Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rain barrel and flower bed dilemma

Here's my new rain barrel. The day after David installed it we had a downpour and the barrel was completely filled (all 80 gallons!). The spigot handle is a bit tough to turn, so I need to devise some way to make it easier on my hands. And the water comes out slowly, so I either need to be patient for my watering can to fill or, as David prefers, open the barrel lid and plunge in the can. I'd also like to put something under the spigot to set the can on...maybe gravel?

Here is the backyard flower bed David dug the Bermuda grass out of. We were deliberating how to fill it for planting (landscaping cloth or plastic and then soil, or soil amendments mixed with the existing clay?). Then it rained and we discovered that it floods. Will plant roots soak up that much water? Or will it make them all rot? Should we put down rocks?

Potty training progress

All the hard work and consistency of practicing elimination communication from the time Teresa was about 3 months old has paid off: Teresa is now (mostly) potty trained! I'd say she's been doing very well since she turned 2. She's now 2 years and almost 2 months old and she wears panties all day long, even when we go out and about. She still has about 3 accidents per week. She has only had 2 deliberate pants wettings that I can remember - I hope potty usage never becomes a control/independence issue for her.

Teresa does wear a diaper at night, since she sleeps about 10 hours in her crib and thus can't get out if she needs to go. She has woken up in the middle of the night and called out to us to "go potty" maybe twice. Otherwise, she wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper (and keeps it dry while playing in her crib for a few minutes) about 50% of the time these days. I've only been washing diaper laundry every 6 or 7 days, but oh how soon that's going to change!

The only trouble we've been having with the potty training is Teresa's unwillingness to use some toilets away from home, even with the portable potty seat she had previously accepted. Lately she's refused to sit on it and go, even after she said she had to. David suggested we use it at home again to get her comfortable on it again.

One funny thing related to pottying: Teresa will sometimes ask to go potty when she's part way through a meal. That's not uncommon, but the interesting thing is that she usually takes one more bite or one more sip before she gets down from her chair to dash to the bathroom!

Teresa sings her ABCs...mostly

Teresa has been singing songs more completely (as in, whole verses rather than just one or two phrases) lately. I tried to get a couple on video (she can do "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "I'm a Little Teapot," and "Five Little Ducks," for example) but she only gave me a decent performance of the ABCs. And performance it is, complete with bobbing head. She rushes and skips a letter here and there, but she can sing the whole thing. Including the ending...even though this time she gets caught on a replay loop and launches right back into the ABCs. :)

Simple play: Teresa flips cups

A couple days ago Teresa found some silicone cupcake cups that I haven't used in a long time. I let her play with them and kept them out so she could play with them some more. She enjoys stacking and unstacking them, flipping them, sorting the colors, and talking into them. Here's a simple example:

At the end of the video Teresa instructs me to "turn [the camera] around, like this..." so she can watch herself. :)

Be 'kay, Mama

A month or two ago, Teresa started responding to my scolding with some new phrases. They sounded like a combination of my comforting words to her: "It's okay, Teresa. It'll be okay..." and David's frequent admonition to me: "Calm down."

If you can imagine:

Me: "No, Teresa, stop that. Don't X, Y, Z!"

Teresa: "Be 'kay now, Mama. Calm down. Be 'kay."

At first I was impressed that she knew the phrases and was using them (somewhat) appropriately. Teresa shows amazing glimmers of compassion and kindness, and I thank God for that. But I was also mildly irritated that she was trying to divert my attention from her misbehavior to my own demeanor. When David heard her say "calm down" with a raised voice, he responded strongly: "You don't tell Mama or me to 'calm down.' Obey Mama. Obey Papa."

Since she started, though, she has more often used the calming words when I truly am frustrated, and not necessarily at her. For instance, this morning I was impatiently struggling to get Teresa's pants on her. I told her I was having a tough time and she held her legs still to help, then added (in a sweet, gentle voice accented by stroking hand motions): "Be 'kay, Mama. Calm down." So I did calm down, got the pants on, and picked her up. She looked into my eyes, repeated her message, and stroked my face.


If I were a saint, I wouldn't get so uptight/cranky/frustrated/demanding and need my child to help diffuse me. But I'm not a saint (yet), so God sent me an excellent helper.