Bye Bye, Binky

Photo by Vanessa Serpas. From

I didn’t offer Abby a pacifier until she was six months old and her breastfeeding was well established, as recommended by her pediatrician and my lactation specialist. Prior to that, she would sometimes suck on her thumb, but it wasn’t something that she did often. I tried five or six different brands and styles of pacifiers until she found one that she liked. She was very picky about bottle nipples and woukd only take MAM brand ones, so I guess it made sense that she would only take a MAM pacifier too. The pacifier seemed like a lifesaver at first because she would use that for comfort, rather than always wanting to be attached to my breast.

Abby is very attached to her “binky.” I have been wanting to break her pacifier habit for a few months, mainly because I know she doesn’t really need it any longer, I want her to talk more rather than to keep a plug in her mouth all day, and because of orthodontic concerns. My sister sucked her thumb until she was six and developed a gap in her front teeth requiring braces for correction.

She does not use a pacifier at daycare. She takes it out and places it with her jacket and shoes when she arrives. As soon as we get to the car when I pick her up in the afternoon though, she is insistent on having her binky back. If we leave it at daycare or if we do not have one she will often cry, pout, or whine about it all the way home. She will not forget about it and constantly bring it up until she gets one; it’s almost like she has separation anxiety when apart from it for too long.

I have been hesitant to completely take the pacifier away. My biggest concern is that trying to do that while she has been ill, potty training, and soon to have a major life change with a new sibling will cause her to have more tantrums or regress with her successes in potty training. I also want to work on how she falls asleep at night- since she changed from the crib to the twin bed she requires someone to lay with her until she falls asleep, which is not a practical or sustainable habit that I wish to continue, especially with a baby who will be here soon. For the past week I have only been allowing her to use binky at night.

I am debating on how long before I completely do away with the pacifier. I am afraid that if I do it now I will have more trouble when we take on sleeping alone at bedtime. I also don’t want it to be a crutch that I allow her to hang on to for too long. Selfishly, I have also hesitated because she has finally started sleeping longer and waking less often at night, and Mom needs sleep. And, admittedly, part of me isn’t fully ready for my baby girl to give up one of her last pieces of babyhood either.

I think next week we will finally take the leap. I will let you know how it goes!

How long did your children use a pacifier? How did you go about getting rid if it? How old were they at the time? I would love to hear your experiences.


More Ridiculous Things I Have Told My Toddler

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From

Every day it seems I find myself saying something crazy to my kid. Most of the time I forget to write it down, but occasionally I remember. Enjoy!

1. You’d better watch out, you just about poked yourself in the eye with your toe.

2. Your chicken is not a phone. Eat it.

3. Your turtle doesn’t swim in milk.

4. Don’t rub ketchup in your armpits.

5. Quit licking your toe and go pee.

6. No, I won’t show you my boobs in the middle of Walmart.

7. Crayons do not work better if they are put up your nose.

8. You can’t look through my belly button to see the baby.

Potty Training Isn’t for Pussies, Part 2

Photo by Logan Ripley. From

Potty training… what a joy. Not.

Abby has been potty training for about a month and a half. I really went into this process with no expectations and no experience. I didn’t know how it was going to go. I will say that she has done very well, even though at times it has been extremely frustrating.

Just when it seemed like we had started forming some good routines and habits, last week we seemed to take a few steps backwards (or time-traveled a few weeks backwards). Each time I would sit her on the toilet she would say, “Done!” right away. She would refuse to try at all, then less than five minutes later pee or poop in her pull up. Over and over. Every couple of hours. Other times if I interrupted a cartoon or playtime to get her to sit on the potty she would run away and try to hide in bed or do everything she could to keep me from taking off her shorts and pull up or diaper.

This week has gone remarkably better. I don’t want to jinx myself, but she hasn’t had a wet diaper in three days. When my husband took her to the doctor two days ago she even told him that she had to go potty and did potty, in a strange restroom, no less.

