It was decided when K was born that all of our kids would be perfect. And they are.
For example: Our kids would never, oh I don’t know, color on themselves or on the walls. And they would certainly never talk back, have runny noses, crusty eye boogers, or unkempt hair. Spitting is rude (see here and here) and would never be tolerated. They would potty train themselves at 18 months and always make it to a toilet when they need to yack. (Because yacking happens. Ya can’t have it ALL.)
And now we’re back to reality.
Those things are great in theory but let me just tell you, that’s not how it works. Big surprise, I know. You’re shocked. I was too when realization hit and guess what… runny noses run rampant in this house, my poor baby with the clogged tear duct has crusty eye boogers constantly, there are days that you wouldn’t even know that we own a brush, and on top of that my little B is potty training… not at 18 months… he’ll be 3 in less than two weeks. We’ve been at it for a couple of days and he’s doing great but I still keep finding puddles on my floors. Thank goodness for hardwood!!
Sometimes I am baffled when someone calls me with a parenting question but it happens. There are a few moms that call me when they have questions. And for a split second I feel like SuperMom. In that split second the only things that run through my mind are all of the happy, non-yelling, brushed hair, made it to the toilet, messes cleaned up moments. The RARE ones.
Someone is asking for MY advice on… whatever it may be. It’s usually one of a few things.
- How and when I start the ‘cry it out’ method.
- How to get kids to sleep in their own beds, not ours.
- What kind of binky is best.
- How to get babies off the binky.
- Potty training advice.
- What kind of diapers are the best.
So, let’s talk…… I do NOT claim to be an expert by any means. I honestly don’t know what it is about my parenting that makes others feel like I might know something about any of the topics listed above. I am only an expert in my home. Ha! Let’s face it. Even that’s not true much of the time.
Cry it out – I am a HUGE believer in this method. I know some moms can’t stand to hear their baby cry and run to them at the first sign of a whimper. That is so not me. My baby is still small (is 16 1/2 pounds considered ‘small’ at 3 months old?)… maybe I should say young. He’s still young and I still try to cater to his every whimper. I say try because it’s not easy with five other kids in the house. Lucky for him there is usually a sister around to help out if I can’t be right there.
But there will come a point, probably a few months down the road, that I will consider it ‘the right time’. It’s different for every baby but when I feel he is becoming too dependent on me to rock him to sleep and I can’t lay him down without him waking right back up because I’m not holding him… it’s TIME! There are even times right now that I let him fuss if I know that he is super tired and just wants me to pace with him. Sometimes I just can’t. I’ve got a hundred other things that need to be done. However, I do love that when he wants to fall asleep he will turn towards me and smash his nose against my arm. It’s his favorite position.
Kids in their own beds! – Call me crazy but I can’t stand to have kids in the bed with me. Before I even had kids I knew I would not ever have them in my bed. Anthony is ever so grateful for my persistence on this. Really, he is. Everyone sleeps much better this way. I can’t really say that I have a method for keeping them out. If they come to my room in the night complaining of a bad dream or just being scared, I hug them and pray with them. Then we march right back to their bed. They know that our room is OURS. They don’t even ask. I don’t even know if they realize that there are kids that actually sleep with their parents.
There is one exception. If a child has a fever or illness that we would like to keep our eye on through the night, they can sleep with us.
MISERABLE NIGHT for all of us! I don’t do well with knees in the back or feet in my face. I’m usually pushed right to the edge of our king size bed. UGH!
Best Binky – Some moms will swear that a certain kind is the only kind of binky that their baby will take. From my experience, my babies take whatever binky I give them to start with. They get used to that one and no other kind is acceptable. So, I always give them the ones that I think are the cutest. I think the hospital binkies are ugly so I never use those. But that’s actually a lie… I can’t say ‘never’ because I did with this baby. And that’s the one he would take… until he decided that he didn’t want a binky at all.
Getting Rid of the Binky – THROW IT AWAY!! That’s right, at 6 months I throw them away. The sucking reflex only lasts 4 months and by 6 months babies are able to entertain themselves with toys and such. Sucking is now a habit, not a need. Sure, we have a couple of rough nights but then it’s done. Ta da!! Easy peasy. No Binky Fairy and no fighting a toddler over it. The only exception to this was with A. We were in the middle of a move across the country at that time and I didn’t want to traumatize her by taking away the comfort of the binky so we waited… an extra month. ;)
My boys are even easier. None of them would ever take a binky so I never had to worry about it all. The girls LOVED them!
Potty-Training – The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to wait until they are ready. B is going to be 3 very soon and he’s just starting the process. We tried way too early with K and she fought it the whole way. Put her back in diapers and waited. The second time around went much better!
Use REAL underwear! We never use pull-ups because they feel like a diaper. They catch urine like a diaper. They look like a diaper. The kid doesn’t care if they pee because… it’s a diaper!! With underwear they feel it running down their leg and realize Oh, I need to go potty! Yes, there will be accidents. Lots of them but I promise it’s the best way to go.
Never use a training potty or potty seat. In my experience, using a pint sized potty only creates fear of ‘big potties’ when the little potty is unavailable. If you’re at a store or in someone else’s home the child won’t go because they are scared. Trust me, it’s not good. And those automatic flushers… well, that’s another story.
At first you may have to set a timer for every 15-20 minutes and have the child sit on the potty each time it goes off. This will get them used to the process and eventually they will recognize the feeling of needing to go… after a few accidents of course
Be prepared for regression at some point. It happens to every child I’ve ever heard of. You think you’re all done potty training. The child is going potty like a champ without a single accident. Has been for weeks. Then… all of the sudden… out of nowhere they start peeing their pants again. All. the. time!! And you feel like you’re starting over.
It’s beyond frustrating.
Best Diaper – This is another one kind of like the binkies. There is no ‘BEST’. It’s a matter of preference and everyone has their own opinion. From experience, I would have to say that there are certain diapers better for boys and others that are better for girls. There are some that are absolutely all-around awful and some that are great! Inevitably, with every baby I’ve had someone always gives me a package of Pampers Swaddlers. I know many people that love them. I don’t. They always feel wet on the outside after my baby pees and makes their clothes damp. EW!
With my girls I loved Pampers Cruisers (once they were big enough for those… I think they start at size 3) but they don’t work as well for my boys. I really like LUVS for both genders. And actually the Western Family brand of diapers is pretty good.
And that, my friends, is a rundown of my parenting techniques during the early years. It works for me. I don’t claim to have all the answers but those are the most common questions I am asked.
What advice would you give to other parents?