I was thinking about the ways I ‘tune up’ my brain on those days I had more misses than I thought was possible, when I had lots of seemingly ‘unexplained’ misses, when it seemed to be taking all my concentration. I was always committed to keep him out of nappies as much as I could. Some days I’d get shirty, though…. it is all a journey. Keeping positive and keeping everything in perspective was and is, my goal. I share my thoughts here.
Over the months I have used many ways:
I wrote down a huge list when he was about 10 months old that I’d recall
in particular this sentence:
“There are lots of places in the world where no one has, or uses, diapers. Just think about it. What did people do before there were diapers in the world? They pottied their babies from birth or early infancy, while holding them gently and lovingly in-arms.”
I had read this, and thought, wow, if they can do it, by golly so can I, how wonderful to be so in-tune with your baby.
“when you’re just beginning, it may feel more like an impenetrable mystery than clear communication”.
“I was drawn to the idea of a deeper physical and psychic connection with my baby, and EC felt closer to our genetic imprint.
… After 3 months or so of doing this, I became more sure of my interpretation and I would sometimes gently persist, even when she was reluctant, and usually she’d eliminate. However it’s a fine line, and it’s vital to have cooperation, and not a battle of wills, which can sometimes develop around “toileting.” EC is a dance of togetherness that develops, as with breastfeeding, from love and respect for each other.
…For me, the beauty of elimination communication has been in the process, not in the outcome. … much more significant is the learning that mothers and babies are connected very deeply–at a “gut level”–and that babies (and mothers) are much more capable and smart than our society credits.”
I’d notice a pattern of misses – and expect certain misses in a day – sometimes when I actually recognised this pattern, my awareness would help it to evaporate, others we just had to wait for his development to catch up, or give a ‘pre-emptive’ pee break, or have fresh pants or a flannel handy…
I find doing this really helpful as it makes it fun, and helps me to keep psychological distance from accidents – they are unimportant in the big picture, really, so long as communication is going on.
Truly an ongoing task! If I found my thoughts were waxing to the negative, making myself think of it from another point of view, such as baby’s point of view, or a long-term point of view, would help me to re-think the same thing from a positive point of view.
I could say “Ahhh, you had a tumble pee, Oops! Not to worry; let’s clean it up / I’ll help you change to dry pants straight away, it feels so nice”
rather than “Dang! I missed another one? What am I doing wrong? I’m not paying attention! Grrrr” I certainly preferred to think the former, and at times I’d do both… or rather think the latter but say the former!
At some point in the second half of his first year, I’d look at where he was having accidents – and find that the majority where when he was ‘independent’ on the floor, moving around. So I’d write in his ‘update’ different aspects of our EC practise and how we were going, it was really inspiring. Here is an example of when he was 9 months old:
I didn’t get around to writing any updates until he was 9 months old. But they are really helpful to do – I now do one each month, and have a note pad where I jot down in my sometimes indecipherable scrawl exciting communication incidents as they happen. This helps to see the wonderful moments of clarity and communication that inevitably occur, even if at other times the nappy or the pants or the floor seem to ‘catch’ most of their pees! Only write down the positive stuff if in a ‘missy’ phase. It is easy to end up focussing on the negatives, but that is pointless. Post some updates on-line – it really helps others. I read them all, and so many times I’ve read a tiny phrase amongst someone’s update and go “AHA!!!” and it has really helped me in some way.
skin to skin time is a good way to ‘tune in’ to baby’s rhythms and needs generally – great for breastfeeding too! Camp out nudie with baby for part of a day, have flannels and a pot nearby. Observe in a relaxed way. What do you notice? Focus on baby’s needs to learn your own mumming instincts.
Baby wearing – a great way to become aware of subtle signs – babies commonly are loathe to pee on people – they strain, arch, squirm to sign their needs. Use back-up cloths under baby. Put baby in the carrier after a pee for some relaxed behaviour so you can notice differences. Over time it is so obvious – I have seldom been peed on in over a year – each was my fault! When we were in ‘plateau’ or stages of little signalling, I would wear him a lot, and have no accidents.
Ask others – the EC forums hold a wealth of experiences; read old threads, share experiences – the smallest tip may be all you need to twig to something, or reassurance that the phase will pass with patience and time – because it WILL! You can bet that at least one other person has had your experience, or can relate to it – and it will give those who haven’t an insight to be aware of. Read this before joining an EC forum, to be sure you get the most out of it…
Do a ‘pee log’ – document pees (and pee break offerings) for a day – what time, where baby went, misses, other info you think might be relevant – I didn’t do this until he was about 8 months old, as there seemed no point to me before then – too much inconsistency! I have done it 3 or 4 times – and it was insightful at those times. (I am lazy on such documenting types of things – I can’t be bothered) But it does encourage me to focus really well for a day, and may twig a breakthrough – one time I learnt I was offering WAY too many pee breaks.
After 12 months just from observing you clean up, with access to cloths, baby will start to help clean up – Chris once followed Maven as he walked out of a spare bedroom to the living room, picked up a cloth from the flannel basket, took it back to the room down a hallway to put on a wet spot and start wiping then stomping on it. He’ll spill a drink, then go to get a cloth to clean it up and take it to the laundry room. Lovely!
Trust in the process. Trust the baby. It is our ‘cultural EC vacuum’ that gives us the most doubts – not having seen it ‘work’ in real life before. Trust that it will – believe what people on the forums are saying, and relax with it all – all is normal – my friend who did this with her children in India didn’t blink about accidents – they just happen and are not a reflection on how ‘well’ you are doing.Trust the baby. It has been the most important phrase to me.