Poop, on the other hand, is a different story. She had been doing so well at telling me when she had to poop, but then regressed to only telling me after she had dirtied her diaper. This week I’ve noticed that she has started to bend over or start to squat when she has to go number two. For instance, just five minutes ago she dropped a toy on the floor, bent over to pick it up, and then stood halfway up and turned her head to look at me with a far away look on her face. I took that as my cue to pick her up and run to the bathroom. She squeezed one turd out into her pull up and then finished doing her business on the toilet. I had to clean up a long smudge of poop that had smeared down her leg as she hastily yanked down her pull up before hopping onto the potty. Yuck.

I am so tired of diapers. I want to be done with cleaning this kid’s dirty diaper butt before the next one makes his appearance!

Keep Calm and Carry On

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From

I read somewhere once, I’m not sure where, that children get sick with a cold around thirty-two times a year on average.  When I read that I thought that it sounded absurd, surely there’s no way that a number that large is not a huge exaggeration.  Then I had a child and now, I think it is likely a true figure.  Kids are little germ factories.  I can’t imagine how bad it will be when she starts school and is exposed to even more children.  At daycare if one kid gets sick, they all get sick, they just pass it along like a popular toy.  My problem right now is not with colds, it is other illnesses.

Today it was just after 3:30 p.m. when my cell phone lit up and I saw that the babysitter was calling me.  Oh, great, I thought, what is it this time?  

“Sarah, I’m sorry to bother you at work.  The poor kid just can’t get a break,” Uh oh.  “Abby woke up from her nap this afternoon with her eye all swollen and matted shut.  I think she has pink eye.  Can you come pick her up?”

I asked my husband to pick Abby up and take her to the local urgent care clinic.  It turns out that she did have pink eye.  Because she is contagious until having been treated with antibiotics for at least twenty-four hours before she can return to daycare.

I picked up her prescription for antibiotic eye drops on my way home.  When I got home we teamed up and gave her eye drops right away, which apparently according to a two year-old, is an act akin to torture.  She screamed, cried, and rolled around on the floor.  The pharmacist told me that the drops should not burn or hurt at all, so I’m not sure what all the hysterics were about.  

I feel bad for her- she can barely open her eye.  It is red, puffy, and goopy-looking.  When I first saw her I was taken aback because it looked as though she had gotten in a fight and was punched in the eye.  She had looked like her normal adorable self when I had dropped her off this morning; there had been no signs of pink eye then.  Hopefully it will clear up quickly.  Her birthday party is tomorrow and I would hate for her to be miserable.

Last Wednesday morning as I was getting Abby changed after breakfast and noticed that she had a red bumpy rash on her elbows, knees, knuckles, and big toes.  From the location of the rash I thought perhaps it was an allergic reaction from something she was exposed to while playing on the floor or in the grass.

I googled it and didn’t really come up with anything helpful.  I took pictures of it and sent it to my sister to see if her kids have ever had a similar rash.  She said no and thought maybe it was an allergic rash.  

I took Abby to urgent care and found out that she had the Hand, Foot, and Mouth virus.  I had considered that perhaps her rash was Hand, Foot, and Mouth, but it didn’t look like the photos I had seen and she didn’t have any rash on her palms or on the bottoms of her feet.  The doctor looked in her mouth and saw that she did have sores in her mouth.  I don’t know how she got it, none of the kids at daycare had it.   The only other places we had been was to Walmart and the park on Sunday morning.  

She had to stay home from daycare for three days.  Luckily, she had a mild case.  Other than being more tired than normal and not having a good appetite, she didn’t really act like it bothered her too much.  Hallelujah!  I was worried that it would be horrendous.  My sister, my mom, and my sister’s three kids all have had Hand, Foot, and Mouth and my sister told me that she was in more pain with it than when she was in a car accident and broke her leg.  My mom said that even drinking water hurt the sores in her mouth when she had it.

My poor kiddo.  She’s a trooper.  She’s taken all this in stride and marched forward like a big girl.  We’ll keep calm and carry on.   Who knows what will come along next, but I am confident that we will tackle it and keep on going like we always do. 

