This afternoon, as I was potentially burning ready-made chicken noodle soup, my three year started banging on the wall of his room. Like most okay-at -keeping-my-child-alive moms the brief thought of “do I want to know what he’s doing? Or do I want to feign deafness?” crossed my mind. Obviously my mommy senses kicked in, along with my need to prevent whatever reign of destruction was occurring.
I cautiously opened the door to the mayhem was transpiring. Deep brown eyes, with excruciatingly long
eyelashes framing them, looked at me and said “I went kaka mommy.” Which means, in grown up language,
“instead of pooping in the toilet like we’ve been working on I’ve decided my pants are a better place to shit.” Which is wonderful, but does not explain the banging on the wall.
It got me to thinking though, as I burn my tongue on the soup I am eating out of a coffee mug, that we place way too much emphasis on the milestones instead of enjoying the ride. I cannot tell you how many times I have been talking with fellow parents and the first thing that comes up is how excellent their kid is in x, y, and z.
Don’t get me wrong, it is freaking fabulous when kids do great. Having said this, as much as I love my somewhat smelly, and always sticky child, his accomplishments are not my own. The stuff my kid figures out are worthy of high fives and millions of kisses, but when we rush a kid’s process who are we doing it for? Are we doing it for the recognition that we are winning as parents or are we simply proud? I think the line can easily become blurred. It is effortless to break down moms into the rigid boxes of the “mom of the year” or the opposing “Dear Lord Cindy! Did you hear that little Charles is still in diapers at four? Bless his heart!”
When we give our kids the opportunity to flourish on their own time it makes for a much more peaceful environment. When I let my kid dictate if he is ready for his own milestones instead of forcing them, I lose so much less hair (you know, due to me ripping them out at the scalp in fits of frustration). Now, I know what you’re thinking as you read this. I obviously hold this opinion because my three year old prefers pooping in his pull-ups to potty training, and maybe you’re right. There is also the distinct possibility that my kid making this choice is a gift. It makes me acknowledge that everyone, even tiny humans, go at their own pace.
My soup also tastes distinctively of soap, which implies I did not thoroughly rinse out the metal bowl contraption before deciding to attempt cooking. I am obviously not the supreme winner in mommying or even life in general, but I have a well-loved and happy kid. There’s not much more I could ask for. Well, besides for me to figure out how to not destroy any meal I decide to make. Eh, one step at a time.