Other than What To Expect When You're Expecting, (which I really never found all that useful,) I'm not a huge proponent of books on parenting. Although, I did find a few real gems in the methods of Happiest Baby on the Block...but that's really not where I'm going...or trying to go with this post at least. Everyone has a theory. A magic pill that works in 'their house'. But most of us are still impatiently waiting for THE answer to some of the most epic quandaries in the parenting game. The ones that have mocked us all since the beginning of time. The Big Three. The ones that involve sleeping, eating, and pooping like a fully functioning member of the human race. But, that's just the thing about raising these little weirdos...as soon as you start to think that you've got it all figured out...BAM! They go and knee your "theory" right in the hypothetical nads once again....
I never...and I mean never ever ever thought I'd be "one of those parents" who was involved in "child-led" anything. I'm the mama. The boss lady. I wear the know-it-all pants. I always just assumed that I would follow all of the guidelines suggested by the AAP. I basically thought that those brainiacs would tell me when to start solid foods...when to take away the pacifier...and the bottle...and I thought that I would listen...and that Leo would listen...and that all would be wine and roses in our happy little house. I'm really nothing if not a naive dope most days.
This beautiful and mildly brilliant kid of mine was born with more brains and free will than I ever could have possibly bargained for. I know that it is my responsibility to do what's best for him. To do what is healthiest. I know that it is my job to mold this blob into the person that he's supposed to become one day. But, my little blob is not now, nor has he ever been merely a blob. Sometimes Blobert, the non-blob, actually already knows what's best for himself.
...and a hush fell over the crowd...
I'm not trying to go all Moonchild on your asses, so relax. I'm only saying that my kid is a bad ass at telling me when he's done with something. Which is totally freaking cool. If I'm actually awake enough to pay attention, he evolves and often weans himself from one milestone to the next...sometimes earlier, and sometimes later than all the folks in those long white coats recommend. I can't believe it, but I'm actually okay with this. The former Type A personality inside of me is dying a slow and painful death right now. Good riddance.
Leo loved his pacifier. LOVED it. He found it soothing, and it helped him fall asleep until he was six months old. One day he started spitting it out as soon as we put it in. This happened for a few more days. Finally, I put his binky on the shelf and held my breath. Know what happened? Nothing. He was done with it. Just like that.
Please know that I fully appreciate that not everyone is this lucky in the Almighty Binky Wars that I've witnessed waged in other households. I've seen little people bring the mother-lovin' noise in an effort to hold on to their beloved pacifier. I feel beyond thankful that I won't have to go to the mattresses on this one, believe you, me.
Leo will be two in May. Until recently, he laughed in the face of sippy cups everywhere when it came to his milk. Bottles are for milk, silly Mommy. My forty-hour work weeks keep mommy-guilt alive and kicking inside of me, no matter how hard I try to beat it down. There are some fights that I'm almost always willing to save for "another day". This was definitely one of them. But a few weeks ago
As my worry slowly receded, we realized something. There was a silver lining to this gigantic mess. Leo wasn't asking for bottles anymore. He wanted everything from a cup. Holy crapsicles! He had banged the gavel again on his own behalf. And who are we to mess with that? Cue the angels again!
I think I finally get it now. Sometimes my kid just knows when he's ready, and when he's not, for the next big thing. Soon we'll face new hurdles with a "Big Boy Bed" and the infamously dreaded antics involved in potty-training. I am committed to continuing to do my best to follow his lead.
Some people will insist on labeling this as child-led weaning...or a take on attachment parenting of sorts. I honestly don't care what you call it.
I call it letting him be the captain of his tiny own vessel...within reason. When he is physically and emotionally ready to make a change, he's been pretty good at letting us know so far...loud and clear. He's building trust with me. I don't want to wreck that by insisting that he do something before he's good and ready to do it. Unless it's wearing diapers well into sixth grade...because I am SO not okay with that.
Also, just because my awesome little weaner is great at this...I absolutely get that it might be completely wrong for your offspring. I'm just cool like that.
There you have it...my hippie mom moment....it's probably sort of like Hayley's Comet...who knows if and when we'll ever see it again. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.
Peace. Love. And Pull Up Training Pants.