Potty Training Isn’t for Pussies

Photo by Dana Watson. From

Abby has been in the process of potty training for a while now. Some days I would say, “F-yeah! This is going awesome!” because she seems to be doing so well and other days it feels like I am fighting a losing battle. Sometimes 5:00 a.m. seems too early to deal with shit that isn’t mine.

Take yesterday morning, for example. Abby sat on the toilet every half hour after waking. Each time we sat for several minutes, talking, reading books, singing songs, etc., but not once did she actually use the potty. Ok, fine, that’s cool. But each time she left the bathroom she either peed or pooped in her pull-up right away.

Last night as I was cooking supper she ran into the kitchen with one side of her pull-up flapping in the wind, shouting “Poop! Mommy, poop!” before running to the bathroom. I ran after her with food covered hands praying that poop hadn’t and wouldn’t leave a trail behind her. Luckily, it turns out that she had just peed and had started removing her pull-up.

The evening before she was sitting on the toilet and I needed to go around the corner to get some wipes. She had pooped in her diaper but said that she still needed to go more so she was on the potty. I needed a wipe because she had poop all over her bottom. I was gone for less than thirty seconds, but in that time she had hopped off of the toilet and began fingerpainting all over the toilet with poop. That was fun to clean up.

I’m glad I am not squeamish about bodily fluids. I am glad I am past the point in my pregnancy where all things poop made me puke, or we’d really be in trouble. I know it is going to take time. I know that she is learning. I know she is on the verge of turning two. No matter how hard it is we will trudge on and get through it.

Potty Training Time 

I had bought a small potty chair and Elmo seat that sits on the toilet a few months ago.   For a few weeks it was novel and Abby wanted to sit on the potty all the time, but now it has been around long enough that the newness and curiosity bout them has worn off.  She has still sat on the potty chair when I am using the restroom, but has never really used it for anything other than a chair.  Once at my Mom’s house over Easter she peed on the toilet but hasn’t done anything since.

For the last week or so Abby has been starting to tell me when she has pooped or is in the process of pooping.  Last night she let me know when she was pooping, so we rushed to the bathroom and she finished pooping and also peed on the toilet.  She was very proud.

We started sitting on the toilet every half hour and she will continue the same routine at the babysitter’s house.  I try to read a couple of books or sing some songs to keep her attention and get her to sit longer.

As an incentive for her to want to use the toilet rather than her diaper, last night we put together a plastic container with M&Ms in it and small items (A couple bracelets from my jewelry box, a balloon, an old Happy Meal toy I found in my closet, some small Finding Dory puzzles from the dollar store, etc.) and decorated the outside with colored letter stickers spelling her name and other stickers.  If she pees in the toilet she gets a couple M&Ms, if she poops she gets to pick a toy.

This morning she peed one of the three times she sat on the toilet and was delighted with her two M&M’s.

How did you potty train your daughter? What worked and what didn’t work?  Do you have any helpful hints to share? 

Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed

Saturday we took the step to transition Abby from her crib to a twin bed.  It was necessary to change because while she still fit in the crib and never (to my knowledge) tried to climb out, she was getting big enough to be too heavy for me to lift over the crib rail and my belly is now too big to comfortably and easily lift her over the crib rail.  

Abby was so incredibly excited when she saw her new bed.  Immediately she wanted to jump on the bed, play with her toys in bed, read books in bed, and pretend that she was sleeping in bed.  The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is actually sleep in bed.  At least, not alone.

Therein lies the problem.  Each night I have put her to bed she has refused to sleep alone.  If I put her to bed already asleep, she often wakes as I am leaving the room or shutting the door.  If I lay with her until she falls asleep, most of the time she will wake as I get out of bed.  Sometimes it takes two or three attempts to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If I try to put her in bed awake she will get right up and try to follow me out of the room or bang on the door and throw a fit.  She refuses to let Dad lay with her, so each time it is me.

None of the conditions of her room have changed, other than the bed.  I still have her nightlights positioned in the same spots.  I still play white noise to help her sleep.  I still close the door so the noise from the TV or me doing chores does not wake her.  

When she still slept in the crib I could put her in bed wide awake or drowsy and she would lay right down and go to sleep without any problem.

