Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Mrs. Linklater's Shortcuts to Parenting

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Well white people in SUVs are at it again. They keep coming up with more and more creative ways to avoid parenting. Oh sure, they like the part about making the babies, but eeeewwwww get someone else to do this other stuff.  

They've already been phoning it in from airports and meetings for years, but now, according to People Magazine, the opiate of the Fluffer Nutter generation, they have started hiring companies to potty train their kids.

The fact that there are companies that can actually find work teaching toddlers where to put their poop is just another sign of the Apocalypse. Leave it to the Blackberry Babes in Hummers to be at the forefront of this latest epidemic of buckpassing. True to their business school backgrounds, they no doubt require the people they hire to keep a full accounting of every poop and peep in a notebook for review at the end of each day.  

As a member of this pasty faced demographic that regularly embarrasses itself just walking out the front door, I am surprised they haven't started hiring people to hug and kiss their children, too. Oh, wait, they have -- nannies.

But they've crossed a line with this whole hiring outside consultants to handle the potty training thing. Not only because sphincter control tops the to-do list of a entire generation of control freak, double-income throw money at it and make it go away Donald Trump wannabes, but because it is fast becoming an entire industry unto itself.

All you have to do is Google "potty training" and you'll discover page after page of methods of controlling your children's bodily functions.

From "How to get started, and dealing with resistance" to "motivating your child" to potty chairs, potty seats, portable potties, anatomically correct dolls created just for potty training, and the all important incentives, rewards, and stickers so necessary for success.

This is nuts.

Raising kids could be a lot more fun if there weren't so many stupid rules about how to do it.

What probably happened was some Irish American Princess with a MBA got a gander at the mustard colored cottage cheese stuff coming out of her new baby and realized that she wanted no part of it. Whoa, I don't do windows or poop.

That might explain why getting a child to control where and when things come out of its body begins to consume young mothers who would rather be shopping or reading a spreadsheet.

Their motto? The sooner, the better. Not to mention that they delegate the job to other people.

My first child was barely three months old when my mother in law began to tell me stories of children who had been toilet trained by twelve months. Since most toddlers are barely walking by then, it always sounded like the kid had mom trained to hang its butt over the toilet. Not the other way around.

I spent one, count 'em, ONE day teaching my eighteen month old child how to use the toilet and I was cured of this illness.  Perhaps it was the size of the enormous poop I had to clean up when she didn't realize she wasn't wearing a diaper, who knows? But a voice inside me said, NOPE, not doing this.

So in a departure from my white girl who drives an SUV heritage of controlling any and all things all of the time, or hiring other people I could control to do all things all the time for me, I rebelled and refused to participate in these time honored traditions.

I just said no.

And I didn't "potty train" either one of my children.

That's right. I didn't buy a potty seat. I didn't spend one minute sitting them on it and praising their poops and peeps. I didn't sing songs or award gold stars or bribe them with cookies or drive myself to distraction when they weren't trained overnight.

I simply remembered that these were human children, not chimpanzees or dogs. I waited until they could climb on the toilet seat themselves and ask me to teach them. Even then they went at their own pace. 

Learning to use the toilet was their decision not mine. They started asking at around two and a half. And finished when they were three. 

That philosophy carried over to using bottles, paciifiers, thumbs, all the accoutrements of baby and toddlerhood that parents feel the need to control. I gave control to my children.

I think parents are convinced their children will be sucking pacifiers and wearing diapers to college unless they intervene. Give it a rest.

My older child had a pacifier from the day she got home from the hospital.  I gave it to her all the time.  At three months, I watched her pull it out of her mouth when she went down for a nap and she never used it again. Three months old and she made a decision that I respected. Even more importantly, I never forced her to take it just to keep me happy.  

My younger daughter was a thumb sucker. She liked to watch Sesame Street but only if I was holding her while she sucked her thumb and twirled her hair.  I couldn't use TV as a babysitter for her. She wouldn't watch unless I held her. At the time that was an hour I wanted to use to clean the house. In retrospect the time was much better spent with her. I also remember wondering how long she would want to suck her thumb.

One evening when she was five or six, she announced to me that she wasn't going to suck her thumb anymore. My ex, her father, was pressuring her during their semi-annual visits, but I said that quitting was her decision, because it was HER thumb. Besides, the only time she sucked it was when she was falling asleep. The next morning she woke up and said, "Look my callous is going away." She was done in a day or two. Her decision.
Both girls nursed for almost a year and weaned to bottles when they wanted them. Then I let them tell me when they were finished with the bottles.  Both were five and a half. At that point I was only bringing them some juice or milk in the morning before they got out of bed. My younger daughter said to me one day, "Mommy get rid of the bottles." Her decision.  

Why do kids have to stop using pacifiers and sucking their thumbs on your schedule? Why do they have to be "trained" before they're ready? They are astute observers of behavior. They know what they like and don't like. When they want to learn something, they learn fast. When they've outgrown something they stop using it.  

When they can make their own decisions they have more confidence in themselves and their abilities.

Yeah, but a parent has to be willing to relinquish control.  


I don't think those potty training companies will be out of business anytime soon. One look in a Williams Sonoma parking lot and you can see there are still plenty of white people in SUVs to keep them  busy.  



queenbigo said...

