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Monday, August 26, 2013

Just don't judge people, okay?

I think it's safe to say that (at least for right now) we are officially entering the potty training stage. It's not because I think it's time or that it's a good idea, but a certain little strong-willed redhead has decided that she wants to wear big girl panties whenever we're at home. For the most part, she's done well this past week. She loves wearing her new unders and feels like a big kid. I'm excited for her and excited to see her working on something that I have not been too sure about her being able to do yet.

Ever since Raya hit about 2 1/2 (aka the magical age by which you should have your child potty trained according to the general public), I have had a hard time with the fact that I knew potty training was not going to happen for a while. It wasn't really something I discussed with people for several reasons. I felt a little self conscious about it and didn't think most people would understand the reasons we weren't doing it. It was frustrating for me to know that it didn't matter how much I may have wanted her to potty train, it just was not going to happen for a while and still won't happen 100% for a while to come.

One of the biggest reasons I didn't talk much about potty training & why we weren't doing it (and then subsequently did start talking about it) was because of the judgment I have felt over it. Most of it has come from well-meaning people close to us, who I'm sure have had good reasons for their feelings. (and that doesn't include "well MY kids were all potty trained at the age of 2) Then there are the strangers who happen upon us in public restrooms while I'm changing a rather large and well-spoken toddler's diaper and get knocked over by the strange funk of Neocate poop, or the medical paraprofessionals who have asked questions about potty training and made it clear what they thought of the matter without needing to put it in words. People judge. That's just human nature. Whoever it is and whatever the reasons, judging people is not fair.

Ideally, I would have loved to have Raya out of diapers within a "normal" time frame. Who wants to be changing a kid's diaper when they're old enough to tell you that you missed a spot. Of course I would have also loved for her to have been able to eat like a "normal" kid from the beginning and skip this whole feeding tube business, but that didn't happen and neither has the potty training yet. For her, potty training is not that simple. Without getting graphic, we'll just say that a liquid diet makes for liquid stool and leave it at that. When you factor in using the feeding pump to get 100% of the recommended daily amount of calories and fluids in, with a large portion of that being after she's gone to sleep at night, and then add on top of that the fact that many of her food allergies involve diarrhea as a reaction (delayed reaction that lasts a few days...), what you get is not very conducive to potty training. She's still not always aware of when she needs to go or when she has already gone either. Not only that, but this is a child who decided at the age of 2 months that eating hurt and she was not going to do it anymore, and did not start eating again until she was good and ready and it was her own idea. That has been her life's motto. Forcing something on a child who has had the life experiences that she has had does not play out well. Not only that, but why force her when we know it's going to be more difficult for her than it is for most kids, and why force her when all it's going to do is create more negative experiences that we would be inflicting on her?

I don't know if I'm explaining this effectively and maybe it really is something that can only be understood by people who have been through similar circumstances, but here's my point in sharing this example. Just don't judge people. No matter how qualified you think you are to pass judgment on someone else, just don't. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but keep them to yourself unless that person asks you to share. It goes for any aspect of parenting. We all make parenting decisions and we all face the consequences of those decisions, whether positive or negative. (of course it goes without saying that some situations do warrant butting in, like anything where the child's safety or life is in jeopardy) Just because you did something a certain way and it worked for you, that does not make it right for everybody else in the world and it doesn't make someone else less of a mother if they don't do it the way you did it. When it comes to things like potty training, pacifiers, taking bottles to bed, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, formula feeding, tube feeding, being careful about exposure to allergens, or anything of the sort, just let the parent be the parent. If you're a friend or family member, be supportive, not judgmental. If you don't understand why they're doing something a certain way, ask with the attitude of wanting to understand their viewpoint. If you can't do that, then just don't say anything at all. This special needs parenting stuff is hard enough without added pressure & judgment from other people.


2 comments:

  1. OKAY! :) When they're ready they are ready, but when they aren't, you can't force them to be or it will be a negative experience! Potty training is a sensitive subject when we feel like we don't fit in with the "general public." You don't have to explain your self to them, be confident in your parenting!

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  2. We are in the same boat. It makes me self-conscious too. Ian doesn't even mention he has gone sometimes and says poopies belong in pants. It's definitely a long process. I was once told that children/adults with upper GI and-or feeding issues often have lower GI issues. Plus, with the visceral hyperalgesia..... it's a whole new ballgame! You are NOT alone.

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