Archive for January, 2006

Birthday and beyond

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Lauren turned one last Wednesday. We celebrated by taking a cake to SJWS and sharing it with our friends. We ate all of it, and Ryan was sad when there wasn’t any left for him.

We also had lunch with some friends (babies and mommies) and a quiet nap in the afternoon. Lauren and I went to a meeting in the evening and stopped in to see Nono and Gianni before coming home and going to bed.

Baby stats: Lauren weighed in at 21 lbs, 11 oz, and tall (no idea how tall!) on her birthday.

Lauren was also baptized on Sunday (1/22/06) at St. Rocco’s in Cleveland. She wore Nono Louie’s gown and was really good during mass. There was a tiny baby there as well.

Birthday Party
And we celebrated her birthday and baptism with a big party at Bain Cabin. Everyone who is anyone came, and ate lots of cake after watching Lauren smash her cake to bits. Video coming soon, just as soon as I can get it off of my camera.

New things
Lauren can climb on to the chairs now, and from the chairs she gets on top of the end tables. She did this the other day while I wasn’t looking, and I heard things falling to the floor and looked and she was sitting up there throwing things off.

She’s signing more words and imitating the noises we make, and she loves to pick up the telephone and say “hiiiiii” to us. And she loves to sing and dance!

It’s been a year…

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

One year ago tonight my water broke. Amazing.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and we’ve been busy. Where should I begin?

Oh, yah the big milestones. Lauren will be one on Wednesday. She took her first steps on Friday at Nona’s house, just a few, but without holding our hands or pants or the furniture. She’s been cruising for so long, but I really think she’s been holding out on letting go until she’s able to run.

This morning she let go of me at the couch and walked to Ryan – not far, only about 8 steps, less than 2 feet away, but she did it on her own. We’ve been teasing her and leading her on to get a few steps the last 2 days, and she doesn’t like when we do that.

She loves to mimic our words. She’ll say doggie, da-da, mommy, shoes, hi, ta tue (thank you), nummy yummy for food, and signs more, all done, milk, dog, shoes, and she mimics my motions when I sign new signs to her but doesn’t remember them until we’ve practiced them a lot. She also sometimes tells us to go potty by saying “pss pss” which is the signal we gave to her when she was tiny.

Celebrity Status!
Because we potty Lauren we’re a bit of an anomoly in town. And the newspapers picked up on it after the NYTimes and People magazine did stories on Elimination Communication.

So on Thursday 1/12, Lauren’s little bald head was popping out of the headlines on the front of the Plain Dealer. We were even spotted out in public. On Thursday night a librarian at the Strongsville Library said “Oh, you’re the baby that is in the paper today, aren’t you?” to Lauren while we were checking out our books. Pretty nifty.

I’ve asked the PD for permission to scan the article and put it online for everyone to see. Ryan took the picture they used, so he got a photo credit in the paper too.

Christmas was fun and busy too. We celebrated with the Fitzgeralds on Christmas Eve, and with the Watsons on Christmas day, and then again with the Thorntons on Christmas day in the evening. It’s a good thing that everyone is in town.

Lauren had so much fun with the wrapping paper that she forgot to play with her toys.

More soon, I’ll have to come back and share with you how her birthday, baptism and birthday party go.


Here’s the content of that article, and Ryan’s photo that appeared with it:

Diaper-free babies Some parents start toilet training from Day 1, but doctors urge caution

The Plain Dealer – Cleveland, Ohio
Emily Hamlin, Plain Dealer Reporter
Jan 12, 2006
(Copyright (c) The Plain Dealer 2006)

When Lisa Wilkins senses that daughter Lauren, shown at 6 months old, has to go to the bathroom, Wilkins sits her on a pint-size potty like this one. The practice, called elimination communication, is gaining popularity as a cleaner, cheaper and more Earth-friendly alternative to diapering.

The nurse at St. John West Shore Hospital stared at Lisa Wilkins in disbelief when Wilkins explained she was teaching her daughter, Lauren, to go to the bathroom without diapers.

