The past few weeks we’ve dabbled with and gone full into potty training mode with Olivia. It’s earlier than I expected as I had no desire to begin to tackle this behemoth of a milestone with a girl who is the very definition of stubborn. With AJR he was almost three and it was time to do it. I hunkered down with a 3-day bootcamp and began preparing for battle: 1. A hundred pairs of Cars-themed underwear? Check! 2. Rewards upon endless rewards? Check! 3. Wine for Mommy? DOUBLE CHECK.
For three days I held him hostage indoors and watched him like a hawk after forcing him to drink insane amounts of liquid. He did well. In retrospect he did amazingly well. But the whole experience left me stressed out, as I discussed at the time.
I knew that Olivia would not succumb to any sort of bootcamp-style training, which is why I showed zero eagerness to initiate the process. Nay, my girl with a stubborn-streak so stubborn that she literally answers “No!” to any question I ask before I can finish the question simply because she doesn’t want to be compliant would not take to it. Instead I decided to wait and see when she would essentially give me signs so clear that I would have no choice but to start training her. Lo and behold, Olivia decided that two days before we left for vacation was the perfect time to begin her foray into potty training. Maybe it was the allure of the Trolls underwear we spied at Target or the whispers of endless streams of M&Ms, but she was literally telling me she wanted to go on the potty. So I went with it. My husband looked at me like I was crazy as the timing was not the best but press on we must lest we miss our window and send her off to college one day in diapers.
I let her wear underwear around the house and slapped that butt up in a diaper when we went outdoors. I was all sorts of mixed messages with her but I couldn’t fathom the idea of keeping us indoors for three consecutive days either. Whereas I literally stalked AJR around the house saying “Let me know when you have to go potty. Are you dry?” a thousand times per minute, I occasionally ask Olivia if she’s dry or needs to go. The result, we’ve had a fair share of accidents and I prided myself in remaining relatively unfazed by it. Now if AJR had an accident during the process it was complete and utter devastation on my part masked by the false cheer of me saying “Oh it’s okay! We’ll make it to the potty next time!”
Would I say Olivia’s completely trained? No. Yesterday I picked her up from school and she had an accident of such torrential proportions that she was unable to wear her urine-soaked shoes. I didn’t even think to bring back-up shoes, so we had to do a walk of potty training shame down the hallway in socks. However, we’re not not trained and after a week in underwear I am not looking back. Regardless of how many times she pees her pants, the door on my Amazon Subscribe and Save diapers order is closed.
Even though I’m still in a silent panic anytime I take Olivia out in public, I know that shortly we will be over the training hump and we’ll officially be a diaper- free household. A thought that I’m thrilled about. While potty training has thus far proved less stressful than before (mostly because I’ve learned to CTFD) I’m relieved I’ll never have to do it again.
That got me thinking about all the other milestones I’ll never have to go through again since our kids insist on growing up. As always, the good moments and sweetness of babies outweighs any of the bad you go through, but there is no love lost in never having to deal with these five things ever again:
- Lack of head support: Newborn babies are squishy and snuggly, but their inability to hold up their own head makes for a nerve-wracking few months. I can’t tell you how many times I inadvertently gave the kids whiplash when I tried to lift them from a swing or rock n play.
- Sleep training: Not every parent is into this method to which I say, that’s totally fine. However we did sleep-train both kids and I maintain it was one of the best things we did in the long-run, but man did it totally blow in the short-term. we did but man did it suck. It’s goes against your parental instincts to sit and do nothing while your child cries. It’s a lot of watching a timer, pounding wine, and trying to convince yourself that you are doing what’s best for everyone involved. Eventually they learn how to self-soothe and you’re feeling good about things until – insert one of the following – teething, sleep regression, developmental milestone, just to screw with you – happens and you’re back to square one. If you decide to sleep train, you’re basically doing some variation of it for the first year of your baby’s life. Good times!
- Introducing Solid Foods: With your first kid you cannot wait to introduce food. I remember documenting each new food AJR ate with at least 100 photos. I also made every puree from scratch and delighted in the faces he would make with each new taste. Call it another symptom of Second Child Syndrome but I sort of dreaded it with Olivia. Well, I secretly hoped that food would help her to sleep better but I was dreading the prep and the time it took to encourage a baby to eat. With your first kid, 45 minutes to eat three ounces of food is no problem. It’s painstakingly adorable! This time around an active two-year old who had no interest in helping out with his littler sister meant that there would be no leisurely dining experiences. I wouldn’t say that we did baby-led-weaning so much as we did mommy-is-tired-led weaning. Either way I was throwing whole muffins, blueberries, and New York Strip steaks at Olivia and ending the meal with a store-bought food pouch that I taught her to suck right out of the package. Babies eating food is adorable, but I much prefer the autonomy that comes with an older kid that can shove food into their own mouthes, but decides not to do it because snacks.
- Teething: My God when does it ever end? From three months on, babies are in a constant state of “Oh I think he/she is teething”. There’s drool, clinginess, whining, sleeplessness and it all gets blamed on teeth that you think are on the edge of popping through but don’t ever break the skin until six months from what you originally thought. Then overnight it’s like your kid has a full set of teeth and you can finally stop Googling “how many nights in a row can I give my kid Motrin?” Then, just when you think you’re in the clear, the dreaded two-year molars make their appearance (or not) and disrupt the sleep you sort of finally were getting. We are two molars away from both kids having a full set of teeth and I couldn’t be happier about it.
- Sleeping through the night: or more importantly, waiting until you can say your baby is officially sleeping through the night*. There will always be that one mom in the online forums whose five-week old baby is sleeping 7pm to 7am and will ask you whether you’ve tried swaddling and white noise in response to your post about how to get your baby to go longer than 90 minutes without waking. Avoid those people. This is probably the most painful thing on the list because lack of sleeps affects everything else in your life. You’re beyond exhausted, emotionally depleted, and it literally becomes the only thing you can think/talk about. So to the people that became my friend during the first year of Olivia’s life, I thank you for sticking with me and realizing one day I may have more interesting things to talk about.
Are there any others that I may have missed? What was one of the more painful things about rearing a newborn/young toddler that you’re happy to never do again?
*sleeping through the night is a myth. A dangerous myth fueled by hope and exhaustion of parents achieving an impossible goal. Your child will wake up for various reasons: need to be tucked back in, go to the bathroom, cure their crippling dehydration, and ask you whether you think butterflies have butts. Multiple these opportunities for waking against the number of children you have