When Avery was born, Noah was two and a half years old. For quite some time, taking care of my son had come with ease. I remembered how much work a newborn was and thought I was prepared for her. What I wasn't prepared for was how having a baby affected my son, and our relationship. Avery is almost one and a half and the kids are starting to play pretty well together. I finally feel like I'm getting back on top of things. I can't say how much more challenging raising two children is than I anticipated. Infinitely more.
I've been having lots of moments lately that I wish I could capture. We have a video camera and I need to start using it. I often think I will remember all the silly or crazy things that the kids do, but I can hardly even separate one image from the mess of cute or silly things that the kids have said or done this week. Noah at almost four has been asking in all sincerity, who we think he should marry. We've been having lots of matter of fact conversations about marriage and husbands and wives etc.
Avery spends most of her time around the house without pants or a diaper on. She uses her potty several times a day, with encouragement and sometimes on her own. She says "poo" for poop or pee...or if she has a wet diaper that she wants off, or if she just wants to run around with a bare bottom. How many accidents Avery has are related to whether I'm paying attention or not. Often we can get on a schedule and I'll remind her every half hour or so to use her potty and if she has to go she will, unless she is cranky and needing a nap or something and if that is the case then it isn't an appropriate time for her to be diaperless. The most elaborate misses (accidents) usually come when I'm cooking dinner, frying something, or taking something out of the oven (something is going to burn if I leave for a minute) and then I look over and Avery is pointing and telling me "poo, poo, poo". Immediate intervention is essential and goes something like this:
- First, stop child and inspect for poo smears. Make sure there is no poo on her legs or feet getting tracked anywhere. Pick up child and carry to sink if necessary.
- Step two is getting her to her potty, because more poop or pee often follows.
- While she sits on her potty I run to the sink for a warm rag or two or three while looking around to assess damage. Is there a pile , a trail? Were there toys or clothes in the way?
- Once Avery is off the potty and cleaned up, I try to clean up the mess without her help and then return to dinner or whats left of it, turn off the timer that has been going off.
- Finally, a diaper at this point is always nice so a repeated incident does not follow.
You might think I'm crazy for letting my toddler go diaper-less. I think it is crazy that I know three, four and five year old kids still wearing diapers. Kids that when they have to go pee ask for a diaper and refuse to go on the potty even though they are perfectly capable. In our society we train our babies from a very early age to pee in their diaper.We train them so well that it takes a lot of retraining when we are ready for them to use a potty.
There are many places in the world where diapers are not the norm. There are numerous societies where it is normal and expected that toddlers and even babies communicate their need with their parents. Parents read their child. They anticipate and expect when their child needs to eliminate; this is called Elimination Communication. We have practiced this method part time with both of children. They have used the potty with help before they could sit and on their own as soon as they were able to sit on something without assistance. We use cloth diapers at night, when we leave the house and when we have company.
The best thing about diaperless kids is that they are familiar and comfortable with their bodies and understand what is going on much earlier than full time diapered kids. Avery knows where poop and pee comes from. When she feels the need to pee or poop she anticipates what comes next (she looks down and is starting to make a beeline to her potty). She is not ashamed, embarassed or frightened by her bodily functions. This is success. Besides my days would be much less lively were it not for this naked bottom baby.