Poop, pee, rinse, repeat

Thanks, Ninjabetic!
On top of a 40+ hour per week job, some philanthropic pursuits, plus some measure of family time and a social life, I took on another job this past summer – potty training our 2 year old. Now, my husband has stepped up for his share of duty (doo-dy) as well, so thank goodness I’m not alone in this, but sheesh, it’s been intensive. And now I’m pooped. (Beware: potty references and more puns may be forthcoming.)

Our daycare had sent home info about potty training in 3 days – the http://www.3daypottytraining.com method was suggested, so that is what we did. My husband and I read the booklet two or three times each in preparation for the planned potty-training-bootcamp-weekend, and each time we were like, “Really? This is supposed to work?”

Now, for some background….a couple of weeks before we broached potty training, our little Penny girl was VERY interested in going to the potty, would follow us into the bathroom, tell us each step as we should perform it (like WE were circus monkeys for her – “Pee….wipe….flush…wash hands,”) she asked to go potty by herself several times over the course of a couple of weeks (and we would take her and wrangle her out of the diaper, etc), and daycare started implementing some potty-time as well.  We knew she was ready, but we had travel plans every weekend, and couldn’t take the time out to do the 3 day potty training method as they suggested. Because (the booklet says), if you want to be successful, you almost have to quarantine yourself at home, with no excursions, no friends over, no distractions, no nothing. It was brutal. Especially for the social and on-the-go family like us.

The summary of this method: Go cold turkey from diapers. Get rid of them, let the kid see you throw them away, and talk about how from now on, he/she is a big boy/girl and will wear big boy/girl underpants. Let’s keep them clean and dry. Say, “be sure to tell us if you need to go pee or poop in the potty” to give them a sense of control (instead of asking a thousand times if they need to go potty.) Praise and give a reward (M&Ms, stickers, etc) when they successfully use the potty. Tell them over and over how proud you are of them. Praise praise praise when they do well, do not scold or punish if they make a mistake, just go on and say how they can try to do better next time.

The 1st day, we had a success rate of 4 out of 7 times making it successfully to the potty. The 2nd day, it was a whopping 13 out of 16 (we had to encourage her to drink more liquids by offering up juice, just so we could have more “learning opportunities.”) A few times on the second day, she actually told us she needed to go and led us to the potty on her own. By the 3rd day, we all had cabin fever, we’d done 8,000 loads of laundry, and we were all sick of hearing, “if you need to go pee or poop, let mommy or daddy know, ok?” The last day she was 6 for 7, with her only “mistake” being that she pooped in her pants. Yeah, gross. We are also not counting that she peed a little while napping. I’m not faulting her for that one.

Throw your hands in the air, like you just don't care!

Victory! (sort of)

Fast forward 3 months to the present. Our girl has always some some pooping issues (lots of constipation, withholding, etc) but we have come to manage it well with probiotics, diet, and Miralax (per pediatrician’s advice.) Once the initial potty training period was well underway, we would go several days without any sort of accidents, and those days started stretching into weeks. The thing that didn’t really sink in (to the toilet) for me when we first started this exercise in parental patience was that while it was a 3-day potty training method, it really isn’t over in 3 days. Or 3 weeks. Or 3 months. I think it lasts forever. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but really it IS an ongoing training exercise…don’t let any “3 day” method or whatever fool you. No one, not even your Mensa kid,  will be *completely* potty trained in 3 days.

This past weekend was the 1st time we let her go all night in her big girl underwear and NOT in a diaper or training pants overnight. Yeah, the training method frowns on letting them wear anything except underwear – even at night – but honestly, we didn’t want to be changing bed sheets and clothes every single night, and she wasn’t ready for it until now. She went 3 nights dry, and just had her 1st overnight accident this morning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can head this off at the pass, and convince her she is able to go potty in the bathroom on her own in the middle of the night if she feels the need.

I’ll go out on a limb to say potty training has been “successful” for what it is – an ongoing exercise of poop, pee, rinse, repeat, combined with lots and lots of patience. Daycare has been very supportive, and except for some explosive pooping accidents there and at home, and the occasional peeing accident because she got too busy playing and forgot to go potty, MOST of the time, I would say she is potty trained. Or should be, by the time she’s 18 for sure.

Week in Pictures Roundup

I know it’s Wednesday, and might be kind of odd to do a “week in review” post (honestly, it’s more like a week-and-a-couple-days in review”), but that’s what you’re getting today. Kind of goes along with the “Wordless Wednesday” theme, although you know, I’m rarely “wordless.”

And this was the highest it was for most of the morning.

