Fun. We Are Young.

The first time I heard this song, I got hooked onto its chorus.

We are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun

It was not only musically catchy but the lyrics seemed really inspiring.  It made me want to blaze forth and set alight a bright future for self and others.  Sung not alone, it also made me want to go forth with a bunch of like-minded people.

The rest of the song was catchy too so I took some effort to listen carefully to it so that I could sing along.

But I began to realise that the song was about drugs, booze and physical abuse.

My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State

… asking bout a scar, And I know I gave it to you months ago…

So if by the time the bar closes
And you feel like falling down
I’ll carry you home


So now I do not know whether to like the song or not.

Increasing Independence; Increasing Distance

She grows up so fast!

A year ago, she was 16 (2 years old) and today, she is 18 (3) already!  Sometimes we feel as if she would be getting married the next day!

As if for the longest time, I had to clean up after her: Change her diapers; clean her poop; keep her cups; feed her; read to her; change her clothes.

Now, during waking hours, I have no idea how many times she goes to the toilet because she now does it by herself… complete with washing her hands after.  She only needs me to clean her when she poops.

She still wears diapers when she naps or sleeps at night because I refuse to bother myself with bed wettings.  Other than having to put it on, there are times whereby I do not have to change her when she wakes up.  She will change by herself.

No matter how tongues wag, I’m fine with her wearing diapers to sleep all the way to the point whereby she automatically does not want to wear diapers to sleep anymore.  So far, it is proven that she does not require potty training… all transitions from one stage to another were automatic.  No need for struggles and meltdowns to force my child to do something she is not ready for.

Now, whenever she gets a drink in a cup or a packaging, she would put the cup back in the kitchen or throw the packaging into the bin.

Meal time, she eats by herself.  I only have to feed her when she is very very distracted (e.g. by a TV show that makes her dance or the thought of eating only tidbits for lunch).  When we have cereal and milk at home, she even makes her own breakfast and prepares a set for me while I’m still sleeping.  (Daddy doesn’t get a set cos he does not like cereal and milk.)

At times, I find her flipping and “reading” books by herself.  While she can’t actually read the words in the  books, she has memorised the lines.  Very recently, she started to point to the words she believes she is reading.  Usually, she points correctly to the first word in the sentence.  Then, the rest is just “action action” only.

With her increased independence, she needs me less and less.  And as she needs me less and less, I miss her more and more.

While some parents train their children to be independent so that they can have control over their own time for their own pursuits, I don’t do it as much.  I do it just enough mostly for her own good and when she is ready.  Timing is tailored specifically to her readiness level rather than her age.

My daughter demands a lot of my attention/company compared to other kids of her age.  But I’m happy to oblige as much as I possibly can cos one day very soon, she will no longer need me at all – completely.

I heard that some kids do not want their parents anymore as early as 10 or even 7-8 years old!  It could be that soon.  I’m living proof – I personally wanted total freedom from my family at around age of 9 or 10.

We only walk this journey with each of our children once.  There is no turning back the clock, no room for regrets.

Cherish it.

Our own brand of Potty Training

My itsy bitsy princess is growing up well.  “Potty training” was almost like a 1-day hit success.

I hear of people “potty training” their child with different methods.  Some force, some have regular timings to sit them on the potty, some believe that they should just start using the potty the moment they can walk about, some just do not provide diapers thinking that the discomfort would cause the child to want to go to the toilet.  Results from these parents?  Many wrestling matches and meltdowns later… not much success.  The little fellas continued to pee, poop anytime and anywhere.

It seemed unnatural to me but I tried nonetheless… for just one day … when she was close to 2.  I kept her diaper-free and in just 2 hours, I had to clean her, clean the place and changed her clothes a few times.  Then I gave up.

I actually believe that it is largely about biology.  Just like how their body develops the necessary structure and strength to roll, then sit up, then crawl, then walk, then run, etc over time.  It is the same with toileting.  There will come a time when her muscles for the bladder and bowels would be sufficiently developed and also signal paths that help her control them would be in place.

The emotional and psychological part would be how parents treat the kids.  Would all the training make them hate or be stressed with toileting and hence it delays that aspect of them?  The opposite could also be true.  Could the lack of coaxing cause the child to be so comfortable with diapers that she takes a long time to wean off them?

Anyway, I decided to experiment my own brand of potty training on my kid.

Step 1: Observe for signs of development.

Since my kid could already hold an intelligible conversation at 2, we started “potty training” by telling her that whenever she wanted to pee or poo, she should tell us so that we could bring her to the toilet.  This was a daily one-time instruction.

At first… nothing.  Then within a week or so, started telling us.  But it was post-poop or post-pee.

Step 2: forget about giving instructions for the next few weeks.  you live free.  the kid lives free (no disturbances/stresses from traditional potty training).

Step 3: Observe for signs of devt again.

After a few weeks’ break… we started giving the instructions again.   There were a few attempts.  We brought her to the toilet but either little came out or nothing.

And because she had become conscious about her pee-ing… outings became a tad bit embarrassing.  E.g. we were walking in a busy shopping centre and she suddenly stops and squats.  I ask her what she was doing.  She said “I need to pee” (diapers were on).

Step 4: I knew it was about time.  But I gave it another few weeks’ break.  cos we did not get the same signs for pooping.  If I wanna potty train, I wanna settle 2 processes (pee and poo) in 1 session.  Saves so much time, stress and inconveniences.

Step 5: After a few weeks, start observing for signs again. 

This time, there was a pattern for pooping.  She had to hide in a quiet corner, kept really still and quiet to do her most important business.  It started to get very regular too (e.g. 10am every morning).

Step 6: Once signs of readiness become stable and regular, choose a week which we (parents) are the most energetic and have the most time with her in person.  And go cold turkey.

That was the school term break for us.  We took a few days’ leave, there were a couple of public holidays, she had no school and we had lots of time with her.

We picked one fine day and said… you will now go without diapers.  And wahlah!!! Instant success!!!! She was clean and dry on the first day and the rest of the week!!!  No diapers!!! No forcing, coaxing. no stress.  no fights. no meltdowns. no frustrations.  Success!!!

(sounds like some tv ad script)

Step 7: Inform the other caregivers.

We informed her other caregivers to do the same and it has so far been really good!  She did hilarious things like hunt for spare diapers (cos the main packs were hidden) to put on by herself but that has stopped after 2 attempts or so.

However, as a precaution, her first week back at school was still with diapers.  Wanted her to adjust back to school routine before trying without diapers.  Next week will be another milestone for her… going to school without diapers.

Step 8: Wean her off diapers during sleep.

This would probably be the last step.  She still wears diapers to sleep simply because we do not want to risk tiring ourselves (and her) when her mattress gets dirty.

I think I’ll try this probably 2 years down the road… probably when she is abt 5.

There is no shame in wearing diapers to sleep till 5 really.  It keeps mummy and daddy sane.