Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

My clip from The Doctors on CBS October 20, 2008

Click to See me on The Doctors! 

This is an abbreviated clip posted by the nice people at Baby Signs, makers of the potty-training kit I used with my infant Noah to teach him how to use the potty beginning at 13 months.

Ready to potty train your baby? I’ve carefully selected some lovely organic training pants, and eco-friendly wipes for my Amazon store—just like the ones Dr. Jim Sears recommends. You can also pick up a Baby Signs Potty Training Kit for only $26.37! (The retail price is $39.99.) Your little one and his or her future environment will thank you! And just think of the cost savings over the long term! It’s a wise financial investment with the added benefit of a more deeply loving relationship with your baby, and decreased impact on landfills. Goooo, mommy!

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Reminder about The Doctors on CBS! October 1, 2008

If you are thinking about potty training your infant, please tune in to The Doctors, a brand new show on CBS, tomorrow Thursday, October 2!
I discuss infant potty training with the amazing Dr. Jim Sears and Dr. Travis Stork, and the makers of the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn. I’ll admit I was very nervous about going onstage in front of a live audience. Inside, I was shaking like a leaf, but I had every reason to remain happy, calm and share our story of early potty training with all the confidence and love our experience has gifted us; I was, after all, talking about the people in my life who I love the most.
Here in Southern California, the show appears at 11am on KCAL 9 in the LA/Orange County area, and at 5:00pm in San Diego on channel 9. My mom tells me it is scheduled to appear in Canada at 3pm on ABC. Please check local listings for station and time!
 

Appearing on The Doctors on CBS! September 17, 2008

Tune in to The Doctors, a brand new show on CBS, on Thursday, October 2 to see me “in person” as I discuss infant potty training with the amazing Dr. Jim Sears and Dr. Travis Stork. Covering a broad range of subjects, especially news-breaking, topical issues, the show features on-set medical procedures, either directly in front of the studio audience or in its backstage examining room, and off-site “house calls,” The Doctors features down-to-earth discussions of emotional and psychological issues and real-life experiences of the show’s guests. It’s very fast-paced, informative and entertaining.

I’ll admit I was very nervous about going onstage in front of a live audience. Inside, I was shaking like a leaf, but I had every reason to remain happy, calm and share our story of early potty training with all the confidence and love our experience has gifted us; I was, after all, talking about the people in my life who I love the most. I also had the good fortune of spending time before the shoot with the makers of the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn. These warm, fascinating women were an absolute treat to meet, and both my husband—on hand lending his love and support—and I were so impressed with them both. I also must mention the encouragement, professionalism and humor of producer Lauree Dash, who helped me to put aside my nervousness and speak from my heart as a mother.   

As a writer of family health and parenting issues, I count on certain heroes—the “go-to” people in children’s health who can be trusted, and who share information for parents in an easy-to-understand format that is up-to-date, applicable and useful. So, you might imagine how thrilled I was to meet Dr. Jim Sears, a pediatrician who travels the country speaking about the importance of good family nutrition and the vital role that nutrition plays in a variety of medical and behavioral problems. A passionate writer, Dr Jim has had articles appear in Parenting and BabyTalk magazine, and Parenting.com‘s “Ask the Experts,” is an active contributor to the content of AskDrSears.com, and is co-author of The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood (Little, Brown 2006), Father’s First Steps – Twenty-Five Things Every New Father Should Know, (Harvard Common Press 2006). The Premature Baby Book (Little, Brown 2004), The Baby Sleep Book (Little, Brown 2006) and the best selling The Baby Book – Revised Edition (Little, Brown 2003). Dr. Jim has also been featured on Dr. Phil and the PBS parenting series, “Help Me Grow.”

Click here to see my clip!

 

Q and A with Rebecca: Potty Training September 1, 2008

Got a parenting dilemma? Need more information about something you’ve read on my blog? Just ask!

Reader “Butterflymom”: My little one is 2 ½ and she could not care less about potty training! When she was about 1 ½ she was VERY interested but I didn’t pressure her (mainly because she couldn’t communicate with me in public that she had to use the potty). Besides, it was mainly just curiosity. Now, she would rather be in her diaper, which I don’t get.

Rebecca Lacko: I’m sorry to hear about about your “missed opportunity” back when your daughter was younger and more interested in the potty–that is why the Baby Signs Potty Training program uses sign language, so the baby can tell you when it’s time to go.
But that’s water under the bridge–it’s a year later and the good news is that you are committed to helping her reach this significant milestone. Does she have friends who use the toilet, or is she in a preschool or daycare setting where she can observe other children using the toilet? That can really help. Demonstration is key.
While our little baby Noah is doing great with the Baby Signs method, our first son Joseph outright refused to use the potty (read the full details here), even though he knew all there was to know about it–he didn’t care if he was sitting in his Number Two’s, he didn’t want to use it. The trick that worked for us was really quite simple: We put the diapers out of sight (only one would appear at bedtime.) In their place, we put a basket full of big-kid undies, and allowed him choose which ones he wanted to wear every day.