My blood sugar at the end of the Dance Dash 5k. After snarfing tons of carbs along the way, just to keep from falling out from running so low. Thank goodness my husband came along to feed me and watch our daughter.

She keeps me going, even when I feel like stopping

Recovering from the lows, and feeling good to be with my family. I need to work more on my strategies for managing blood sugars while exercising, obviously.

Loss is inevitable.

A somber trip to the mountains to say goodbye to my uncle who died of bone marrow cancer.
RIP Uncle Roger.

Just hanging around

Fun at the park for a 2 year old friend’s birthday party

Electric running (OK, walking) was the best!

My team who did the Electric Run 5k. OK, so most of us walked it. My sugar crashed of course (again) but I made it through. A night filled with friends, lights, and LED displays made the exercise worth it!

Mmmm, cupcakes

Morning after the Electric Run 5k, I walked the Cupcake Fun Run 5k. With cupcakes available, surely my blood sugars would survive?!! They did OK. But only because I ate 1 cupcake before, and 1 cupcake after. (No judging – I NEEDED those cupcakes!)

Whew, almost done!

Stopping for a photo op – thankfully, not a major crash during this 5k, but still a little tenuous for blood sugar management. Even with the cupcakes.

Mmmmm, cake!

We won Parents of the Year this day. Cupcakes in the morning for the 5k, and birthday cake that afternoon at a friend’s 1 year old’s party. Our daughter was on a sugar high, to be sure. Check out all the kids/vultures “helping” this little guy with his smash cake. Too cute.

Don't let the Quetzocoatalus get you!

After two 5ks over the weekend, it made sense that we should spend Sunday walking even more at the Zoo, right? Penny wanted to go see the Dinosaurs. She was terrified of the animatronic creatures last time, but assured us she would be fine this time. Never trust a 2.5 year old.

Whew. I think I’ll go take a nap for the next 5 days now.

Being a Type 1 with Just One Child

I’ve been warring with myself for months now over having one child and wondering if I was going to be OK with that or not. (Like, I have a choice about it? Sometimes the universe tends to make it’s choice for us. Or do we try to balk against it anyway?? Grrr. Too philosophical –  I digress.) I’ve talked to tons of friends about it – ironically, mostly friends who have siblings. I just realized that I have very few friends that are also only children. (Is that a function of being born in the 70s or something else?)  Being an only child myself, I always thought I wanted a brother or sister growing up, and with the loss of my father a couple of years ago, I felt a sudden overwhelming responsibility for my Mom, and realized I had no one to share in that with me. (I also have no one to share stories with about my parents. “Remember when Mom/Dad did this??!!” Only I remember. And sometimes I even question my own memory….not sure if something really happened, if it was a dream, or some fantasy I created as an imaginative kid.) Being an only child has meant that I form friendships that are, to me, like my family. And I have some fabulous friends, so I’m certainly not lacking in that regard.

My husband and I, in the early days of our relationship, always said we wanted to have two children. We struggled for 3 years before we finally had Penelope. Because of my fertility issues, it took thousands and thousands of dollars, a ridiculous number of doctor visits and procedures, and more nights of crying myself to sleep than I can remember. The hope, the waiting, the disappointment, utter despair, but finally the joy – it was a wonderful and exhausting ride. Since then, we have certainly tried to have another baby. I miraculously got pregnant on my own in 2011 and had a heart-wrenching miscarriage.  Earlier this year, we went back to the fertility clinic that helped us have our daughter, and started the process of attempting to get pregnant with the last of our frozen embryos. We jumped back on the roller coaster of emotions and fertility drugs, and unfortunately, we were not successful.  We have no more embryos, and decided we didn’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of money, time, and toll on our emotions trying to do IVF again, especially now that I’m 40 and the chances for success are even slimmer than they were before.

We could try on our own….I got pregnant naturally once, it could happen again, right? But with my “advanced” maternal age,  there’s always more risks of birth defects, of the toll it would take on my body, on the possibilities of complications with the baby – you name it, we’ve thought about it.  I am finally  losing the weight I put on while pregnant and trying to get pregnant, and still have more to go. I am on a very long road to getting into shape and in better health (so that I can BE active with our daughter and have fun), and getting pregnant again would halt that for the time being. And let’s not even talk about how difficult it is having type 1 diabetes in all that bucket of concerns.

