Bye Bye Binky: Take 2 (Finally, success)

For my loyal readers you know I tried, and failed, to successfully wean my daughter from the binky around her first birthday.  I did, however, give her a 19th month birthday present: the title "big girl." And yes, I'm proud to say just three days later she's successfully and completely weaned.

I've long-decided it was time for my little girl to give up on her beloved binkies. Olivia, on the other hand, not so much. I put my foot down about a week ago when she started calling them each by their own name. We had blue (her favorite), green, white and clear. She'd gleefully hold all four in her hands, look me right in the face and say "eat" as she rotated each binky in and out, in and out. We have still yet to figure out what prompted the rotation...was it she needed a "fresh" binky and what was "fresh?" Anyway, the attachment was quickly increasing and so was my concern that breaking up the relationship between Olivia and binky was only going to get harder.

We settled on the cutting method which I found online. It was recommended by a pediatrician and sworn on by parents. It was, however, highly discouraged by my pediatrician who said my daughter may bite the cut binky tip and that could be a chocking hazard.  Instead, he suggested either the "Binky Fairy" or the binky giveaway.  Since the binky fairy method requires a lot more backstory and time, I opted for the binky giveaway...although, to be honest, I didn't think my daughter would buy it.  Basically, he suggested telling her babies needed her binkies now that she was a big girl. Perhaps he doesn't know Olivia...sharing isn't her...or any 19 month old that I know...strongsuit. But I went with it.

Monday, I put her in the car, all four binkies in hand, and took her to the local CVS (I couldn't have her throw them away anywhere close to our house or I'd be too tempted to fish them out and give them back when the going got tough...and it would!).  I showed her the trash can outside the store and told her it was collection site for baby stuff.  Everything in there, I said, was going to go to a little baby.  She happily threw blue, green, clear and white in and waved bye-bye as they lay on top of a crumpled up paper McDonald's cup.  That site will forever be etched in my mind. We turned around and drove home.

I put her for her nap about 10 minutes after she and the binky parade parted ways.  Unlike when she normally goes to sleep, she cried. But never once did she mention her binkies. I could tell she was just a little out of sorts and truly sad. She missed her binkies. That was the first of just three sleep periods (nap, bed, nap) where she cried before going to sleep.  Just two and a half days after throwing her binkies in a big ol' trash can she's over it.  I even followed up the binky giveaway by showing her a newborn with a binky and telling her this was the special baby who got her old one.  Gosh, I hate lying to her...but snatching her binkies when she wasn't looking and throwing them away without her knowing was NOT an option, it would be too traumatizing. I needed to her be in control and this way she was.

I can tell she feels proud of herself...and as her mom, I do too!


Holy Crap...literally

My husband thought I was crazy earlier this week when I bought a little pink potty. He may have a point. My daughter is only 17.5 months old. Far too early to be potty-trained....according to nearly everyone, including myself.

Not like it's any secret, but lately, when she stands real still, gets that concentrated look on her little red face, and drops one...she's been telling me "doo-doo, doo-doo." Yeah, obviously.  At other times I'd take a peek in her diaper and she'd either say "yesh" or "no"...always correctly. So I briefly read up on the signs of potty-readiness in What to Expect the Toddler Years and decided it couldn't hurt to at least get her a little potty. I wouldn't push her, but if she wanted to sit there she could. After all, she's always extremely interested in what mommy has deposited into the toilet...sorry, TMI.

The first day I brought the potty home, she was far more interested in the box. She even sat her Elmo on top of the potty box and proclaimed "doo-doo." That was Monday. That night I asked her if she wanted to sit on her potty while I filled the bathtub. I took off her pants and diaper, but left her onesie on.  She seems to always pee when the tub is being filled, so I figured maybe the sound of rushing water would work its magic again. Oh it did...only she'd taken off from the potty and made a b-line for her crib to grab a binkie. When she got back her onesie was soaked and she'd left a little pee trail behind. So much for the potty.

I didn't pay too much attention to the potty Tuesday or today, Wednesday. But tonight while we were eating dinner, Olivia kept saying "doo-doo." I checked her diaper and it was clean. A few minutes later, we were done eating and she went over to the steps and again repeated "doo-doo" as she pointed upstairs. I finally realized what I thought she wanted: to sit on her potty.  So I took her up there and sat her down. Then she did it...the stare, the red face, the concentrated look and now...the clap. She was sooo proud of herself she'd pooped on the toilet. For my part, I almost crapped myself, I was so stunned!!!

