Monday, August 31, 2009

The Poop Miss-tery

So, my daughter is an IPT champ. I mean, we've had much quicker progress with her than her brother. Misses are rare in general, but poop misses are like extremely extremely rare. Except...when my mom holds her. And it's not like every time that my mom holds her she poops, because that's certainly not the case. But in probably 3 of the last 4 poop misses we've had (over a span of a couple of months) it's been the case. And I don't get it. Usually, if she needs to poop, she makes quite the fuss. She practically will try to jump out of your lap and start crying. Even if she's not being held she'll cry out. Normally I'd just chalk this up to me not paying enough attention/tuning my baby out while someone else is holding her. I thought that was the case the first couple of times, but after yesterday, I've decided it's a mystery. I just don't get it. I was sitting there with my mom having a conversation, in a quiet (as quiet as one can be with a three year old present) house. My girl wasn't fussing, but I looked at her just in time to see her doing the "I'm pooping" face. Maybe I wasn't paying attention though I thought I was. Maybe my mom's an ultra calming presence (that's my mom's opinion.)

What's the point? Sometimes there will be times when you miss when there's just no rhyme or reason to it. Don't get frustrated (easier said than done.) Remember all the success, learn from the misses, and then forget them!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not Fitting Into The Mold

I don't fit in. That's why I started this blog. I don't fit in with "mainstream parenting" especially here in the South, because I breastfeed (exclusive, extended breastfeeding at that), I don't use pacifiers, I start solids late, and I co-sleep.

But I am so not of the hippie/crunchy persuasion. I have very strong Conservative Christian values. I do vaccinate, my son was circumcised, and I do use spanking as a form of discipline.

I care about the environment, which is one of the many reasons why I potty train my babies. But I think global warming is a hoax, and most environmentalists are ruining our country. I could go on, but I won't.

So why am I bringing this up at all? Because when you're deciding to do this, if you're like me, you'll feel intimidated. You'll think everyone will think you're weird. You might even face some people who will tell you not to do it. I have been encouraged many times to not breastfeed, despite documented evidence that shows how superior breastmilk is, so don't be surprised if people discourage you from trying IPT which is completely foreign to most in our culture, and doesn't have tons upon tons of research backing it up, as is the case with breastfeeding. (Though it does have some. Take a look at the recommended reading section, and the links.)

But I'm here to say it's okay. It's fine to be unclassifiable. The thing you have to learn as a parent is to do what is best for your kids, and to heck with what others say. You don't have to fit in. I certainly don't fit in with the philosophy of the mothering.commune people. They have a good forum for EC, but certain opinions are not welcome there, which makes me feel unwelcome there overall. I can't feel comfortable on a forum where they flame people for many of the beliefs I hold dearly. It's discouraging.

You'll face opposition to this, even if it's just perceived on your part. I know that when I was doing this with my first child, I really did think everyone thought I was crazy. After I had success with my first child it all became easier. As I've said before, it's a confidence game, and you'll gain that confidence sooner or later.

Also, just to be clear, I don't think you're a bad parent if you:
formula feed
use disposable diapers
don't do IPT
don't vaccinate
don't spank
don't circumcise
use pacifiers
etc. etc.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves

"I don't have time..." I've come to the conclusion that this little phrase is the biggest lie we tell ourselves. It is an excuse we use all the time. In looking through some of the blog posts I wrote before I had kids, I realized that back then I was always making the excuse that I was just so busy, that I didn't have time to do A, B, or C. It's easy to see in hindsight that I did have plenty of spare time. I was lying to myself. I even catch myself now saying I don't have time, when really, I do. I "didn't have time" when I was married with no kids living in California while my husband was in the Marine Corps and I was a homemaker. I "didn't have time" when I had one baby, lived in California (no family and few friends out there). Nowadays, my husband works full time, goes to school online full time, I have a 3 year old and a 5 month old, and we're around family and friends; yet, the difference is that now I know I have time, even if I need to remind myself sometimes.

The fact is, we do have time. Don't let "I don't have time" prevent you from trying IPT, or doing any of those other things you'd like to try or need to do. I highly recommend FlyLady for all you out there who feel overwhelmed by life. (Actually, my first recommendation is the Bible, but I won't get all preachy.) I'm convinced that all this talk about "Hurried Mother Syndrome" is directly related to the lie "I don't have time." If you tell yourself you do have time, you will find that you'll get those things accomplished that need accomplishing. On the other hand, if your mindset is "I don't have time" you'll end up always rushing around (not getting much done), like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. If you're doing IPT and feeling overwhelmed, remember to tell yourself that you do have time. When you stop rushing around, you'll start to relax and realize you can fit all the things you need to do. As my mom always says, "Work fills the time allotted."

