Ready or Not

March 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Giggles | 25 Comments

When I took Giggles in for his latest check-up, we got the talk. The potty training talk.

“You really ought to go ahead and get him trained,” the doctor said. “Before the new baby comes. Otherwise, you’ll be training them at the same time.” Regression and all.

As she told me this, I shook my head and nodded, smiled even, trying to look like the perfect mommy. The one who heeds all of the good doctor’s advice. But secretly, I laughed hysterically and thought: You’ve got to be kidding.

Taking Baby Steps

Water Works (Or it Doesn’t)
I flashed back to Lollipop’s potty training days. When I really, really wanted to believe John Rosemond. When we let her run around without a diaper all weekend so she could see why it was unpleasant to pee yourself. The end result: Nary a drop in the potty. The whole weekend. Super-fun.

Eventually, of course, we got her trained. But I learned a valuable lesson: She was ready when she was ready. Not when we were.

It’s not just potty training. My husband wants to get Giggles in his big-boy bed. So that he and Lollipop can share a room. Plus, we’re thinking about starting him in preschool. All before Bun comes.

This has me wondering, Is Giggles ready, or are we?

My Peter Pan Complex
Well. I know I’m not. I want Giggles in his giraffe diapers, not wearing adorable little-boy briefs with thick blue waistbands. I want him in his crib, not roaming the hall rescuing toilet paper rolls from the linen closet. I want him home with me, sticking stickers on the cat and crashing the stroller into the dog.

I don’t want him to grow up. Even though he is. A little more boy, a little less baby, every day.

He said his first pseudo-sentence yesterday: “Giggles putting purple grapes in his mouth.” He’s turned tall and lanky, like his Daddy. Those chubby, tubby baby thighs I loved so much? Only in pictures now. And he’s starting to voice his opinions: Cheerios, not graham crackers. The train shoes, not the green ones. Goodnight Moon, not Snowy Day.

Second Verse, Same as the First
If I’m honest, part of me wants him to stay a baby for the sake of the status quo. It’s what I know. It’s our routine. I can do it with my eyes closed. And when Bun comes, I’m going to need that. I’ll be juggling feedings, tummy time, endless newborn laundry. And sleep, precious sleep.

If I also have to worry about Giggles wearing the training potty as a hat and ransacking his bookshelves during nap time, I just Might. Go. Crazy. Or eat M&Ms by the bagful. Neither seems like the best course of action.

Counting Down
But I can’t deny that my Giggles, my baby, is growing up. I mean, just yesterday, he said, “Giggles putting purple grapes in his mouth.” Next thing I know, he’ll have mastered his pronouns.

So I struggle to balance what I want and what he needs. Is it the right time for all these changes? Is he ready? In the end, I know that’s what counts.

And me? I’ll be there. Leading the way. Ready or not.



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  1. I completely agree with you – he’s ready when he’s ready. It took some horrendous messes to teach me that. My baby just turned six. He’s long and hairy and muscular and uses words like ‘actually’ and ‘situation’. I try to find that sweet baby smell and only get the dirty dog boy smell.

    Enjoy Giggles’ babyhood while you can and trust your own instincts – quick before the pronouns set in.

    • Oh, I just got my first whiff of little-boy-feet today, after I posted this. It was one more reminder that my little guy is indeed growing up. =>

  2. You’ve got perspective and Mama-instinct. As my 91 year old grandmother would say, “nuts to you doctor!”

  3. You know your child best- better than any doctor when it comes to things like this. Listen to your heart, and Giggles. Good luck!!! And regression, really??? Maybe he’ll want to be a big boy and not wear diapers like the baby???? I don’t know!

  4. I know what you mean about not wanting them to grow up! But each stage gets better and better.

  5. It’s so easy to try and rush them through things, and so much harder to sit back and let nature run it’s course… and just be there when they’re ready. But it makes a world of difference! 🙂

  6. It’s never-ending, isn’t it? Just when I get used to one stage, they go and change again. No matter how many bricks I put upon their heads…

  7. Hmm. To be honest, this is a tough one. In a lot a lot a lot of ways it is best to wait until our kids are “ready,” I think. But, I also think that we are a bit biased about making the decisions on their readiness. It’s hard to know what to push and when. It’s hard to know how your kids will react until you actually make a leap. But the great thing about making a leap is that you can always step back.

    I don’t know. Life is change. Big, little, easy, hard change. Sometimes easier than we think it’s going to be, and sometimes much much MUCH more difficult. The one thing I know about having three kids, though? For me, I do what will make things easiest on everybody. I’ve given up a lot of control. And yet, I’ve forced things on my kids (like naptime routines) because they were best for me (and THEM) in the long run.

    One thing’s for certain, there’s no right way and no wrong way. Trust yourself and you’ll be fine.

    Hope this made some sense. A little 7-year-old has interrupted me THREE times during the writing of this here comment. 🙂

    • My husband is the change initiator around here, even with “kid stuff.” He challenges me to see that the kids might be ready, even though I’m not, and I really rely on his perspective to show me that. I like things to stay the same (partially because it’s easier, as you say), and I think this is why I have trouble trusting my instincts about when it’s “time.” Thanks for the reminder to give myself a little more credit.

