People are always telling me that Isaiah needs to start doing this or that at such and such an age. “If he knows he needs a clean diaper, he should be potty trained.” “If he’s old enough to ask for it, he’s old enough to wean.” “He really ought to be sleeping through the night and in his own bed by a year old.” I’ve heard all these and more. I used to worry immensely that I was doing something wrong when he didn’t start sleeping through the night by a year old (still not sleeping through the night at fifteen months). I also tended to feel a need to defend my choice to allow (and encourage!) our breastfeeding relationship passed a year and hopefully for a lot longer.
Recently, I realized something, though. It’s not about what someone else thinks I or Isaiah should or should not be doing. It’s about what’s best for Isaiah and what works for us. If that’s continuing to respond to him during night wakings at fifteen months, so be it.
I’ve learned something valuable in my (short) time as a mama. It’s pretty simple, really, and you’d think it would be obvious, but with all the advice flying, it’s not. If I wait until Isaiah is ready for something, it goes so much more smoothly than if I try to force it on him before he’s ready.
Recently, Isaiah has started doing some new things. A couple weeks ago, my little boy moved into his very own toddler bed. He loves it! He spends the first half of the night in his bed, sometimes more. The first few nights, he only stayed in his bed for about an hour. Now, he goes to sleep by ten and stays there until about four, when he calls for me to get him. The other times I’ve tried to move him to his own space, it’s been horrible. He screamed and fought and it would be even harder to get him to sleep, even after I took him to my own bed. Now, he hardly even protests! If he thinks he’s not tired yet, he’ll complain a little on the way to his bed, but once he’s there, he lies quietly until he falls asleep. At this point, I sit by his bed and play a game on my iPod until he falls asleep. Eventually, he’ll be ready for me to leave while he’s still awake, but I’m not pushing it.
There are some things that I’m still not in any rush to do with Isaiah yet. I’ve been told many times, that if he knows he needs his diaper changed, he should be using the potty instead. (He actually comes and lies down on the floor with his feet up to be changed when he’s super wet or poopy.) He still isn’t very interested in the potty, though. I haven’t purchased a training potty and he’s somewhat intimidated by the full sized one. He knows that the grown ups sit on it, but he doesn’t want to try. That’s ok. For now, I’m happy that he lets me know when he needs a change. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t know that he’s going, he just notices when his diaper feels icky.
From this point on, when someone says “You mean he’s not doing __ yet? He should have done that ages ago!” I’ll simply shrug and say “When he’s ready, he will.” Because I know, when he’s ready, he most definitely will. And he’ll do whatever it is with great enthusiasm and adjust to it quickly. It’s just so much easier to handle things that way than to have a battle about it now, only to have to teach it again next month!