Wednesday, August 28, 2013

He's Six!

I had Elliott's birth story all written down on my old blog before I lost it and had to start this new blog.  I think I remember it all still but I'd better get it down so I don't forget any more of it.
In June 2005 I started dating my soulmate.  We got engaged Christmas 2005 and were married by June 2006.  It wasn't long (only 4 months, in fact) before we started daydreaming about what a little 'us' would look like and a month later I was pregnant.  My pregnancy was great, I loved it all (well, almost all, I could have done without the heartburn, water-retention, regular pregnancy-related aches and pains, and constantly having to pee!) but I loved being pregnant and the thought of this tiny little person growing inside of me was too cool.  My favourite part was watching my whole stomach move from side to side like an alien was about to break out.  I miss the feeling of lying in bed, about to fall asleep, and suddenly an acrobat show starts in my tummy, I will always remember exactly how it feels.

Weekly pregnancy photos
I did, however, develop high blood pressure (gestational hypertension, I believe), and no matter what I did (cutting salt out of my diet, drinking tons of water, eating lots of fruit) it did not go away.  My doctor was worried my baby might not be getting enough oxygen and nutrients (potentially slowing the baby's growth and increasing the risk of a low birth weight) so they decided to induce me on my due date.  So on August 27, 2007, Colin and I packed a couple bags and headed to the hospital, excited at the idea of not returning home without a baby.  I was hooked up to monitors to check that baby's heart rate remained normal, and my doctor came in, did an internal exam (not my favourite!) and broke my water, as sometimes that tricks the body into thinking it's in labour and gets it going on it's own.
Low and behold, I started to get some contractions!  Slowly, at first, then getting closer together and a little more regular.

Looking awkward, like a balloon ready to pop!
They set us up in a hospital room all our own (I love Langley Memorial Hospital for that, I can't imagine labouring with anyone but my nurse and husband in the room) and our parents came and set up camp in the waiting room.  A few hours later my doctor came in to check how things were going and decided if I didn't make any progress in the next half hour they would give me oxytocin to get my contractions going harder and heavier.  I didn't want that, I think I scared my body into working hard for me and when he checked a half hour later progress had been made, and he was happy to let me be.
It seemed to continue that way, every time they were planning on "helping things along" my body got the message to try harder.  The strangest part of labour was that my husband was next to my side every step of the way and the look of helplessness on his face when I was having a tough contraction was so heartbreakingly sad that I did everything I could to keep positive, joke around, keep a smile on my face.  He was there, ready to help any way I needed, but I tried not to need any, and I think that helped me the most.
Around 11pm, the sun was down, the lights were dim, I still had a couple centimetres to dilate and the pain was getting to be too much to bear, I was tired, I'd thrown up anything I tried to eat or drink (they should tell you that orange juice is a bad idea when you're in labour!), labouring in the shower just made me freezing and gave me the shakes, so I caved and asked for an epidural.  Apparently the anaesthesiologist was on call that night and would take half an hour to get there.  Fine, just call him!  30 minutes later, after being hooked up to the IV and prepped for the epidural, I had a funny feeling like my body was trying to push for me.  My nurse mentioned to let her know if I felt any 'pressure', but that's not how I'd describe it, it felt more like a lower body gag reflex (haha, that's gross, but that's the only thing I can compare it to!)  So my doctor checked and I was fully dilated and ready to push!  The anaesthesiologist was sent away, the bright lights came on, the doctor and nurse prepped the area and got their tools and catchers mits ready.  When they told me I could push I got a wave of excitement, my baby was on his way (although I didn't know he was a 'he' yet).  The oxygen they let me have was nice, too.  I pushed for 30 minutes, and at 12:11am on August 28th baby Elliott James was born.  They put him on my tummy first and I got to hold him and meet him for the first time.  He was tiny, weighing only 5lbs 11.5oz (we have the gestational hypertension to thank for that, I guess), and nothing like I was expecting.  For starters, I kind of expected him to be a her.  I also didn't think he'd look so much like yoda (only way cuter, of course).  I thought I would "know" him, like they always say, but I didn't at all.  He was this little tiny complete stranger, but we loved him and were excited to call him ours.  They checked him out, made sure he had all of his fingers and toes (although it wouldn't have mattered to me if he didn't, I'd've loved him all the same) and handed him off to my husband.  The two of them together warmed my heart.  It still does!

