Sunday, February 19, 2012

Growing Up

My heart broke a little bit this weekend.

On Friday, we bought Ella her own Winnie the Pooh arm chair. She loves it. The first time she sat on it we were at her grandparents' house, and she ever so carefully lowered herself to the seat, looking up at them as they beamed down at her. She smiled shyly.

On Saturday, when she woke up from her nap I brought her into the living room to cuddle on my lap while she drank her sippy cup of milk. Like we always do.

She saw the chair and got up to sit on it and drink her milk by herself. The saving grace, the thing that kept me from crying, is that the chair was positioned in front of the couch, so she kept looking back at me and smiling--showing me what a big girl she is. We giggled at each other.

Today, Sunday, she and I went to the bookstore after her nap (after she drank her milk while sitting on her chair). I wanted to buy her a potty training book to go with the potty we already have for her in my bathroom. I know that Ella learns well from reading, that she likes to do things that big kids and grown-ups do, that she would appreciate a straightforward book, rather than one with silly rhymes or pictures. While we were looking at the books (there is a section with "growing up" books--including a whole shelf of books related to potty training), I showed her a board book that wasn't cartoons. (Dora the Explorer and Elmo and friends all have books about their potty training experiences. There are several with generic boys and girls showing their cartoon teddy bears how to use the potty. There are also books about all the different animals and how their poo is different; the illustrations are, well, illustrative.) The first page in the book I showed Ella had a picture of a little girl wearing a diaper, bent over at the waist and peering through her legs at the reader. Ella took the book and turned it upside down--she knows that people's heads go at the top of the page, and figured I gave it to her facing the wrong way.

I thought I'd get a board book--the kind that are made of sturdy pages that she can't tear. But, after reading all the potty books (except the ones for boys--there are gender specific books as well as generic ones), I chose "You Can Go to the Potty" by William Sears, MD; Martha Sears, RN; and Christie Watts Kelly; illustrated by Renee Andriani.

It's a 32-page book with drawings and a few pages for parents and caregivers. It also has special information boxes on some of  the pages, labeled "Answers for the Very Curious." For instance, there is a page that features a drawing of a mommy throwing poo-poo into the toilet from a full diaper while the toddler watches, that reads "When your diaper is full of pee-pee or poo-poo, you can tell Mommy or Daddy, and they will give you a clean, dry diaper." The additional information reads: "What is pee-pee (urine, wee-wee, tee-tee, tinkle)? It's what's left over when your body is finished using the water, milk, and juice you drink, and it needs to come out." And so on, and so forth.

The bookstore has toys behind this section of books about growing up, so while I perused those, Ella was pushing the buttons on all the toys that made noise. Other kids were running around and screaming, so I just let her do her thing. That's when I spotted, "Pacifiers are Not Forever."

Ella loves her pacifier. They gave her one at the hospital when she was born, and she has slept with it in her mouth ever since. She used to suck on it when she was out and about in her stroller, too, but she was relatively young when we restricted its use to sleep-time only.


They discontinued the style of pacifier that she likes. The nurses gave her the traditional type--the nipple is round and symmetrical, not "orthodontic" (shaped so it is round on the top and flattens at the tip where her tongue pushes up on it). None of the pacifiers in the store are non-orthodontic anymore. So, when the two pacifiers she has now break, it's over.

I'm sure it will happen on a night that Justin is at work and I am alone with her.

So, I put the potty book of choice on the floor next to the other growing up books, and pulled "Pacifiers are Not Forever" out slightly from the rest of the books it was with ("Feet are not for Kicking", "Hands are not for Hitting", "Teeth are not for Biting" etc.) I went over to Ella and took her hand.

"Ella, let's go see the books." She looked at me and went back to using the drumstick from a toy instrument set. "Look! There are some books just for you! Let's leave that here where you found it, and go look at the books."

She came with me. I love holding her hand.

"Ella, look! This is your book!" I pointed to "You Can Go to the Potty." "What other books are there?" I was suddenly thankful that the " are Not for " books were exactly at her eye level, even though I was getting sore from squatting. I pointed toward the one that I had pulled out a bit. She fell for it and took it in her hands to show it to me.

"Pacifiers are Not Forever!" I exclaimed. There's a drawing (by Marieka Heinlen) of a child holding a pacifier in her hand and smiling. Ella pointed to the paci. "Yes, that's a paci. Do you want to read this book?"