Our world is filled with people constantly comparing themselves and their kids to others. As a young girl, I always compared myself to the women in magazines and never felt “enough”. Since becoming a mother, the fierce competition and comparative nature that exists in this world of parenting, just amazes me.
Yes, there are milestones children normally hit by certain ages, and my boys were either behind or ahead in some areas and within normal range in others. Very few of us are superstars in everything we do, in fact I don’t know anyone who is a superstar at everything they do. I often have friends tell me how they are concerned because their son or daughter isn’t rolling over, crawling, talking, using the toilet or whatever it may be. I always say the same thing, ” They will get there, when they are ready.” But will they?
As parents, we wouldn’t feel anxious or ashamed or “behind” if were not constantly comparing ourselves to others. So should we set expectations or should we trust that everything will be okay? As you may already know, I am a mother of a 2 year old and a 4 year old. In my case, I choose to love and respect my boys and when they are not doing something that I feel they should be or that I have been told they should be doing my now. I talk to them, I ask them what they are feeling or why they don’t want to do whatever the task may be. Some people will tell you that you cannot reason with a 2 year old, but I have been doing this since before they boys could talk and you would be surprised at some of the answers my 2 year old has given me as to why he doesn’t want to do something.
This leads me to the important lesson I am learning while potty training my 4 year old son. He is such a special, imaginative, beautiful, sensitive and magical soul. He likes doing things, as I believe most kids do, in his own harmonious time, and when he is ready. I have so much patience and love for both of my boys. At times it has taken extra patience on my behalf, particularly when it came to potty training. I’ve read and heard that if they are not ready, don’t push it. Re-visit again in a couple of weeks or months. I tried so many times and so many ways and he just didn’t want to do it. I had to wonder, “what I was doing wrong?”. “Was I not firm enough? What is he so afraid of? Was I missing something?”
People were always reminding me of the milestone and when this particular one should’ve been reached, to which I always replied, “He will not be going to college in diapers, or breastfeeding (another story for a different day) and he will go to the bathroom when he is ready.” Well, I decided a couple of weeks ago, to give it another shot. He’s been wearing underwear all day and a pull up at night. I found that he would rather hold it in than go, and when he was desperate enough, it either came dripping down his leg, or he asked if he could go in the shower. Witnessing the sheer terror and fear on my sweet boy’s face, made this a true task of love, patience and creativity.
Attempt one: We went in the bathroom, locked the door, and he sat on the toilet and was so nervous. I held him, talked him through it, and comforted him. He wanted to do it so badly, despite his fear. Maybe to please, maybe to prove he was a big boy, maybe he was ready. He kept saying it wasn’t coming out. I ran the faucet, put his hand in cold water, poured water in the toilet…nothing. We didn’t give up, although my knees almost did 🙂 Moments later, a stream of pee pee filled the bowl and shot me as well, which made my son laugh hysterically. We both laughed so hard and when he finished, he hugged me so tight, flushed the toilet and ran to tell his daddy and his little brother. He was jumping up and down with enthusiasm and pride.
He has been going on the “throne” all week and although it isn’t the smoothest endeavor each time, he’s getting more and more comfortable and growing before my eyes after such an accomplishment for himself. He let his little brother watch last night, which was a very big deal, and little brother ran around saying, “P went on the potty, P went on the potty!” They are so supportive of one another and are each other’s best friends. They will grow and learn together, there will be times when each of them needs encouragement from the other. I am grateful for the bond they share and the fact that they have each other.
Remember, our kids will do things when they are ready, however, we need to remember that encouragement and love go a long way. It’s not necessary that we sweep things under the rug and just expect them to tell us when they want to do something. I believe we should encourage them to do things when we believe it is time and if they are not yet ready, we need to listen to their needs and be patient while continuing to encourage them and always letting them know that they are loved.
I raise my boys with love, gentle guidance, patience and support. I nurture them and always make sure they know they can talk to me. I am so proud and excited for my big boy. He is growing beautifully and I never doubted him for a minute. I love you my boys. You both can BE and DO anything in this world you set your mind to. Anything! Whatever you choose to be, be who you are with confidence and compare yourself to no one.
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