We have been practicing elimination communication (EC) with PiElla since she was about three months old. The basic premise is that babies give signs that they need to eliminate and that if you are attentive to those signs you can give your child the opportunity to eliminate in the potty. EC has been a wonderful part of our care routine with PiElla and extremely helpful during this time PiElla has been in the spica cast.
The one situation we really have not used EC much in is during the night. When I took an EC class, the instructor admonished us that if there is one time to practice EC, to do it at night to help avoid later issues with bed wetting. Well, that sounds great, but if a good absorbent disposable can keep as all horizontal in bed for a full night, that counts for more in my world these days. For a while now, when we got PiElla up in the morning we’d change a very full (wet) diaper, and I mentally decided I wouldn’t even start to think about nighttime dryness until PiElla was no longer nursing through the night (what comes in must come out, right?). Well, PiElla has different ideas. The past week, more nights than not PiElla has woken up during the night and demanded to be taken potty. She goes as soon as she’s put on the potty and her diaper is dry. To top it off, she basically sleeps through the whole experience – getting picked up out of bed, put on the potty, lain on her back for the first half of the diaper stuffing, flipped over on her belly for the second half of the diaper stuffing, and lain back in bed (wouldn’t that be nice!)
The first night this happened I was paying attention to the clock for once. I took her potty at 11pm and then at 5am, with dry diapers both times. That’s six hours!
I still certainly expect consistent night dryness to still be some time off – on a scale of years, not months. At least not until PiElla has the mobility and environment to get herself up and to the potty (she will probably miss the full service sleep potty) or the language skills to consistently communicate her needs to us. She’s a pretty good communicator and we’re decent listeners, but there’s still a high error rate in our transmission/reception system.
So there’s the latest update from this thoroughly impressed, rather proud, and slightly more sleep deprived mama.
I feel so fortunate to have such an awesome partner in this parenting adventure. Jay was my advocate and support at PiElla’s birth. He was the first familiar person to touch her after she was born and his touch calmed her right down. He changed her first diapers as I recovered from my surgery and helped her tell us her name.
Jay is impressively attuned and attentive to his daughter. He is the one who identified her craniosynistosis and it seems that more often than not, whatever she’s trying to say, he understands it.
Now that I’m back to work full time, Jay does the caregiver handoffs every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and each Monday he spends the whole day with PiElla. He does a lot to keep our household functional and fed.
We’re pretty lucky ladies, PiElla and I. We love you Jay!
We take a lot of our public PiElla philosophy from Ian and Christina. We agree that a child should go to restaurants and events with adults. Sometimes that is easier said than done.
Tonight we went out to Cha:n, a Korean restaurant near Pike Place Market. PiElla was hungry and fussy, but did well when we were feeding her. And, by the end of the night she was not the only baby present. Everyone was sweet and understanding, and Pi had a lot of fun.
The challenging part was not being distracted from little miss long arms while talking with other parents. She managed to grab my small plate from the table, that I was feeding her from, and it crashed to the floor. PiElla’s first broken dish – at a restaurant no less. I guess this is what tips are for.
Oh, and the food was fantastic. I highly recommend the restaurant.
Yesterday we were having dinner with our friends the Briggs. Our contribution to dessert was fresh strawberries from our garden. We have an impressive strawberry patch made up of a mishmash of different strawberry varieties, none of which I can identify by name but which vary considerably in the character of their fruit. Last night I had picked out a strawberry from the collection that looked like it was one of the sweeter varieties. PiElla blissfully chowed down on it while sitting in my lap … until I picked one of the larger strawberries out of the bowl and started to eat it. She looked up, her eyes got wide, she dropped the strawberry she had been eating into her lap and reached for the one I was eating. I gave it to her along with the admonition that bigger was not always better. She didn’t seem to mind that she’d traded away the sweeter berry, as she devoured the new berry with gusto. I didn’t mind either – I was happy to trade the bigger berry for the sweeter one, and happy to trade with my sweet little strawberry eater.
Our strawberry patch is jumping up gloriously. Giant, beautiful, red strawberries are climbing from the ground to meet the sun. The flavor is divine, but not as divine as it will be when we get a few hot days to sweeten them up. We have picked several small bowls now, much to the delight of everyone – especially PiElla.
The first ripe strawberry in our yard was a giant. It smelled great and had a wonderful flavor, although a touch on the tart side. We gave it, in its entirety minus the nibble of a taste test, to PiElla. And we photographed it, excessively. She had a great time with the berry and would smash it into the table when it was too hard to bite a piece off.
The following is PiElla’s photographic strawberry documentary. Click or wait to go forward.
Nine months ago today, PiElla was born. She took a breath for the first time, nursed for the first time, was cuddled in our arms for the first time, and was completely separated from my body for the first time. Nine months before that she began her amazing journey from a few cells to a new human being.
She’s an old hand at all those things that were so new and a lot more besides. She isn’t a newborn any more. In fact, while the spica cast has her a bit anchored down these days, she’s closer to a toddler now. She’s still a baby, and will always be my baby, but it feels like a significant milestone in her maturation as the balance of her existence tips over to more time living outside of mama than within.
It has been hard to convince myself to look at these pictures, let alone process them. Easter Sunday was the last full day that PiElla was orthotic free. No helmet. No cast. Just sweet little legs kick-kick-kicking. Peaceful tummy time with pushups and the first vestiges of rocking. Sitting up on her own, without a Bumbo. Able to go from being curled forward to sitting up straight. Occasional flopping over, when the world goes crooked for just a moment. And a cuddly midriff. The next day, cast. Hard. Scaly. Rough. Months on end.
We are down to less than four weeks of cast left, unless the doctors decide PiElla needs to wear it longer. We hope not, but we also want her hips to be correct, for there to be no problems in the future.
With all of that in mind, I finally spent time looking through the photographs from easter. I picked out some of my favorites, of PiElla and the neighbor kids. We spent Easter with the Radfords, neighbors, and friends (including family Ian, Christina, and Caitlyn!).
Here is to future days of kicking, crawling, and walking.
We have been very fortunate to have a great and varied child-care arrangement for PiElla since Celeste went back to work full-time. Jay has PiElla on Monday’s and they spend a father-daughter day together. Tuesday’s PiElla spends quality time with Robert and Lianna, her grandparents from Whidbey. Celeste has PiElla on Wednesday’s when she works from home, giving them a mid-week reconnection. Thursday and Friday, PiElla spends the day with Noah, who is two months younger, and his mother Mindy.
Our current caregivers lives are changing though, and by September we will need to change PiElla’s care arrangements.
Our priorities thus far are as follows:
* Safe, responsive, affectionate, and stimulating care.
* Continue to support elimination communication.
* Work with special needs if PiElla is still wearing orthotic devices.
* Location (in order of preference): Walking distance from Celeste’s work (south University District); Within a 10 minute bus or bike ride from Celeste’s work; Walking distance from Jay’s work (MLK & Alaska, Columbia City area); Short drive from Jay’s work; Short drive from Celeste’s work.
* Full-time child care, if close to Celeste’s work. Otherwise, Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday (all but Wednesday).
* Monthly cost should not exceed $1,600 (less would be nice!).
* Day care? Nanny share? Other? We are open to a variety of options.
If anyone hears of any options that might fit our needs, we’d love to hear about them!