To connect with another being, to understand his need, and to help him fulfill that need - well, I can't think of anything that is more wonderful in this life.
We began practicing elimination communication full-time with the babe during his fifth week. Prior to that, we'd been signaling "sssss" to him when we noticed that he had peed (and that didn't happen very often) and clearly stating "poop" when it was (quite obvious!) that he had had a bowel movement. Last week, I just had a feeling that it was time to really give it a go in earnest. Since then, his signals for peeing (fussing or coming off the breast while nursing) have become more clear to us. He fusses, we remove his cloth diaper, we hold him over the potty, and within a few seconds, he relieves himself.
I was shocked. I mean, I was anticipating that it would take him a while to understand the relationship between holding him over the potty, signaling "sss", and the actual act of urinating. Babies are just incredible, and so intuitive, as it turns out.
I must share with you a little secret. Although Finn has always been delightfully assertive, his assertiveness was a little tough to deal with in weeks 3-5. He was never inconsolable, but I was bouncing around so much trying to soothe him that I'm afraid I did permanent damage to my equilibrium as a result! ;) As you recall, I had cut out dairy in my diet, wondering if this was the cause of his apparent discomfort. The most frustrating, for me, was when he would wail out in obvious discomfort in the middle of a nursing session. At times, it brought me to tears, wondering why I couldn't console him.
Well, it turns out that the guy just doesn't like wetting himself, or sitting in anything wet for more than 3 milliseconds. We're all amazed, Finn included. You should see the smile that forms after he's gone to the bathroom without getting wet!
It was this positive change for Finn that really sold me. I was interested in EC but somewhat non-committal up until this point. I wanted to try it out to see if it really jived with our baby and our lives. Personally, I didn't mind the diaper changing or the laundry load, and I was confident in our choice of cloth diapers for the newborn stage. Also, there was so much "new" to deal with that I wasn't sure that EC would put us in "new" overload. It just so turns out that EC is, in fact, a perfect fit for us. As long as Finn has a preference for being dry and communicates that need to us, we'll continue in the same manner. If, at any time, he seems uninterested? No problem, we can always go back to full-time cloth.
Daddy is in on this, too. He's the pioneer that took his petit charge to the men's restroom when we were out for Indian food. Happy baby, happy daddy - but do tell, why don't they have changing stations in the men's restrooms? Sheesh.
We've pottied Finn on walks along the street, and I'm sure that's something for the neighbors to whisper about amongst themselves. I remember when I went to Europe at age eighteen and witnessed a mama pottying her toddler along the sidewalk in a plastic potty. She tossed the pee into the street, and I was aghast. I mean, I come from the land where people pick up their dog's poop with a plastic bag and tote it all the way home! Human pee on the street? My, my.
Now we are those crazy people. But you know what? I have a happy, communicative baby, and that's all that matters!
If you are interested in EC, I'll recommend a few books and websites. Keep in mind that you can begin EC as early as birth and as late as toddlerhood, and that each family's experience will be unique. You can do EC full-time, part-time, or only occasionally - whatever works for you and your child. The goal is not to have a child that is potty trained at a young age, but rather to communicate with each other about this basic human need.
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