Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ongoing Potty Training Saga

Oh boy, we are only a week and a half in, and I'm calling it a saga.

Well, I suppose there is good news, and really good news.

The good news is I am almost fully trained! LOL Seriously, my own training is almost complete. I am taking Charlie to the potty about ever 40-60 minutes, when possible, from the time he wakes up, until bed time. I am forgetting less and less. By next week I'm sure it will have become automatic. And soon, a compulsion. Ha!

The really good new is, Charlie is doing better and better.

Yesterday he went in his potty 5 times, which included one time when we were away from home (but had our special potty with us, of course!).

He knows the whole routine. He willingly sits on his potty, and entertains himself well. Sometimes he'd rather not get up! He knows exactly what he is suppose to do when on the potty, and if he doesn't have to do it, he will often get up and try to pull up his pants soon after I have put him on. He knows when he goes, and will then stand up and pull up his own pants (with a little help, but he initiates), and pick up his little potty bowl to take to the bathroom. He dumps his stuff in the potty by himself, and flushes and waves bye bye. He then goes to the kitchen counter to wait for his treat. He has even been dry after his nap for several days, but not in the morning... Not by a long shot! LOL. We do a lot of happy dances, and he couldn't be more pleased with himself.

We are still "missing" a lot though, too. He does not 'hold it' if he has to go, he just goes in his pants. He also does not let us know what-so-ever that he needs to go. So we need to work on those things.

Anyway, we are plugging along. Calvin is even starting to learn what the potty is for. He will run to the potty when he has to go pee, and sit on it with his clothes still on, and go pee in his diaper. So, a little bonus progress, as well. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Potty Training Update

We are still plugging along. Spending a lot of time on the pot. Calvin is playing along, but not really doing anything. Charlie is very dedicated to sit on the potty, and is super excited when something happens. The last two days have not been too successful--he only went in the potty one time each day. But there has been other success, like his enthusiasm to learn this pottying thing, and his sense of accomplishment when he goes in the potty.

I feel less and less like I know what I am doing, and I wish I had a coach to help me along, tell me how to be more effective, encourage me when it seems like we are going nowhere fast.

My hope is that by the end of the break we will feel like we made some great headway to continue at school. It all feels a lot like when he was taking months and months and months to learn to walk, and I began to wonder if he would EVER do it. I think he will eventually get this, but it seems like such a mountain to climb.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Potty Training: The Christmas Break Sessions

Yesterday we commenced what will be a two week long potty marathon for Charlie. Of course, Calvin gets to play along, too.

We are taking Charlie to the potty about every hour or two (and Calvin, too... Of course!). We are letting him wear training pants. The whole nine yards.

It is a little tricky because a) he will not sit on a regular potty, even if it has one of those little inserts that make the seat smaller; b) his *bits and pieces* are tiny, so we have to use a very specific potty that has a very high splash guard; c) the two aforementioned factors mean we have to lug around his special potty where-ever we go. Oh, and d) he pees in couplets, or triplets, meaning when he has to go he spreads it out over 30 minutes of so, going a little at a time. At least if we missed the first one we can usually catch the 2nd or 3rd one.

Anyway, Charlie is so cute about his potty business. Today he had a lot of success, and was oh so proud. He peed in the potty 3 times!!! Everything is made better by the fact that Nana and Papa are here to join in the festivities and praise each time he goes. At church today he went once, and our good family friend, Chelsea, played along to let Charlie know what a "Good Job" he did. She even made him up a bagel treat! And did I mention that in our house one may earn an M&M for doing ones business in the potty? Oh yeah! Charlie thinks that is so special. (And Calvin is doing his darndest to figure out how to get one, too.)

I am so very happy for him. Seriously, I think my heart is sporting a big grin right now. He couldn't be more proud of himself. Really. And, while I think the road out in front of us is going to be very, very long, I am feeling ready to walk it with him. We will lug our little potty all around the County. We will slowly get used to a big potty. We will slowly learn to go all at once, instead of spreading it out. We will slowly learn how to communicate the need rather than relying on the clock. Yep, it is quite the road we will walk. And I am not discounting that it may be a road that takes years instead of months, so here we go...

(By the way, I never would have guessed I would care about poop and pee, and where and how it happens, this much. I just have to laugh about that. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Good Kind of Back-Fire

Helping Charlie along in development comes with many a "Good Job, Buddy." We can't help but congratulate him as he accomplishes task after task, and skill after skill.

Well, lucky us, now when Ray or I or Calvin do something Charlie deems to be a success, he will tell us "Good Job!"

Yesterday as I put my shoes on Charlie congratulated me with a "Good job, Kim."

