Hi, friends! How was your summer? This post has been sitting in draft mode since the beginning of June. And a whole lot of stuff has happened between my post about nursing bras and now. Our hands and hearts are full over here with a three year old and an eleven month old. Once both kiddos are finally asleep around 8:30 or 8:45 (whyyyyy??? Monica used to be in bed at 7pm!), it’s a combination of exhaustion, getting ready for the next day, and a little “me time” that generally involves flopping on the couch and an adult beverage. So let’s just say blogging was far down on my list of things to do. Plus, I didn’t want to write about frivolous things like the Nordstrom anniversary sale when I was dealing with more serious things at home. Here’s what happened:
Shortly before turning three, something clicked with Monica and potty training. She would use the potty all the time at school thanks to supportive teachers and a little peer pressure, but she didn’t want to at home. She told us there was an octopus in our toilet, the toilet was too big, the step stool wasn’t the right size, and it was scary. Not to mention complaining that one of our toilets is yucky since it gets dirty faster than the one we use more often. I also think she resisted using the potty at home since Baby Alex is in diapers and diaper changes were a way to get a little one-on-one time.
Thomas pull ups may have helped a little, but I think she was more interested in wearing them since some her friends at school did. We tried bribing her and using “octopus spray/repellant” (a bottle of Bath & Body Works pillow mist), but nothing worked until we put her in undies. Monica talked about getting Nemo undies since March, so I bought some and hid them in our closet until she was/we were ready.
Fast forward to May. While at Target, we walked past the kids undies and Monica picked out a pack of Frozen ones (similar). After staying dry at school for a few weeks, Monica’s teachers agreed that she was ready to transition to undies. I wanted to wait until Memorial Day weekend since it was a little longer, but John wanted to go for it. Naturally, this was right after I stocked up on pull ups.
So we dropped her off at school on a Friday wearing undies and she did awesome! We kept up the momentum at home with positive encouragement, M&M’s (somehow we landed on 3 for #1 and 5 for #2), videos on the iPad, and stickers. One pack of Nemo undies came with a sticker chart, so we also played that up. Pooping on the potty was a little scary at first, but Monica is doing awesome.
We’ve had fewer accidents than I expected and learned individual family bathrooms are the way to “go” when out in public. Or if there isn’t a bathroom available (or one that isn’t yucky), we have a few extra diapers or pull ups with us that she’ll use in a pinch.
Monica wore pull ups at night over her undies for a few weeks (just to be sure), but most mornings she wakes up dry. Depending on how much she’s had to drink before going to bed, she’ll wake up in the middle of the night to use the potty. And then snuggle. And the repeat up to four more times in one night :\
The last challenge with potty training was weaning Monica off the M&M’s and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos! After a month or two of incentives, I thought we were going to be giving her M&M’s forevvver! (I was only being slightly dramatic.) We more or less went cold turkey. We eventually we stopped buying M&M’s and then stopped with the videos, explaining she didn’t get those at school. It was a painful process at times, and she still occasionally asks to buy M&M’s, but for the most part, she’s done with the incentives.
We planned on renting a bounce house for Monica’s birthday party, but the weather didn’t cooperate. And I had no idea we could buy our own bounce house until shopping for a birthday present for my cousins’ daughter. I thought it was slightly impulsive to buy one, but it’s been the best $150 we spent in a while (we have the larger one with the slide). The bounce house is totally easy to set up and folds up into a duffle bag. It also came with the air pump. We pull it out to wear the kids out for nap and bedtime…just don’t tell them that!
Meanwhile, Baby Alex is crawling up a storm and now walking! He started to sit up on his own right at 6 months and then began army crawling around 7.5 months. Around the same time, he cut his first tooth. He now has six teeth with more on their way. At 8.5 months old, he’s crawling everywhere and even started to pull up on things. Around 10.5 months, Alex started standing unassisted and will even take a handful of steps on his own :)
Nursing, Pumping, and Baby Led Weaning
Alex still nurses like a champ. And for a while he’d take a bottle from John before going to sleep because I’m usually in the middle of Monica’s 60-90 minute bedtime routine. Honest Toddler isn’t too far from the truth. But recently, he’ll be ready for bed before Monica because of less than stellar naps during the day. So I’ll nurse and put him to bed while Monica has some one-on-one time with John.
I’m still pumping at work, but I’m kind of over it. It’s a little challenging on the days when he drinks more milk than I pump. But I don’t want to pump extra in the morning/night/weekends. I have milk in the freezer, so it might be time to figure out when I can stop pumping, but still get him to the one year mark with the milk he drinks at school. I pumped at work until Monica was 13 or 14 months old, and she continued nursing at home in the morning and evenings for a while. So I’m hoping to do the same with Alex.
Alex also loooves solids. Especially proteins and savory foods, but he also enjoys fruit and ice cream. And he’s not one to turn down the bread basket at a restaurant. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage when he’s a teenager with a bottomless stomach!
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
This could probably be a post of its own. These past few months have reset my priorities and reminded me to trust my instincts.
Alex has a blood platelet disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). ITP is a disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bruising and bleeding. The bleeding results from unusually low levels of platelets — the cells that help blood clot. We’re only three months in, so fingers crossed that this is just a one time thing.
Long story short, Alex caught rhinovirus and enterovirus, which messed with his immune system. In addition to attacking the viruses, his immune system started attacking his platelets as well. So while a normal platelet count is between 150,000 – 450,000, Alex’s were below 5,000 when his counts were first checked, which sent us to the ER in the middle of the night.
It all started when I noticed a rash of tiny red dots on Alex’s legs. Since he also had a fever, I took him to the doctor to get it checked out. It was a petechial rash, which doesn’t go away when pressed. For about a month, his platelet count hovered around 10,000 and 15,000. 10,000 is usually the threshold for getting a treatment, which he ended up needing after a month. Since the treatment, his platelet count peaked at 95,000, then dropped back to 25,000 and 20,000. Then out of the blue, something clicked and his platelet count jumped a week later to 69,000 and then 77,000 this past week.