“Butterflymom”: See, I’ve tried the whole panties thing and she just doesn’t care. She tells me, ”No, Mommy, I poop in my diaper.”

RL: The undies must become non-negotiable. However, you can make it an exciting process from your daughter’s perspective by adding perks, like rewards. I filled a large dish with tons of prizes (stickers, plastic necklaces and rings, fridge magnets, just dollar-store stuff) and I put it in the bathroom and told my son that every time he used the toilet, he got to choose something from the dish. He went right to work, trying to use the toilet, even when he didn’t have to. And every time he asked for a diaper, we said together, “good-bye diapers! Heeeeelllllllloooo undies!) It was actually fun.

“Butterflymom”: I’ve tried little prizes if she goes, even a calendar with stickers to put on it when she goes, NOTHING. NOTHING WORKS!

RL: I promise you, your daughter will not go to kindergarten in diapers. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. You have the opportunity now to use this milestone as a means of growing your bond with your daughter by being consistent, trustworthy and her biggest cheerleader. Whatever you do, keep smiling and maintain a positive attitude. The reward every child is truly seeking is your unconditional love, so demonstrate it abundantly, especially after a successful potty trip, or after a good try at using the potty. When mistakes happen, just cheerfully say, “we’ll try to use the potty again next time!” and that is all, then just clean it up and move on.

“Butterflymom”: The problem I’m obviously having is I’m not being consistent. When she has an accident in her panties and then asks for a diaper, I give her a diaper. I feel like an idiot because, in hindsight, why would I do that? That’s just showing her if she has an accident, I’ll give in and give her what she wants. (*Sigh* This first-time parenting stuff… I tell ya!)

RL: Parenting is a 24/7 challenge, to be sure. Give yourself a break, mom—you’re learning, too! If you need help remaining consistent, please keep this in mind: you are the parent. Your toddler may say she wants to poop in her diaper, but you know what is best! You’re there to help her make decisions that benefit her health, and her self-esteem. You wouldn’t let her choose when or if she’s going to take a bath, and you wouldn’t let her decide at every meal what she should eat. (If my son Joseph had that power, he’d eat yogurt, Goldfish crackers, and ice cream around the clock!)
Most importantly, the risk of a urinary tract infection is reason enough to get her out of poopy diapers. They are extremely painful and the risk of UTIs only increases as the child gets older and, ahem, produces bigger poops.
This can actually be a fun process, you just have to decide it is. Let your goal be good health and a strong loving bond. Your own reward will be a new level of patience, and a confident, diaper-free kid!
Let me know if this information is useful, and how things go!

Hit “Comments” with your health or parenting question(s), and I’ll do my best to respond within 24 hours. Your privacy is respected; I will not publish real names without permission.

 

My Potty Baby – Update August 28, 2008

We are very excited about appearing on The Doctors, on CBS, in September. The show premieres nationwide Monday. September 8, 2008 (Check local listings for station and time). I’m still not sure when our episode will appear, but I’ll keep you posted!

People keep asking me how Noah’s potty training is coming along. Since I published this post about Noah being 60% trained using the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit at 14 months, we are now at 16 months and the training is chugging along. The 60% mark was both a milestone and an obstacle. Getting there was a breeze! Getting past it has been the true challenge, and I’ll tell you why: Noah became obsessed with walking and talking. I URGE mommies who are interested in early potty training to begin (ideally) at 9 months, because your baby is stable enough to sit, can most likely crawl to the potty, and the “pop-up” made famous by new walkers is far enough away that you can make impressive potty progress. 

We have had to be very diligent about keeping Noah’s interest on signing and potty use while celebrating his ability to walk and talk. The good news is that, for the most part, he takes his potty for granted–it’s just part of his daily routine, and while he does appreciate a round of applause for a “job” well done, he does his business quite routinely without prompting, and finishes without remark, moving on to the next activity. I never thought I’d say this, much less publicly, but it’s a special sort of treat to notice the potty’s been used without our help. It means he felt the need, got on it himself, and got off without a mess, just like a big boy. Parents of preschoolers handing out reward after reward take note.

