Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Timing is Everything

We have had a few big changes around here lately! First, Miss H is totally potty trained. She no longer wears diapers during the day OR at night and hasn't had an accident in weeks! Hooray!

Second, Mr. B is completely weaned. This was 100% baby-led and, though it makes me a bit sad that our nursing days are over, it was a very natural, smooth transition and as easy as I could have ever hoped for.

Mr. B is also taking a few steps on his own and has developed quite the vocab. He says "dad", "hi", a short sentence (but sentence nonetheless) composed of "hi dad", "dadda", "daddy" and other babbling sounds that probably mean dad in Hebrew, Japanese, Dutch and a host of other languages. Really, you'd think dad had the boobs around here...not that I'm bitter or anything.
Oh, he also says "bib", "Jada" (one of our dogs), "that" and then points at something and wants you to tell him what it is, and "cake". "Cake" was an especially funny one because he was crawling around saying "cake, cake, cake" and Miss H was chasing after him saying "I eat cake, Mr. B, not you!"

In regards to the potty training, several of my friends have asked for advice or suggestions. Well, here it is...wait for it...
Nothing! I found that it really all came down to patience and waiting until she decided that she was ready. I tried a dozen different tricks and methods. We tried filling her with drinks and spending all day near the potty. No luck. We tried bribery- "If you potty on the loo, we will get you a (fill in the blank with something we thought she would sell a kidney for)". No luck. We tried peer pressure. "Neve and Isla are big girls and use the potty. Wouldn't it be neat to use the potty like Neve and Isla?" No luck.

Finally, when I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to find someone to custom make size XXL diapers for us (the kids are cloth diapered so, when they hit 35 lb, that is pretty much as big as you can get anywhere world wide) and that I was going to have to stop in to change her over the lunch hour at high school, she magically, miraculously, overnight just somehow decided on her own that it was time. She woke up one morning and said "I want to wear panties. I'm a big girl!" and that was that. No more diapers, no accidents, no bribery. She continued to wear diapers at night for about a week until she decided that she was done with those too. I expected a middle of the night wake up call to change wet sheets but nope, she slept the whole night through and stayed dry!

One reassurance that I can offer to my friends whose toddlers are not potty trained yet that I had heard before and which proved to be true in our case is that sometimes kids who potty train later actually do it more quickly, effortlessly and with fewer accidents than kids who potty train at a younger age. We went from total dependency on diapers to potty trained overnight and I think the added benefit of being a bit older definitely played a role in her readiness.

I think timing was also key in the ease of Brett's weaning. In the veterinary world, there is an old Farmer's Almanac saying that goes something like "If you wean the foal/calf at the correct time, you should be able to lead mom and baby apart with a string." Anyone who has seen livestock weaned knows that often they cry out, call for each other, even break down barriers to try and reach each other again. However,this theory states that, if done at the right, most opportune time, this process should be natural, painless and easy.

For several months now, Mr. B has been nursing less during the day. Often he was too distracted and would only nurse if we were at home, if it was quiet and if he was sleepy (a rare occurrence when you run a not for profit out of your house, work part time, go on lots of outings with friends and have a two year old). Additionally, for the past month he bit me every time I offered to let him nurse. I would unlatch him, say "no no" in a kind but firm voice and he would look at me and laugh. This happened over and over. Finally I realized that maybe he was telling me that it was time to move on and, when I finally offered him a bottle or a cup and straw, he acted like he had done it his whole life. I continued to offer to let him nurse for several weeks until his constant refusal (and his little sharp guillotine-like teeth) reinforced the fact that he was done! You can lead a baby to a boob but you can't make him drink.

So here I sit with a potty trained daughter and an almost walking, talking, weaned son. What I am I to do with all of this spare time and energy now that I am not changing diapers or expending over 500 calories per day lactating? I should probably work on the scrapbooks, go for a run, cook something from scratch or try and reply to at least a few of the emails in my inbox.

Nah, I think I'll just sit here for a minute and reflect. Soon one of these babies will be going off to college and the other will be driving. It goes by so quickly and, yes, timing is everything. As mothers, there are so many times that we wish we could make things happen more quickly. Who hasn't wished that it was bed time, that their child was potty trained, that their baby would sleep through the night? Other times, we wish we could slow time down. I know there will be a day where I will miss changing diapers, miss those 3 am feedings, miss having to lug two babies into stores to run a quick errand. However, we will have new milestones- first days of preschool, first slumber parties and, if they are anything like their mom, first speeding tickets.

Having several young children can be exhausting, trying and overwhelming but I truly believe what so many little old ladies in the grocery store and even a few country ballads have told me- "Some day you're going to miss this."

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