That is Bull-pucky!  I take pride in being a parent that potty trained, not just my own three kids, but my niece as well.  I also taught them how to tie their shoes, brush their teeth and wipe their own butts.  Along with all the other things that parent's are supposed to teach children.  

robbush6 said...

Bed wetters, thumb suckers, picky eaters, sleep walkers. Why do we insist on labeling our children this way? It's a competition of the white Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn shopping, household employer SUV drivers. The kids don't care. They already know who they are. The question is, "Who are we?"

jevanslink said...

Gee, I wonder if I pushed a few buttons with this one.  Mrs. L

jckfrstross said...

I really love to read what you write thanks
I agree with you totally


ksquester said...

As a white woman who drives an SUV, living in a RED state, surrounded by people with BLACK hearts, I take pride in knowing that my divorced bipolar (medicated) son is raising three children with very little help from their mother. They too, let him know when they were ready. TODAY some grandparents play a very large role in raising their grandkids. I view that as a good thing, because I don't know any of us who would HIRE somebody to help them with their grandkids pooping! I can hardly wait to find out WHAT NEXT, with this group of people.   Anne

dcmeyer420 said...

You're the enlightened one, Mrs. L. This is a comical and logical entry. I can debate the other side of the coin but yours can't be topped so I am not even going to try... http://journals.aol.com/dcmeyer420/DearDiary/  

sunnyside46 said...

and whatever happened to just enjoying your kids? why do some parents use their kids to advance their owh egos,bragging on how well susie can go potty & tommy can babysign? Why have kids if you dont' want to be a parent?
I enjoyed your entry. I ,too, refuse to turn parenthood into a power struggle.

swibirun said...

Potty training other people's kids?  What a crappy job!  

Where do you come up with this stuff, Mrs. L?  


suzypwr said...

I am OK with people who want to hire someone to potty train their kids. It's a lot better than those who use the dunking in hot water method.


spunkyxmasangel said...

Okay.  My sister didn't just hire someone to potty train her kid.  She basically got someone else to RAISE HIM!  ME!  Anyway,I cannot believe how parents claim they want to spend "quality" time with their kid and then pass off the hard jobs to someone else.  I mean what's next?  How about someone to tell your kids about drugs and sex?  Don't parents have ANY resonsibility anymore? -Dawn-

judithheartsong said...

is that a stickshift on her toilet????? judi

judithheartsong said...

amen to all of this..................... we are scheduling our kids to death. judi

shaz19743 said...

The main point here is not when its done but that its done by the parents themselves and not some poor shmuck whos trained at "potty school " for a year learning all the complexitys of quilted or regular , candoo or kleenex ....if we cant even be bothered teach our own kids to wipe thier ass finding it easier to farm them out to a potty graduate what next ? Paying someone to wipe our own asses ?x

childebrand1968 said...

Oh good Lord!  

Next thing you know, they will be hiring people to have their kids for them....

I work at a daycare, where all the kids in my room have both parents around.  Aren't they lucky in that respect?  

Too bad most of our kids attend daycare full time, Monday-Friday, some 8-12 hours a day?  I hope 'parents' want our values impressioned upon their kids, because that is what they are going to get.  (The daycare is run by a church)

They play parent for an hour in the morning and maybe... MAYBE... 2 hours after daycare on weekdays (we close at 6pm) before kids go to bed (my kids are 15 months through 2 years).  And on weekends.  

And now this?  Why even have kids if you do not want to stay home and raise them?  Both parents do not need to work full time.  

Parents, familes.... all people can live without the extra commodities like brand new cars... or SUVs, excessive TV channels, $100,000+ homes, and all the other amenities we are programmed to 'need'.  Don't even get me started on cell phones.  Please.

This potty training business takes the (toilet bowl sanitizing) cake....


salemslot9 said...

I remember my Dad saying
make sure it's 2-ply
didn't know there was 1-ply
there is.

gaboatman said...

The SUV generation never ceases to amaze me.  And Yes, Mrs. L, I think you pushed a few buttons here.  I love it!

bluwave9 said...

In another five years, I'm sure the white people in SUV's will figure out a way to outsource this crap job as well.

jcgeorgiapeach said...

While I drive an SUV, I have to concur here.  Children are most certainly a lot more fun if we don't make them do what grownups think they should be doing and when.  My son was nearly four when he decided to stop dropping loads in his drawers and he's no worse for the wear.  ~Peachy  :)

robingrg2 said...

Mrs. L, You Rock!!!!  And CAT, you go girl!  BTW Cat, I read an article about a lady who hired a surrogate, not because she couldn't get pregnant, BUT because she didn't want to go through a pregnancy and mess up her figure.  Can you believe that?!?  Puhleeze!!!

yankeygr said...

Hi Mrs. L   That was just wonderful! You do have a way with words. I totally agree with you on this subject! It is really something the way some parents raise their children. Almost scary! Thanks for sharing that bit of wisdom, Rhonda

quroboros said...

My oh my, astute and hysterical!  An excellent rant.  You've got such keen powers of observation & quite a way of expressing yourself.  Something bothers me about this subject.. what happens with these Children of the Helpless Generation have their own kids?  I suppose they'll have parenting subcontractors by then so people can just watch from afar as someone else raises little Tifanny & Dustin for them.    ¤Holly