While I'm sure it's by no means the beginning of potty training, I'm sure Olivia is starting to understand what the potty is for. I'll keep you updated on our progress and our adventures on (and off) the little pink potty. 


The Ear Tubes Are In, My Talker is Here

After 11 ear infections, two doctors (the ENT and the pediatrician) who initially opted against ear tubes, and much more worry than was necessary...Olivia has tubes in her ears.

The ear saga has been quite a long one. Olivia got her first ear infection Thanksgiving 2008. She was three months old. Since then she's had 10 more...5 of them just since September 2009. There was more than one occasion when she'd finish a 10 day anti-biotic only to wake up the next day with another snotty nose or cough and the ear infection would always follow within days. There was more than one occasion when I took her to the doctor for a well-visit only to be told she had a bad ear infection. I had no idea. She never complained. Never woke at night. Never pulled her ears.

The pediatrician would ask me questions like "How is her speech." Compared to other kids I know her age, very good. She says "mommy, daddy, bye-bye, baby" clear as day. She says countless other words that only me and my husband (sometimes just me) can comprehend. She says "dooo for dog....nuuu for noodle...beee for binkie." I thought he was just asking me about her speech. What I didn't realize is he was trying to figure out how much the non-stop ear infections and the gunk in her ear were delaying and/or affecting her speech. 

No one wanted Olivia to have tubes. At ear infection #10 the pediatrician told me to finally see an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist). I'd been asking about this since #7 or 8. When we saw the ENT he said: she has no hearing loss, she has no damage to her ears, she's tolerating the medications (all 4 she'd been on) fine...let's hold off on the tubes.  A few days later, I took Olivia back to the pediatrician for her 15 month vaccines (she was 16 months, but was so behind on shots b/c we could never fit them in between all the illnesses and anti-biotics) she had another ear infection. Her doctor looked at me and said he was running out of medical options; she was becoming immune to the anti-biotics. He said he was calling the ENT - tubes were a requirement for Olivia. That was a Friday, 10 days later I woke Olivia up at 5:30 am, we were on our way to the hospital.

Surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am, we had to arrive at 6:15am. (I must say, this is cruel for both the patient and parents). Not only are you waking your child up, you are then required to withhold anything to eat or drink. They called us back around 6:40 and I was excited that the surgery was going to happen earlier than the allotted time. Nope, they just changed her into a hospital gown and put us in a 'room' (really just an area separated from the next patient's room by a curtain). We were within feet of the nurses' station and all that equipment. Starving, thirsty, tired, squirmy, and generally miserable Olivia had to be confined to one of our laps for the next 45 minutes. It was brutal and by far the worse part of the 'surgery.'

Around 7:25 Olivia's ENT came out to see her. She had her hand raised over her head and was opening and closing her fist frantically. The doctor, thinking Olivia was waving 'hi' to him said "Oh, hi Olivia." That's when I informed him that she wasn't saying hi at all, she was signing desperately for milk. The higher the arm, the more desperation!

About five minutes later my husband went back to the OR with Olivia, two nurses, the doc, and the anesthesiologist. He held her as they put a mask over her face and she was put under. I was warned by several people that I would not want to see this...my daughter's eyes might roll back, she would go limp...it was not a memory I would want. But there was no way she was going back by herself...so I elected Daddy.

In the meantime, I went to sit down in a special waiting room. Not five minutes later my husband joined me and said Olivia was heading into surgery. I walked down the hall to the bathroom. When I got back Bob went and got a coffee and a bagel. He returned. I took one bite of my bagel and the doctor came into the waiting room. Just like that, the surgery was over.

The second most difficult part was now waiting for us. Waking up from anesthesia, I was warned Olivia would be erratic, screaming, thrashing, kicking, crying. She was all of the above. For a good 20 minutes she cried hysterically and we couldn't console her.  Not even Elmo or her milk could console her. About 20 minutes after getting out of surgery the nurses said she was good to go. Still crying slightly we packed up and headed out to the car. As soon as she got into her car seat we put on her Raffi music. When the first song finished she said "a-dain." At the same time, Bob and I both looked at each other and said "she's back." She always asks for "again."

