Christine Park

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Extreme Potty Training

Just finished watching Good Morning America's piece on extreme potty training. In it, a 4-month-old baby, who cannot yet sit up on his own, is shown peeing in the toilet. Once I picked my jaw off the ground, I logged on here to... discuss.

What the heck is Elimination Communication?
In the Elimination Communication method, infants as young as just two months are helped to use toilets. Parents go off non-verbal cues, timing and just plain intuition. Proponents say going without diapers saves time and cuts down on environmental waste. The average American family with babies in the household spends an average of $75 a month on disposable diapers, or almost $1,000 a year.

This apparently is not unusual in other more traditional cultures in other parts of the world... but was anyone else disturbed by the video of the 4-month-0ld with a digitized wee wee being held over a toilet? Can't babies just be babies?

Preschool Pressure
An Arlington, Va. mother – Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso – says she was shocked when the principal of her daughter, Zoe's, preschool said the 3-year-old had violated the school's potty training policy and needed to stay home from school for a month, owing to one too many accidents. This launched a firestorm of debate from moms all over the country. Are we pushing our kids to potty train too early? Why punish a toddler for wetting her pants?

Potty training was a condition of my daughter's preschool enrollment as well. She was 2 years old and 9 months when we took her to school. Her potty training was shaky, at best. Add to that, the arrival of her baby brother and a birth defect that affects her bowel/bladdar nerve control, and let's just say everything went out the window when she started school. Her teachers were so patient, and there was a loooooong period when we just had to resort back to pull ups. We tried everything... praise, sticker charts, and positive reinforcement... threats, bribery, commando (have you ever tried to clean diarrhea on carpet?). It was a VERY emotionally stressful situation for everyone, especially my daughter. I can honestly say, in my adult life, potty training was the HARDEST thing I have ever done. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery not even close. Covering mass murders, piece of cake. We even pulled her out of school... feeling like failures... but then it was like we were punishing her for something she was not physically and emotionally ready for.

She is 4 now, and after YEARS of trial and error, and a surgery on her spinal cord, she is technically potty trained. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have accidents. She exceeded her accident "quota" long ago... but the school never kicked her out.

Potty Boot Camp
At one point in my desperation, a friend of mine gave me the 3-Day Foolproof Guide to Potty Training. It's an extreme, no holds barred method that requires the parent to pump their kids full of liquids to get them to pee frequently, hopefully on the toilet. I've also seen a 24-hour Fast Track version of this same method. What's the rush? This potty training, boot camp style, is for the convenience of the parent. One child psychiatrist in the GMA piece compared it to child abuse. I wouldn't go that far, but I can say that it backfired on us. My daughter started refusing to go, the harder we pushed.

Now my son is approaching 24 months. And I am DREADING potty training all over again. Granted, he doesn't have the birth defect, which should technically make it a little easier. But many moms have told me boys are harder to train. I have no idea what approach to take, and when to start, but I do know we need to start sending him to preschool pretty soon. Looks like I'll be searching for one that I can maybe pay, to do the potty training for me! How's that for the easy way out? Does that make me a bad mother... not if I want to maintain my sanity.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Deals

Less than a week to go. Don't procrastinate. That is, if you actually celebrate the holiday. (My husband refuses)

Here are a few discounts to share...


Today's Groupon: $20 for $40 worth of flowers from (Limit 2 per person)

Proflowers: 40% off 12 assorted roses with free red vase

Costco: $14.99 for a dozen long-stemmed roses (in stores only) $10 off all flowers

Jewelry and Gifts:

Groupon: The Vault Fresno $100 for $225 worth of fine jewelry 30% off $12 for 8x8 hard cover photo book $20 for $50 worth of jewelry with free shipping on free shipping on all gifts

Living Social: $20 for International Star Registry (one personalized star with a 16x12 certificate) 20% off everything (enter code ACT4TWENTY) plus free shipping if you spend $75 or more (SWEET75)


Costco: two 1-lb. boxes of See's for $26 (normally $16.50 per box)

Shari's Berries: 15% off purchases $29 and up


V.Sattui in St. Helena: 20% off pink wines buy one wine, get the second one for 5 cents

Madera Wine Trail: $20 pre-sale ticket for Wine & Chocolate Weekend, Feb 12th-13th


Mystique Medical Spa Fresno: 40%-50% off treatments including facials, laser hair treatments, and body wraps

Keep checking daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social for your area

Restaurants: $10 for $25 worth of food

Keep checking daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social for your area


Dollar Tree has 2 for $1 or their nicer handmade-looking ones are each $1

Or make your own using a photo printing site.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lay off the Chicken Nuggets

Here's another reason to cut back on the Happy Meals at McD's. Giving your toddler fatty and sugary processed foods could lower their IQ later in life!

British researchers tracked over 3,000 kids in a lengthy study... (click here to read more) and overall, kids who ate junky fast-food diets at age 3 had a small drop in IQ by age 8.5, compared with kids eating healthy foods. The researchers also took into account factors that often affect IQ like socioeconomic status, parental education, and the mother's diet during pregnancy.
Obviously you don't need experts to tell you that fast food is bad for your little ones. But both my kids LOVE french fries. Yes, I am guilty of giving my 4-year-old and not-yet-2-year-old french fries. In n Out, McDonalds, Red Robin, they never met a fry they didn't like. Does this make me a bad mother? Am I ruining their chances of attending Harvard and ruling the world? Granted, we don't indulge in fast food that often... maybe once a week to once every two weeks... but this latest study certainly gave me pause. Yeah, I was raised by one of those tiger moms... where education and achievement was everything. Obviously some of those ideals have rubbed off on me when it comes to me kids. I'm already thinking about violin and piano lessons for my 4-year-old, but only after she's signed up for dance, gymnastics and tennis. When my toddler son had trouble talking and enunciating, I started asking around for a vocal coach. Little did I know, treating them to fries could be canceling out all my efforts! That's it! We're laying off the chicken nuggets. You know... those couple points on the SAT could really make a difference. LOL!