The little one seems to have some separation anxiety.
This morning I parked at the school, and we sat in the car for a few minutes before walking to her classroom. Z said, “Hi, Mom. Mama soon.” And I said, “Yes, we’re at school right now. You’ll go to your class, and I’ll pick you after school.”
“Yes, babe. I’ll pick you up after school.”
When I pick her up at the end of the day, the aide spots me, and she points my way and tells Z, “Look, there’s mama soon.” I take her hand, and I ask about her day as we walk back to the car.
She can’t yet quite articulate all the complex feelings she’s experiencing. She cries when she’s sad or hurt. She’ll disagree if I ask if she’s sad but she’s really happy. When she’s in a good mood, she’s super affectionate and gives hugs and kisses.
What I need to work on is reading more of her subconscious cues. How much more is she fidgeting? Stimming? Her face doesn’t always reflect her feelings, so I have to sharpen my own motherly intuition.
I have so much to learn still. Z got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when she was three, and I’ve had four years of trying to figure stuff out. It’s been sobering and frustrating. I’ve felt inadequate often. But it’s also been fun and full of the sweetest, tenderest moments. I’ve felt blessed often.
Winter is finally starting to retreat, and the warm weather calls to you every day. When you lead us to the door to go outside, we are excited to help you put your clothes on and let you roam the great outdoors. Two years ago, you were a little too comfy in Mama’s tummy, and we coaxed you so to join us in this wonderful and crazy world.
Two years later you’re taking it all in.
Last week we were watching The Good Dinosaur, and one particularly sad part made me cry. You came up to me leaned your forehead toward me. You do this when we want you to give us kisses. We say, “Can I have kisses?” and make a kissy face. But I didn’t do this last week. I was crying quietly and wiping away my tears because the dinosaur was saying goodbye to the human. When you gave me kisses with your forehead, it was hard not to cry even harder.
In the past year while watching movies, you often laughed at sad parts, but now you also get sad, and you scream when the little girl Merida screams. You are developing a sensibility about other people. You are developing empathy.
At the same time, you don’t like being around a lot of people. You’re still unsure of other little kids. You recognize them; you acknowledge their existence, but you’d rather not interact with them. You appreciate the safe place of family and familiar friends. I’m grateful you cherish this, and I hope you continue to do so for as long as you can, because there will be moments when the world seems a little scary, and we won’t be able to hold your hand or pick you up and hold you. We want to teach you how to handle those moments well. We’ll still be there, just not in the same ways we are now. This makes me profoundly sad.
But I am so exquisitely happy that it’s your birthday. It’s hard to believe two years have already passed, because I was just reminiscing about my constant need to pee, which seems was only yesterday. (Which it wasn’t.) You’re saying a few words here and there. You’re getting stronger and faster. More curious. More mischievous.
You love light switches and doorknobs. And bubbles. Climbing to higher heights. Sprinting between rooms. Squealing during sacrament meeting. Reading your books. Singing your favorite songs; chilling out on the floor for a few moments before another burst of pure energy. Basking in the sunshine. Giving Mama and Dadda hugs and kisses. And mastering potty-training all the while.
We couldn’t be prouder. Or happier.
This crazy world sure needs more people like you.
You are a joy and a blessing, dear daughter. Wonderful Z.
Every night before bedtime we gather together to pray as a family. It’s the end of Z’s bedtime routine, and it’s something we’ve done since she was a newborn. We do this to help her develop the habit of praying and instilling the value of praying together as a family.
As I’ve mentioned before, our daughter talks, but there’s not much that her father nor I understand yet. She laughs and squeals, and her jabbering has the certain cadence and melody of sentences.
Last night, we formed our little prayer circle. Reilly swaddled Z and held her while either he or I pray. It was my turn. I gave thanks for a few things, and I asked for a few blessings. And then I said, “We’re thankful for [Zinger].”
Immediately after I said this, our daughter said, “[Zinger].” It was unexpected, and it was in her cute little voice. Reilly and I laughed for a few seconds and sporadically throughout the prayer. Z also said some other things–this time we couldn’t understand them, and I can only imagine that she was praying right along with us. As I finished the prayer, her little voice came to mind again and I laughed through the “amen.”
After we set Z down in her crib, Reilly and I reenacted this scene a few more times, imitating our dear daughter. We laughed, again and again. What a precious moment.
Yesterday morning, we watched and waited, waited and watched. Two days ago, Z didn’t poop, and she usually poops at least once a day. We were anxious for the next #2 event to happen. We knew it was going to happen soon.
All the pees throughout the day occurred without accident, except there was one time when she held it for too long and barely trickled in her underwear. Outside of this, we’re pretty confident that she’s confident about going pee.