I know that Abby is adjusting to something new and will take time for her to become comfortable with sleeping in her new bed, but it is currently a frustrating situation. 

I spoke with my coworker Sammy about it yesterday.  She said her son had done the exact same thing when he was transitioned from a crib to a bed.  Each time she would put him to bed she would set an alarm and go in two minutes later to put him back in bed.  Gradually she would increase the number of minutes waiting to go back into his room until he learned to stay in bed.  This is basically the same approach I took when I began to place Abby in her crib awake at night.  It sucked for a few nights but eventually got better.  I think I may suck it up and try it again.

Have you ever been in this situation before?  What helped?  What advice would you give?  

Jealous of Dad

Photo: Louis Blythe/Unsplash

When I became pregnant I began to prepare for the possibility that my firstborn would become jealous of the new baby.  It’s only natural, it happens.
I remember being jealous of my little sister when she came home from the hospital.  I was so excited to have a sister to play with, but I soon realized that she was too small to play, she cried a lot, and everyone paid a lot of attention to her and I felt left out.  I cut all the hair off of my Fraggle doll, Wembley.

I have had conversations with her about how when Mommy and Daddy bring the baby home the baby will require lots of our attention, but we will still love Abby just the same, always have time for her, and will still give her all the attention she needs.  I don’t think she really understands yet, but that’s OK.  

What I didn’t prepare for was the possibility that Abby would become jealous of my husband.  

In the past couple weeks she has gotten upset when Mommy and Daddy hug or kiss.  If we hold hands in front of her she will try to pull them apart.  When we sit next to each other or try to snuggle together on the couch she will act angry and try to hit my husband or push him away.

We have both tried to explain to Abby that hugging, kissing, and holding hands is how Mommy and Daddy show our love and affection for each other, just as we hug, kiss, and hold her.  I’m not sure how to get through to her that Mommy isn’t just hers.  Nothing we say seems to make a difference. 

I know and try to reassure my husband that this is just a phase she is going through and that will not last too long, but it is frustrating, especially for my husband. 

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle the situation?

A Page Out of the Toddler Rule Book

Photo: Samantha Sophia/Unsplash

The older my daughter gets, the more obvious it seems that toddlers operate by a different set of rules. 

I happened to find a page from the secret Toddler Rule Book and decided to share it with you.  Enjoy!

  1. No matter what delicious food you are given, always insist on eating what Mom and Dad are eating.
  2. Wherever Mom goes for alone time, find her and bug her until you have her full attention.
  3. Be incredibly quiet when being mischievous.
  4. Anytime adults are in a hurry or have a deadline, use this opportunity to move as slowly as possible and not acknowledge any instructions you are given.
  5. Even though you might be turning purple and shivering while sitting in cold bathwater, this is no excuse to get out of the bathtub.  Keep playing as long as possible!
  6. Even if every episode of Curious George has been watched 70 times, ask to watch it again.
  7. Even if you acted like a food was delicious yesterday, it is perfectly fair to act like it is the grossest thing on Earth today.
  8. Fake ouchies and boo-boos deserve as much sympathy and attention as real ones.  Band-aids are always necessary.
  9. Stickers must be placed on every available surface, from the kitchen table legs, to walls, or Mom’s butt when she isn’t looking.
  10. Stuff anything of an accommodating size into the toilet, clothes hamper, trash can, potato bin, and air vents.
  11. Shoes and socks must be removed during each car ride, no matter how short, especially when full of sand.
  12. Being naked at all times is better than wearing clothes. Always.
  13. It is lots of fun to walk around the house with Dad’s underwear around your neck on laundry day. No matter how many times Mom tries to take them off, find a way to put them back on.
  14. Cookies and marshmallows are acceptable for breakfast.
  15. Push any button that you see.  Remote controls, keyboards, and phones are particularly fun.
  16. Anytime Mom and dad are trying to have a conversation, immediately interrupt with, “Mom! Mom!” or “Dad! Dad!” and don’t stop until you have their full attention, even if you have nothing to say.