Friday, September 7, 2012

When they gotta go...

Welcome to the second edition of the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and our feminist {play}school. During this carnival our participants have focused on how mainstream society has affected their natural parenting and how they have come to peace with this.


Our Elimination Communication journey with Spencer has been amazing! I love it! I do get annoyed for night time EC, though. Once we found our groove during the day, he started insisting on being pottied at night, even when he doesn't actually want to go. He can't settle or stay asleep when he needs to go. He will toss and turn and fidget before eventually peeing in the bed. His wiggling is enough to wake me.

I figured all this out because he would wiggle, I would nurse him "back to sleep" and put him back down. Just as I would doze back off, he would start to wiggle again. It wasn't milk he needed, it was an empty bladder.

Here is how it plays out these days: wriggle, toss, turn, then my sudden realization that if I don't take him to potty he will pee all over myself and the bed. Sometimes I let him nurse a bit before taking him to the sink. At the sink, he slumps down, asleep. Or he fusses. But with some water running, maybe even a toe dipped into some cool water, he pees. Then he nurses. Oh, but don't count this boy out just yet! He needs to pee again! And nurse again... then, and only then, can he settle back in to sleep.

And if I don't wake up enough in time? If he has to wake completely up for this process, he thinks it is time to be up and active! I basically have to wait an hour before he will go back to sleep.

This is a solid enough routine that I do actually let him sleep naked. Around 5 in the morning, I put on his diaper. I'm not the quickest to wake for that actual morning time and he doesn't really wriggle when he wakes for the day. He just lies there, happy, and pees.

I do "fair to midland" at catching during the day. Some days he can stay naked and I catch nearly every pee. Other days I am just not on top of it and he has to wear a diaper. I still try to catch, but it is good to have the back up.

When we go out, he always wears a diaper. Still, if I offer a pottytunity when we arrive and/or leave each destination, we do very well. But then you have doctor appointments. I recently took Spencer for his cardiology appointment. It always lasts 1-2 hours. He was asleep when we arrived, so I just carried him into the building (rather than letting him pee in the parking lot).

swaddled for infant EKG
Spencer, swaddled for his EKG in April.
I prefer the guy that lets him wiggle.

It took a little effort to get him to stay still for his EKG. Then it hit me - he needs to pee. I won't generally take him while we're at an appointment. I try to think of it like Sasha needing to pee. Their need to empty their bladders are no different, he just has more fabric between his legs. I did take Spencer between the EKG and the next part of our appointment, but I should have taken him sooner.

If that had been a 3yo wriggling through an EKG, I am sure I would have asked for a potty break. But because Spencer was wearing a diaper, I didn't. I'm trying to get better about it - it is a constant thing, right? We're always striving to be better parents.

Do you have any places or people around whom you let some part of your parenting slide?


I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. We practiced EC with Andrew, and a few times I just ignored his cues because of who we were around and the fact he was wearing a diaper. I never could figure out why, I think I was worried people would think I was silly for thinking my seven month old could use the potty. AH. Crazy how we let these things effect us!

    1. I usually like to stand out as the weirdo. I've been known to carry Spencer bare-bottomed through the physical therapy place to take him to the restroom. I carried him out front of our chiropractor this week when the bathroom was occupied so he could pee in the grass. lol

      For me I think it is about not inconveniencing someone (someone SO important in the medical industry, ya know) or I'm afraid our turn will come and they'll write us off because we were in the bathroom. I have an iron bladder, so I wouldn't take ME to the bathroom in such situations, either.

  2. The night sounds rough! I hope you can find a way to get some sleep, both of you! It's great that you are so in tune with one another, but now that my daughter is weaned (and not potty-trained), I'm realizing how much that interrupted sleep affected my health and well-being. But then again, I'm old! And after my daughter started holding it in instead of telling me when she had to poop, I gave up on EC. Good luck keeping up such a great effort!

    1. I'm old, too! (I'm goin' on 40!) We started chiropractic care for Spencer this week and the first night he waited until 7 in the morning to pee - just like he used to do! I'd forgotten how it used to be. He woke around 3 for milk, but didn't pee. Then at 7 he woke, peed, and went right back to sleep for another hour - didn't even need milk!

      Sometimes we have rough times with the EC, but mostly... we're rockin' it! I totally give Spencer all the credit and blame myself when we're sucking at it. It is when I don't listen that I "miss."

  3. You give so much to your family and stand as a beautiful example of gentle parenting. I don't think you should feel bad for not taking him at first - it was an unusual environment and your brain was probably swamped with a million other thoughts. Spencer is so lucky to have you. I am so happy that Aodhan was so easy and laid back about toilet stuff. He was fully using the can by himself by 2 - not because we forced him, but bc he was just really keen and comfortable - I mean, the guy STILL at 3 hasn't slept through the night, but a day at a time, right?

    Lyndsay @ ourfeministplayschool

  4. Liked this post. First time I've been to your blog.
    I EC'd baby 2 from birth... I'm a natural parent... but... I no longer EC my babies, maybe its because I'm due with my 6th baby in 9 years, or another way to look at it, I'm due with my 5th baby in 6 years. It's been rather busy around here... I still manage to get them out of diapers before the next baby comes, but I just can't seem to get myself to have enough baby focus to EC when they're infants anymore... Pretty soon I should have some older helpers (you know, someone over the age of 10!) who might make it easier for me to EC a baby.

    In the mean time I GAPS with one of my kids, feed a Traditional Foods diet to the others, and homeschool. It's complicated.

    Thanks for the post!
    p.s. When we baby EC'd I was all about publicity... I just loved the LOOKS! Hah... well... I'm much more low key these days, probably wouldn't be so obvious about it anymore.

    1. Welcome to the blog! I managed to get Sasha out of diapers in time for Spencer.

  5. I never knew much about EC when E was little. You make it sound so cool though! I hope to practice it whenever my next little one comes along.

    1. I love it! We went to a birthday party today and Spencer peed under a tree a couple of times. (He peed in a store parking lot twice this morning.) I love being so in tune with him. And I *love* the reduction in diaper laundry!

  6. No comment on the parenting thing or I'd be here all day, but Spencer's night time "I need to pee" routine sounds oddly like my own! It made me smile when I realized that:)


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