Quick staring contest, me and you!
After spending some time bonding, Colin went out and called our parents over from the waiting room, where they'd been patiently waiting all day.  I think many games of Scrabble were played and our mom's tried making some covert missions to eavesdrop into our room to see if they could get any clues of how things were going.  Elliott was the first grandbaby on both sides, and the grandparents were all overjoyed.  Many photos were taken, many snuggles were given.
I later found out that there were 2 other women in the maternity ward that day, and of the 3 of us the nurses were betting I'd be the last to have my baby.  I was first!  Ha, I sure showed them!
Alone again in our little hospital room, our new little family-of-three had a wonderful sleep.  Okay, Elliott and I had wonderful sleeps, Colin's was not so comfortable on the old hospital room hide-a-bed.  I woke the next morning to some squeaking and it took me a few minutes to realize it was Elliott's tiny little newborn cries.  I think that was the only time he 'slept through the night' until he was two years old.  Two days later (after making sure he gained, not lost, some weight) we got to take him home, and a family we were.
And now we are a family of four, and Elliott has grown in every way.  He's still one of the shortest kids in his class but I think he likes it that way, and the girls sure don't seem to mind (we've learned recently from other mom's that many of his classmates have crushes on him).  He's a gentle, sensitive boy with a mischievous streak and great sense of humour.  He's obsessed with all things Lego, enjoys math and drawing, and after a year in Kindergarten he can read fluently.  He has a contagious laugh that comes out hardest when he's wrestling with his daddy.
I'm proud of him every single day, he is my joy.

Happy Sixth Birthday, Elliott!

To read my easier and shorter second birth story, the birth of my daughter, now 3 1/2 years old (I can't believe it!) you can find it here:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lazy Potty Training

It doesn't take much to make me feel nervous and anxious.  One of the things that makes me feel that way is the possibility of any bodily fluids getting anywhere it should not be, for example on carpets, beds, and couches.  This makes the "throw your diapers away" potty training method very uncomfortable for me.
I feel like we live in a society that judges others if their older children are still in diapers.  I don't know if that's true, or if that's just how I feel, but most parents of young kids I know these days are dead-set on their kids being diaper free by age 3, most even younger.  If you and your child can do it, hats off to you, but it made my husband and I do some crazy things to get my first-born, my son, potty-trained by his third birthday when the "correct" way wasn't working.  In the end, time-outs for accidents was what finished the job and I still have guilt about it.  It seemed like a constant battle, and it wasn't any fun for any of us.
When my second child, my daughter, started showing interest in using the potty shortly after her first birthday (after all, she'd seen her big brother use the toilet a million times already) we heard about that three day potty training bootcamp method and a friend emailed me the e-book.  (By the way, it even advertises right on the website, "You will have bragging rights in front of jealous friends and family", proof that it's become a competition!  And why, so you suddenly have to be at the ready 24/7 to sprint your child to the nearest toilet and worry about them springing a leak on daily outings to the grocery store and shopping mall?)
Anyway, it made total sense after we read it, and as soon as my little girl was the golden age to try it, 18 months, if I recall correctly, we packed up the diapers in a big garbage bag and put her in the adorable big girl undies that she picked out from the store herself.  She was excited, we were excited, we were committed.  Until the accidents came.  We knew you had to have many accidents before a success, the e-book fully warned that the whole three days might be all accidents but guaranteed success by the end of the third.  Accident after accident, my anxiety's nightmare, we finally started making her stand or sit on a towel wherever she went, and at the end of day one she started to develop a horrible red, sore, itchy rash on the backs of both legs.  Not cool, pee, not cool.  So we aborted the plan, cleaned up all the accidents, did a giant load of peed laundry, and took the diapers out of their hiding spot.  We felt like failures but we both felt she was just too young still, she needed to "get it" for herself and she wasn't there yet.  So we stuck to Pull-Up's, calling them "big girl diapers", and kept up sitting on the potty every time we needed to change it.
Then we got lazy.  We went on holidays, we went on with our daily lives and potty training became something we were waiting for her to want to do.  And then I started to realize I don't need to feel guilty about it, it's not a competition, I'd way rather her be ready then to force it on her too young like we did with my son.  As long as she was potty trained by the time she went to Kindergarten, I'd be happy. 
A couple of months after my little girl's third birthday I noticed she was peeing in the potty about half the time I took her to sit, and decided to make up our own potty training game.  I made a potty chart using a mix of ideas I'd seen from others I found on the internet, bought some M&M's, bought a whole bunch of stickers, and taped the chart to the bathroom wall.  I brought her to the potty often, to sit and see if anything happened, I wanted to try to figure out her schedule and keep her clean so she didn't get used to hanging out in wet diapers anymore.  (And by "potty" I mean our regular toilet, not a empty-it-yourself kids potty because the thought grosses me out, and not a potty seat because she'd have me right there to make sure she didn't fall in and she'd need to use a regular toilet when we went out anyway).  Every time she had a wet/dirty diaper I'd write "Oops" in the square and mark the time, and every time she had success I'd mark the time and she would get an M&M (and one for her big brother, if he was home from school, so that he would help encourage her and cheer for her when she went) and she would get to put a sticker in the square.  Most kids respond really well to stickers or candy, so I did both to keep her extra excited.  We also kept adding things to the "when you pee and poop on the potty all the time you get..." list, including wearing big girl underwear (obviously), going to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese's, and, the biggie, getting her ears pierced!  So, if she was having a day with lots of accidents, I'd go through the list and remind her of all the exciting things she'd get when she could do it all the time, and she'd get back on track again.
Eventually I started to notice a pattern, and figured out how many times a day she went, on average, and I knew when to remind her to go.  I started to set a sticker goal for the whole week and if she got that many stickers on her chart at the end of the week she got a big prize (a small toy or book).
It took a good 5 weeks of doing this before she was telling me before she had to go and only having only wet/dirty Pull-Up a day, and she'd always tell me right away if she had an accident as she was no longer used to sitting in it.  The last hurdle was #2, she'd wait until her afternoon quiet-time when she was alone in her room to dirty her diaper.  A little bribery incentive and a successful trip to the potty got her over her fear and made her realize she could do it all the time.
A whole week free of accidents (in Pull-Ups still), a chart full of stickers was the final step I wanted her to achieve before letting her wear real underwear.  Once she got it, she totally and completely got it, and she's been in big girl underwear ever since with not a single accident (although I'm sure this varies from kid to kid!)  It may have taken her a little longer, at 3 1/4, but it was worth it for the lack of stress, anxiety, and wet carpets, couches or beds.  I am a proud Mom!

