Thursday, February 5, 2009

Adventures in Parenting

We are all very different people so it should come as no surprise that we're all very different parents as well. I tend to spend more time with my friends who parent their kids in a similar fashion but this is not always the case. And I know that I'm not "right" and they're not "wrong" for how they do things. Each decision is unique to a family and to the individual child. I've really taken note of how differently people do things from each other so just thought I'd share some of the extremes I've seen and you'll see that usually, I fall more or less in the middle. I sometimes wonder if we're all in a struggle for our kids to either stay babies for too long or to let them grow up too fast. I had a really hard time nearing Olive's first birthday (my baby wasn't a baby anymore!) but since then, have had so much fun with every new thing that I am always excited for the next step.

I know the AAP recommends doing this for the first 12 months. I think this gives a lot of moms a lot of guilt. Some just have a really hard time with it, either physically or emotionally or logistically (pumping constantly at work can be a drag). I know of people nursing their toddlers and the other day even heard a story about a woman nursing a 9 year old boy. NINE! To me, that's just gross. But that's just my opinion. We did it for 6 months with nighttime feedings until about 8 months. But Olive was done and so was I. She lost interest and was too distracted and not eating and hence my body responded by not producing anything. But I feel that was a reasonable amount of time.

Drinking from a bottle:
I've seen many kids do this well past 2, some even to 2.5 or older. For me, I was so sick of cleaning bottles and dealing with the pain of them that they were completely done by 13 months.

Transitioning to a toddler bed:
I've seen or heard just about everything in this category. I know some people who move their kids out of the crib at 12 months, others who leave the kids in there until they're 4. For this, we didn't have a choice. At 17 months, Olive (ever the gymnast) began climbing out of her crib. Unfortunately the bed rails were on back order so we didn't get to transition her until about 21 months or so. This has been both a blessing and a curse.

Potty Training:
I know some lucky families who had their kids 100% trained by 17 months but others who are struggling to be trained before starting kindergarten. Olive became officially "trained" a few weeks ago, around 28 months (though we are still wearing diapers for sleeping).

Ok, here's one where I feel like I've fallen behind. We still let Olive have a pacifier (she calls it a "nino" - the Polish word for it) for sleeping. In my opinion, she's much too old for it but I wanted to potty train first and ditch the ninos later. I know some kids still suck on these things until kindergarten (yikes) but I told her it had to be gone before baby #2 comes along. She has even bought new ninos for the baby in an effort to associate pacifiers with babies and not with big girls. I should have taken it away at about a year, when she showed little interest, but I didn't, and now I'm paying for it!

Baby Food:
This was another convenience thing for me. I wanted Olive to eat table food vs. baby food because it was just easier. She didn't complain. She only ever wanted what we were eating anyways but I know some kids who continue to eat baby food until they're 2 or 3.

I could go on and on but these are just some of the things that baffle me sometimes (in particular, the extremes where I feel like sometimes people aren't letting their kids grow up). But I am not judging...I know every family and every situation is different. This is just what has worked for us. Our next one may be totally different. I may be eating these words a year from now ;)

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