We feel so lucky and blessed to have our wonderful little Penelope. She and I both came through the pregnancy with flying colors (more or less – some high blood pressure for me near the end, but in the grand scheme of pregnancies, it was really good.)  Should we throw the dice and risk something happening to me with another pregnancy? Is my personal health and well-being, and the possibility of it affecting how I can take care of my child/children worth that? Do we risk the emotional pain of another miscarriage, or of something being wrong with a baby and affecting our family life forever?

We could adopt – it’s certainly an option we’ve considered at great length. I was adopted, and I turned out OK, even as an only child who was adopted. Yes, I had some emotional angst to overcome in my younger years, but it wasn’t all just because I was adopted or because I was an only child. (Those pesky teenage years are trying on everyone, trust me.)  Adoption is wonderful option that I feel I am more than qualified to understand….but, again, how would that affect our family dynamic? Do we want to engage in *that* emotional roller coaster of trying to adopt? And if we succeed, how will it affect Penny, being our biological child paired with a child we adopt? How would our adopted child feel? Assuming it’s an open adoption, how would interactions be with a birth-family? Do we want to pile on even more emotional responsibility for ourselves?

So many questions, and so few answers.

Here are a couple of articles I read that spurred me into writing about this topic:

Only Children: Being One and Raising One
Only Children – Lonely and Selfish?

Those articles were certainly enlightening and thought-provoking for me, but I’m still no closer to understanding how I truly feel, or knowing what I want. My husband would be fine just having our one, but if I asked for another, he would happily try to oblige – whether it meant more fertility treatments, adoption, whatever.  And my sweet, sweet Penny-girl. She’s so amazing and so vibrant and full of life and growing and learning every day….I don’t want to miss out on this part of her life because I’m too busy chasing after the hope/thought/want/need of having another baby. I love Penny with my whole heart. I have never felt a greater love for any other human being, although my husband runs a very close second. But is my heart wanting/needing to feel even more love with another child? Am I prepared to feel even more worry over their health, their existence, their happiness? Am I up to the task? Is that what I truly desire? Should I just be happy with what a wonderful family I have, and that be “enough?” Not sure if I will be answering these questions anytime soon. We’ll see what the universe has to offer up, and if the choice(?!?) actually ends up being made, or just made by default.

She runs like the wind

Friends can be as good as sisters/brothers, right?

The Good Old Days Before Diabetes

As I approach my 40th birthday, I find my friends and I talking more and more about how things used to be, what we used to look like, what we used to do in our lives before kids….we’ve done a lot of reflecting back on the “good old days” and what we think of ourselves now as compared to then, whenever “then” may be.

Andy Bernard from The Office kind of summed it up for me in the series finale when he said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

In 1994, I didn’t know I was in the “good old days before diabetes.” Rhonda B.D. = Before Diabetes(I also had no clue about how to style my hair or wear sweaters that didn’t look like my grandma lived in the southwest and knitted them for me. Oh, 90s – you were so cruel in the fashion-less sense that you gave me.) This picture was taken literally days before my diagnosis. I see a healthy, young, fresh face with big Brooke Shields eyebrows. I was dating a boyfriend (that I should have broken up with months ago, but instead, he broke up with me post-diagnosis. Creep.), was still in college, still not knowing what I would “be” when I grew up. I vaguely remember this day at a family get together – laughing at some awful joke my Dad told, trying to get my Mom to let me take a picture of her, hugging my grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles….and it’s blatantly devoid of diabetes. I had no clue how dramatically my life was about to change. Ignorance was bliss.

Fast forward to today…..I look nothing like this picture. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for almost 19 years. I am married to a loving & devoted husband, I have a beautiful & healthy daughter, and work as a Project Manager at a tech company. (Me? Technical? Funny.) Since that day in 1994, my grandparents and my Dad have passed away. I have loved and lost many people, and many things. I had the joy of owning and being owned by a miniature schnauzer named Xena for almost 13 years. I’ve experienced many accomplishments and failures. Met goals, and thrown other goals aside. I’ve seen some friends come and go, made new friends, and had many friends and family by my side through thick and thin.

And even though I frequently reminiscence about “good old days” like the ones before my diagnosis, or the ones in college with my friends when I was thin and carefree….I can’t help but take a moment to appreciate that THESE are also now the good old days. I love where I am and who I’ve become. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my life – as hectic and painful as it can sometimes be, and as hard and frustrating as it is with diabetes in it, it is still mine, and everything that has happened before now led me up to this point. Every day is not bliss, and I have my share of struggles, but that is life. Today is my last day of being 39, and tomorrow I will be 40. While it may just be another milestone birthday in the grand scheme of life, I do recognize that I have so much to be thankful and hopeful for…maybe I should catalog this era as the “good new days” instead. The Good New Days