Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Experience, But Not Expertise

As we both struggled to get our little ones bundled and out the door at the end of preschool this morning, I commiserated with another mother. All the other kids has already gone, but our two were sitting in their cubbies, ignoring our pleas.

"Louisa's been expressing her non-compliance lately," I said. Which is true. For example, earlier this morning, she insisted that she wanted to ride her bee to school. Here's a visual:
Needless to say, it's not our chosen mode of transportation, except between her bedroom and the living room. I had to literally pry her off the thing, screaming, so that I could then wrestle her into her puffy jacket, to get her out the door. Life is so unfair.

So, anyway, the mom of Louisa's co-conspirator in non-compliance says to me: "but at least you know what to do. I mean, you are experienced."

Ah, yes. That. The assumption that because she's not my first (or second) toddler, that I somehow know how to mind-meld my two-and-a-half-year-old into doing what I say. Ha.

So here's a story to prove that experience does not always equal expertise.

Louisa wore undies to school today for the first time. Hurrah! She's been using the potty since the summer at home, to varying degrees of success. But until now, I didn't have the confidence to send her to school in a pull-up. I was worried she'd pee all over the place. In fact, just last week she peed in the stroller while I was collecting the big girls from school.

This is only interesting because I did a better job toilet training my two older kids. They were both trained within a few days. We took away the diapers, they graduated to big girl underpants (except at night), praised them for their successes, and we never looked back. Done. I knew how to toilet train so well that I'd practically given seminars on the subject, to eager, newer parents who wanted to know how it's done.

And then, along comes child number three, and I do everything wrong. I started too early, because she had a bad rash and, let's face it, I was just so sick of diapers. Then, since she didn't really seem ready, I kept the potty around as an option, instead of an obligation. I put her in pull-ups whenever there was a chance of a possible accident, rather than just letting her get the hang of holding it in, and discovering the consequences. I even (shame) yelled at her, once, for peeing on the rug. And once for peeing on my bed. Major no-no. The potty training stressed me out this time, which for sure was the root of my trouble.

How could I have made all these mistakes, knowing what I know? No answer there, except that each kid is different, I suppose, and so is the parent, by the time the next developmental milestone arises. I keep thinking about that next approaching milestone for Louisa, which, unlike potty training, was actually very stressful the first time(s) we went through it with our older kids: the move from the crib to the bed. Once they can get out of bed, all bets are off. Parents lose.

So I've been wondering, is there any way we can maybe we can just skip straight from sleeping in the crib to sleep-away camp? Advice accepted. After all, you're all experts.

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