Toilet training is hardly new, but you can’t blame the nurse for being a little taken aback. After all, little Lauren was only 1 day old.

In the 11 months since then, Wilkins, of Fairview Park, has gotten used to the stunned looks she receives when she describes how she and her husband, Ryan, use elimination communication or EC with her daughter.

Parents practicing EC learn to read babies’ signals that they need to . . . well, eliminate. Instead of letting them do their business in a diaper, EC parents hold babies over a toilet, sink or pint-size potty.


Join the crowd.

Parents who use EC and even the woman who launched an Internet network about it thought the concept was crazy until they tried it.

Melinda Rothstein a former Cleveland Heights resident and co- founder of DiaperFreeBaby, an international network of EC parents understands why some are quick to pooh-pooh the idea.

“It’s a huge mental shift,” Rothstein said. “I can see how it’s hard for some to accept.”

But EC is gaining popularity as a cleaner, cheaper and more Earth- friendly alternative to diapers.

DiaperFreeBaby, a Boston-based international network for EC parents, has about 1,500 members and support groups in 37 states and 12 countries.

Wilkins acts as a mentor for members from Akron and Greater Cleveland. Three mothers joined her at her home for the group’s first meeting last week.

Although EC often gets called “early potty training,” Rothstein says it isn’t training at all because there’s no reward or punishment.

Instead, EC is about developing better communication with your baby by paying close attention to their facial expressions, gestures and routines.

But all that hovering might do more harm than good, says child psychologist Sylvia Rimm.

“If the mom is anxious, then the baby will be anxious,” says Rimm, author and clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine whose parenting column appears in The Plain Dealer. “If we analyze every little expression they make, we’ll turn them into little worriers.”

Dr. Emily Davidson, a developmental pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Boston, agrees that EC can be harmful if parents expect too much from themselves or their children.

But in a relaxed atmosphere, EC is a safe and healthy practice, says Davidson, who used the method with her 21/2-year-old daughter, Betsy, and will use it with her son, who’s due in March.

Davidson says Americans’ reasons for clinging to diapers are cultural, not medical.

Contemporary Pediatrics magazine reports that more than half of the world’s children are toilet trained by age 1 and that 75 countries, such as China and Greenland, practice EC.

“If it caused medical problems, everyone in China and Africa would have them,” Davidson says.

Although he agrees there are no medical reasons not to practice EC, Dr. Mark Wolraich, editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guide to toilet training, questions why parents want to put in the work.

“My concern here is that this is more of an achievement for parents,” says Wolraich, CMRI/Shaun Walters professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Science Center.

But neither Rothstein nor the mothers at Wilkins’ meeting have the twitch of a competitive parent.

In fact, they all seem pretty laid-back about the whole thing.

“We don’t go 24 hours without missing a signal,” said Wilkins, whose daughter wears cloth diapers as backup. “If we miss one, we miss one. No big deal.”

Diana Steele of Oberlin also considers herself a “casual” or part- time EC mom. Her 10-month-old daughter Mariana uses a baby-size potty in the morning, after her nap and before bed and otherwise wears cloth diapers or training pants.

Steele says she and her husband, Peter Thomas, look at EC as a natural step toward toilet training.

Relying solely on diapers confuses babies by teaching them to ignore signs they have to go and then expecting them to recognize the signs later, Steele says.

“Introducing her to the potty now will hopefully make it easier as she gets older,” she says.

Lauren Wilkins is already picking up on the idea she often crawls to her pint-size potty when she has to use it.

Building a foundation for toilet training and learning how to better communicate with their babies is only one of the perks for EC parents, Rothstein says.

The New York Times reports that not using disposable diapers will save about $3,000 per baby and keep about 7,500 diapers out of the landfill.

And if that’s not enough:

“Any poop that goes in the potty is a heck of a lot easier to clean up than a poopy diaper,” Steele says.

Amen to that.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999- 4152


For more information

To learn more about elimination communication, go to these Web sites:

To learn more about the Cleveland-area DiaperFreeBaby group, go to or e-mail