We’ve been diligent with taking her to the toilet to poop for the past week, but we had no real way of knowing if she was catching on to the concept of pooping in the toilet. We’ve explained to her each time the function of the toilet; we’ve let her do the flushing; we’ve let her splash in the sink while washing her hands after every trip to the potty. We hope she’s grasping the process. She’s still not talking with many words her father and I understand, but I like to think she’s discussing potty training in addition to her opinions of the Pixar movies she’s probably already memorized.
This past week we’ve all managed to catch colds, and Z seems to have recovered the fastest. Yesterday she was playing and running around the apartment as usual, while Reilly and I committed to our plan to stay in our pajamas and watch movies and rest. And breathe through our mouths. And blow our noses every five minutes. I didn’t know if we’d be alert enough to run Z to the toilet to finish a #2.
So yesterday I was washing dishes and I walked out of the kitchen and saw Z going into the bathroom. I followed her and she walked toward the stool by the toilet. She looked at me, and I helped her onto the toilet.
After a few seconds of sitting on the toilet, she began to go. You know, go. The longish nuggets plopped into the toilet water, and I hugged Z and praised her while it was all happening. I called out to Reilly that she was doing it, she had pooped in the toilet without our having to take her there. Yay!
We cleaned up and flushed the toilet and washed our hands. We gave her a treat, and she continued being wonderful for the rest of the day. I can’t describe how proud we were of her in that moment, and we hope this continues, well, forever.
Description of poops: Z decided to wait until the end of the day to eliminate feces. We caught her just starting in the living room and ran her to the toilet. She finished, I cleaned her up, and she ran back to the living room. A few seconds later as her father was carrying her back to put on a nighttime diaper, she started going AGAIN. We set her on the toilet where she finished AGAIN. We figure if she had stayed on the toilet a little while longer the first time, this would have counted as one poop session.
Really good day. It looks like Z can space out her pees 2 or so hours apart. Still anxious about her learning to poop in the toilet. I’m confident she’ll catch on.
I brought out a step ladder for Z to play on in the living room because it was cold outside, and I wanted Z to be able to have some physical activity. The first unsuccessful attempt occurred in the morning while she was playing on the ladder.
The second unsuccessful attempt happened while we were watching television. I was sitting on the loveseat, and Z was climbing on me. While she was standing on my lap, she let loose. I ran her to the toilet to complete the pee.
Turds dropped on floor: 1
Description of poops: The turd dropped on the floor came, again, while she was playing on the step ladder in the living room. I wasn’t quick enough to carry her to the toilet, and I thought her little potty was somewhere it wasn’t. This disoriented me, and I lost focus. Z tried picking up the turd. She watched me pick it up with toilet paper, and I walked her to the toilet and let her see me putting the turd in it. She got to flush the toilet and say goodbye to the turd.
The second poop was successful, in that it was a matter of being alert and quick. I hope doing this consistently will pay off.
Not a perfect day, but not an utter failure, either. This probably has to do with my mother staying with us for the week, and I took her to the airport early in the morning, and Z noticed she wasn’t with us anymore. It may also have to do with Z being a baby, too. She’s doing great, though.
Description of poops: This was an instance of being alert and quick. Instead of running to the toilet, we used her little potty that we keep either in the kitchen or living room.
This day was a perfect day, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath. Little Z is catching on, but she’s still a baby, so it’s better for me to keep expecting accidents, but also maintain a positive attitude.
The first fully unsuccessful attempt occurred early in the day, after the first successful attempt. It was getting close to when I would take her to the potty again; I was timing them about an hour apart. She began and completed a pee on the loveseat in the living room.
The first half-successful attempt occurred in the early afternoon. Z was spinning around in the living room, trying to watch television from different angles. She had pooped maybe five minutes earlier. She perched herself on the bottom shelf of the entertainment center and began a pee. I caught her mid-pee and carried her to the toilet where she finished.
The second half-successful attempt occurred in the afternoon. Z walked to the bathroom and stood on top of the stool which was in front of the sink. (I usually move this stool from beside the toilet to the sink so she can wash her hands.) About two seconds after standing on the stool, she began a pee. It was a steady, fast stream. I transferred her to the toilet where she completed the pee.
Turds dropped on floor: 0
Description of poops: Both instances occurred in the living room. Once she was standing on the floor, and the other time, she was kneeling on the loveseat. As soon as I saw the feces barely emerge, I picked her up and rushed her to the toilet.
This is the second round of potty training for our little one. It has been a full week. We first tried during Christmas break, but we ended up going out too much and disrupted any semblance of a routine. It seems she’s getting the hang of peeing, but not without our scrubbing the carpet numerous times, her peeing in a public library entryway during a library school graduation, and her peeing on both of her parents.