That was the end of it. No pain, no drainage, no crying, a little more sleep that day than normal, and since then no more ear infections.  Knock on wood.

In the week and a half since the surgery, I have noticed a dramatic difference in her speech.  She has tried to repeat nearly everything we say, she attempts far more words, and the words she said before are now becoming even clearer.  I was told before the surgery Olivia was probably hearing like she was underwater. Meaning, she could hear, but it was very muffled. Now she's hearing as she should and we've got the talker to prove it.

Has your child/children had tubes? What was you experience like? Leave a comment and share your concerns, the differences you noticed in speech after surgery, or if they've had post-op ear infections.


No snow for me...no, really, no snow

I've been waiting for it to snow.  Not because I love the snow but because I wanted to see how Olivia would react. Plus, I got the deal of the century on snow equipment for Liv. My mother in law found a baby sled at a yard sale. As she debated on whether or not to get it, the man selling it told her to take it...for free! Then, the lady who watches my dog while when we're away gave me a bag full of snow gear that her daughter NEVER wore. She was born the same day as Olivia, just three years earlier! So she has a pair of brand new boots and snow pants. I did buy her a puffer, eskimo-looking coat at Old Navy, but heck...I got the $40 coat for $10! Can't beat that. Oh and the gloves were $1.

A week or so before Christmas we got dumped on with what was, no kidding, two feet of snow. I figured my 16 month old is 31 inches so she should be fine, right?  From our window I kept showing her the snow. She'd repeat 'nooo.'

While my husband was clearing the driveway (for the third time in one day) I got Olivia dressed to go out. The entire time she was saying "nooo." At first I was excited she was saying, in her own little way, 'snow.' But as I piled on the layers, the coat, the hat, the mittens, the leggings, the snow suit, the boots, and the scarf I finally admitted I was in denial. She wasn't saying 'snow' now saying 'NO!' But I didn't just dress her like this and work up a sweat for my own health, I was determined she was going to experience snow. I quickly got myself bundled up and we headed outside. She was okay for a minute or so....then it all went down hill (and I don't mean on the sled).

She actually decides it's not too bad.

She quickly realizes she misjudged...it is that bad.

Still no good...

Even worse...the sled ride ended with Olivia face down.

About 5 minutes after we walked out the door, we were back inside still saying "NOOOO." Determined, I was, I got her dressed one more time the following day, hoping that since the snow had stopped falling she might like it better. Here's Olivia (posing as Rudolph) with her BFF Conor!

Oh well, maybe next year!


2009 Christmas photos (all for .50 at Snapfish, coupon codes included)

I just looked in my inbox and I have three emails from family members with links to Christmas pictures. Every last one of them is adorable. I just love holiday pictures. The whole family is together. The house is decorated so nice. Everyone is wearing their Sunday best. And, if you're lucky, everyone is smiling because they're genuinely happy to be standing in front of the same Christmas tree! Here's a quick sampling from our 2009 Christmas Season.

First thing I did when I got those email links, some to Snapfish, some to Shutterfly, another to Facebook was to look for a picture for our annual Christmas frame. My husband's grandmother started a tradition for us a few years back.  The first few years she purchased a Christmas-themed frame for us to display a picture taken that holiday season. Every year, I put all the pictures up and enjoy looking at how much things have changed year to year. Last year was the first time Miss Olivia joined us. This year, it's amazing how big she's gotten.

While looking for the perfect family portrait, I kept coming across pictures I wanted to have. Not just on my computer, but something that I could hold and look at. You know, like when your mom used to put rolls worth of pictures in albums. Now, digital photo albums or even just computer file folders hold so many of our memories. Anyway, I decided to print a few of my favorites. Actually, I decided to print 50 thanks to Snapfish's awesome holiday deal. If you still have holidays pictures waiting to be printed, Snapfish just extended their Penny Prints sale so you can still get 50 pictures for 50 cents! I think I paid a total of $2.99 including shipping for all of my holiday photos!  
Log into Snapfish or sign up for a free account through this link then use code NEWYEARS50 at checkout. Sale ends January 31!
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