Ugh, it is so hard to get a chance to post when my hands are always full of one child or another! Marko has realized that his chance for lap time is whenever Michael's sleeping, so he takes full advantage. Mostly, I'm glad because he never was that into snuggles before Michael was born. Now he's finally realized he needs them, so if I'm not offering he comes and gets them on his own. Nice not to have to chase my kid down just for a hug!
Michael is seven weeks old now. Seemed a good time for an update on how elimination communication was going. I know I intended to it from day one, but I really didn't -- the first couple of weeks all I did was sometimes leave him coverless so I could watch for signs he was going ... which I didn't. I still have no idea what "signs" there might be. Perhaps he just isn't giving any. I think a lot of the signals babies give, they only give later on, once they realize they need to be taken to pee, and figure out how to signal you. Not sure on this one or if it's just my baby or my own obliviousness.
Around two weeks old I started taking his diaper off first thing in the morning and holding him on the potty or a sour cream container (perfect size for him!) and he would poop! Very exciting to me. But that didn't last; he doesn't poop every day anymore, and the timing is unpredictable. So I would observe him for a bit in the mornings, and when he peed I'd just say "psss." After the second or third soaking, I would put his diaper on. I don't have infinite patience for getting peed on! I noticed that he went every 15 minutes or so, and sometimes I made a catch in the sour cream container or the sink.
At this point it's useful to note that Michael is a very "in-arms" baby. He's hardly ever down. Which made everything I'd read not make sense, because they seem to focus on putting some kind of puddle pad down and your baby down on top of it ... and he just wasn't contented being on the floor at all until last week. Now he does it for maybe 20-30 minutes, once or twice a day. His bouncy chair buys me a little time too. But all the rest of the time he is either nursing, sitting on my lap, in the wrap, or asleep on the bed. None of these are very convenient for pottying, at least if there are going to be misses because, like I said, I don't care for being peed on. Meanwhile, if he's got a diaper on, I just don't know when he's going, and that's kind of unhelpful.
About a week ago I decided to leave his diaper off longer and see if we could manage to make a few more catches. To my surprise, I was doing things backwards. That first hour of the day is the hardest. The rest of the day, he goes more like every half hour, which is much more manageable. I still don't see any signs, but if I take him to the sink every half hour and make the cue sound (pssss) he usually does go and then stay dry afterward.
Another useful revelation is that if the baby pees on you, you don't have to freeze and just let him do it. I was afraid of scaring him, so I never moved when he was peeing, except to angle him away from me a bit. (Boys are handy this way -- he sometimes peed while nursing and it would almost all go on the floor instead of on me. Wood floors make easy clean-up!) I later read that you can make a "wait" noise to show the baby that it's not an acceptable place to go. So I started to say "ah!" and rush to either move him off me or grab the sour cream container, which I try to keep within arms' reach. I think he got the idea, because he doesn't go on me nearly so often. In the past four days, I've only gotten soaked once and a couple little splashes.
Sleep is still the issue. I don't want to interfere with his already rather shaky sleep routine just to get him to potty -- but on the other hand, maybe it would help him sleep better if he had an empty bladder. So I try to get him to pee when I think he might be going to sleep soon (which is kind of anyone's guess, but I'm beginning to get a sense that at least after nursing or when I put him in the wrap, he might sleep). In the wrap, it's no problem. He'll sleep two hours and never go. I do rush to get him out of the wrap as soon as he wakes up, though, so that he doesn't go on me. But if he's sleeping in bed by himself, he often wakes up halfway through and grunts a bit. Sometimes he'll go back to sleep. Sometimes he'll pee on the bed and go back to sleep (hence the puddle pad I've been keeping under him). Sometimes he'll pee and then stay awake because he's all wet. Sometimes I rush to him because he's crying, and I don't know whether to nurse him or offer a potty. If I offer a potty he doesn't want it, and cries. If I nurse him, he pees on me. I've had some success with trying to nurse him over a potty, though this is awkward. Either way, it's rather inconvenient. It's tempted me to give up on EC during naps, except that Marko also woke up mid-nap, even though he was diapered. That's the main reason EC didn't work out when I gave it a brief try with him. But I wonder ... would EC actually help with this problem, once we got it down? Is he just waking up because he needs to pee? And when Michael is in a diaper, he still does wake up during naps usually. I may start diapering him during naptime only. But for now, he's sleeping on a prefold diaper on top of a waterproof blanket, and hopefully that will work out well.
I haven't tried yet at night at all. I mean, I need to sleep too, and it's easier (to me) to bring him into bed and nurse him than it would be to try and figure out a potty at night. However, he's recently started sleeping (two out of three nights) for a longer stretch -- from 9:30 till about 3:00. And when he wakes up from that, I've noticed that his plastic diaper seems to be dry. I wonder if I could add in just one potty opportunity at that time only? I have been trying to come fully awake for this wakeup so that I can nurse the baby and then stay awake long enough to burp him, because otherwise his burps keep him awake. So pottying him wouldn't be so much extra trouble. And maybe he'd sleep better after three a.m. with an empty bladder. Worth a shot, right?
Overall, EC has been surprisingly easy. I don't really watch for cues, though I try to see if I can figure out any so I can start looking for them. I keep track of time, give him frequent opportunities, and that's working out. Sometimes he gets crabby and doesn't want to go in the potty, which is the only time difficulties arise. Every "miss" lately, I knew he needed to go and he wouldn't go. Then when I sat down again, he went. I hope these go away as he gets more used to going in the sink or potty. The bonuses for me are plenty. We are doing diapers every other day, instead of every day (and it's mostly Marko's diapers). I get to snuggle a naked baby without worrying about getting soaked, which is a definite perk because I don't think any baby clothes are cuter than a naked baby. (Thank goodness it's summertime though!) And Marko's been showing more interest in the potty as well. He will only sit on the big potty, but he definitely has awareness of what he's supposed to do in there, and usually goes right away when he sits down instead of sitting on it for half an hour every time like he used to. Perhaps he just needed the example to be set! I still keep him in diaper backup, though, because I don't know when he needs to go and I can't keep him on a puddle pad. He uses the potty a couple times a day, and the rest he goes in the diaper but runs to me immediately to be changed.
Overall, it's been fun. I even think he smiled the other day while he was peeing! I hope it stays enjoyable for both of us, but if it isn't, no one will be harmed by putting a diaper on him for a bit. As I tell people who worry, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Every pee in the potty is a diaper you don't have to change or wash. But being completely diaper-free is very nice, so I hope to stick with it.