A post on readiness

April 21, 2010 at 11:00 am (Family, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This age seems to come with a lot of judgment.  Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but now, at 2 years old there seems to be a whole new set of “things” that need to be accomplished in a certain time frame.  I am once again wondering who makes up these rules and why people care so much.  I am referring to: potty training, big kid bed, pacifier, and school.  One more lesson to add to my book of things I’ve learned as a mom: take their lead, trying to force things or push because other people do it, will backfire.  Oh, and other people see what you’re doing and why.

Potty Training.  I got Alexis a potty chair about 6 months ago and she uses it off and on.  She sometimes sits on it by herself and I always encourage it, sometimes she goes sometimes she just unspools the toilet paper roll.  I am pretty consistent about putting her on there a couple times a day and I praise her when she goes.  But, I know she’s not ready to really potty train.  She doesn’t tell me before she has to go and doesn’t really care if she walks around with a wet diaper.  I know that I could put her on the potty every 15 or 20 minutes and keep her in panties and claim she’s potty trained, but to me, that’s cheating.  In my opinion, real potty training is when they tell you they have to go, of course with reminders from us, but not constant timed trips to the bathroom.  That’s a good way of teaching them and helping them once they show signs of being ready, but its not being potty trained.  When she’s ready (hopefully soon) I’ll know it and it’ll be easy.

Big Kid Bed. This is one thing that I actually don’t want to do.  I want to keep her in a crib as long as I possibly can.  She’s a great sleeper so why mess with a good thing?  Well, safety.  At 36″ tall, it has now become unsafe for her to remain in her crib.  She has not yet attempted to escape, but she can hang over the top rail and she jumps on the mattress like its a trampoline.  And I hold my breath.  Since I’m not too keen on waiting until she falls out and gets potentially injured, we purchased a toddler bed.  I should mention that something happened about a week before the purchase, she started fighting us to go to sleep – crying, hysterical fits about being left alone and waking once or twice at night.  I figured, she’s sleeping like crap, can’t be any worse, let’s take her crib away!  We took the crib down, put the toddler bed together, along with pretty new sheets with butterflies and ladybugs on it.  Babyproofed her room so she couldn’t injure herself if she decided to wander in the middle of the night.  She loved the bed, climbed right in, covered herself and seemed content.  Success I thought!  Wrong.  When it came time to go to sleep, I sat with her because I figured it would take a couple nights to get used to it.  It took her a long time to fall asleep.  Then she proceeded to wake up 3 or 4 times at night (can’t remember).  Around 6am, I gave up and brought her to bed with us and she slept there.  Fast forward 4 nights later, now the sleeping is turning into hysterics.  I tried letting her cry it out, which I’ve never been a fan of but has worked successfully in the recent past after one night and not a lot of crying.  This did not work.  It took an hour the first night and it included banging on the walls and door and saying “owie”.   Middle of the night was no better.  I gave up after the 3rd time around 5am she came to bed with us.  The next night was no better, actually it was worse.  I couldn’t do it.  After an hour and no improvement and me totally stressed out.  I knew she was tired, she hadn’t napped that day, I threw in the towel.  We put the crib back up and I planned to take her to the dr the following day.  She slept in her crib but still slept horribly.  The next day at the dr I found out why – 2 back molars coming in, me not giving her enough motrin for her weight, ear pain, and ringworm rash on her ankle, I’m sure these things were messing with her sleep and making her uncomfortable and not herself.  She was trying to tell me, but didn’t know how.  So, the crib is still up, she’s not sleeping great yet, but better.  Once she returns to normal, then we will give the toddler bed another shot.

Pacifier.  I know I said it would be gone by age 2, and it’s not.  See above for my reasons why.  I have prioritized.  The pacifier is not a big enough deal to me right now and I won’t do it before she moves to a toddler bed.  She mainly uses it for sleeping and the car only.  I keep one with me when we’re out for true emergencies.  I am just not willing to deal with the trauma that it will cause just yet.  It will be gone soon, but I’m not ready and I don’t think she is either.  It comforts her and helps her sleep, so what is the big deal?  Because other moms will judge me?  Oh well.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time.

School.  I looked at schools.  I tried to like them.  Can’t do it, sorry.  I would LOVE to have a few hours  to myself a week, I really really would.  But I just could not see leaving her yet.  I’m a stay at home mom.  This is my job.  I am responsible for her education, entertainment, feeding, changing, etc and I don’t want to share that responsibility.  She gets one on one attention from me and would not get that at school and it really breaks my heart to think of her being upset or crying or scared and just being one of 10 kids in a class.  For the time being, she gets her socialization from the classes we go to and the playdates and the park and that will just have to be enough.  I’m thinking of starting her this fall when she’s 2.5, but I may change my mind and wait until she’s 3, we’ll see.  As for her speech which was slow at first, when I took her to the dr (not my usual one, a new one) this week for her sleep issues the dr mentioned how great her speech is.  So, even without school she has learned to speak just fine, it happened after she turned 2, it was like a faucet turned on.