Friday, August 14, 2009

As the Church Lady Would Say, "Well Isn't That Convenient? "

So, an argument I've heard from people who think you've gotta be nuts to try IPT is that it's much more convenient to just let your baby do her business in her diaper and then clean her up. And why not just wait till she can take herself? Wouldn't that be more convenient?

Well.....no. That's the short answer. But since it's always better to "show your work," I'll devote this space to argue my thesis that it is actually much more convenient to do IPT (or EC) with your baby compared to traditional diapering methods.

First, let me point out that convenience does not always equal what's best for your baby. It's definitely more convenient to prop your baby up in front of the TV hour after hour than it is to play with them yourself; that doesn't make it better for your baby. It's easier to formula feed in some aspects, but it's not as good for your baby. It's easier to let your kids run wild than it is to discipline them, but that's not what's best for them...

Now let's move on to how IPT is actually more convenient than traditional methods.

IPT: Your baby poops on the toilet and you flush the mess away. Minimal wiping is needed, and you can do that with a couple of squares of regular TP.

Traditional: Your baby poops in her diaper. You have to change said diaper, using several wipes, and possibly need to change her outfit. Also, the outfit may be permanently stained in cases of blowouts.

IPT: Virtually no supplies are needed after you buy a potty and some cloth diapers. (About 10 should do you.)

Traditional: Week after week you have to spend money and time going to buy diapers, wipes, and butt creams. Think about how much time that takes, and then the somewhat frequent potty visits with IPT might seem a little more appealing.

IPT: No diaper rash, ever, in my experience.

Traditional: Lots of babies get diaper rash, a condition in which the name of the ailment explains the cause of the ailment.

IPT: Since it'll be rare that your baby poops in her diaper, you usually can take her to a public restroom without really needing a changing station.

Traditional: When you're out and about, you have to have somewhere to lay your baby for a poopy diaper change.

Remember, eventually you will have to potty train your child. Whether you do it now when they're an infant, or several years from now, you'll have to put in some time and effort. Why not just do it now?

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Happened?!?! Teething Frustration

I always want to portray IPT or EC if you prefer, in a very positive light. I do this because 99% of the time, it is a very positive experience. But I would be leading you on if I didn't warn you about those frustrating times that you will inevitably go through when you potty train your infant. You will have days when you wonder "what happened?" Some days, rare though they will be, you will think your baby's forgotten everything about IPT. It may make you want to tear your hair out. Or you may start to doubt whether it was the right thing to do, this crazy infant potty training thing. You might think other parents have it easier. You might even wonder if you should just quit and go back to doing it the way most other parents in the Western world do it.

I've had those days before. Actually, I've had one pretty recently. Our daughter, five months old, got her first tooth three days ago. Teething is the enemy of IPT. It usually strikes at the moment where you've gotten in such an awesome groove that it's rare that you have any misses at all. Your baby is happy all the time, peeing and pooping on the potty, and then BAM! The next day, you have a drool machine who just can't seem to get comfortable. It's hard to know whether she's giving you a cue or is just fussy. The wet diaper tells you it was the former. On top of this is the fact that neither of you are sleeping as well as you were before the teething started. It's a recipe for sure frustration, but I'll tell you how I get through it.

First, sloooow dooooown. Take it easy on yourself and on your baby. I have found I get the most frustrated when I'm in a hurry. Know that the housework will be waiting for you after the teething spell is over. Get some rest, and you'll be a better mama and wife.

Second, acknowledge your frustration. Don't deny that you're mad if you're mad. Just acknowledge it and get over it. If you're really really frustrated, take a break from IPT. I've done this before, and usually it only takes me a few hours at most to get back on track.

Third, put it all in perspective. Think about how many times your baby goes potty a day, then calculate the number of misses you've had. Or do it for the week or month or entire time you've been practicing IPT. You'll probably feel a lot better about any missy days you have.

Fourth, realize frustration is just a natural side effect of parenting. Even if you were doing the traditional diapering thing, you would be getting frustrated over blowouts that ruin clothing, or having to spend so much of your money on diapers. Or the endless mountain of laundry due to cloth diapering. Or leaks. See? There's tons of frustration for non-IPTers, so take heart.

Fifth, think about what you like about IPT. It might be the enhanced communication, the realization your infant knows more than is commonly thought, the attention you give her that you might not if you weren't potty training her.

Sixth, think about any changes you might want to make to your IPT routine. Maybe Daddy should be taking her potty so you can have some "me time." Furthermore, as Dr. Sears says, "if you resent it, change it." That applies to IPT. If you resent an aspect of it, change it. IPT can be done any which way you choose. I can only tell you what's worked for me.