Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crying and diaper training

It seems unfair to only write about Mia/Zhuzhu's crying, especially this is just something that she will grow out of. But you know, I can see some hard time ahead of me when she will become a teenager. I'd better start to prepare now. I figure she may read this when time comes and decide to cut me some slack then.
Good sleep leads to good mood, everyone knows, right? But do you know what leads to crappy morning at dropoff for little kids? Let me tell you, that is diaper-free night.

Zhuzhu has been diaper trained for ages. In fact she was diaper free so early in her little life that caused us troubles sometimes. Because she refused to do her business in diapers at young age, say 16 months or so, yet her tiny bladder did not allow her to hold more than few ounces of urine. It was quite troublesome to take her for any longer-than-an-hour trips.

What did we do to train her? Essentially any Chinese mothers do to train their infants, which is also what my mother did when she was training my younger brother. I was 10 when he was born so I had the opportunity to watch and learn - except that I modified to a version that does not require holding them - I put our little girl on a potty since infancy. I am not kidding, as soon as I was able to stand up after I was out of the hospital, I started to do that at each diaper change. You can imagine the horror in the faces of the grandparents when they saw an infant with a floppy head sitting on the potty. My parent-in-laws, sister-in-law and her boyfriend, and one friend of the PIL, all came from France to visit us for 6 weeks while Mia was born. They were not the only ones who were shocked. The cashier at the baby-r-us store had to inform me that the baby bjorn potty I purchased was for 2 year olds. Yes, I know, I told her. She obviously thought that I was crazy seeing my holding an infant.

Luckily, Mia was highly cooperative, she peed or/and pooped 9 out of the 10 times while sitting on her potty, which amused the daddy and my Aunt, who came to help out after the French relatives were gone. They soon joined the force and together we formed a diaper training team. No exaggeration here, by 3 months, Mia rarely had poopy diapers. By 5 month, even when had a severe diarrhea on her first trip to France, she used exclusively the potty. She was able to sit alone on big people's toilet with the help of an adapter at 7 month and happily play with rolls of toilet paper. I honestly believe if it was not because we had to send her to the daycare at 5 month, she would have been diaper free then, just like every other Chinese baby. Although I believe our parents must have cheated, because our Chinese baby pants are crotchless, they can just open the legs wide and do the business whenever and wherever. I clearly remember that I wet my bed at collage, but this will be a story for another day.

Where was I? Oh, bad mood, right.

Mia has been in a bad mood in the mornings at daycare dropoff for a while now, showing an embarrassingly prolonged separation anxiety. I think part of it is because she was diaper trained too early - I mean if I could put diapers on her for her night sleep, she possibly would have been in a better mood. The evidence supporting my hypothesis is this: her bad mood coincides with the fact that she slept without diapers at both of her classroom transitions.

Yes, I did mention that she was diaper trained early at about 16 months of age, but that was only for the day. She started to ditch diapers for the night at 26 months. However, 4 months after that, she was transitioned to preschoolers' room that was full of strangers. She cried, almost every single morning at drop off. It was then I noticed that she had dark rings under her eyes. She is too young to have insomnia, I said the father. We need to get this girl to bed earlier. He agreed. But what worked was not only that, it was more likely because we put diapers back on her for the night.

It took another few months for us remove her diapers at nights completely, but it was well worth of the effort since Zhuzhu almost immediately stopped crying at drop-offs.

It was not too difficult for us to convince our 2.5 year old to wear diapers to sleep even though she ditched them for few months already. Now she is 4 and there is no way we could ask her to wear diapers at night.

Believe me, it's not lack of trying. "But Mommy," she says, "I am a big girl now, I don't need them anymore." "I know you have not had diapers for a long time, but could you please just put them on for Mommy?" I insisted. "No, only babies wear diapers. Those are for NiuNiu!" Having a 2 year younger baby brother makes it impossible.

Thus, she has continued to cry every morning at drop off for the last 6 months (or may be just 4 months, but it sure feels like FOREVER!)
This morning, however, Mia did not cry at drop off.

The daddy did his signature chicken dance at the daycare courtyard when he saw me walking out of Remy's classroom after I dropped him off.

"So, Mia didn't cry?" I asked even though I knew the answer. I expected this since she has bean eating, playing, and sleeping well, lately, to the point she even did not realize that she wet her bed one of these nights!

Knock on woods for this to last.

Her crying at drop off in the morning and sleeping without diaper in the night may not seem to be connected since one occurred 4 months after the other. My theory is that when little toddlers diaper-trained at nights, they stay semi-alert while sleeping. If life becomes stressful at this time, such as moving into different classrooms, they sleep even lighter - a vicious cycle that causes lack of rest and bad mood. 

This last classroom transition has been very difficult for Mia and us, but I feel today may be the day that Mia decides to give us a break. Because it seems like that she is fully aware of her crying annoyance. "I did not cry this morning when Daddy dropped me at school" She announced proudly on the phone in the evening when she was speaking to my best friend Ling who lives close by and comes to help out often. 

She obviously has been playing with us, this little weasel.

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