Monday, April 12, 2010

Ready or not.

This is the end of an era. No more bottles! And nipples. And the numerous miscellaneous parts that accompany these bottles. Good riddance to our nightly bottle cleaning regimen, and hello to all that extra time I can now use to write about this extra time I have.

Little Miss went from bottle to sippy cup with no problems. I still find it incredulous. One day she was drinking milk from the bottle and the next, she wasn't. If only everything had been or would be this easy. But it probably went without a hitch because she was ready for it.

Lately, she's been exhibiting signs of "potty readiness", letting us know that she has gone in her diapers, and even going as far as placing the wipes and diaper changing pad on the floor and laying on it, waiting to be changed. Seems like a pretty good sign, most would say, but she's only 17 months and has never removed her own pants. It just doesn't seem like she's ready - but more than that, I am not.

It's not about my inability to let go or my fear of losing my daughter's reliance on me (believe me, my fear is that she will still need me at 18 years). At this point of their lives, children go through so many stages of development - nursing/weaning, eating/not eating, sleeping/not sleeping, crawling/walking, talking/tantruming - that we can hardly savor one stage before we're told to move on to the next. As new parents, what do we know, other than what "the experts" say? And so we scramble blindly with the books and gadgetry to help us navigate to the next level.

With each mastery of a new skill comes the next stage of life, so one day I have an infant who can barely hold her own head in my hands and the next, I have a curious toddler who understands me when I say "Please don't drink out of the dog's water bowl with your spoon; use the cup - it's way more efficient." Well, maybe she didn't understand the rationale at the end, but she did use the cup. Kids are gross, why fight it? I'd rather focus my energy on planting seeds of common sense that they can later sow - when they're ready.

Often parents are thrilled, and they want to share (ahem, brag) about what their kids can do or say, but I just want my little girl to slow down. No, she doesn't know her times table or the difference between a leopard and a jaguar (frankly, I don't either) but it still feels like she is 17 months going on 24. The next thing I know, she'll be asking to spend a week at Science Camp (with nerd parents, do you really think she will end up anywhere cool?) or worse, borrow my clothes!

In the end, I suppose she will do whatever she is up for, whether I like it or not, but now that what I say still goes, I'm going with no on the potty training. I'm just not ready for the weeks or months of frustration that may ensue just because some expert, who doesn't know my daughter, thinks her signs point to her ability to whiz (pardon the pun) past this phase. Besides, she may know how to sit on the little blue potty (as practice, with her diapers on) as she's doing the deed, but she also puts the potty to her mouth and pretends to drink from it when she's done.

Yeah, methinks she is not ready.