I attended the same ‘living with baby’ class at the hospital a few months after leaving my job that I had gone to while on maternity leave. There was a mom there with a set of fraternal twins, girl and boy. They were about a month older than Sophia who was about eleven months. Their mom mentioned how much they loved story time and that they would sit intently listening to stories. I was hopeful that Sophia would soon act the same. Then she mentioned that they had been that way for quite a while. I didn’t feel as optimistic.
Finally, about three months ago, at nineteen months, Sophia began to show interest in books beyond spreading them all over the floor. At first there were two that she carried around with her everywhere, one called “Happy Baby Words” by Rodger Priddy that is in English and Spanish and another called “Helping” published by Berryland Books. The second one is supposed to come in a pack of three or four books but Sophia picked this one out at a secondhand store. It’s all of four pages and very cute at first. After several hundred readings, it begins to drag.
Days later Sophia added two more books to her carry everywhere collection. The letters “S” and “T” from the Baby Einstein box collection were not to be left out of anything. I don’t know if it’s the shape of the letters or the little animal pictures on the front that draw her to these two particular books, but I’ve shuffled them within their box and she always picked the same two books out of the bunch and it shows. Those are the stickiest and most worn two books in the box.
Two weeks ago, on July sixth, I attempted potty training her for two hours. Kurt and I had heard some special news report where the doctor said the child is ready/can start being trained when he or she starts hiding when they go potty and starts showing a preference for being dry. I was excited. I am so tired of diaper changes and having her kick me the entire time I try to change her.
I put a gate up in our downstairs, blocking the rest of the house. I read the two potty books I bought at Half Price Books weeks prior, “Once Upon a Potty” by Alona Frankel and “Sara’s Potty” by Harriet Ziefert. I showed her the potty that we’ve had sitting in the main bathroom for weeks. I asked her to sit on it, and she did. I thought, “Wow this’ll be a piece of cake.” I changed her diaper, let her run nekkid from the waist down, and set a timer for twenty minutes. I figured I’d have her sit on her potty and read the potty books to her regardless of whether she had to go or not.
She peed before the timer went off. I expected that, really I did. I cleaned it up and set the timer again. Again she peed before the timer went off, so the next time I set it for ten minutes. She wanted to eat so we went upstairs, half nekkid, and she went again before the timer. She peed on the chair and it spilled onto the hardwood floor. I moved her to a different chair, cleaned up the mess, and then she went again on the second chair. I hadn’t even reset the timer yet. I moved her back to the first chair, cleaned up the mess, and reset the timer. After she finished eating, we went back downstairs to the tiled floor where she promptly peed again this time slipping on the tile. I was done. Clearly this wasn’t working. I simply couldn’t get her to the potty on time and she had no clue what I was wanting.
After all that she dropped the letter books for the two potty books. I view this as a sign that the experience didn’t scar her for life. Unfortunately, she’s using the books to scar me. Her favorite seems to be the one that annoys the crap out of me, “Once Upon a Potty”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to read it, probably twenty times a day. It’s pure torture.
I like some of the ideas used in the book like naming some of the body parts other than the potty focus, but the names used for the private parts and elimination are irritating. I mean who the hell calls a vagina a pee-pee? And this is a book specifically for girls. I may not use the more medial terms, urinate and defecate, for elimination but I also don’t use wee-wee and poo-poo. Those are silly words. I changed the words that I read and had to tell Kurt what we will be using.
Kurt reading the potty book: …And just like you, Prudence has a body, and this body has many nice and useful parts: A head for thinking…
Kurt calling to me: What are we calling it?
Me: A VAH-GUH-EYE-NAH!
Kurt back to reading: A Vaahhh-gu-EYE-Nuh for making pee
The board book version of Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? By Dr. Seuss has also made her list. Someone told me that animal sounds count as words, so I’m crediting this book with adding two new words to Sophia’s limited vocabulary, “Kopp” and “Biz” (Klopp and Buzz). “Kopp” is of course the sound of horse feet and “Biz” is the sound that bees make. She only uses these words when reading the book herself. She doesn’t use them on the correct pages, but they’re associated with this particular book. This brings her total number of words (including signs) to a whopping thirteen. Not very impressive.
Her current signs are: milk, more, eat, apple, and banana. Her actual spoken words consist of: daddy, hi, cheese, cat, bye, momma, and now klopp and buzz. I’m waiting for that vocabulary explosion I keep hearing about. According to an article I found in Scientific America Kurt is enabling this explosion by telling Sophia that “Friend” must stay home because he is agoraphobic, so I should be hearing an explosion of words by her second birthday…in two months.
McMurray says. But “to explain the big picture, it’s much, much simpler. … Anytime you have more difficult than easy words [the learning curve] will have this property.”