Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fear and Regression: an Update

First up, fear.
I'm happy to report that it was a very short lived phase. Or at least so far. After nap time on Friday, I asked Oliver if he wanted to visit his stuffed animals in our room and put the ones he wasn't scared of back in his room. He started tentatively, picking some very benign ones like Winnie the Pooh, his Sleep Sheep, and a cute duck. He stayed in my doorway, and would sneak in quietly and grab them and then run quickly into his room. But then the more he got, the more excited he was. Then he found the Grinch, and said, "Oh, there's the Grinch!" and grabbed him. So I asked, "I thought you were scared of the Grinch?" He answered, "I not scared anymore, Mommy." He ended up grabbing almost all the stuffed animals and putting them back. There's maybe a dozen left in our room, more because I think he got bored of the game than out of fear. But I didn't want to push it, so we'll tackle that another day. That night, as I was telling Marty the story when he got home from work, Oliver piped up, "Oliver not scared, Daddy!" Yay!

And now for regression.
Friday night, Marty and I talked about it and decided we had to just go hard core with the potty training. There was no way we could go back to diapers at this point. So we had to ramp up the training techniques. Perhaps we had gotten too confident in his abilities. We were pretty much letting him decide when he went potty, and that worked for a while, but then he just got lazy about it. So then we had to start reminding him to go, then begging, threatening, and bribing him to go. So he got stubborn and rebellious, thus leading to more accidents. A bad cycle, really.

So our new hard core plan was to go back to the timer, a new incentive toy (a Cars puzzle) so he'd get interested in getting stickers again. And the big change: naked baby! No training pants, nothing. We put towels on the furniture, and a sweatshirt on Oliver so he wouldn't get cold. We weren't planning on going anywhere much this weekend, so we could just focus on this.The idea behind naked baby is that even cotton training pants are somewhat of a comfort and they'll forget it's not a diaper and pee in it. But many kids won't just pee when they're naked, because they are so used to peeing into a pant-like item.

And it worked.

I am thrilled to report that we had an accident free weekend! Not a single drop of pee on the floor or furniture! We used the timer a lot on Saturday, but by the end of the day he was going on his own and even pooped in the potty. We didn't use the timer much today, and during nap time he called for us to help him go potty because he had pooped. Usually he just sleeps in it, so that's a step forward. We went to church this morning, and he kept his pull up dry. So I hope we are back on track, and I can keep my sanity, and he can go to preschool someday.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I am sick of pee.

I feel like a complete failure as a parent.

I don't know what to do.

He just doesn't give a shit. He doesn't care about peeing in the potty. He doesn't care if his pants are wet. He doesn't care if he pees in his pants or on the couch or the chair or the floor. All of which he's done today. And yesterday.

I thought we had it there for a while. He went weeks without an accident. He still has days where he has few accidents or just little squirts here and there. Then we'll go days like this where it's an all out pee-fest around here.

I'm so over it.

I even did the exactly wrong thing and yelled at him. "Oliver, where does your pee go?" "In the potty," he answered. "Then why do you keep peeing everywhere else?" He didn't care. He just skipped away, singing a song. So I said, "I guess we'll have to go back to diapers, like babies wear." His response? "Okay!" sigh. I am this close.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I thought it was really weird yesterday morning when Oliver kept telling me to keep his bedroom door shut, even when we were downstairs. I chalked it up to a door obsession or other strange toddler quirk. Then later when we were going upstairs for nap time, and he stopped and said "Please put animals away!" in a very sad desperate voice. I asked him why and he said, "I scared." I tried to reassure him that they were just toys, but he started getting upset. I didn't want him to start a fit before nap, so I just went up and grabbed them all and threw them in our room and shut the door. Only after he heard our door shut would he come upstairs. He has a ton of stuffed animals, maybe 50? Here's the only picture I could find, from the day he trashed his room:

See all the stuffed animals on the top of his bookshelves? There are probably another dozen more than that, but they were scattered around his room that day.

It's really strange, this new fear. His favorite game used to be taking all his animals and piling them on top of mommy as I sat in the recliner. Or he'd put them all in his crib and sit with them. Here's a pic of that from a year ago:

 But here is where they live today, in a pile on the floor in the corner of our master bedroom:

I have no idea where this fear came from. A bad dream perhaps? I had no idea how to handle this, so I spent his nap time searching online and reading in my toddler books. I learned that at around age 3, many toddlers suddenly develop new fears, and that it's completely  normal, and usually fades in a few months. The advice was to validate and acknowledge his feelings, don't force him to confront the fear, but try to gently deal with it. One piece of advice on dealing with fears in general was to have him pick a favorite stuffed animal to act as his "protector." Hmmmm, well, I don't think that's going to work in this case! Apparently the fear of animals is a common one, though none of the books mention stuffed animals. But thinking about it, it does seem to tie into his recent demonstrations of fear. At Christmas, when he was scared of the dog at Marty's aunt's house. And at our recent visit to the zoo where he was scared of many of the animals and really freaked out when that damn goose honked at him.

