As much as I argue for open-minded, non-judgmental acceptance of other mums (c’mon we’re a team here, no matter whether we breastfeed for a year or a month or not at all, whether we co-sleep, and whether we are for or against antibiotics),sometimes I slip and make judgments about other mothers.
One of these, in the past, was about potty training. I do believe in waiting until kiddos are ready and express interest – leave the potty out and encourage them to use it, and they’ll get there. However, I did have a limit in mind. I swore to myself and my friends that I would never change a four-year old’s poopy pull-up. I saw other mothers who did, and, I mean, you’ve got to implement some standards, right? And honestly, yuck. Four-year olds are pretty big, and so, accordingly, is their output. This mindset worked perfectly with my older boy: he was pee-trained in his early twos, and in his mid-to late-twos, adjusted to using the potty to the fullest.
My younger boy showed less interest in the potty. As he headed nearer to three with very little progress, I turned to the “potty boot camp,” as my friend Kristi puts it – a weekend at home in underpants, cleaning up messes, rewarding successes. And it worked. As far as peeing went. He didn’t poo all weekend. And when he couldn’t hold it any more, he cried, screamed, SOBBED for a pull-up. Fought me when I put him on the potty. Finally, worried about the condition of his insides, I gave in. This state of affairs has continued for a year. We recently sat down with him and he agreed that on his fourth birthday, he would stop the struggle, be a big boy, and use the potty to with gusto. This weekend he turned four. The first time I put him on the potty – can you guess how this goes? – He screamed. He sobbed. He wailed. “I don’t wanna be four, I don’t wanna be FOUR.” He physically fought to get off the potty. I stood firm. This repeated itself several times a day. For three days. And then, again concerned for the state of his intestines and whatever else is in there, I gave in. I changed a four year old’s poopy pull up. I suspect I’ll do it again. I am that mum.
The moral of this story: if you judge another mother, it will surely come back and bite you in the behind.
(Any and all suggestions gratefully accepted.)