First was in the NICU when she wouldn’t eat. The neonatologists, nurses, speech therapists, pastors, parents, strangers, janitors, etc. all told me that she would start eating in her own time. The doctors described a “light bulb” that would eventually turn on. Sure enough, at about a week old, the light bulb turned on, and she ate continuously for a year. Come to think of it, she really hasn’t stopped yet.Next came “sleep training”. Despite the advice of the 200+ books I read on the subject, I nursed Marryn to sleep for the first several months of her life. When I came to my senses, I remember worrying about how I would transition to laying her down for the night while she was still awake. I shouldn’t have bothered because somewhere in between the 8th and 9th month, she would quit nursing, sit up and gesture (for lack of a better term) towards her bed. She’s been going to sleep on her own ever since.
Fast forward a few months. As we approached Marryn’s first birthday, I worried about how I’d wean her. Was she ready? Was I? Should I do parent led weaning or child led? Every time I thought about it, I’d end up in tears. Frankly, I was about to let the dogs decide when to close the Mommy kitchen, and then she just quit being interested in nursing - all on her own.I could give several more examples of coming to a milestone on her own terms…when she began smiling, saying Mama & Dada, crawling, walking/running/careening, and the list goes on. We’ll be going along with the same behavior for months on end, and I begin to wonder when something new will finally happen, and then it does - like overnight. Dad calls it the “stair step”, and it’s a fitting description.
Why was I surprised then, when two weeks ago (after trying for SIX months) Marryn independently decided she would like to use the potty and put on big girl panties? I was so happy I almost cried. I tried to not get too excited about it. Maybe it was just a fluke. However, here we are, still going strong. She’s even successfully worn big girl panties outside the house and used public restrooms – much to my delight and simultaneous horror. Thank God for Lysol wipes.I’m not saying parenting is easy, but sometimes you do luck out and things fall into place when they should. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that while I can’t force my child into the next developmental step, I am becoming more comfortable with waiting for her to reach it - all in her own time.
We've been doing a fair amount of car-pottying around here. When you gotta go, you gotta go.