Growing up, I spent a lot a time around kids, and always took on the mothering role. I was the one in the neighborhood who offered to watch your kids for free, just so I could tote them around everywhere.
As I got a little older, and eventually got married, having a family was one of the things that I knew was important to me. When you don’t have kids you make observations about other people’s children, you think about how you might handle the situations that arrive. And many of us, tout how we would never do that if it was our child.
Becoming a parent though, is a reality check. You cross over to that other side, where you seemingly lose all of those past “if that was my kid” I would…. And suddenly you step into reality mode, where everything is new, and a huge learning process. You start getting all sorts of advice on how other people did this or that with their kids and how it all should go, right down to the kid’s first tooth. Pediatricians have advice, neighbors have advice, and you can find yourself getting lost in all these ideals of how it should go, making developmental comparisons, and worrying about some of the silliest things.
I quickly changed how I felt about a screaming kid in the grocery store, or a kid that decides to act up in the middle of dinner, because after becoming a parent you can relate. Kids can just start misbehaving out of the blue and I sympathized rather than judged.
Soon, as a mother, I began to realize that this isn’t how parenting should be, well at least for my own children. I realized something very important that parenting should be intuitive based on you relationship with your child. There should be no rules, no guidelines, no standards. I have found my struggles with potty training, sleeping etc to be less when I just do what feels right for my kids and for myself. When I talk to family, they asks questions like “shouldn’t they being doing this?” My reply is simply, I dunno, but it is ok, because they will eventually.
This is not to say that my parenting is lax, my children are asked to listen, to be respectful and I attempt to challenge their little brains as best as I can. I tell them to brush their teeth, and I expect them to pick up toys (this doesnt always happen), and there are time outs.
When it came to potty training though, I became stressed out trying to potty train twins, to make them go potty like I wanted them to and feeling the inevitable pressure that by the time they were 3 if they were still wetting their pants, that I was a miserable failure and doing something wrong with my kids. When will I move them to their own bed? Are they doing this or that? My mind became preoccupied with all of this stuff, and now realize, very useless stuff.
I realized that these were my kids and whatever our routine, whenever they potty trained, was ok with me. And after I stopped obsessing about it, it happened on its own. Both boys potty trained right around the age of four, they are five now and still wear pull ups to bed and yes they have accidents, am I worried, absolutely not. Does it make me a lazy parent, I don’t believe it does. My children are happy healthy and that is what matters.
We are all in such a rush for them to grow up and do things on some developmental chart that we lose track of that connection with our child. I am also not saying to ignore something if you feel there is a problem with your child, but for little things about where they sleep, or if they are potty trained by some set time frame, you should just let your child tell you. Less stress equals happier parents and children.
Potty training will be our next big hurdle. Both of the bubbas are just now showing some interest in the potty. Since I have two of them to potty train, I am a little nervous about jumping right in. It is hard to say if they will sort of watch and learn from each other or if each one will sort of move at their own pace.
It has been fun around the house lately with two boys running around. Their newest thing is to take off their diapers and run naked as a jaybird through the house. If you’re lucky and super fast. you might catch one of them! This is where being a mommy can get a little hairy. One afternoon I was going to the bathroom and usually I have one or both in the bathroom with me, because we all know mommy can’t pee alone. Anyway, I just went in the bathroom for a minute. I hear the two of them laughing and playing and bubs goes driving by on his trike. I think nothing of it because he had his shirt on. I didn’t notice that the diaper was off till he came around the corner. I’m thinking about grabbing the duct tape next.
I am thinking that they are getting close, but the pediatrician and my sister-in-law told us to look closer to three years of age before they are potty trained. My husband and I aren’t really pushing the issue, but we have a potty chair in each bathroom. If they ask to sit on it, we just say ok. and let them sit their with a book. Sometimes we get lucky with the timing and raise a ruckus and clap and praise them if they do something. I am praying for it all to be easy. But we shall see! I will keep you updated as we move along, it is so hard when you have two at one time and you are a first time parent learning as you go.