I’m the kind of person who likes to do the right thing. If the sign says, “No Passing” you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll continue following that car that’s going 2 mph even though there’s not another car for miles to come. That’s just who I am. Not sure if I was born that way, or if it was something I learned along the way, but I’m a big stickler for following the rules.
But it was that particular part of my personality that made parenting so challenging for me in the beginning. The hospital doesn’t send you home with a manual explaining the right way to bring up your children. And my head was spinning with all the conflicting advice I was getting from doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, and pediatricians, not to mention my mother-in-law. I mean, how could the pediatric nurse practitioner advise something totally different than what the pediatrician had? They work in the same building, and it the same practice! Shouldn’t they be on the same page? It was literally driving me to tears (with the help of my crazy hormones, I suspect). I just wanted to hear that this was how you do it, so I could go home and do it that way and feel satisfied that what I was doing was the right thing.
And then one day, I went to a new mothers’ group and heard those simple words that changed my whole outlook on parenting. The facilitator said, “Every mother is different, and every baby is different. What works for some moms and their babies doesn’t work for other moms and their babies.” And although what she said was so simple, it was so freeing for me, because it somehow made it okay for me to try out different techniques to teach my babies to nurse, to get them to fall asleep, to calm them when they were screaming their heads off. Because the recommendations from a particular “expert” might work for some moms and some babies, but they it might not work for us. (And even what works for one twin does not necessarily work for the other.) As parents, we know our children best and have to learn to listen to the expert within us to guide us as we make important parenting decisions.
Which leads me to present day. Several family members have told me that my daughter appears to be ready for potty training. My son, clearly, is not. They have just turned 22 months old, and although I hadn’t planned to even think about potty training until my guys were about 2 ½, I happen to believe that it is possible my daughter just might be ready to give it a try. She does show some signs of readiness (thanks for the link, Sadia), and I actually feel like I’m ready to take this on.
The experts certainly have a lot to say about potty training- when a child should be ready and how persistent or relaxed the approach should be- but I know it’s okay if I don’t agree with all the wisdom they have to share. I’ll start by following the advice that seems to fit best with my own philosophies, but in the end it’s going to be all about what works for us- trying things out, adjusting the game plan, even going back to the drawing board if necessary.
And while I had hoped (perhaps expected) that my twins would potty train at the same time, my gut tells me that it’s okay to give it a try with just one. Perhaps my son will surprise me (we do have training pant for him just in case), or maybe I’ll learn that really neither one of them is ready quite yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.
So how do you navigate through the sea of parenting experts? Are there experts you swear by? Or do you like to chart your own course as you go? (Any potty training tips would be greatly appreciated as well.)
You can read more from reanbean at reanbean.com.