Milly never took to the 'potty', so a toilet step and the 'big toilet' it was. I honestly can't remember if we bought a toilet seat or not though.
What I do remember is that Milly was slow to train, but not excessively so. The constant need to have to ask her if she needed to 'do a wee' seemed to last for quite a while, though!
Bowl training was not so straightforward, however. You're talking about a child whose hand I often had to hold whilst she 'pushed'... and when we moved on from that stage we still had to 'keep her company/tell her a story' whilst she did 'her business' on the toilet.
This stage lasted for a long time (two or three years)... and night time bladder/bowl control was later than most children of her age, too.
Milly was still a very affectionate child at this stage. Not excessively or indiscriminately so, but she loved her kisses and her cuddles from her parents and freely gave them in return.
I do remember her kissing her dad's naked, wriggly toes once though... and when we took her on holiday for the first time she ran over and kissed the 'fridge!
Milly's first night's sleep on her first holiday was traumatic, and by that I mean she just wouldn't settle at all. And there were plenty of tears.
We learned from that and on future holidays we always took along night glow sticks as well as her plug in night lights and 'Glowie Bear' (a soft white cuddly bear that's battery operated. Not only did it glow in the dark; it changed colours, too).
Obviously, we also took along her usual bedtime toys. She just wouldn't sleep without the comfort of those - even at home!
In hindsight, it's easy to see that although Milly coped fine with a new 'holiday home' in principal, in practice it was a different story. At night, and in a dark unfamiliar room, Milly didn't have the reassurance of her familiar surroundings for comfort.
But the unspoken fears of a new bed to sleep in only ever lasted the one night, so we didn't think anything of it.
Milly loved being read to...
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Beaver And The Echo, We're Going On A Bear Hunt...
these were all firm favourites. She also adored Little Quack, and I think she shared a special affinity with his scared little character that I didn't pick up on at the time. You see, Little Quack is afraid to go in the water. Mama says, 'You can do it'... and he replies 'No, Mama. No.' Then off one of his siblings goes instead until eventually (four duckling's later) he does it, and a very proud Mama Duck says 'I knew you could'. (I haven't read that book in over twelve years and still remember it very well)!
You see, Milly was anything but brave.
Hesitant, Apprehensive... I think these words described her best at his stage. It took a long, long time just for her to be brave enough to go into the next room by herself to get a toy.
But nobody tells you that that's a sign of Autism and it's certainly not the kind of thing that ever got brought up at the doctors.
It was just who she was.
As Milly got a little older, we started buying her DVD's to watch.
And can you guess what typical Autistic behaviour she would demonstrate to us once the DVD was finished?
(Well, if you said she wanted to watch it again you would be right)!
But again, we didn't see this as Autistic behaviour. We didn't know enough about it back then to see the clues.
Do any of you know what Pom Bear Crisps are? If you don't, they are basically bear shaped potato crisps. I remember very clearly taking Milly out for a walk in her pushchair to Woolworths (an old home ware/toy/stationery/DVD shop) one day, and suddenly turning around in the shop to see why she was crying.
My poor baby was devastated because one of the bear's heads had fallen off in production.
How do I know?
Because she was holding it up for me to see whilst sobbing her poor little heart out...
I can't remember what happened in Pingu (Pingu's a programme made specifically for the toddler age group in case you've never heard of it before. It uses animated penguins made from plasticine, I believe), but there was one time when Milly did a similar thing during an episode and just burst out crying.
All I remember is that the storyline had something to do with the baby of the family.
Nobody told us that our delicate soul of a daughter was Autistic at this stage, either.
How would they know?