  8. My new baby is coming in two weeks. My other “baby” is 21 months old today. I give him a bottle before bed, I rock him to sleep, I carry him around every time he whines for me — clearly, I am not ready for him to grow up!

    My hubby really wanted to try to get him into the toddler bed before the new arrival, but I was like, “No.” Potty training? Not even going to try for a while. My potty training experience with my older son was not negative at all, but firmly convinced me that you can try anything you want, but nothing will really happen until the kid is ready. I’m with you on that!

  9. I am a firm believer that parents know their children the best. I rarely heed the advice of books or my doctor because I know my children. I know what they need, when they need it.

    It sounds like you do, too. Throw that guilt away and embrace the mommy knowledge that you have.

    • Oh, the guilt! We just can’t escape it, can we?? =>

  10. I know where you’re coming from with the ‘please stay little forever’ thing. Mr3 is a little big boy now and looking lankier and more like Mr6 every day. He’s my last and it makes me sad that chubby thighs are history in this household (except for mine of course, but they’re not so cute when you’re big, now are they?).

    But you’re right on the underpants – they’re ready when they’re ready and not a moment sooner. Do it when he’s ready and it takes five minutes. Do it when he’s not and you’ll be wiping up wee for months.

  11. We just put the Pixie in her “big girl bed” this past December. At 3 and a half. She loved her crib and I let her have it. The Mr. finally pushed it though, and she got her bed.

    And the potty training? Just within the past month are we fully there. She had NO interest in it – again – at 3.5. I pushed a little bit there, finally, and in no time she is a champ.

    I do wish I could freeze her a bit longer though. We’re not having any more, so this is my last chance to hold on to the baby stuff. Sigh.

  12. I have a confession.

    I want my little girls to grow up.

    Not too fast (admittedly, it’s all too fast). But every step they make toward independence thrills me. Getting their own snacks or drinks. Playing outside with minimal supervision. Putting in a DVD by themselves!

    As far as potty training. I am completely ready for Kate to be potty trained. And it’s turned into a real issue for us. I am working on stepping back, on supporting (and encouraging) her choice to pee on the potty. (Poop is another story.) But I am impatient. I’m tired of changing poopy diapers (or pull ups or underpants); I’m tired of buying diapers.

    But it’s frustrating for me that she not only is not interested in pooping on the potty; she’s refusing to, actively. And it kind of depresses me when I pick her up from daycare, and she’s the oldest kid in the “baby” room.

    I need her to be ready. I really do.

    • Oh, the poop! I could write posts and posts about Lollipop and poop (we should never, ever get her and Kate in a room together). With us, it became about so much more than poop. Somehow, we made it through.

  13. Stacia, greetings from potty training land! I wet through this struggle about a month ago, asking myself if Big Boy was really ready or if I was the one who was ready for him to be ready. The whole thing has me wondering – as Sarah mentioned above – about readiness in general, how to define it, whether we should initiate, or whether we should always follow their lead. I’m a planner and sometimes I worry that I over-correct to the point where I’m letting my son lead when he really would be happier following. And sometimes I worry that I worry too much. 🙂

  14. I loved reading this, as I will soon be making decisions about potty training (and writing about them). It’s so hard to navigate your instincts, their needs, and the pressure – I mean advice and recommendations! – we get from others. For the past couple of months, I’d been nervous about Jack’s 2-year checkup and the language discussion. Mind you, I wasn’t worried about his language skills – he listens, understands and communicates so well – but about TALKING about them, explaining my take, to an out-of-family expert. Thankfully, he had his language explosion. So now I just have to ready myself for the talk about potty-training and the pacifier.
    Every day I have beaucoups of “please stay little!” moments, but they’re balanced with excitement about the daily changes. Ready or not, indeed.

  15. I’m with you. It will all happen too fast and if you aren’t ready to invest in the time AND energy it takes to do potty training and big-kid beds, then let it ride. He won’t be graduating from high school in diapers and sleeping in a crib.

    • That’s what my mother-in-law says, too. I need to have it posted on my fridge or tattooed on my arm or something. As a constant reminder. =>

  16. It’s so easy to rush things – but sounds like you’ve got a pretty good perspective – ready or not!!!

  17. There are great messages here for all of us. We each have different timetables, and for important things, we manage to be ready.

  18. We’ve eliminated the paci, gone to the big boy bed and started potty training within the span of the last month(ish.) I have to wonder if I’m rushing him, but I that the time had come (and gone, in the case of the paci) to get these things done. Now, if I live through potty-training to see the birth of this next child, it will be nothing short of miraculous.

  19. I’m with you – they’re ready when they’re ready.

    Of course, my 2YO still has a pacifier and shrieks at the even the mention of a potty seat.

    My course of action? M&Ms by the bagfull, baby!

  20. I also have liked my kids growing up. Of course, it helps that I can see the baby-them inside the older them so easily! One thing I hated about potty training (and it was LONG ago) – vacations! On vacation, a diaper was like having a porta-potty attached to the toddler. Otherwise, huge problem! Time it with vacations, postpone till after!

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