At every major stage or milestone of my son’s life, I always call another parent who has just experienced this stage or a parent who has experienced it multiple times with their own children, to hear their thoughts on how I should proceed. I go in expecting to get very sound advice, specific steps on how to get through this stage alive and advice on alternative methods. Generally, I find that my expectations of myself and my son are too high. The reality of what is to come is something that cannot be pinpointed to any particular plan that will make the next few weeks or months easier or perfect.
I asked my friend about potty training and she advised me that children will do anything for one M&M. That put my entire experience and expectation into perspective. Potty training is not easy, or a science and different for all children. I realized that I just have to find what will push my son to go to the bathroom consistently and eventually he will form a habit that will become his norm.
The more I talk to other parents about their experiences, I realize I have to just relax. Children are very smart, but they have not figured out every little thing just yet. Duh. It takes time to get them to fully comprehend things that we assume we learned easily. Everyone is looking for the answer to questions that have no answers to them. What works for one family, may not work for you because the dynamics in your household is different, or your schedule is different or your child is just on their own timeline.
I see a friend’s daughter who articulates so well and suddenly it is my mission to get my child to articulate well. Someone tells me that their child was potty trained at 18 months and suddenly I am on a mission to get my son potty trained before his 2nd birthday. I hear of a child who has learned 4 languages by four and suddenly my son needs to be put in an intense class to make sure he has another language on his baby resume. There are specific skills that your child needs to acquire to ensure that they are hitting their milestones & that they are ready for the next stage in their life, but much of that comes with time, patience & allowing them to evolve naturally.
All of these anxieties come with trying to raise the “perfect child.” We want our son to experience everything that we did not and give him opportunities we wished we had growing up. In the haste to make his life experience greater than ours, we have to make sure that we are letting our child be perfect in his own right. Everyone thinks that their child is perfect because they are. They are all special in their own right and it is the little things that make you smile that makes them perfect. That is why this little gift was sent to you. Not for you to control their every move but for you to watch the beauty of life evolve through their eyes. Their perspective on life and things are so different and the hope that they inspire for a better tomorrow is what we all need to survive some of our hardest days.
My child is already perfect. The person who needs to work on becoming a more perfect person is me. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.