E.C. — not just about the pee
Today, I have a six month old! (Also, yesterday Owlet turned exactly two and half years, but I’m trying to write an entire post about Platypup so shush.)
I find it quite odd to consider I was already almost done with the puking portion of pregnancy this time last year. At the same time, I am hard-pressed to remember life before Platypup.
While he has been known to kick up a fuss, occasionally even at night, I believe this is mostly just to remind us that he CAN so we won’t take his smiley, mellow, super-chill self for granted. He wakes up chattering away, making small chirping sounds, odd grunts, or even blowing raspberries. He is an adorable plump little glowworm in his Woombie and writhes upon waking like an cartoon tornado. There are only two conditions upon which he cries his way out of sleep: (1) he is soaking wet, and I mean his overstuffed diaper, his extra diaper cover, his pajamas, his swaddle, and the wool pad underneath him — thankfully wool is a powerhouse so our sheets don’t generally need changing when this happens; or (2) he is in his bouncy seat and starts to roll himself over while sleeping, becoming an adorably grumpy plump writhing upside-down glowworm faceplanted into the bouncy chair. (This is why we only put him in there if we are awake to monitor his position!)
Platypup is a poster child for breastfeeding. He only just got his first food at Thanksgiving last week (sweet potatoes mashed to perfection by Aunt J) and therefore I take total credit for his luscious rolls of baby fat that turn leg warmers into anklets and have on occasion meant his forearms grew out of a shirt before his torso. Especially since he sports cheeks to make a chipmunk swoon as well as a well-padded cloth diapered bum, he looks larger than your average one year old and is certainly already wearing that kid’s size in clothes.
I find Platypup’s age hard to fathom because we’re just not doing all of that obsessing-worrying-nit-picking nonsense. I get an email sent to me every week to remind me how old he is, and do actually read it at some point before a month has passed, but I don’t think all that much about what’s in it unless it’s amusing, like predicting that my baby will soon start to hold his head up when he’s had that down for ages, advising me on sleep training (um, no thanks), letting me know I ought to be washing anything that touches the floor with soap and water before he puts it in his mouth (I do sometimes manage to prevent him from mouthing the floor itself), or telling me not to worry because babies are supposed to be fat (duh). I don’t read ahead so I don’t worry over milestone-hitting. I don’t try to “train” him to do stuff like sit or roll or crawl, so instead I get to be pleasantly surprised when those things occur without my unnecessary coaching. If he’s amusing himself, I no longer feel the need to hover the whole time. And one more major difference with the second child — I never, ever find myself trying to think of ways to entertain him when he’s perfectly content tapping on the unopened fifty pound bag of flour on our kitchen floor, watching one of our cats take a bath, or chewing on his sister’s toy wooden screwdriver. In fact, my only real worry with him is that I don’t worry about him enough or, blissful baby grins to the contrary, give him enough attention. Somehow this became manifest in our lack of focus on E.C.
E.C. stands for “elimination communication” which is a gentle potty learning method you can learn lots about by googling. We had a good experience doing it with Owlet and had no question about taking that route with Platypup. I even caught some meconium in the toilet, so I thought we were a shoo-in for E.C. heaven. Wrong, for two reasons. First, as alluded to above, Platypup is not often the recipient of undivided attention. Second, possibly due to starting solid food later, Platypup still poops randomly, sometimes at the crack of dawn without warning and often at least once more, where his sister had developed a once a day, first thing in the not-crazy-early morning habit that allows us to number her poopy diapers from 3-4 months to the present in the single digits. (Jealous you are, yes?) About a month ago, we were only taking him to the loo maybe one or two times a day and not even looking for signs that he needed to go, so Thor and I agreed to make a greater effort before he turned six months, especially with crawling impending. But with a week to go we were still not doing all that much better. I decided drastic action was in order — I joined three E.C. groups on Facebook and trusted my mild FB addiction to do the job.
And it has. A low level of FB interaction on the subject has been enough to foster a nearly effortless transformation. One to two times a day skyrocketed into almost every diaper change plus at least one diaper-free period per day, aided in part by Platypup’s stiff legs of steel and increasingly mighty wails of protest during diaper changes. It was immediately apparent that the mild fussing we had previously been solving by offering milk or changing his position was happening right before every pee, in contrast with Owlet who never seemed to give any reliable signals, and as a bonus he is starting to squirm for longer in the morning prior to pooping, though the hour is still less than desirable.
Tangible progress aside, I love that this process is giving me a little sliver of one-on-one time with my small son. When he tilts his head back in the crook of my elbow and grins up at me, I could care less whether he subsequently pees.