Remember the good old adage: sometimes you “can’t see the forest for the tress”? Well I certainly do, and it rang true for me this weekend!
As improbable as it is for people outside of our little family of 5 to really know what the details of daily life are like in our household, particularly in regard to raising a sweet little man with a very rare brain condition, it is equally likely that an outsider may just see something we don’t. Sometimes people can make the seemingly smallest comment or observation that actually helps point us in the right direction. My mother-in-law did just that for me yesterday…and I bet she didn’t even know it!
We had plans to head out with the little ones to meet my mother; the 5 of us were going to run a few errands together and have a visit. My mother-in-law was getting Evrett dried off & dressed after some backyard kiddie pool fun, and as I dressed Lydia in her bedroom, I heard her say to him: “Is mommy going to let you run around naked soon? You’re going to have to start using the potty…yes you are, because Grandma doesn’t like to change big boy stinky diapers.”. She said it so matter-of-factually, just as if she were giving him some advice, and sprinkled in that special grandmotherly warmth. She wasn’t even talking to me, or meaning to make a suggestion…but little did she know that her words set a train of productive thought in motion in my busy mommy brain! (In a GOOD way!!)
Now, I’ll admit, my initial knee-jerk reaction (in my head) went something like this: “I WISH it were that easy…Evy can’t yet tell me when he needs to pee…how on earth would I get him to use the potty….”. I’m sure you can tell from this string of thoughts that I obviously didn’t have much faith in the idea…. Yet within a few more minutes, I asked myself: “So…when AM I going to start trying the potty for him? Am I waiting for him to talk more?…” And my self-questioning went on and on from there…not in a manic, or negative manner, but in a genuine want to dialogue with myself about Evy making such a leap. No concrete answers came to mind, so I let the questions marinate, feeling quite certain that something was going to come to me, all in good time.
Then…this morning, after we finished a lovely breakfast of fluffy blueberry pancakes (I don’t mean to brag, but lately my hubby makes the fluffiest, yummiest pancakes I have ever tasted!!), I asked Scott if I could go downstairs for a workout before the visit began today. As always, he said “of course”, and as I headed to my bedroom to change in to my workout gear…I passed the boys room, and it was a mess! Not just in the clothes-on-the-floor, toys-all-around, messy-beds kind of way. It was more than just that kind of mess: Cody insists on keeping the strangest collections of items that he might use for his crafts one day…and he stashes them in any nook or cranny that he deems fit! Seriously…the strangest things!!–such as popcorn kernels, scraps of ripped up paper, dead batteries, toothpicks, those little metal things from the tops of pop cans (whatever the heck they’re called), and more! If he’s home, and I urge him to get rid of such things, he says something along the lines of :”But mommmmm, I MADE that!!!”….and I sigh and think to myself “yes Cody, but if I kept every single thing you made, this room would soon resemble a trash dump” , ha!! So I figured before Cody returned home from the cabin (he spent the night there with Grandma and Papa), I had better grab a garbage bag and dispose of those things, and organize what remained. As I was getting near the end of this job, I stood back, and took a long look around the room. I had uncovered a personalized Mickey Mouse wall decal with Evrett’s name on it. It was still sealed, rolled up in it’s wrapper. We had ordered this to put up a long time ago, back when I was still pregnant with Lydia, and the boys began sharing a room together. It was intended to go up on the wall beside the window once Evy was out of his crib and sleeping in the bottom bunk….which we had assumed would be forthcoming shortly….
Fast forward 15 months later, and Evy is STILL sleeping in his crib!! We’ve always had one reason…or I suppose we could call it an excuse….or another…for not taking the plunge and moving him to the bottom bunk. So, with the crib still taking up much space in the room, therefore forcing the 2 dressers to less than ideal locations as well, there just wasn’t wall space to put the decal up. And the poor thing remained rolled up tightly in it’s original packaging from nearly a year and a half ago.
I sighed heavily, putting the precious package back up on a high shelf, for “later”…sometime when Evy was ready to be out of his crib….
The inner dialogue of my brain started again: “But when will that be? This is just like the potty training idea…how on earth am I supposed to know when he’s ready for either of these big transitions?”…. I sat down on the bottom step of the bunk bed…feeling a bit defeated. “Evy can’t talk the way that Cody could when he was making these transitions” And then it dawned on me!!! Cody could communicate verbally much more than Evy can, that’s true…but Cody was STILL up playing in his room after the designated bedtime plenty!! Think about it–don’t most toddlers pop their heads out of their rooms after “bedtime”? Yup!! Don’t most 3 year olds sometimes want to stay up, and fight going down? They sure do. What’s the worst they can do…stay up a little extra, need to be put back in their rooms (10 times a night), or have a parent lay down with them, or sometimes need the law laid down for them. Exactly, that’s how it goes with toddlers!!! Why on earth would I think Evy would be any different?!! The simple fact that he can’t yet verbally communicate the way we wish he could has ZERO bearing on whether or not he is old enough to sleep in a big boy bed!! We know he is fine with sleeping in real beds–we have seen him do it tons now, whether on vacation or at the cabin–so what the hell was my hold-up?!
And the light-bulb went off!!!…
I’m almost embarrassed to say that I think my hold up was getting caught in the mindset of “My child can’t do all the things other children his age can do”. I got stuck in the “Evy isn’t your “normal” toddler” lie. Isn’t that ridiculous? It’s quite awful of me, actually!! I work so hard not have Evy labelled as anything different than all the other little ones; I even tell people his needs are unique, not that he “IS” a special needs child. And here I was, unknowingly keeping him little; without even realizing I was holding him back!!
Shame on me!!
Not anymore man!! I immediately went down the hall, and suggested to Scott that we try Evy in the big boy bed tonight. He looked a bit skeptical (which I was relieved to see, at least I’m not the only parent accidentally holding him back, ha!!), but after we chatted for a brief moment, his eyes widened in realization and he said “why not?!”.
We disassembled the crib 10 minutes later!
Had my mother-in-law not made the potty training comment to Evy, I likely wouldn’t have begun observing my own assumptions right now. I wouldn’t have gotten to really questioning why I thought Evy “wasn’t ready” for the next steps. So thank you, Mom, for giving Evy the potty training pep talk yesterday!!! You really flipped a switch in me!
And you know what? There’s no reason we can’t begin trying the potty, either. He may not verbally tell me when he needs to go, but once again, that is no freaking reason not to try!! He KNOWS what the potty is, he KNOWS what his equipment is for, and I KNOW that he would get a huge kick out of peeing in the big boy toilet!! My fear of him “being ready” or “being able” to do new things should never be a reason not to try. I will be making a solid effort not to hold my Bug back any longer!
Would you like to know how it’s going in his 1st night in the big boy bed? Well, we laid him down around 7:45, he fell asleep around 8:00….and it is now 9:58 as I finish typing this….
And he is sleeping like the angel that he is.
Sweet dreams, my darling Bug.
~Thank you for reading, and for supporting our darling Bug on his journey. It would mean the world if you would help show support for our darling Evy, and help raise awareness for rare diseases, by following & sharing. If you have a helpful, positive, or supportive comment in mind, please leave one for us! We deeply appreciate you taking the time to be here.
Warmest wishes on your own journey.