For all the things she’s not ready for yet, there have been plenty that she is ready for.  She walked before her first birthday, she was jumping like a bunny way before kids are “supposed” to be able to jump.  She has excellent coordination and can walk a balance beam in gym class like kids older than her, can ride a tricycle.  She does puzzles meant for 3 year olds, counts to 20, spells her name, knows all the letters, etc.  She is also a fabulous eater, the list of foods she won’t eat is very short.  Loves fruits and veggies and is the opposite of picky.

So, for all the holier than thou moms out there, or the ones that feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, or be competitive, do what works for you.  And, especially, all the not yet parents who love to say “I would never” or “can you believe she still…”  I’m not talking about all mommies.  I know some whose kids have been ready and have done the above things already and I am so happy for them! (and a little jealous).  I think they should brag about it, but I can tell the difference between the moms who do it out of a sense of pride and those that do it to compete.  And if anyone is judging me for my choices, go right ahead.  I’m the mommy, I make the decisions.  She will only be little once and I am confident that she will not go to high school with a pacifier or a diaper and that she will be sleeping in a big bed soon enough.  So, judge away.  While you’re at it I can give you other things to be judgey about – I give my kid sweets, keep the tv on all day because I can’t stand quiet, I have no problem bribing her in a store with a toy or food so i can get some shopping done, oh yeah and she’s spoiled.  But, she’s happy and so am I and to me that’s what’s important.

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6 Comments

  1. Jenn said,

    Everyone’s a critic.

    I have come to terms with the fact that Turtle is going to be in his crib until he is 15. Why? He loves it. He sleeps in it, asks for it, and not only has he never tried to escape, he does not bounce or lean. (Double bonus points? He’s not going to be able to sneak a girl into his crib. Score for mommy.)

    I have said it before and I will say it again. Do. What. Works.

    Babies, toddlers and children are absolutely not interested in what the books say they should and should not be able to do. They don’t care about arbitrary timelines that apply to a select sample of their peers. And neither should we, as mommies. Our children are amazing. If we pay close enough attention, they really do tell us when they are ready for certain things. We just have to be able to put aside our own prejudices and plans to listen to what they’re telling us.

    You’re doing a wonderful job. It’s working for you and obviously it’s working for your little one. I assure you, when they go off to high school or college, no one is going to care about what age they potty trained or spoke or when they gave up the pacifier.

    And anyone who says anything different is simply insecure in their own parenting and needs the validation of checking something off a list from a book that someone wrote about someone else’s children.

  2. jerz2mia said,

    Love this post!! “Follow their lead” is my philosophy. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I break all the :rules” and made my own -based on my kids’ needs. As you know, I have three. Each kid has a differentl personality, And while Eli co-slept with us until he was 18 months, drank a bedtime bottle until he was well over two, and watches TV every single day – I hate when other moms would tell me stuff like, “…oh you have to get him outta your bed, or just take the bottle away, etc.” Why? Now, with Chelsea – she’s been shocking us since she was 7 weeks old and slept from 7p – 7a. and has ever since. She started eating table food at 11 months, stopped bottle at 13 months, and now sleeping in a big girl bed — guess what, people STILL criticize me saying she’s too little for this, too little for that….I don’t know why parents do that? We should support each other as parents trying to do what’s right for our kids. My point is, who cares what others think and say. I am just following their lead. And it sounds like you’re doing the same…don’t let “the experts” peer pressure you into doing things their way. In my house,it’s my way!

  3. jerz2mia said,

    oops, it’s melly&jimmy :0)

  4. Karen said,

    Fabulous post, Leanna! I feel the same as you about so many things. We’re doing such great jobs, and our kids are very lucky to have moms like us who put their needs first. 🙂

  5. Vivian said,

    It’s tough being a young parent…particularly a new young parent because there really are no rule books. All the books out there are just one person’s observations of a particular set of huge variables. There are obviously some basic good and safe practices which any sane, loving parent will follow pretty instinctively. Other than that, it’s every mommy for herself. The key to doing a good job is lots of love and attention. You are the center of their new universe and they look to you for everything…that’s a wonderful and magical thing and it’s the only thing we should not blow as moms. Treat them with love, care and attention. Teach them, guide them, nurture them. I think pretty much everything else is not as critical and takes care of itself. Who cares when the potty training is done, when the pacifier it gone, when they move to a toddler bed….they will all follow their own destiny, even in these tiny little ways. Is she happy, joyful, loving? Now, those are milestones I want to know about. Love you both lots with all my heart…Mom/Bibi

  6. ellejay419 said,

    Oh man, am I ready for the bink to be gone right now and he’s only 5 months. I think it has something to do with the fact that during nights and naps he will wake up and scream bloody murder until he gets it back in his mouth. (Which he isn’t capable of doing yet by himself.)

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