Friday, September 09, 2016

Toddler Milestones

A few months ago, just as we'd left the house for a three day camping trip with friends, wee little Emma (age 2) announced that she was done with diapers. As in, right this second done with diapers.

Chris and I glanced skeptically at each other. Frankly, our eldest child, a kid who is fantastic in many ways, had been a bit of a potty-training nightmare and we were loathe to once again so suddenly jump into a process that had been plagued by lots and lots of excess laundry. Also, we were only a few weeks away from our giant Alaska road trip and figured that a babe in diapers would be easier to handle than a toddler that was in the very beginning stages of potty-training. Less mess, right? Especially when you don't have ready access to a washer and dryer.

Four hours later we arrived at the campsite with dry undies and only one semi-frantic attempt at finding a bathroom.

So far, so good.


She then promptly wet three pairs of pants in two hours. Eyeing our quickly disappearing stash of dry garments, we made the executive decision to revert our girlie back to her diaper-wearing existence for the duration of the camping weekend.

Under extreme duress, she grudgingly accepted the mandate.

But once back home decided that she was, indeed, ready to discard the diapers in favor of undies and the thrill of using her personal potty. It helped that we gathered at the bathroom door to give her a standing ovation (Ben being the most enthusiastic of the cheering committee members) and she basked in the thrill of her newfound accomplishments.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was the most painless potty training experience I could have ever imagined. Emma pretty much did everything all by herself and we followed along in her wake, not quite believing it was real. Not only did she shed daytime diapers, but the night time ones as well. We didn't do cloth diapers with either kid and I've always felt guilty about the amount of human poo we sent off to the landfill every week. So being a diaper-free household has been lovely.

At the very least, the whole process has reminded me how different two siblings, both raised essentially the same way, by the same parents, and with the same surroundings, can take so drastically different approaches to mastering skills and developmental milestones.

For us personally, we've especially noticed different projectories in socialization, gross motor skills, and language development. But it's also given me confidence not to push too hard, trusting that in most cases they'll eventually grasp the necessary concepts on their own timelines.

As I type this, Emma is boycotting bedtime, instead choosing to climb her wall-mounted bookshelf like a ladder, demonstrating that she too, is developing just fine in the gross motor skills department.

Each of our children is a force of nature, in their own wild and unique way. Let's appreciate their distinctive approaches to learning and growing. Especially if it means fewer dirty diapers.