Thanks Buddy. You're doin' a good job, too.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

To Give a Boy a Hair Cut

Sensory issues can be a part of Down Syndrome. By that I mean people with Down Syndrome have a higher likelihood of being oversensitive or under-sensitive with one or more of their senses. A person might be oversensitive to sounds, and get frightened or overwhelmed by loud noises. Or, a person could be under-sensitive to taste, and so want to eat very spicy foods.

Charlie has a little bit of under-sensitivity and oversensitivity. He tends to be under-sensitive in his mouth, and seeks out extra sensation by chewing on his hands or, you know, whatever. He tends to be oversensitive on his face, body and hands, and gets very worried or anxious when he spills on himself when trying to drink, or gets paint on his hands during crafts.

He also happens to get extremely agitated and upset when hair clippings fall on his face, neck, and body. Giving Charlie a hair cut is a ridiculous affair. I cut as fast as I can while Ray pulls out all the stops to try to distract Charlie from his experience. (And let me add, when you barely know what you are doing, a moving, screaming target does not make for a very even-looking hair cut.) Then, after the trauma of the hair cut, which involves much crying and squirming despite Ray's valiant and silly antics, we still need to get in the bath and get wet to wash all the hair away (which is a whole 'nother dilemma!).

Enter the FLOWBEE.

You might remember an infomercial in the 80's and early 90's for a hair-cutting invention that you hook up to your vacuum cleaner. The device has a set of clippers and attachments that you add to get the length of hair you want. Then you vacuum your hair while the Flowbee cuts.

It was a fellow mom of a child with Down Syndrome who suggested we try the Flowbee. That was months and months ago, and I admit, when she suggested we try it all I could picture was Garth from Wayne's World flailing his arms and yelling, "It's sucking my will to live!" while having his hair vacuumed by a prop meant to mock the Flowbee. I just could not bring myself to buy one.

Well, just like I thought I would NEVER own a minivan, sometimes necessity takes over, and I placed a wanted add on Craigslist for a used Flowbee. I was surprised when the same day a woman got back to me who wanted to give us her used Flowbee. (A savings of $70!)

So yesterday afternoon we got out the Flowbee for trial numero uno.

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First I sat down with Charlie and we watched video's of other kids getting Flowbee hair cuts on YouTube. We talked about their hair getting vacuumed and cut by the Flowbee. We watched how fun it was. Charlie was getting really excited and was laughing at the kids in the videos, and saying "Owbee! Owbee!"

Next, I brought the box with the Flowbee out and gave it to Charlie as if it were a wonderful gift. He thought is was most fortunate, indeed! And, when I asked him if he wanted a "Flowbee hair cut," the answer was a definite Yes!

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We set up our little barber shop in the kitchen, with vacuum, Flowbee, and mirror. Charlie was really excited! When I turned it on he was less excited, but very tolerant. It was pretty loud with the vacuum and the Flowbee running all at once. He got a kick out of watching his hair get sucked up into the tube.

Whenever I turned it off he would point to it and say, "Owbee! On!" When we were done he kept rubbing his head and saying, "Air cut! Owbee air cut!"
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Here he is giving brother an "owbee air cut" with the vacuum hose attachment, complete with motor sound effects.
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The hair cut looks really good, and is very even. It took 5 minutes, and most important, no tears! Oh, no mess either, which was a cool bonus.

I will close by simply adding...

I {heart} Flowbee.

Oh, and...

I love the way that God gives us just what we need. I'm sure a comb and scissors will certainly do for most folks, but we needed something different for our sweet Charlie, and God... well, He provides.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Potty Training Inch Stones

I once heard another mother of a child with Special Needs refer to her child's developmental progress as "Inch Stones". You know, instead of "Mile Stones". I can't think of a more appropriate term for a child whose accomplishments are measured in increments. Two steps forward, one step back, one step to the side, now turn around, and yeah, I think we are still ahead of where we began.

I would have to really look back on this blog to find my first post on Potty Training. In fact, it seems that every few months I write about a small amount of progress we have made toward being diaper free. Most of our potty efforts lately have focused on getting Charlie comfortable with the idea of sitting on the potty at all. For a while he was really excited about it, now he is terrified of the big potty, and only slightly tolerant of his little potty. Why? I have not idea. It's just Charlie.

I am happy to report, however, that Charlie has decided it is okay to do a number 2 on his little potty. It is a fun sight here in the house. He only gives us about 30 seconds notice, so when we hear him say that one little word, "poop", everybody scrambles! One of us is running to fetch the potty, the other is helping him off with his clothes. If all goes well, he is quite happy to sit on his little pot, whilst holding a toy or a book, to do his little business.

This has happened a total of 3 times this week. I think it is safe to say, "Inch stone accomplished!"
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