Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Mini Nappy Bag

This post is kind of ridiculous following on from my Potty Diaries, as it is to share photos of the little drawstring bag I made for B as an interim between needing his full sized nappy bag and getting to the stage of potty training. But I have my reasons ... I've put together a little tutorial to show you how to make a little bag like this which i'll be sharing very soon you can see here.
There was a patch of time recently where suddenly carrying a giant bag of nappy essentials was taking up far too much room for far too little need so I ran up this bag in the perfect size to hold a couple of nappies, a packet of wet wipes, nappy bags, sun tan lotion and anti-bacterial hand foam. Now B's moved onto the potty stage, the bag is coming in handy to store spare underpants, wet wipes and nappy bags for putting soiled clothes in. The gorgeous fabric is by Kokka, and the ribbon came from some posh carrier bag handles - waste not, want not!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Potty Diaries

First, a health warning ... this post is only really intended for parents out there who might be thinking about potty training. If you have no interest in the minutiae of sticker charts, tiny underpants and messy accidents, stop reading now. 

Secondly, another health warning ... for any one out there who is actually interested in all this stuff, I have written up what we tried over the last three weeks in case it is of any use (a few friends were asking what we did so I thought it was easier to type it all out). I am not some kind of nutty potty training professor. This is just what we tried with our one child and how it worked out. If it's helpful, that's great. If not, please ignore.

Before we went cold turkey:     

 Potty Stories: We bought B his potty and placed it in the bathroom, then every night before his bath we read him a story of his choice whilst he sat on the potty. We did this for a couple of months prior to starting potty training. He never did anything in his potty whilst we did this, but it got him used to sitting on it as a positive thing, and also helped him learn how to wiggle himself backwards onto it.

Pirate Pete: We bought Pirate Pete’s Potty Book and read this numerous times in the week leading up to potty training, explaining that soon B would be Pirate B and learn to use the potty like Pete.

Big Boy Pants: I took B on a special shopping trip to let him choose new big boy pants, and made a really big deal of this.

A Return to Reusables: Having used reusable nappies for the first 13 months of B's life, we gave up on them when teething was leading to too much red raw nappy rash. But they came out of storage for the last month or so before potty training to get B used to the feeling of being wet.

What we bought/prepped for Potty Training:
  • A potty – we got the Ikea Lockig which was a bargain (£6) and has a good high back and a removable inner. This now lives in the upstairs bathroom.
  • A toilet training seat – which we introduced to B after the first week of potty training. This now lives in the downstairs loo and also comes out and about with us so that B can use public toilets without the fear of falling in!
  •  Chocolate Buttons
  • Stickers – Thomas the Tank, Cars, dinosaurs, spacemen.
  • Sticker chart – my sister created a train themed one which could be stuck to the wall in multiples of 5 blocks (we started with 5, then moved up to 10, 15 then 20).
  •  Little rewards for completing sections of the chart. I wrapped up things like pots of bubbles, lots of books I’d bought and saved from charity shops, a new DVD to watch together as a treat, and a couple of little Brio railway things I’d got on the cheap at TK Maxx.
  • A lap top with Cbeebies and the Sesame Street channel (check out the video below of Elmo and his Dad singing about using the potty).
  • A bucket of soapy water plus sponge – we had this on hand for the first three days to dump soiled clothes in and to clean up any accidents.
  • Big boy underpants – we bought two packs of these in the end so have about 12 pairs which feels a good number to cover accidents and have spares in different places.
  • Pull up nappies for during the night time.

When to start?
We planned ahead and found a chunk in our diary where we knew that neither of us were away or had too many other commitments. For us, with freelancing, this was a week long spot where we were both just working from home all day every day, so therefore taking it in turns to look after B whilst the other one worked. The first two or three days are really intense so we’d recommend doing it as a joint effort – starting off doing it alone would be really full on and hard work, and I think B loved having such a lot of attention that it helped with his success rate.

We were also really lucky with the weather turning so lovely on day 4, although there was something quite nice about the focus of just all sitting in the living room on the first couple of days too.

The Potty Diaries
Day 1
When B awoke, we took his nappy off and explained that he would need to use the potty all day and he’d only now be wearing nappies at night. We showed him his sticker chart and stickers, and explained that every time he did something in his potty he would get a sticker and some chocolate buttons. We left his bottom half naked all day. The three of us then pretty much locked ourselves in the living room. We set our phone alarms to go off every 15mins or so, and when the alarm went off we shouted “Quick, quick on potty” and then put Sesame Street on or read B a book so that he sat there for a minute or two. He resisted this a little to begin with but got into the rhythm of it by mid morning. To our amazement, when he finally did do a wee about three hours after this all started, he just went and sat on the potty of his own accord which blew our socks off.

On day one, he had a couple of accidents around dinner time whilst distracted in the garden but managed about 6 successes.

Day 2
More of the same, but he’d got bored of the alarm going off so we just said he needed to tell us when he wanted to get onto the potty, which he did.

In the late afternoon/evening, we put his underpants on for the first time and this resulted in an accident or two before he started to get that they were different to wearing a nappy.

Day 3
More of the same, this time with underpants and trousers on. A couple more accidents occurred as a result of confusion with layers around his bottom. Also, this was the first day any poo appeared during the day – the first two times were accidents, but by the third time he was happily going on his potty.

Day 4
By now, we felt pretty on top of things inside the house so it was now time to head out. For our first trip, we went to a local park and played near to the public loos. I was on tenterhooks for the entire two hour outing and B did nothing, waiting until he got home!

Day 5
Visited a friend’s house to play, and after a couple of reminders, B used his friend’s potty. This was the first day we didn’t pop a nappy on for his nap – he had an accident just as he woke up, but this seemed to be a useful accident as he hasn’t had one during a daytime nap since.