Potty Training Reward - Getting her ears pierced!

And so, if you loathe and dread potty training like most of us do and you want your cutie, no matter how young or old they are, to learn at their own pace, when they're ready, try adopting some of these tips and see if it works for your child!

Here are two free printables, one for a girl, one for a boy, that you can print out each week to keep track of your child's successes, and best of luck!  Drag the image to your desktop (if you're on a Mac) or right-click and download/save it to your desktop, then print the image filled to page.
The second column beside the days of the week is to record whether they woke up dry or not.  That way you can get an idea whether they'll be ready to stop wearing diapers at night as well.  Remember to keep extra sheets close to their bed so if they do have a night accident you can change the bed quickly and quietly and get them back to sleep.

Girl Potty Chart

Boy Potty Chart
And if you sew, check out my Zippered Wet Bag Tutorial to have supplies on hand in case disaster strikes while you're out and about!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kidterview #2

What is your name?


How old are you?


What's your favourite colour?


What's your favourite movie?

Lego Star Wars

What's your favourite food?

Macaroni and cheese!

Who is your best friend?


What's your favourite show?

Super readers, I mean Phineas and Ferb!

What's your favourite book?

What's you favourite look?


Book!  Um, uh... Grandma and Grandpa's Backyardigans one where they're under the sea.

I didn't know they had a book like that.


What's your favourite thing to do?

Play Lego Star Wars and Lego games.

Who's your favourite sister?


What's your favourite dessert?

Apple pie.

Really?  Mine too!  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Hawa-- uh... the North Pole.

What's your favourite song?

What Jake and the Neverland Pirates sing, "Yo ho matey's away..."

Thanks for the interview, Elliott.

Wanna read it all now?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kidterview #1

Every year or so I like to interview my kids to record what they're favourite things are, it's cute to look back on the older ones and remember who they were and what they really loved after some have since been forgotten.

These are a few of her favourite things:

What is your favourite food?


Really, mushrooms?

Yeah, lots of mushrooms.  And cheese, lots of cheese.

What is your favourite colour?

Lellow (yellow) and pink.

What is your favourite TV show?

Jake and the Nevyand (Neverland) Pirates.

What is your favourite movie?

Movie Curious George (that's what she calls it, as opposed to the TV show or the Christmas movie).

Who is your best friend?

Izzy (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates).

Who is your best real friend?

Elliott's friend Jacob.

That's Elliott's friend, you don't know him.

Yes I do.

Do you have any other friends?

Aida and Claire!  Did you know what Aida's allergic to lunch?  Pickles!  (That's not true.)

What is your favourite thing to play with?

Toys, Little People, and I like to play with Paybeel (Playmobil).