Jilly is not the kid who begs for everything in the store. It's one of my favorite things about her. But this beautiful, big Mylar butterfly balloon in the floral section at Safeway caught her eye a few months ago and she has asked for it several times. I like to indulge my kids once in awhile (especially because she doesn't beg for anything and everything) but the balloon was fairly expensive, so I wanted her to earn it. I didn't go the "do chores and earn spare change" route, as she wasn't yet 4 and doesn't really get money/costs. So I set a goal for her and told her when she did X, she could have the balloon. I promised her I would go out at any time of day or night to get it for her immediately, if she would just do this one thing. Whenever we'd go to Safeway and she'd see it, she would ask for it again, very politely "Mama, I want the butterfly balloon. Can I have the balloon?" And I would remind her, "Jilly when you do X, I will happily get you that balloon." Sometimes she'll ask again, but she never fights about it, or gets upset. It's a routine we've kept up for months, not sure of when it would ever come to fruition.
This past week was Spring Break and being the resourceful (read: desperate) parents we are, we decided to use that time for something useful. Potty training. As some of you may recall, we did a round of potty training back in August. It was semi-successful once we figured out the right verbal cues to use with her (being told to squeeze/push her pee out was just what she needed to hear) and she's been able to pee in the potty since then. Rarely will she suggest it, we usually have to prompt her, and honestly we get lazy when she's in a pull-up and don't always remember to take her. But with Ducky's imminent arrival and seeing the progress Jilly has made communication wise over the past few months, we decided to try again. We knew that the key would be consistency and a big block of time without interruption.
Each day we tried to keep her either naked or only in panties and take her potty every hour or less. We set a timer to remind us and we'd ask her frequently too. For the most part, we got quite a few successes for pee, but a few accidents with poop. It was discouraging, but on Thursday, Steve was extra vigilant about keeping her naked all day. That evening, I got the text that Jilly had earned her balloon. :-D Steve says she was a little surprised by how much he was celebrating, and then she asked, "Is Mama going to get me TEN balloons?!" He laughed and told her, "No, I think just one." She was okay with it. I got home a little while later and we decided to go out to dinner. I let Jilly pick between Macaroni Grill and Red Robin and she chose Red Robin, quite emphatically. We had a super fun meal, Jilly was even in panties and went to the bathroom with me at one point! After dinner, even though it was late, we definitely had to get the balloon. We stopped by Safeway, leaving the boys in the car, and I got to take Jilly in to find her balloon. We came in and looked at all the balloons, there were so many options! Bumblebees, dragonflies, a frog and the beautiful butterfly. I pointed them all out to her and asked which one she wanted. It was still the butterfly. As I picked it up, I saw that the ribbon was purple and came with not only a weight, but a purple clip too. So I clipped in on her jacket and had her carry it around the store while I grabbed a couple things. She was SO PROUD of her balloon and of herself!
She really liked pulling on it and making the wings flap, like it was flying. Jilly really really wanted to take it to bed, but I saw that as a recipe for disaster, both for the balloon and for the kids! So I made her leave it outside her bedroom for nighttime. The next day she was thrilled when she got up and it was still there.
In the days since, we've had quite a few more successes. Friday night, Jilly spent the night with her grandparents. They took her out to dinner, and even though she was in a pull-up, she asked Granny to go potty. Granny took her, had her pee, and then Jilly pooped for her too! At a restaurant! WOOHOO!!! Saturday, she did it again for Daddy later in the day. In fact, since then she's really only had one (poop) accident and that was Sunday evening. I put her in panties and didn't keep up with taking her potty very often. So we discovered a bit of a mess when it was time to get in jammies. Monday, she did everything in the potty, including at school!!! We are still putting her in pull-ups when she goes out, especially if she won't be with one of us and/or it could be hard to get her to the potty quickly and often. So that includes school and church. But we've found, if we stay up on it, taking her every hour or so, she stays clean and dry in between quite often.
It's still work, still not perfect, but we're making progress. To some it may seem ridiculous that she's 4 1/2 and not potty trained yet, but for our girl, she's coming along right as she is able to. She's made such progress in the past year with all her other delays, that we took our time with this one. And look, she's doing great! Our goal (dream) is to have this processed completely finished before Ducky arrives. So we've got about 6-9 weeks to get this down. Based on how well she's been doing lately, I don't think that's crazy. We're proud of our Birdie Girl!!!