|Z's first night in his own bed|
Is it time to stop nursing?
Is it time for him to have his own bed?
Is it time to get that kid out of diapers?
These were the top three most tiresome questions I heard when Z was younger. Believe me, I heard them plenty of times. I am sure I will get them with Bodhi too.
My answer was always, "When it's time."
Our children always tell us when it's time. We just have to listen and watch.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging but force doesn't work. It's counter-intuitive.
Of course there are times when parents have to stop things that are dangerous or harmful, but not with natural processes. At least not for me.
He slowly stopped nursing when I was pregnant, even while co-sleeping. He was two years, four months old and I was four months pregnant when he nursed himself to sleep for the last time. I secretly hoped he would so that Bodhi would get that special bond, time, and milk to himself. But, I never pushed it. I would offer milk sometimes, but never denied him his precious boob. He did it on his own, when he was ready.
He moved into his bed a week before Bodhi was born. I have to admit, at nine months pregnant I was getting uncomfortable, but that can be life with children I figured. We set up his bed about a month and a half before Bodhi was due. We talked about it, read books about it, let him pick out the cool comforter and pillows, and gently reminded him his bed was there. One night after brushing his teeth he looked at me and said, "I'm going to bed." He marched into his bed. I said not a word. I asked him what stories he wanted to read. I and read to him, and kissed him goodnight, he fell asleep while I was reading and I quietly slipped away. He called out a few times that night, we went to him and comforted him, but remained in his bed until morning, all on his own. It's been that way ever since. He did it when he was ready.
A year ago I bought one of those little dude potties and a cushioned seat cover. I was hopeful not to have two kids in diapers. He wasn't too interested. Sure he used it a few times sporadically but all in all was just fine with his diapers. I let him go naked around the house and he would use the potty then, but if I put underwear on him, he ended up drenched along with whatever he sat on. He finally went longer and longer in underwear but wasn't quite ready. I gave Pull-ups a shot. It was the same as a diaper. I noticed that sometimes he would tell me he had to go. I thought maybe I should put him in underwear but it annoyed him. My Mom and his pediatrician agreed that if he was ready I should put him into underwear. I took him to the store a few weeks ago and had him pick out his underwear, bought a few extra pairs of pants, and one day said, "You are big and you know when to potty. We are going to wear underwear during the day now. It's OK if you have an accident. If you have to go just tell me and no matter what I will help you go." He seemed eager so I knew it would work. Four days later he was accident free. It happened when he was ready.
He teaches me so much about how to let things happen when they are ready to happen. You can't push the river.
I do my best as a parent to watch for the signals. Things always change and I have to be willing to pay attention and let them change in their own time with love and encouragement.
It will happen. They will let us know when it's time if we keep our eyes open.
(Of course, every family is different and does what is right for them, this is just how we roll.)