Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday-I'm In No Hurry

Sorry for the late post today. Blogging took a back seat to the mini puke fest at my house today. Nothing too serious, just a 12 hour bug, so far.

Well, since no one writes me emails asking for my advice *sigh*, I'm going to go WAAAAAAAAAAY out on a limb here and give some unsolicited advice of the parental kind. YIPEE! Someone else telling you how to raise your kid! I know you just can't WAIT to get some more of *that*. Well, take heart, today's wisdom comes not from some book I read, some show I watched, or some class I took. Nope, this one comes from my heart, and, quite frankly, it flies in the face of some of the more "enlightened" protocol that today's parents are "supposed" to be following. It's hard to categorize this advice, maybe because it's more of an attitude than a peice of clearly defined advice.

Since the beginning of time, parent's have lamented the fact that babies do not come with instruction manuals. Some parents (and non-parents, but let's not even go there) hated the idea of no instruction manual so badly, that they decided to rectify the situation themselves, and so, we began to see books about parenting, articles about parenting, and television shows about parenting. Now, that's all well and good, hey, I'm all for learning something new! But at the end of the day, many new parents feel inadequate or confused by stringent, and sometimes conflicting information. "Back to Sleep", no pacifier, no bottles in bed, vegetables before fruits, off the bottle by one year, potty training by two, the list goes on for a mile. And just about any parent reading this has done their fair share of breaking the rules, if you haven't, then you are in the wrong blog, please exit stage left. Now the rest of you, hide in shame no more! Today's wisdom is all about throwing the rule book out the window and exercising your parental instincts.

So here's where my wisdom comes in. I'm in no hurry with my kids. Two specific rules I've broken; I have not been in any hurry to take away bottles or potty train my kids. Anyone who wants to send me some hate mail can just write it out, and stuff it in their ear. I've read all the research, I know some parents feel strongly about getting the kid off the bottle ASAP, but I've just never bought into that particular hype. If it makes you feel any better, I've never been one to let my kids walk around with a bottle in their mouth 24/7, but they got one every time they went to sleep, (and YES, I gave it to them IN BED, and I SLEPT, while my no-bottles-in-bed friends paced). The interesting thing with my approach, is that each of my three babies was off their bottle right around 18 months, and only one was encouraged in any way. Potty training was done with the same abandon. B was interested around 18 months, but it just wasn't a big deal to him until he was three, then, one day, he went to visit my BIL, the perfect one, and he was potty trained. In one day, with one promise of a Happy Meal, the kid was happy to potty in the potty, even at night. K decided just before her second birthday that she liked using the potty, and that was that. It just wasn't a traumatic thing. No Once Upon A Potty, no Barney Potty video, just kids who saw what was up and decided to get in on the action themselves. I'm not at all worried that J screams bloody murder when placed upon her throne, no-sir-ee. I figure she'll do it sometime before she goes to Kindergarten, and as long as she learns to poo in there long before that, I'm cool with it. Transitioning out of the crib falls in the same category. Unless there is someone who's gonna need that crib more, who in their right mind would take away the night-time containment system?

Some parents fall into the trap of believing that unless they enroll their kid in ballet, gymnastics, baseball, whatever sport it may be, by the time they are 3 or 4, then the kid will never reach their destiny of a college scholarship followed by an Olympic appearance. I know you don't want to hear it, but I'm here to tell you, from experience, that the chances of your kid getting a scholarship are SLIM. As the proud parent of a college wrestler, who *is* on a scholarship at a D1 school, I'm telling you A. He started the sport of wrestling in the 5th grade, B. We're not talking a whole lot of money, here, and C. Colleges that offer sports scholarships are a whole lot more expensive than those that don't, and, your college athlete won't have time to get a job, so it isn't always what you think it's gonna be anyway!

Homeschooling has been another area where I've had to learn to just let things come along at their own pace. When the kids have struggled with a new concept, I've very often found that backing off for a week or so, yeilded a child who "got it" when we came back to it weeks, or even months down the road, painlessly, and with no frusteration.

I kind of feel like if we start when the little guys are 8-10 months old, telling them to hurry up and let go of those bottles, drink like a big kid, then potty like a big kid, sleep like a big kid, etc, what business have we, of complaining when our kids want to act like teenagers and our teenagers want to act like adults? Nope, I'm content to let them come along on their own time schedule, give them encouragement to try new things, but keep the "training" and timelines to a minimum.

Every family has their own way of doing things, I've showcased a few of my own choices here, but in no way is this showcase meant as a means of telling you how to do your thing. Hey, if you feel like the mouth gremlins are going to eat your kids' teeth if you let them have that bottle past 12 months, I'm OK with that, and we can even be friends! But if you are struggling with some aspect of getting your child to move forward in their development, I would like to suggest that you back up, at least long enough to decide why it's so critical that your child does this thing *right now*. You may just find that the world won't spin off it's axis if Johnny doesn't learn how to tie his shoes before the first grade, or little Suzie insists on that night-time bottle until she's 2. And when you decide to stop setting the timeline, you just may provide your child the room they need to figure things out on their own, leaving you to cheer on their sucess, instead of orchestrating everyone's frusteration.

And *that* is today's Wisdom Wednesday.


Nettie said...

One of the things I love about mothers of big families is their vast wisdom. What good advice! I am grateful there are great examples of women who chose to raise their kids how they feel is best, including my mom. Thanks!

momofalltrades said...

Awww! Thanks! I think I'm blushing....

Amber said...

Another thing that people forget is that something that works for one kid is pretty much guaranteed NOT to work for the next kid. At least that's been my experience (I'm currently working on screwing up kid #4).

Great post. Thanks for visiting. If we're twins I'll have to be back. Have you used the new oxy clean miracle foam? Pink bottle of magic I tell you.

Gabriela said...

Thanks for your post. I am with you on the whole potty training thing (kids never took bottles, so nothing to share there). With #1 I wanted her potty trained more than she did. Doesn't work. Worst 6 weeks of my life. With 2 and 3 I just waited until they were ready. My mom always told me, "if they are not trained by the time they go to school, peer pressure with be the teacher!"

There are just not a lot of adults walking around in diapers.

thanks for sharing

Rachelle said...

That was fun to read. I'm a new mom to just one and still figuring it all out, but I am letting him do some things on his own time. I tried to force him to sleep through the night and it caused a lot of grief for both of us. When I gave in and let it go for awhile, he did it on his own. I'm learning he likes to do it in his own time. What a great post this was to read!

Heather said...

OMW!! The potty training thing came back to bite me - as a preschool teacher I ALWAYS said -"nobody wvwr went to kindergarden in diapers" and encourages parents to back off - I FOUGHT with my own son years later about the same issue. UGH I had to back off and it had already become a power stuggle. DD was totally diffrent. I let her be and she figured it out on her own (before Power Stuggle Boy was thru training btw!)

Maine Mom said...

I agree with you 100%. I'm so happy to read a mom's advice that is the same as my own!