Pooping is definitely trickier, and the only way to approach this is to be super watchful and quick to carry her to the toilet. Z has pooped on the carpet in the living room and on the kitchen floor. There have been times when she’s dropped turds on the floor when I’ve tried running her to the toilet from the living room and kitchen, holding her with my arms stretched as far away from me as possible. (I’ve since modified this technique of carrying her to the toilet.) Turning the corner from the living room to the bathroom, a turd has caught radial inertia and hit the far hallway wall. We want to avoid all of this. Pooping is extremely nervewracking.
We’ve been keeping a queen size bed sheet with towels underneath it in the living room to make accidents easier to clean.
We have done so many loads of laundry in the past week. Mostly of the sheet and towels. Thanks to my mom for doing a lot of the laundry.
Our Z is doing great; we will continue to monitor her progress.
[The first part of the title is Z’s. I stepped away from the computer for two seconds, and she decided she wants to blog.]
The Saturday before Halloween our ward had a chili cook-off and Halloween carnival. Earlier in the day I had put Z’s costume on her to see if it fit and so she could get used to it. I’d taken it off so that she wouldn’t get too hot. When it was time to get ready for the party, I struggled with Z to put the costume on, but she finally relented.
She was cranky. She didn’t have much of a nap that day, and when I tried to paint her with a lion face–super simple, a short black upside-down triangle covering the bottom of her nose, a white snout, and black whiskers–she wouldn’t stay still. She looked like she’d eaten powdered donuts mixed with soot.
It’s two blocks to our church building, but we decided to go on a little drive to to fit in a little nap for Z. We drove around for about 10 minutes before pulling up to the church. Z was sleeping. We found a place to sit. Reilly held our dozing child while I stood in line to get us food.
We made it through most of our meal before Z woke up. The moment she opened her eyes, she began to cry. She saw all the people and heard all the noise. I would have been overwhelmed as well.
We tried feeding Z, but she was too upset. Reilly took her into the foyer for a little while, and when they came back, Z was no longer wearing her costume. But she was still crying.
Time to go. The instant we stepped outside into the cool air and fuzzy ambiance of dusk, our little toddler calmed down. We went home and she played until bedtime.
The following Friday I decided to get our money’s worth out of Z’s costume, so I put it on her, and we went to the library. She likes climbing the stairs to the juvenile section.
Z especially loves to play in the courtyard between wings. It was chilly outside, but the costume seemed to keep her warm enough.
We then went to Provo Towne Centre Mall, where she could play in the kids’ area and walk around. She fell asleep in the car on the way, but I brought her to the kids’ area and lay her down to let her sleep. When she woke up, she didn’t move but watched the other kids playing for a while.
After walking and playing, we went back home to walk and play some more.
We checked the mail, and Z likes to see if we received any packages.
Then came Halloween day. We were up until 1am the night before watching scary movies with Reilly’s brothers (Z was in bed), so Reilly and I were quite tired. But we wanted to do something for Halloween. We decided to accept an invitation to a party. We all got in our costumes.
We thought Z might have another tantrum, but she was actually very good. We were early to the party, so we left to get eat some pie and came back. But the person who invited us wasn’t there yet, and it was getting late (8:30!), so we just came back home and put Z to bed. I invited friends over, and we watched another scary movie and stayed up past midnight.
The following Tuesday we went to a wedding reception in Riverton. We stood in the reception line no longer than two minutes. When we got to talk to the beautiful bride and groom, Z began to cry. We wrapped up our conversation and found a seat and I got up to get some refreshments–s’mores. Perfect for a crisp evening. I thought Z might like the chocolate and graham crackers. Z ate quietly for a few minutes, but maybe it was the crowd of strangers and unfamiliar chatter and not being able to run around like she usually does before she started crying.
Again, once we stepped outside, she stopped crying.
She did really well her first time in nursery, but she’s had a rougher time the past few Sundays.
Then last night Reilly and I brought Z to a ward missionary meeting in someone’s home. She did fine playing on their carpeted stairs. She jabbered and checked in on us every few minutes. Someone else’s toddler was there. Once when he stood in Z’s way she looked at him and did something that looked like frustrated jazz hands before walking around him.
From these experiences I’ve observed:
Z likes small groups, especially with family. (Just like Reilly and I.)
Z likes being able to run around and explore.
Z doesn’t like a lot of noise or strangers.
Z isn’t sure what to think about other toddlers.
From these observations, maybe:
Z could adjust to being around people her age more often. (Just like Reilly and I.)
Reilly and I could have more creative solutions whenever Z doesn’t feel like being very social with us.
Times like these I wish I knew what I was doing, but we’re okay. We’re learning. And she’s only 19 months old, so there’s that.