So there I was, water dripping off my body as I was half in / half out of the shower clapping like a mad man. He did it. My boy took a pee.
It started with a high shrieking "YEAH!." Then clapping and chanting. "Sterling went pee, yeah, Sterling went pee (and then you'd throw an "in the toilet" out on the downbeat), Sterling went pee!" Mommy came in to join us and started chiming in. Sterling at this point has picked up the Spiderman toilet seat that rests on top of the real toilet seat and is banging it like a tambourine. High-fives going around and on his face a big smile. He did it. Sterling took a pee.
It wasn't the first time. We have just really gotten started on it in the past month and a half, but I've been agonizing over it internally for probably 8 months. I know there isn't a rush. But I have to admit, I'm always looking around at all of the other little kids in my circle – friends, etc. – and it seemed like everyone started early and almost after turning 2, they were potty trained. Now, really; I mean it. I knew we weren't like majorly late (Now, when your child is so big he has to wear Depends, that's probably a time to panic), but when you're working and running around all of the time, it's hard to imagine the patience and pause you need to really help your child get into this potty training thing.
Thank goodness we're blessed with an amazing Home Daycare Provider, Mrs. Shears. I don't know how it is that we got so lucky, but what an amazing ally for Sterling and for us. As we've gotten serious about the potty training thing, she has been our coach and motivator. She got us going, started working with Sterling at school, and has given us advice and ideas to bring home, not to mention lending an open ear to questions. And Sterling is only there 2 days a week. Yowza! Early Childhood Providers like her know what they are talking about!!
You know what else has made me feel good? It was talking with parents that I wasn't necessarily as close to. People I worked with or colleagues/acquaintences I'd run into from the family support or early childhood field (not that the field matters, but it happens to be the field I'm in...and incidentally, early childhood and family support people LOVE talking about babies.) They'd always break it down in a way that made it seem like it was alright. There was no rush. Sterling would get it. They'd share their own experiences and timelines. And all of a sudden, I'd feel calm.
"Sterling was okay. He'll get there. We'll get there. Everyone gets there."
It's almost as if there is a sense of competition sometimes when connecting with your closest friends or family members that have young children on the subject of developmental stuff. The comparisons start popping up. There shouldn't be and maybe it is not like that for everyone, but for me, even intellectually knowing that it shouldn't be doesn't prevent it.
Maybe it's because we don't want to make those closest to us, see us struggle. It feeds into that idea that asking for help or opening up about your challenges is a sign of weakness. I need to, we all need to, understand that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength. A willingness to be vulnerable and open up to getting support makes things better...SO MUCH FASTER.... than wallowing and isolating. It's amazing how the smallest thing like getting some advice, asking for help, or just talking about an issue in an open and honest way can really lighten your burden. That's how we've been talking about in our work with parents and providers through Strengthening Families Illinois and Be Strong Families, whether through the café process or through trainings like Living the Protective Factors—and really all activities. And it all comes back to the Protective Factors (See my last entry - http://sifamilies.org/blogs/money-matters). If I can continue to understand what I need as a parent to keep my family strong, I'm more likely to be willing to search it out. And it selfishly benefits me...and my kid...my whole family.
So on this day, I'll honor my son's accomplishment and keep myself tuned in for the next milestone. Each one is equally important and each one equally important that I do my best to be a part of.
So enjoy this tune that fits the moment for me – One Shot at Glory by Judas Priest. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fpscxE9WDk
And while we're on the subject - do you have any peeing stories, advice or experiences to share? I could still use some help here! Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org . And if you'd like to connect with our organization on Twitter or Facebook it's @BStrongFamilies and facebook.com/bestrongfamilies
I love being a Dad. Don't you?
See you next time.