Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lessons in laissez-faire

If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may have gathered that I am a pretty relaxed parent, or at least I try to be. I don't think there is any use getting worked up over whether kids can recite the alphabet at 18 months old or kick ass at soccer before kindergarten or start a successful dot-com while they're still in high school. Or, for that matter, whether anyone runs in the house or jumps on the furniture or eats crumbs off the floor or lets the dog lick their fingers. Yes, we have rules and we do enforce them but I try to maintain a "don't sweat the small stuff" attitude.

But. All of a sudden Opie is 3 and I feel like I'm being followed by some kind of huge, menacing, loudly ticking clock. He is neither potty-trained nor at all interested in giving up his pacifier. While he was 2 I just thought to myself "Well, he's only 2." Now that he's been 3 for all of 11 days I am totally doubting myself and my "he'll do it when he's ready" attitude.

He started in a new room at his child care center this week and between that and the birthday hangover, he has not taken a nap since a week ago Sunday. Reason to cut him some slack, or total rationalization?

The rule is that Nuks are for sleepy time only but he begs for it the minute we walk in the door in the afternoon. He'll even say "I just want it for one minute" or "I am going to take a little rest so I neeeeeeeed my Nuk." (Hah! There is no way I am falling for that, dude.) I am starting to think that a few days of cold-turkey misery might be better than spending hours every day trying to distract him via snacks, water, play time, walks, etc.

Similarly, the potty ... he kind of, sort of knows what to do and when to do it but not with any consistency at all, and he does not want to wear the cool Thomas the Tank Engine underwear his Grammy got him or even the Lightning McQueen Pull-Ups we stock by the dozens. He is not really motivated by rewards (like Jo is) so I am a little stumped. The last thing I want is a potty power struggle, but again ... am I being a gentle, attentive parent or a lazy loser?

So help me, the other day I started to wonder whether I could tackle one or both of these issues (and/or Jo's thumbsucking) if I promised them a kitten. Somebody stop me!


justmylife said...

Cold turkey is hard but sometimes the best way to do away with the paci. Potty training is a different story, cold turkey on diapers just gets you a lot of messes to clean up. Thumbsucking, my granddaddy put hot pepper juice on my cousin's thumb, it worked but seemed drastic to me, of course he was 8. I should be better than this, I have 3, ages 8 to 22, but I guess I have forgot the tricks. Good Luck!!!!!

Magpie said...

My kid very nearly self-trained when she changed rooms at daycare. Maybe that'll happen for you? I swear it was peer pressure.

He won't go to high school in diapers. You know that. It'll happen.

Suzanne said...

Oh, I feel for you. I was in the same position with my daughter when she turned 3. The Binky issue was solved for us when we lost the one remaining Binky at a hotel and she had to go cold turkey. Unpleasant but effective!

The potty issue was much more protracted; I could have merely been standing on my head and whistling Dixie for all the good my efforts did. What worked was just waiting for her to be ready. Frustrating as heck, that was.

Good luck!

Heather said...

My son had a paci (ginkie he called it) until he threw it at me in a fit. I gave it back to him and told him if he threw it again it would be gone. He did. It went bye-bye. He knew he did it so it was surprisingly effective.

The potty? Ugh. Don't ask.

mothergoosemouse said...

I have no Nuk experience, but I think you're on the right track re the potty. No point engaging in a power struggle where the loser ends up scrubbing the floor.

Oh, and running in the house is encouraged here, as you know.

Anonymous said...

Neither of mine really got that attached to the binky.
Now Will, however is going through SERIOUS bottle withdrawal.

I am definately a "lazyMom" when it comes to this. He doesn't do so well on the whole self-soothe thing when he's getting ready for bed. He happily takes a bath, & gets all jammied up, but as soon as I zip those footies up, he's looking at me with the cutest little look in his eyes, "Bobbie??"
How can I say No? The way I see is this, I've never seen a kid go to kindegarten with a bottle of milk in his backpack, so he'll give it up eventually.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

We let my son have his 'nuk' until the day after his 4th birthday. Then we went cold turkey. It was AWFUL. It was like watching a person go through withdrawal. He was twitchy and mean-spirited -- for a week. And then he was over it. So I'd say, if it's driving you crazy, take it away now. It's either now or later, and if you do it now then you'll be driven crazy for a shorter period...

