Monday, March 14, 2016

Believe Them

My first son was a dream to potty train. He had just turned two and I practically ran to the store to get him underwear. I was so excited to take this next leap into the parenting journey. Within two days (not joking), he was fully trained. Sure, he needed to go every thirty minutes, but he was trained.  I was sure that it was my amazing parenting that made that happen so quickly and so I planned to repeat the same process with my second son. Only things didn't go so well.

My second son, you see, is incredibly laid back. He's sensitive and gentle and he is not pressured by the pace of life. When he realized that potty training meant stopping what he was doing and rushing to the bathroom, he decided that the potty was not for him. He made it one out of four times and I spent months washing endless pairs of underwear. "He's just not ready," my husband insisted. And I finally acquiesced. Enough was enough.By the time he was three, we were back on the potty train and the process was a million times easier and faster. But as my daughter has shown more and more interest in using the potty, I flash back to the piles of dirty underwear and I haven't quite been able to bring myself to committing to it. If she asks, I take her but I haven't made it an issue. She just turned two - No rush, right? Except that she hasn't let this go.

"No!" she yelled when I tried to put a diaper on. "Undies. Want undies. Peees!" she said sweetly. 
"Are you sure baby? That means you have to go pee pee in the potty."
"Sure," she said slowly and carefully, trying very hard to get the word out clearly. "Yeah! Sure!"
"Okay, love. Let's do this."
She peed on the floor four times that day and as I cleaned them up while trying to answer a math question self righteous thoughts crowded into my brain. "This is exactly why I didn't want to do this. I can't add one more thing right now!"

But on day two, something changed. She sat on her little potty and smiled sweetly at me. "Pee pee. Me! Fun!" she told me.
"It is fun, isn't it? Now, can you try and push out your pee pee? I'll bet you can!" I watched something change in her eyes. It was a note of understanding - The final piece of the puzzle clicked and she understood what to do. Just then, I heard the telltale sound of potty training success.
"Peepee! Me! Look, Mommy! Look!"
I picked her up and swung her around, amazed that my tiny little girl is suddenly becoming a big girl right before my eyes. 

In that moment, I realized that I have to listen when they say they are ready for the next big thing and when they are not. I have to respond, support and guide them even when I feel as if my resources are spent. And I when I give that much, I will always celebrate their victories as if they are my own and feel great joy in my heart.

Is there anything new your kids are telling you they are ready to conquer? Listen to them, no matter what, and support them as they try.

On the flip side, is there something they are saying they aren't ready to do? Listen to them, no matter what, and support their decision even if it's hard.

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