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Monday, 24 September 2012

The Declaration of Independence

“I’ll do it by my own, Mummy.” he says restraining my hand from helping him.

“Myself, Pip. It’s myself.  You should say, I’ll do it by myself”. 


“Myself. Myself.  I’ll do it by myself, Mummy.”

Protestations of doing it himself have been around a while now. Nothing new in that.  Yet recently I’ve noticed Pip has upped the ante.  Suddenly, of late he wants to do everything by himself.  Because, as he keeps reminding me, he’s a ‘big boy’.

Perhaps it’s the impending arrival of EB that has subconsciously caused this change, or perhaps it’s just the perfectly normal ages/ stages developmental stuff that happens to every three year old boy.  But, I must say, well, I'll whisper, * the timing of it is a little inconvenient.* Changes to your routine, when you’re about to have a baby, are not so welcome.  Frankly, I was quite happy with the status quo of life - but it seems Pip wasn’t, so a few changes have been afoot in the Plum household this last couple of weeks. Some instigated by him and some instigated by yours truly.

Top of his list of his things he now doesn’t want to do:

Use the potty - This I have applauded. I have been wanting to get rid of Mr. Frog for ages.  Every time I put it away, he would single mindedly drag it out of the cupboard again. Obstinately, he refused to use the toilet.  In the end, I figured, as long as he was doing his business in a designated vessel without prompting, I’d let him carry on. In the last few weeks he’s decided completely of his own volition that he wants to use the toilet.  Hurrah.


Wear night nappies - After we returned from our glamping trip where he got pally with a 6 year old boy, Pip insisted that he didn’t want to wear night nappies anymore. “They’re for babies, Mummy.”

Weeks of wet beds? Wet PJ’s? Getting up at 3am to change the sheets? My heart sank.

Forgetting for a moment the slight fixation with letting Mr. Frog retire, Pip was relatively easy to potty train, (something had to go my way eventually).  He’s been in pants in the day for a year now.  However, there was never a doubt in my mind, that dry nights were a long way off, as witnessed by the swollen, sodden state of his pull ups on fifty percent of mornings.

“ He’s not ready” I lamented to Husband.  “ He’s only dry half the time.”
“ He wants to do it” Husband replied.  “ You have to let him try.”

Guilted into it.

Not one to miss an opportunity I wondered how I could turn this new found independent streak, this determination to be a ‘big boy’, to my advantage.  I had a cunning plan.

“Big Boys who don’t wear night nappies, stay in their own bed ALL NIGHT LONG”
“OK. Mummy”.  Positively angelic he was.  Pigs might fly, I thought.

I decided that we both might need a little incentivising.  Me, to stay focused on the tasks in hand, and him, well, to just stay focused, he is only just 3 after all.  Felt tips to the ready, two weeks ago I found myself designing a star chart to monitor progress.  His reward:

When you're 3, this is the best thing in the world. FACT.

He really wants Cranky the Crane. He has done for ages. Even if I say it myself, this choice of prize turned out to be a real coup.

Pip has surprised me. He has been far more focused on getting his daily stars than I ever imagined. I didn’t know if a star chart would have any sway with him, but once I’d explained umpteen times, “No, you can’t put all the stars on in one go” (and confiscated the sticker sheet), he seemed to get it.  On the no night nappies front, he's had a couple of night accidents, but that’s been it. (I’ve come to the conclusion the wet pull ups each morning were possibly him just being lazy. I think he was actually lying in my bed having a cuddle thinking ‘Oh, I’ve got a nappy on, I’ll just pee in that’.)

Even better, visits from my regular night visitor have been minimal.  Which is fabulous at a time when I’m struggling to sleep anyway. Most mornings he’s now getting into our bed at 6am. This is progress.  Possibly his improved sleeping is due to being exhausted from now attending pre-school 5 mornings a week and it’s nothing to do with anything else, but, frankly I don’t care. If he stays in his bed that long, he gets a star.


It seems that Pip’s little independent streak has improved things for all of us.  The third item on the star chart was eating his dinner at the kitchen table without making a fuss.  Tea times had become a real battle ground, with him continually asking to have his tea in front of the TV, and having a major strop every time I declined.  Finally, I feel I’ve regained some ground on this and he now dutifully sits where he should, bottom solidly perched on his trip trap at the table.