And don't worry about the potty. He'll get there.

Kirsetin said...

Forget the kitten! You must be feeling quite desperate. I found that cold turkey with the potty was the way to go. We really made no big deal about it, my boys had a few accidents, and that was it. Maybe go with his birthday, as in, "When you're 4, you get to use the potty all of the time and throw your diapers/pull ups/whatever in the trash." Let him pick out some new underwear & go for it--even at NIGHT. You may change a few sheets, but hey, do you really think you're ever going to sleep all night again? And magpie is right: he definitely won't go to high school in diapers. But wouldn't that be funny? (Not if it's your child, or mine, of course!)

Tree said...

Does "big boy" talk work in any way? Is there an older child (besides sis) he idolizes? That would be one solution for the binky.

Potty training - I keep hearing boys are much more difficult than girls. My ds was just past 3 when he finally seemed to get it. I think that is the one you do not want to fight. I might choose to fight the binky fight - dental issues as the reason.

Good luck. I need to embrace the "don't sweat the small stuff" attitude much more.

Kimberly said...

Potty training my first daughter was really tough. She simply refused to use the potty no matter how many bribes I offered up (candy, toys, ice cream sundaes, etc.) Finally, I just gave up. Then she went to preschool where every other child in her 3-year-old classroom was potty trained and something just clicked I guess. A couple of weeks later, she went down the hall, removed her diaper, used the potty and never looked back.

As for the paci, I went cold turkey with both kids (one was 3.5 and the other was just shy of 2). I think it's the only way to go. The 3.5 fussed very minimally (I gave her a new doll in exchange). The 2 year old fussed a bit, but honestly, by the next day it was fine.

That said, I'm not sure I'd do both at once. Maybe get rid of the paci first since you have more control over that anyway. Good luck!

Mandy said...

My son is three years two months. Perfectly pee trained. Not one poop in the potty. We've tried everything. And right now, we're just giving it a rest. Not much else we can do as three year olds are bound to win the power struggle wars.

I'm just looking forward to the year 16 when we're fighting over the keys to my car. Potty training will seem like such a joke then1

Jerri said...

My second born child is 3 and a half. He refused to use the potty. He knows the drill, but he is in no way interested. We own a daycare, every kid in his class and several much younger than him are potty trained. When his class goes to the potty, he stands outside the bathroom (because he refuses to even go in the bathroom) with his arms crossed. He is NOT using the potty. He says he is wearing pull-ups until he is big as his daddy. That's all well and good but I am not changing them in kindergarten. Speaking of changing them, he does it himself. If he is poopy, we do it, otherwise he changes his own pull-ups. How sad is that? The kid goes into complete spasms though if you try to force him to use the potty.

We've tried making him wear underwear and making him wear them wet when he refuses to potty. He doesn't care, he just keeps wetting them over and over and over again. There is nothing medically wrong with him, he is just freakin' stubborn.

My first born took a paci until he was almost 3 and 3/4...whatever. His teeth were starting to show signs of protruding and so we told him, 3 more nights and we throw it away, 2 more, 1 more and then we tossed it. He never looked back. He had already been taking it only for nights and naps though.

So, continue you in your relaxed ways, if we go to kindergarten in pull-ups, I'll be sure to let the world know.

Ramblin' Red said...

We're very laissez-faire here as well, but wonder of wonders my son was not a paci-hanger-on-er AND was a self-potty trainer! Totally threw me for a loop since I figured he would have a harder time with both. My daughter on the other hand, had to go cold turkey with the paci, and potty training was a nightmare (now, though we see with hindsight that was complicated with sensory integration dysfunction).

Here's hoping that it all works out, and soon.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

You sound like me--I am uber-relaxed too. I have an almost-3 year old and he's just NOT READY for potty training yet. And he and his older brother (almost 4) still suck their thumbs.

When they're ready, they're ready. That's my motto. No kindergartner ever goes to school in diapers, right???

Lady M said...

Ok, we're living the same life here - Q still has one last pacifier (known as "pup") and isn't really potty trained. Sigh. Stickers are insufficient motivation. Either are M&Ms. Maybe we can convince him that rock stars and drummers don't wear diapers!