Those tiny undies with trucks on them are not a personal attack on you.
The fact that my kids have learned to use the toilet a bit earlier than average is not an affront to your parenting.
I’ve seen you notice the undies, ask how old he is and then glance at your own toddler with that look. Believe me, I know that feeling of deflation. And I see it turn into defensiveness; the eye rolls, the mumbles. But I just want to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like this.
I sometimes feel that same deflation-to-defensiveness when you turn up to the park with your hair all washed and brushed. When you open up the perfectly made lunch box, when you apologise for the state of your immaculate house (why do you do that?).
Seriously, I totally want to high five you, I am not at all involved emotionally or philosophically in whether your three-year-old is in nappies. I’m really not. You’re over there doing your thing, keeping your people alive and insisting they eat food that doesn’t come out of a box every so often. I see you rocking at this parenting gig and I think you’re awesome.
It just so happens that I am in the process of teaching my kid how to use the toilet because, well, I am. And I totally get that your kid is in nappies because he is.
I come from a world of Montessori, where kids learn new skills when they show an interest. It’s also a world where if a child can do something himself, he is encouraged to do just that. Independence is my jam, it how we do things around here.
And that is probably why my kid is in undies and yours isn’t. Not because I think mine is on track to become a brain surgeon, or that I’m a better mum than you, or because I have too much time on my hands.
If it makes you feel better, I have a four year old who has never once in her life gone to sleep in her own bed. Like ever. And not for lack of trying.
You don’t need to tell me that behavioral issues can stem from ‘too much pressure to be toilet trained,’ while side-eyeing my kid. And I’m sure you honestly believe that physiologically children shouldn’t be trained until they’re three. But we are different and I’m not trying to tell you what I think, I’m just asking my kid if he needs to pee because if I don’t, he will wee himself. Really, he will just wee right there on the floor.
But seeing that you bought it up… my guess is that most toddler ‘behavioral issues’ probably stem from, you know, being a toddler. And I’m pretty sure that physiologically kids worldwide are all the same, and our culture toilet trains later than, well, everyone else. But it doesn’t really matter what I think about your toilet training philosophy. Because the reality is that I don’t think about it. Truly, you don’t need to get defensive; I’m not judging you. Like at all.
For one reason or another my kids have learned to use the toilet a little earlier than average but that doesn’t mean that when we hang out I’m thinking about that. I’m probably looking at your fantastic hair, not your kid’s nappy poking out the top of their pants – it would be so great if you could try to remember that. And I’ll try to remember that you’re probably not looking at my hair at all. And if you are, I really don’t blame you, I’m not even sure if I own a brush right now.
Have you ever felt unfairly judged by other mums?
More good reads about growing toddlers: