room as a constant reminder to use it.
There have been some accidents on occasion, but after a few weeks of training, I’m thrilled to say that I only have one child in diapers now. Funny, my spending at Target hasn’t decreased as significantly as I thought it would…
Having a potty-trained child is still a lot of work, between the nonstop reminders, incessant trips to the bathroom, and tush-wiping duty. And the thought of all the public restroom adventures in my future kind of makes my skin crawl, but I’ll get over it. Maybe.
The other day, I took Parker and Mia over to my friend Crystal’s house for a playdate. She has four kids ranging from under 1 to 10 years old, so I pretty much consider her a seasoned expert on parenting. We were talking about how the time goes by so quickly, and she said something that really stuck with me.
Even though you think these early months and years are the best stages, it just keeps getting better and more fun. Every stage is the best stage.
I’ve only been in this parenting game for two years now, but I can already tell she is right. Infancy and early toddlerhood is adorable and exciting and fun, but man is it hard. I know my perspective is a little skewed since I spent months 15-23 of Parker’s life pregnant, but I think any parent would agree.
When Parker turned 2, a whole new world opened up for us. His language has exploded in these last two months, so we are having full-blown conversations. He understands so much more, he has an amazing sense of humor, and he is becoming my little helper — it’s truly awesome.
On my first day home with two kids, I had no idea how I would make it to 6 pm, let alone through the end of the summer. But now I truly look forward to my days with both of them. They can still be difficult and overwhelming at times, but mostly they are just fun.
The very best thing about this stage is watching Parker develop into a loving big brother. He is over the moon for his baby sister, and is always genuinely concerned when she is crying or spits up. “I rock her,” he’ll say when she’s getting fussy in her bassinet or carseat. And he makes sure she is included in whatever we’re doing, whether it’s going for a walk in the stroller, playing in the backyard or running an errand.
I really do feel like I have the best of both worlds right now, with a two-month-old and two-year-old. I get to enjoy ALL the baby snuggles while looking forward to living this stage again in a couple years when Mia turns two. (However, I can’t handle the thought of Parker being four, so I just ignore it for the time being.)
I find it more than a little amusing that we’re weaning one child from the pacifier while simultaneously trying to teach the other child to take one. And it’s going better than expected…for one child, at least.
Mia isn’t a fan quite yet, but if she’s anything like her big brother, she’ll develop a deep love for the “paci” over time. Parker didn’t take one consistently until he was about 10 weeks old, but from there on out, they were pretty inseparable.
I was never a huge fan of letting Parker have his paci during the day, but we were pretty lax on that up until the time he hit 18 months. At that point, we stopped taking it with us when we went places, and he started to learn to put it (well, usually them — he liked to sleep with multiple pacifiers) on top of his dresser on his way out of his room in the morning and after his nap.
That helped with his transition to daycare, where he spends 3 whole days per week with no paci. He did great with that, and had no problem taking naps there without one. So I knew there was hope once the time came to get rid of it altogether.
Once he hit 2 years old last month, I was ready to ditch the paci. Zach was a lot more apprehensive than me, but game to give it a try. So one morning after Parker woke up, we told him that Dada was taking his pacis to work so that another baby could borrow them. We said he would bring them back that night, but that he wouldn’t have it for his nap.
Parker ate the story up, and we continued talking about it throughout the morning until he was able to tell me where his pacis were when I asked. We talked about it one more time as we walked upstairs for his nap, and then — for the first time EVER — he did not so much as ask for his paci before he went to sleep. Then he slept for an hour and a half with no issues.
We continued the conversation about where his pacis went during the day all week, and then at the end of the week, it was time to bite the bullet. We told Parker that the “baby at Dada’s work” was going to borrow it overnight, since Parker was a big boy and didn’t need a paci anymore. There was no crying, no meltdown…nothing. He went to bed and slept through the night as usual.
I’m not sure how we got this lucky, because Zach and I were both convinced that the big wean was going to be a miserable process. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t have any setbacks, especially when he naps or spends the night at his grandparents’ house. But for now, I’m proud of my big boy and pretty ecstatic that we made it over this hurdle painlessly.
Next up, potty training. Maybe that will be just as easy…one can dream, right?! ;)
The question everyone is asking these days: “How is Parker adjusting to the new baby?” I think this video pretty much sums up his relationship with her.
In all honesty, I thought we were going to have some serious jealousy issues to deal with once Mia arrived. Parker is used to having 100% of our attention, and he thrives on it. But from the moment he met her, he was completely in love.
Every morning when Parker wakes up, he asks to see “baby”. And he gives her about 500 hugs and kisses a day. He can be a little aggressive with his affection, but what do you expect from a 2-year-old? ;)
It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops over time, but for now I am soaking up the mutual admiration. Mia is one lucky little sis!
The ErgoBaby carrier holds the #1 spot for me as far as baby items are concerned. I used it on a daily basis from the time Parker was just 6 weeks old up until earlier this month.
But my giant belly is making it a little (or a lot) more difficult to wear Parker, not to mention that he is quite the independent toddler these days. I saw our most recent trip as a good excuse to strap him into the Ergo one last time, since it was so early in the morning and I knew he would be sleepy.
I’m planning to wear Baby #2 just as much, if not more, but since she’s a girl, naturally she needs a more feminine-looking carrier ;) Our current Ergo is still in great shape, though, so we are passing it on to my brother and sister-in-law who just had a baby boy. I’m happy to know it will continue being put to good use.
Not surprisingly, Parker’s farewell ride was bittersweet. I love the feeling of having him snuggled up against me, and it’s so nice having both hands free (especially in the airport, where we have plenty of stuff to schlep). I also love the comments I get from other people, especially older ladies who say, “Oh, I wish those had been around when my kids were babies!”.
I know I’ll get to experience that again very soon, but it will be different — just as so many things will be — because it’s not the first time. Parker and I blazed those trails already.
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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