Day 6
By now there were barely any accidents so we decided to bring out the toilet training seat and get B used to sitting on the toilet.

Weeks 2 & 3
In weeks two and three, B only had one accident in the whole lot, and also managed to stay accident free in two 300mile drives. He lost interest in the chocolate buttons after a couple of days, and lost interest in the sticker chart by the end of the third week.

Week 4
Suddenly in week four, seemingly when he had got bored with the potty game and we had stopped giving him so much praise and attention, we suddenly had a major regression. For five or six days it was accidents a-go-go. More than he'd ever had before, sometimes five in a day, and lots of little dribbles in his pants before making it to the loo. We also found ourselves picking up poo from the floors of shops where the offending articles had rolled out of the bottom of shorts! After such a great start, it felt very frustrating but we tried our best not to communicate this frustration with him. By the end of the week, we felt we'd worked out what we could change to get things back on track.

  • We stopped him wearing nappies even in the night time so there was no confusion for him. This was a decision led by him (he refused us putting a nappy on him at bedtime and that was that) and really reinforced for him how much we trusted him as a grown up boy.
  • Having been using the training seat for a couple of weeks, we went back to using the potty for the majority of occasions and having this follow him around the house again. He seems to currently prefer the potty to the toilet, I think because he feels more secure and in control on it.
  • We had a few sessions of no clothes on his bottom half again, like we had done in the early days. This gave him the autonomy toddlers love to be able to take responsibility and go by himself.
Week 5 and Beyond
As with all tricky stages, we repeated the mantra 'this too shall pass' and indeed it did (although I'm sure we'll face more moments of regression in the future). B's back to being a potty trained hero and we now need to practice getting him to push down and pull up his pants by himself.

If you are planning to potty train your little one soon, best of luck. I had thought it was going to be a nightmare and it turned out much better than I'd hoped. So fingers crossed it's the same for you x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Crafternoons / 07

When we embarked on potty training a fortnight ago, we spent the first three days (just before the heat wave arrived) quarantined in our front room. Much to my surprise, being forced to sit on the floor for three days with a half naked little boy lead to me taking a serious interest in Brio/Duplo construction. Between the three of us, we got completely carried away building a variety of different configurations with our mix of Brio and Ikea train tracks. Then we added various Duplo stations and bridges. And then I stuck a load of washi tape on the floor to create car parks and airport runways (thank you Pinterest for this idea). And finally, we got our craft on and made a Mini Car Wash to add to the mix.
To make our car wash, I took a Dorset Cereals museli box and chopped two panels out. I reinforced the inside of the box with some thick washi tape and glued some recycled wrapping paper on to cover up the logos. With B, we spent time ripping up blue tissue paper, painting glue onto loo rolls, and sticking the tissue paper on. Then, after stapling on some chopped up blue felt, I used more washi tape to stick the roller into the box.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Bright and Beautiful Quilt, finished at last

When Baby B decided to arrive ten days later than planned, I went a little stir crazy and started crafting and sewing like a woman possessed. Having seen the inspiration of numerous hand-pieced quilts on pinterest and various blogs, I suddenly decided to have a go at making a hexagonal quilt for my unborn son. Day after day, with a stomach like a bowling ball, I cut out paper hexagons, tacked little scraps of fabric to them and then laid them all out on the floor to create a colourful pattern. I had help from Mr B through all these stages - he would cut more hexagons whilst I tacked, then as crawling around on the floor was a bit beyond me, he crawled instead with me instructing the design from the sofa.
Then began the process of sewing the whole lot together - there are about 360 hexagons in total. I did them in rows of two at first, then joined twos into fours, then fours into eights, before sewing the whole lot together. Sometime around now, Baby B finally popped out and the project started to stall. The quilt came with me on our first family holiday to France, on trips to see Grandparents around the country and of course made the move to our new home. And then I started working again and the whole thing got tucked away on a sewing pile and forgotten.
Last week, I decided to get the quilt finished once and for all. All I had left to do was the binding and tying.
I added a little embroidered panel to commemorate B's birth. It seemed fitting to write 'You are our sunshine' - because he is, and it's a song we've sung together since he was small.
And now it's finished. It's taken two years and two months. It includes fabric from a dress my Mum wore as a baby and from the vintage skirt with an elasticated waistband which I wore in that first week of his life when my stomach wobbled like a plate of blancmange. It includes the fabric from curtains from my Great Grandparent's house, blouses I wore as a teenager and cushions my Sister and I had in our nurseries. And apart from a little machine sewing to bind the edges, every stitch was done by me, with a little bit of love poured into each one.
[You can see the progress of this quilt here, here, here and here]

Monday, 1 July 2013

Avon Valley Railway

We are the king and queen of impromtu days out in this household. Many a morning we've woken without a plan and an hour or two later are off on an adventure. Yesterday was such a day and we found ourselves riding backwards and forwards on an amazing Steam Train along the Avon Valley Railway. The train station is located at Bitton, which is about half way between Bath and Bristol.

Every Sunday and Wednesday, the steam train runs up and down the track between three stations. At either end, you can watch the engine being uncoupled and then attached again at the other end ready for the return journey.
We sat in a little compartment all by ourselves, feeling like extras in an Agatha Christie novel. B loved holding the little vintage tickets and playing at 'conductors', whilst Mr B got very jealous of the engine driver. The whole afternoon was such a pleasure and we have every intention of returning with B's grandparents who would love it, and perhaps to meet Father Christmas onboard in December. The station is also on the Bath to Bristol cycle path so it would make a fantastic future biking destination.