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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Second Time Around: Pottying from Birth

After his first meconium passed, my little Itzix was all mine to observe and potty.  His fat little body was so warm, and he slept so much that it was a little difficult to predict when he'd eliminate.  I kept him naked, with a cloth diaper inside of his swaddler, just in case he unloaded.  My postpartum doula and mother kept telling me to put a shirt on the poor little guy, but I knew that as long as he was in my arms, he'd have all the warmth he could ever need.

The first three days we had a huge pile of swaddlers, blankets, cloth diapers, and clothing (mine included!) to wash.  My husband complained that he couldn't keep up if I kept it going, but after the first few days, Itzix and I improved our relationship.  It came naturally for me to potty Itzix as soon as he woke up and before he fell asleep.  His calm, intense presence would sometimes change from flailing arms and kicking, to a moan, or other noisy announcement.  Unlike my first son, he was very vocal about having to eliminate, often making angry faces as he talked to me about it.

Our rhythm the first few weeks was like this: He'd wake up, I'd offer the potty right away.  Sometimes he'd go within the first few seconds.  Otherwise, he'd ask to nurse.  If we had a long nursing session, he would sometimes release while nursing, so if he slept for a long stretch of time, or was extra hungry, I'd nurse over the sink.  It was surprisingly easy the second time around.  If Itzix was awake and fussing, I'd go over my mental list: Is he hungry?  Is he sleepy? When did he last eliminate? Is he overstimulated or stressed? How do I feel? Pottying became another way to embrace my son and sensitively attune myself to his needs.

Itzix is almost three months old now.  Our biggest challenge is managing Natural Infant Hygeine, or Infant Pottying, with our every day life.  When Sherman cares for Itzix, it's always, "Why doesn't he have a diaper on?"  that he asks.   He understands the value of elimination communication, and has seen it work with our first son, but I don't expect my husband to potty our newborn until Itzix could speak the very clear, assertive words "Dada, potty. Now".  Sometimes I wonder whether his genuine lack of attunement is because I am so awesome, or because he is a man.

At any rate, Akinyemi, my first born, plays an important role in pottying our newborn.  His recent profound obsession with nursing often prevents me from taking Itzix to the potty in time.  He nurses until his last breath, when he sees his 'mito project a 'naky' pipi or fuchi poo-poo into oblivion. Despite my many warnings, he is startled, and mildly afraid of coming into contact with his brother's urine or feces.  Slowly, Akinyemi is also becoming interested in his brother's movements, and very often, we will take a trip to the bathroom, and both boys will 'go'.

Waking up in the morning, next to a "booty baby" (he sleeps bottomless), who's dry, alert, and ready to take on the world with his family, helps keep me sane throughout my hectic days and sleepless nights.  My heart overflows with joy as I squat him over of the bathroom sink, the two of us smiling at each other through the mirror, cooing and agoo-ing, knowing that this moment, we avoided a diaper change.  Life is swell.

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