I was a very fearful child (more than normal), and I remember my mom being exasperated by it. But I also remember how very real those fears were. So it's really weird for me to be on the other side of it. I definitely don't want Oliver to be as afraid of everything as I was, so I really hope this is just a short lived phase.

When he woke up from his nap,  I was in my room sorting laundry and daddy had just come home. Oliver came in our room, and said, "Oh, there they are! Why my animals in here?" I answered, "Because you asked me to take them out of your room." Then he looked at Marty and said very solemnly, "Daddy, I scared." So we gently asked him what he was scared of, and he just said "my animals." I asked if there were certain ones he was scared of, and he said, "Yeah, the Grinch." Aha! So then I asked him if he wanted to choose some that he wasn't scared of to put back in his room. So he picked out the penguin and giraffe, and said he wanted to take them downstairs. Then daddy, ever efficient, started picking up animals and asking, "What about this one?" Unfortunately, he picked up a monster one (it's a cute little funny stuffed monster we've had since he was born), and Oliver freaked out. So we were done with that game. We went downstairs, and he carried the penguin and giraffe around the rest of the night. Before bedtime, I asked if he wanted to pick out any more nice stuffed animals to put in his room, but he didn't. He also didn't want to take the penguin and giraffe upstairs, saying they would sleep downstairs.

So the Grinch thing is interesting, because (and I was going to do a whole blog about this) in recent weeks, he has been obsessed with the Grinch. He loved it at Christmas, watched the movie every day, and Grandma got him the book and stuffed Grinch (see him on the top of the pile), and then a DVD after Christams. He also found clips of the movie on Youtube, and was watching them every day. He'd cover his eyes during the "scary" parts, but really loved watching it.

So my best guess is that he had a dream involving the Grinch after days of watching it or simply his almost 3 year old imagination is acting up. The books say it's actually a good sign, and yes, a developmental milestone, because it means they have an active imagination. Great. Another milestone. Can't wait for the next one!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Birthday Party at My Gym

Last weekend, Oliver was invited to his friend Lilly's birthday party. The party was at My Gym. No, not at my gym, that would be Mommy's Gym. My Gym is Oliver's Gym, where he's been jumping, swinging, and playing since we moved to Connecticut. Here's my first post about it, and once more, I cannot get over how much Oliver has grown since we've lived here! We still love going to My Gym, and will miss it greatly when we move home. They don't have anything like it in Cedar Rapids (that I'm aware of). I swear, if I had the money and the fitness background, I would totally consider opening a franchise there. I think it would do well there. Anyway, I digress.

Lilly is one of Oliver's friends from My Gym, and is also in his class at Mother's Day Out. It was a great party, and the kids had a blast. I had stupidly forgotten Lilly's present at home, so Marty graciously missed the first part of the party and ran home to get it. He returned with the camera as well, so we got some cute pics.

Mommy pushing Oliver on the swing


Throwing the ball out of the bounce house. The bounce house was a huge hit. Well, until he ended up getting hurt (I have no idea how, and I was watching the whole time!). I think he hit his head on another kid or something. Oh well, he has a big hard head. He was fine and even got back in a bit later. 

Balancing on the tube.

With ball in hand, of course.

Oliver playing with his friend Brody, his best bud from My Gym and Mother's Day Out (I swear, the toddlers in this area travel in packs, they are all in the same classes).

The kids all lined up eating pizza. Love the line of parents behind them, cutting pizza, and making sure they all keep their hands to themselves!

Daddy being creative, shooting through a tunnel. Yes, Oliver is playing with yet another ball.

Climbing the fort.

Time for bubbles! This competed with the bounce house in popularity. Birthday girl Lilly is on the far right in the pink dress and hat. Oliver's in the middle, and Brody is to the left in the striped sweatpants.

Sitting on the mat waiting their turn. 

This is what they were waiting for...the zip line!! Look at the focus on that face!

Eating cake. Can it get any better?

Now birthday parties are Oliver's favorite thing ever. That's putting a lot of pressure on Mommy to plan a good one for his 3rd, that is coming way too soon. We'll see. I think I'm going for small but fun, maybe with a little adventure thrown in.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Oliver can now pick his own boogers and hand them to me, whether I have a kleenex handy or not. Is this a developmental milestone? I can't decide if this is better than what we've been doing for the past 2 years and 11 months, which is that mommy picks his nose for him. Maybe a slight improvement? Now, if I could just get him to blow his nose (he tries, but he blows out of his mouth instead).