We did the sleep training thing. It did what it said it'd do: get Gracie to fall asleep on her own. Every "sleep expert" on Earth claims that if you get them to fall asleep on their own, they'll learn to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night. Well, for Gracie, not so much. Girlfriend is 2 1/4, and I can probably count the times she's slept through the night on my fingers. Maybe even one hand.
We did the potty training thing. It went shockingly well for the first two months; we gave her a sticker for her potty chart every time she went for a while, but we all kind of just let it fall by the wayside. We travelled to San Francisco, threw everything off, had a tiny regression period, switched the sticker reward to jelly beans, and BAM (daytime) potty trained little lady. We haven't tackled nighttime or naps yet, but success is success, y'all.
We also TV training thing.
Yep, we TV trained our daughter.
Just like we had to teach Gracie how to fall asleep and how to use the potty, we had to teach her how to watch TV. I strongly believe in limiting TV time for kids under 2. I don't know if it was that, or Gracie's personality, or a combination of the two that made her the worst (or best?) TV-watching toddler in America. She did not like TV. No matter what we put on (unless, of course, it was basketball), she wouldn't watch anything for more than about a minute and half.
But even in the post I linked to above, I mentioned the fact that having another baby was inevitably going to put Gracie in front of the TV more than she had been before. So when Lyla came along, and Gracie still had four months until her 2nd birthday, I tried making little busy box activities for the times I needed some peace and quiet with the newborn. Didn't work. She'd still slam Lyla's nursery door open, run in, and yell, "Mommy!" every chance she got.
My aunt, with no idea any of this was going on, gave me her old VHS player and two moving boxes full of Disney movies. We set up a little flat screen and the player in The Purple Room (guest room) right next door to Lyla's nursery. I'd turn on a movie for Gracie every time I put Lyla down for a long time before she became interested enough to sit and watch for more than a minute or two. Whenever McSister visits (almost every weekend), she sleeps in the Purple Room and for a while, would turn a movie on when Gracie barged in like a bucking bronco at 7 a.m. Watching a movie with her favorite person on Earth encouraged her to sit for longer periods and eventually started getting her into the stories.
So now, Lyla is 7 months old and transitioning from three naps to two, and at each nap, Gracie sits in the Purple Room by herself and watches a movie. She doesn't get to watch for very long because I turn it off as soon as I put Lyla in the crib (anywhere from 5-15 minutes a time) for the midday and afternoon nap and let her watch it while I shower during the morning nap. She's even gotten to the point now that she usually protests when I go in to turn it off.
The same way toddlers want to read the same book over and over and over, and even return to the same page over and over and over, to learn it through and through, Gracie prefers to watch one or two movies again and again to make sure she has all the details down. One of the first movies we had her watch was parts of Air Bud (you know, the basketball playing dog). I'd fast forward it to the actual basketball game scenes because the whole boy/dog/growing up story-line is a bit advanced for a 2-year-old. One day, after months of watching it, she sprinted into my bathroom, swung up the shower door and yelled, "Mommy! Air Bud playing basketball!" She finally got it that it was weird for a dog to play basketball.
Both girls have been sleeping atrociously lately, so I've been exhausted during the day. And because of that, I've allowed myself to lay on the guest bed and watch a few minutes of the movies with her, here and there. We introduced Cinderella to her a few nights ago, and yesterday morning, when I walked by the room to check on her before getting in the shower, I could hear her through the door squealing with delight. She adores the fairy godmother scene and even told me she wanted to dream about it at her nap that afternoon. So I allowed myself to enjoy her enjoyment and snuggled in with her for 5 whole minutes before jumping in the shower. I am so looking forward to putting our successful TV training to use again as she gets older (and I get tired-er).