Transitions: Giving it up

As if there’s not enough pressure on parents already, I love the one the peds lay into us on when it’s time for our little ones to “give it up.” I’m talking about nursing, taking a bottle, using a pacifier, rocking our kids to sleep, letting them suck their thumb, drinking milk from a sippy instead of a cup. I could go on. Apparently for every habit our babies have, we have a timeline on when they’re expected (or we're forced) to give it up before the habit turns bad.

I find this to be crazy. They are babies! To take a baby’s bottle away at 12 months is ridiculous. Then to listen to them cry and fuss over something that is a comfort for them. But they are too little to explain that to you or really say anything about it. If your toddler is still nursing and you don’t mind, why should anyone else tell you it’s time to give it up.

Children need their comforts too. If someone took away my morning coffee, I’d be pretty pissed. I even have a certain cup I need it in. My pillow I sleep on needs to be replaced because it’s old, but I love it. And don’t even get me started on the teddy bear that I still have in my bed. Thank God my husband agreed to let it be part of our marriage. Yes, I too still have my own lovey.

So here were my kid’s bad habits and how it came to be that they finally went away.

Bottles: Alex took a bottle until 17 months. I had a new baby in the house, 2 international moves, 1 temporary living situation. I wasn’t about to give up the bottle…the one constant thing he had. Did I tell the peds he was still taking one? Hell, no. I knew when the time was right it would go. I switched a book on him one night and he was fine with it. Anna took a bottle until her second birthday. Why? I was too lazy to talk her out of it. It was much easier to explain “bye bye bottle” to a two-year old.

Swaddling: Anna was swaddled, I kid you not, until she was 16 months old. It was in the same blanket every night. She wouldn’t sleep unless I did it. Then one night she just wiggled out of it and shook her head 'no.'

Thumb sucking: Alex is 3 ½ and we’re still battling this. His teeth are sticking out and the dentist told me I had until 4 or 5 until I had to intervene. We’ll see how that goes.

Cribs: Alex slept in his crib until a month after his second birthday when he told me he wanted a big boy bed. Done. It was purchased. We made the transition. Never an issue. Anna still sleeps in one because she would wander around and not sleep. I’m convinced for many kids that the absence of the crib means bye by to naptime.

Diapers: This is a tricky one. Both my kids showed signs for readiness at about the same points along the way. But I really think that for some kids, you need to be able to communicate with them a little better. I know in other countries where diapers are too expensive kids are potty trained at one. Or in China where they walk around without pants or whatever. But with Alex, I needed to be able to talk with him about it. With Anna, oh man, with Anna we just haven’t gotten anywhere without a giant tantrum and constipation. I figure when the time’s right we’ll get there.

Pacifiers: None of my kids took one as much as I tried to make them take one. But I would have treated this like the thumb sucking. If it’s a night and controlled a bit by the parent, then who cares until they’re 3 or so.

We all need our comforts in life.

1 comment:

purplemommy said...

I agree. When Owen was 9 months old another mother (with a child the same age) said "Oh, we gave up the pacifier MONTHS ago." I kind of thought "Well, it's not a competition. And for crying out loud he's not even a year old." He gave up the "binky" on his own at 15 months. I recently had to go on antibiotics and every doctor I saw said of my still once a day nursing child "Well, isn't it about time he stopped?"