elimination communication… sort of

Before Ares was born, I was determined to do elimination communication with him straight from birth. We kinda-sorta did it with Raspberry, from four to ten months. She pooped in a little red plastic potty that was perfect for her bottom, as I carried her around our apartment, the sides of potty making deep indentations into my post-birth belly flab. It was so easy to tell when she had to poop — the red face, the grunting, the glassy eyes — but impossible to tell when she peed. Then at around ten months, she went on a potty strike and we went from catching most of her poops to practically none at all. Disheartened, we took a break. A very long break, during which we pretty much stopped EC-ing and she mostly didn’t get on the potty again for almost another year.

So with Ares, I wanted to do it right from the start, especially after seeing how successful April was when she did it with Aruna. Except that I didn’t. I kept procrastinating, saying I was too tired to deal with it. I didn’t relish the prospect of waking in the middle of the night to hold a tiny newborn over a potty. Not to mention, newborn bladder and bowel movements are so terribly unpredictable (I never knew how to catch pees with an older baby, let alone with a newborn). And oh, we didn’t have a potty either. The little red one Raspberry used belonged to my parents — they’d gotten it from Singapore — and we returned it to them a few years ago. In retrospect, it was a perfect potty for a tiny butt, and I can’t find anything like that here or in Canada, for that matter. We were just going to use a bowl or a plastic tupperware, and Lucas brought one home from Asda one day, but we realized the plastic edges would be painful on the baby’s thighs, so that went back to the store quite quickly. We kept saying how we really should get a potty or a bowl, but really, it was just all talk (mostly about how expensive potties are and why can’t we find a good one) and no progress was made on that front.

A few times, I half-heartedly and obligatorily held him over the bathroom sink and attempted to cue him to pee with my whistling that mostly sounds like shushing because I can’t whistle. But nothing came of it. There were a few opportunistically caught pees while I washed his butt after a poop, but I didn’t really help him make the association with any cues.

About two weeks ago, after an opportunistically-caught pee (during which I was more excited than anyone ought to be about the elimination of urine), I decided that I really should get my act together and properly start EC. After all, I’d more or less figured out Ares’ peeing and pooping routine now (yay to no more middle-of-the-night poops! Or pooping four or five times a day!), and typically we’re at home most mornings, which gives us the opportunity to do EC a bit more. We still haven’t gotten a proper potty, so I’ve just been holding him over the sink to pee (this is the one time I’m grateful for the sink’s high height, a characteristic I’ve previously grumbled about when we first moved in). Yes, this means that occasionally, there’s urine around the taps but hey, at least it’s sterile. Sometimes, he doesn’t mind it as he smiles at our reflection in the mirror, and other times (especially when he’s tired), he absolutely refuses to be held in any awkward position. Oh, and there was the time I accidentally put his bare ass on the cold porcelain and naturally, he really didn’t like that.

We’re doing it part-time at the moment, because I’m not hardcore enough to do it all the time, especially at night or when we’re out. Actually, more than half the time, I forget to take him to the bathroom after a nap. Oops. But I think I’m getting a little better at remembering. I brought him to the bathroom soon after he woke from his nap this afternoon and he peed right on cue. I’d like to think that he’s magically already figured out what to do when I get him in the position, just like he knows food is coming when I lay him on the breastfeeding pillow, but I think it was just a lucky coincidence. Anyhow, onward we trudge as I hope for more lucky coincidences and perhaps soon, we’ll be able to catch some poops (those are some words I never thought I’d say!).

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