He’s nearly there, a few more days and he’ll have his Cranky the Crane to compliment the rest of his Thomas wooden railway track.  As long as I can prevent any lapses in parenting authority as a result of my exhausted current state, hopefully we can build on this good progress in time for him to be a little more self sufficient before baby arrives.

The only question that remains in my mind is; what could I get him to do for the Thomas the Tank engine shed?  Seems a shame to keep it snaffled away in the wardrobe...

17 comments:

  1. Well done Pip and well done you. Both mine were late to potty training and night time pull ups but we got there in the end. I'd keep the Thomas shed in the cupboard for after the baby is born - you may need it then!!!

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    1. Wise words Rollercoaster Mum...hadn't thought about that, but I think you're probably right!

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  2. You're totally outnumbered there and it's going to get worse! This independence comes at a relief eventually - and you're going to need it. Long may it continue X

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    1. Outnumbered - yes, indeed. Think I need to find myself a small place to hide from all the testosterone once we've renovated.

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  3. Star charts ... you can't beat a good star chart! Sounds like you've both done a really good job - I too, have had to confiscate stickers from Little A when she's gotten a little 'giddy' with them! You've made excellent progress on so many fronts! Here are three gold stars from me .... (p.s. I totally get the appeal of Cranky the Crane for a 3 year old little boy ). X. (pps. I can't see Little A leaving behind night time nappies for a while yet either - she's lazy, likes a sneaky pee if she knows she's wearing nappies or pull ups)

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    1. Thank you. Am thinking of creating myself one next...for doing the old pelvic floor exercises!

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  4. Big, huge well done MP! You have made brilliant strides on many fronts here and deserve a massive pat on the back! My mum always says they will do it in their own time. With J2 being 2.5 I am feeling like we take two steps forward and five back, but can see how much we have progressed in this last year. And if all else fails I have the knowledge that he will start his pre-school hours properly in little over 6 months and I think big changes will come with that too. WELL DONE!

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    1. Completely right, they do it in their own time. With J2 you'll look back one day and think that nappies seem so far away! Pre-school is a wrench in some ways, but watching them grow more independent and confident as a result is wonderful.

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  5. Star chart - brilliant idea. I am getting the felt tips and stickers out as I write.

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  6. Wow we seem to be living parallel lives! You're just a week behind me, Curly Girl is 3 and potty trained but still wet at night, we have battles at food time, we've just started her first star chart and the reward is a new Thomas engine. We HAVE to compare notes! Seriously though, CG is still VERY wet at night but I suspect as you did that she's weeing in the morning when she wakes up. To be honest I'm reluctant to get rid of the pull ups until baby comes because at the moment I really need as much sleep as possible and once the new one is around I'll likely be up at night in any case. Perhaps it's a false economy waiting though based on your experience...

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    1. Yes - LOTS of similarities!

      If it had been up to me, I would have waited. But, I think if they want to do it, that's when it's difficult to say no. If CG is happy in the pull ups and you're happy too then leave it until you feel more able to cope with it. I've been lucky, but if we'd had wet beds night after night I think I would have been tearing my hair out!

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  7. I read this with great interest! I am a year behind you but already TC is flinging the potty & toilet seat insert away! I feel like I am going to have to make a big whoo-ha and event out of sitting on the loo to make it something she wants to do :)) She brings me a pullup and takes her own one off so knows exactly what to do!!! Definitely going down the star chart route, she loves stickers though so will be rationing them too.
    Well done to Pip, he sounds like a very well balanced, rational boy and you have much patience, can I borrow some please XXX

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    1. Happy Sticking MLM! And I did have to snort at your comment about much patience. Sadly...not. I just grit my teeth alot!

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  8. Oh well done Pip!!! He does sound like he is becoming a proper little big boy! That is great about going dry over night, B Lloyd was dry through the night much quicker than I thought she would be, (she was just 3) and it was when I realised she literally thought about weeing then peeing in the pull up after I had put it on! I whipped it off and told her she had to use the toilet - and she did thereafter! A great battle won before your new arrival X

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    1. I know...it really does seem he is growing up. It makes me happy and sad all at the same time. x

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  9. What a little star you have! I would definitely encourage independence from a young age, if they're showing signs for it. This brought a small lump to my throat as I read it, remembering my firstborn, from about 18 months, saying "do it self"!! She was and still is hugely independent and I love her determination to succeed. Although it might be annoying at times (particularly when they are young), it becomes a real blessing and something to be very proud of - you should be proud of your Pip too :)

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