Noah’s ability to talk has been nothing short of amazing. I understand that sign language can be useful for encouraging language skills in babies, but I am just as surprised as anyone to hear Noah identifying letters of the alphabet correctly, making their sounds, and repeating them in order. He reads the letters in words and signs all day long, and can identify at least a dozen animals by the sound they make. (He calls ducks “quack-quack”, dogs are “woof-woof”, owls are “hoot-hoot”, etc.) What I find particularly interesting is that he uses the sound twice for most animals–that takes a lot of control! Cats are only “meow”, cows say “moooo” and mice go “squeek”, so he does limit the sounds for some animals. Strangely, he makes the most life-like noise for a pig (especially for someone who has never met a real pig!) We simply must record it. This may seem like an exhaustive list, but I want to remember the details of these spectacular baby days.

So, why not, I’ll continue. Noah is beginning to identify his colors, especially green, and he is beginning to name everything, such as flowers, stars and butterflies. It really is exciting for us as parents. My husband loves the fact that when a tissue is placed in front of his nose, he’ll actually blow. (We have yet to impart this concept to our 3-year-old.) Speaking of noses, everything: eyes, ears, mouth and nose, are called “eyes” by him. Hey, we’re working on it!

The toughest achievement, for me, has been his ability to climb. No longer am I able to play along with my preschooler at the park–his baby brother takes off in the opposite direction at full speed, climbs whatever ladder or steps are available (even the ones marked for 5 to 12-year-olds) ascending swiftly, and maneuvers himself to the very highest point of the play structure, where he’ll throw himself down the tallest slide he can find, grinning the whole way down. I write this with a wee bit of pride in my heart, but the entire experience of visiting the park has become altogether daunting. Watching him, my heart races, I begin to sweat with fear for his safety, and I’ve left the park in tears and rattled nerves from worry about my child tumbling from 2 stories. All the while, I feel compassion for my preschooler Joseph who needs my attention also, and just wants me to chase and play with him. Visiting the playground has become a 2-person job. I’ll need to schedule additional Mommy-and-Joseph time alone—He’s a fun and fascinating little person with a tremendous capacity for love, and I remember as well as he does our life together before Baby #2.

 

The Doctors are Coming! July 16, 2008

I am very pleased to announce that I’ve just agreed to appear on an upcoming episode of THE DOCTORS, a new show from CBS!

I will be discussing early potty training and demonstrating communication through sign language with my 14-month-old son, Noah. I will also share my experiences of potty-training my three-year-old, Joseph, using the conventional “pull-ups” method. 

See my clip on The Doctors here!!

You can read about our journey using the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit in these blog entries: 
1. Potty-Training at 13 Months
2. Potty-Training = Green Baby
3. Early Potty-Training Success
4. June is Potty-Training Awareness Month!
5. Infant Potty-Training–Er, Mommy-Training
6. Potty-Baby: Almost Trained at 14 Months

Want to know more about this new television show? They say it best:

From the creative team behind the long-running hit series “Dr. Phil” comes THE DOCTORS, a new, one-hour syndicated daytime talk show. For the first time on daytime television, viewers will have a source of reliable and fascinating medical and health advice, dispensed daily by a distinguished panel of five “on-call” professionals. THE DOCTORS will premiere nationwide in September 2008 (Check local listings for station and time). 

Story-driven, dynamic and interactive, THE DOCTORS does for health care what DR. PHIL has done for down-to-earth discussions of emotional and psychological issues. The series’ experts will focus on the compelling, real-life experiences of the show’s guests and then weigh in, disseminating valuable information about health, medical care and drugs in a compelling, informal, easy-to-understand and entertaining format. 

The team of doctors are five top practicing professionals, each with a different specialty — ER physician (and former ABC “Bachelor” in Paris) Dr. Travis Stork; psychologist Dr. Tara Fields, Ph.D., M.F.P.; obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Lisa Masterson; plastic surgeon and reconstructive surgery expert Dr. Andrew Ordon; and pediatrician Dr. James Sears. 

Viewers are also encouraged to “Ask the Doctors” by submitting their questions and experiences to the show’s website about the health care issues that matter the most to them. Answers may be delivered on-air, or become the basis for a larger, produced segment. With its fluid format, THE DOCTORS covers a broad range of subjects, especially news-breaking, topical issues. The show features on-set medical procedures, either directly in front of the studio audience or in its backstage examining room, and off-site “house calls.”  This medical dream team will be the “must-go-to” source for information on the latest medical breakthroughs and cutting-edge practices and procedures, providing a valuable resource for viewers who might not have access to the most updated medical advances.

Five medical practitioners, with five different specialties, five days a week, discuss what people need to know to live their best lives. If it matters to you, it matters to THE DOCTORS.

THE DOCTORS, taped in front of a live audience in Hollywood, is produced by Stage 29 Productions and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Jay McGraw, Carla Pennington and Dr. Phil McGraw are executive producers. CBS Television Distribution is a unit of CBS Corp.

