This past week, we had not been able to use elimination communication very much. I am not sure what it was, but we were in a diaper-dependant funk. It could have been the amount of time that Jonah and I were separated last weekend. I don't doubt at all that our communication was interrupted by this. But I also think that something else has been contributing. From what I've read, it is normal for babies to have lapses in EC after a development in mobility. Jonah has just begun to crawl, and with this milestone came a new curiosity about the world around him. Don't get me wrong, he always has been curious about exploring his surroundings, but it seems to have moved to a whole new level with his crawling. One of the signs that he gives that he needs to urinate (really, the only dominant cue that I can see) is a sudden disinterest, and stillness. But now, sometime between getting into the DVD cabinet and toppling a pile of freshly folded laundry, Jonah peed, and I saw no disinterest or stillness.
I've also noticed that Jonah and I have been less in-tune to eachother as he grows in independence. He no longer wants to be held for a bottle, and pushes me out of the way to get to a toy he wants. Like most parents, I have taken advantage of this stage to do laundry, dishes, cook a real dinner. You know, the things that all the TV housewives do. Of course Jonah is never truly alone, and I always make sure that his play environment is safe for him. But somewhere in the mix, we definitely lost sight of the relationship we had not too long ago.
On Thursday, I was thinking about how many diapers we went through. I did at least twice as much diaper laundry, I'm even willing to guess three times as much, than a normal week that we practice EC part time. Jonah's almost a year old; granted two months in infancy is quite a long time, and lots of things happen between ten and twelve months. But I thought that with all of our successes, we would have progressed a little more towards being completely diaper free. I'd like to use EC fulltime shortly after his first birthday. So what was getting in the way? I looked at the diaper pail, strangely overflowing with dirty diapers. Then it hit me. The diapers. The diapers are getting in the way.
When Jonah is in a diaper, I feel totally comfortable letting go of our communications, to focus on other tasks. I could perform these tasks while at the same time keeping in tune with my baby and watching carefully for his signals. But why bother if he's in a diaper. Even a coverless diaper will "contain" a potential mess until I tune back in. When I made this realization, I decided that on Friday we wouldn't use diapers, or at least we would use as few diapers as possible. And at that moment, I stripped Jonah of the diaper he was wearing. He played in my lap for a little while, naked as a jay bird, loving every second, and then it was time for him to go to bed. As I was carrying him, a thought came over me. He needs to pee. I sat him on the potty chair and gave him his signal "sssss" I saw the muscles in his tummy flex a little, and he grinned up at me as he went. That little grin was the boost of confidence that I needed. He is happy going on his potty. When he goes in his diaper, he cries. When he goes in his potty, he smiles. Of course I need to do this for him. I just need to make the decision and commitment to say "no more diapers today."
On Friday, when he woke up his diaper was wet. I removed it and put him on the potty, and gave him the signals to go. It was about a minute or two; he fussed a little in protest that he wasn't getting his bottle right away but soon he calmed and urinated. As it's been a little less than a week since he last peed in the potty, this excited me. We were getting back on track. He went diaperless the rest of the morning, until lunchtime. I noticed that he urinates less frequently when he is not wearing a diaper. When he wears diapers, he urinates frequently, but in smaller amounts. When he is diaperless, he doesn't go as often but has greater volume when he does go. I am pretty sure that this means he's figured out not to care when he pees in a diaper. I did put a diaper on him for lunch, but he did not go in it. I put him on the potty one more time before nap, and then a diaper for while he slept. This diaper was the only one that we dirtied before bedtime.
I also realized that Jonah does not need me to support him on the potty anymore! He is able to sit on it completely by himself. I am hopeful that this very successful day is a sign that we are well on our way to being diaper free with Jonah soon. I realize that not every day will be as good as this day. There are ups and there are downs. But I learned that it is possible, and it isn't as messy as I had imagined when I first set out on this "expiriment" of ours.