If you are willing to teach your little one to become diaper-free (and help the environment by decreasing the impact of disposable diapers on landfills!) please purchase your Baby Signs Potty Training Kit through my “Motherhood Must-Haves” Amazon Store. The wee kickback I get pays for the environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies I use for cleaning up Noah’s “accidents” along the way. Thank you!
If you have attempted (or succeeded!) at early potty-training, I would love to hear from you!

 

Potty Baby — Almost Trained at 14 Months July 5, 2008

Sixty percent of the time, my baby uses the potty every time.
(–with a nod to Anchorman, The Legend of Ron Burgundy, for all you now questioning my logic.)

Frankly, it’s as true as it can be. Everywhere I go, women smile admirably at me, gasping in wonder at my infant in big-boy undies (He has ones with the Superman “S” emblazoned on his booty), and while Noah does use the potty about 60% of the time, these admiring gaspers already consider him “potty-trained.” Why? He is not entirely out of dipes, but he is able to go out of the house in honest-to-goodness underwear—and that’s a whole lot more than most mothers training 2- and 3-year-old preschoolers can say. Trust me, I’ve been there. Earlier this year, in fact.

We just completed our 2-week bare-bottom adventure. Noah absolutely loves the freedom; putting him in a diaper for bedtime is now met with much protest. (When he is able to stay dry through the night, I will gladly give our diapers away.) Because I must always be on the lookout for Noah’s signals, and women are always approaching me about my baby’s lack of diaper-age, the topic of early training is always on the tip of my tongue. This formerly quiet writer who generally keeps to herself has become quite the passionate advocate: My mommy’s group has asked me to speak on the topic; I was recently toasted for my efforts at a baby shower; and I can’t count how many times in the last 14 days I’ve commented, “it’s a HUNDRED times easier to do it with a baby,” combined with, “do you realize the average baby uses 5000 diapers? Consider the impact on the environment!” (My husband Joseph, burdened with the unpleasant task of changing the diaper pail, would also like me to add how relieved he is.) I’m fanatical, and if you’re a SAHM with little one still in diapers and zero time to chat with adults, early training may be all the conversation-starter you’ll need at the checkout.

The Baby Signs Potty Training kit is only 40 bucks–less than the price of a case of diapers. Actually, I think Amazon has it on sale right now… yes! $26.37! Consider how much you spend on diapers and wipes, then calculate that by 5,000 (that’s if your baby uses 5 diapers a day and is trained by 2.75 years.) Let’s see, Amazon has cases of 140 Pampers Cruisers Size 4 for 39.99. You would spend $1,400.00 by the time your baby was trained. Wouldn’t you rather take 2 weeks and $26.37, and open the lines of communication through sign language with your little cherub, put the extra cash in savings, help the environment, and facilitate your child’s confidence and independence by using the toilet? And I won’t even ask what could be cuter than seeing your own child’s bare butt wriggling about every day for 2 weeks?

Here is our Progress Report: The first few days were not unlike the first 3 months of new motherhood–getting out of the house was a logistical feat involving the potty, multiple outfits, a cover for the car seat, diapers in case I chickened out, wipes, and toys to keep him interested during potty breaks. We soon figured out what we needed and what we didn’t. I got into the practice of putting Noah on the potty in the back of my SUV when we arrived and departed from our destination, and he got the message quickly to wait or do the potty sign on the road.

This is a really important point because, as my husband points out, the “potty-training relationship” we’ve built with our son is not the traditional concept of self-control (at this point) so much as taking turns telling each other when potty time has arrived. For instance, Noah knows he will use his potty when he gets up in the morning and grunts his word for it and does the sign until I place him on it. After breakfast, he will point at it from his highchair, or I will simply place him on it, knowing what will come next. Our day goes along as such, with Noah holding for potty visits he knows are imminent from experience, or with me putting him on and entertaining him until he goes. We are so very pleased with his success, and of course as parents we make note of our son’s uncommonly superior intellect.

This experience has created a bond of trust, love and communication I never thought possible. Teaching only a few sign language words has also opened the door to my son’s vocabulary; he is an enthusiastic repeater of words and phrases, and we are just as enthusiastically encouraging him. Can I draw a connection between my son’s toilet habits and his ability to say letters and make their sounds at 14 months? I am willing to say that when you become as engaged to your child as early training requires, your baby will certainly surprise you.

If you are willing to teach your little one to become diaper-free (and help the environment by decreasing the impact of disposable diapers on landfills!) please purchase your Baby Signs Potty Training Kit through my “Motherhood Must-Haves” Amazon Store. The wee kickback I get pays for the environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies I use for cleaning up Noah’s “accidents” along the way. Thank you!
If you have attempted (or succeeded!) at early potty-training, I would love to hear from you!