The lazy-ass approach to child rearing

I have two kids of four and two. My kids still occasionally drink from a bottle. GASP!

They also started drinking from a proper cup when they were one year-old, they learned quickly and there were few accidental spills, though, truth be told, there were many purposeful ones of the I wonder what happens if I overturn the cup on the table? The couch? The rug? The stairs? My shirt? variety. I chalked it up to scientific experimentation and was always to be seen with a rag at hand.

In my opinion, my children will likely not be permanently damaged from this protracted bottle use as I have otherwise kindly been informed, I have the evidence of my own pictures at four and five with a bottle hanging from my mouth and no evident scarring.

They will let go off the bottle whenever they see fit, or their friends start teasing them about it, whichever comes first.

I have the same laissez-faire attitude to potty training. My four-year old decided one morning, right after turning three and just in time for preschool, that he was done with diapers and thus consequently had a grand total of two accidents and was well on his way to adulthood. Much too my own chagrin. With the girl I’ve had to be more proactive (due to some diaper rash issues) but she seemed ready and I don’t pressure. (I believe my own mother was more of an overachiever than I with respect to the diapering, but it was the seventies and disposable diapers where rather expensive if you had access to them (in Italy) so I can see the logic of abandoning them sooner rather than later and, of course I was exceptionally gifted).

This no pressure attitude towards reaching developmental milestones works for me. In my heart of hearts I don’t want them to grow up too fast, I don’t mind washing bottles for a few more years (or, sob, months) or changing a diaper here and there. In my mind, they’re little for no time at all. And I wonder how this is anyone’s business but my own. And when did child-rearing become a competition? How is the manner in which I raise my children anyone’s business but my own? (and occasionally the husband’s…). So I beseech you, stop with the unsolicited advice, they are happy and healthy and well-adjusted that is all anyone but the parents should care about. Parents have so many more important things to worry about, like keeping these children alive, on a daily basis, and well on to adulthood, like raising them to be happy, emotionally sound adults, like making sure they always hold their own in life, that they never back down when they’re in the right and that they apologize when in the wrong… (I could go on and on here but you get the gist) it boggles the mind that a bottle or a diaper even registers as one of the things we really need to be expending energy over.

So please, when you see my two-year old contentedly drinking her evening bottle, soothing herself into bedtime mode and my four-year old right beside her with his own bottle cause more likely he needs the comfort of knowing he’s not such a big boy yet, well, just avert your judgmental gaze and mind your own fucking business.

Linking up today with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour your Heart Out

11 thoughts on “The lazy-ass approach to child rearing

  1. Hi there! Longntime no read. The last line says it all for me. People just need to mind their own business sometimes.

  2. You are right. On the long run such things have no impact. That also includes learning to read when you are three or getting all A’s in grade school. In the end something entirely different matters, than what we’ve been accustomed to believe.

    • I know! My four year old can’t read yet… it never even occurred to me… I mean, if he already knew how to read what would he do in class next year when the teachers are teaching them to read?

  3. You’re right, none of that matters. You’re the Mom and best placed to make these sorts of decisions. No one else understands your kids, or you situations, better than you. So ignore them all, relax, and be confident in your own parenting abilities. Nothing else matters.

  4. When my daughter was little, I always hated how judgmental other parents, but moms specifically, could be. My daughter had her binky until well past three and this drove other people crazy. “You’ll never break her of that habit!” is all I ever heard over and over again. But by the time she was three, she didn’t carry it around with her all the time. I had one in my purse for when we were away too long, and one at home. Within moments a nightmare-ish kid would be suddenly soothed and usually doze right off. I had a friend who took a way her son’s binkies and bottles when he was 14 months old because she couldn’t stand kids with bottles in their mouth. She thought it reflected lazy parenting. Within days she was calling me saying her son wouldn’t go to sleep. I told her he probably missed the very thing that soothed him. Insistant on not caving to his needs, she ignored his need to suckle. Two years later, she was a basket-case because she hadn’t slept well in all that time.

    I just don’t understand why people are so offended by an instinct we are BORN with. Watch a baby or toddler sleep and their mouth will make sucking motions. Some kids grow out of this need before others, but I’ve never, ever seen a kid leave for college with a pacifier in his mouth! At some point, they all grow out of the need to be nurtured by sucking on something.

    And potty training? UGH! One person who couldn’t believe my daughter was still in diapers at 3 told me to train my kid the way she did hers (and she was an “expert” because she had 6 kids), she told her kids if they pooped in their pants, she would make them eat it!! Is that flippin’ gross or what? I gently encouraged potty training for a year and didn’t think I was getting anywhere until one day my daughter came out and told me she pottied by herself and from that day on it was over. Not even one night-time accident -ever. My daughter did it when she was ready.

    My daughter is 17 now with a 4.33 GPA and is eyeing Stanford University. My friend with the 6 kids? Most of them still live at home (the oldest is 35) and not one of the 6 went to college!

  5. My point exactly, I’m betting your daughter won’t be going to stanford with a binky, bottle or diaper, in fact I’m pretty sure she didn’t even go to the fifth grade like that, so we all should really lighten up!
    Also, threatening your kids with eating poop is not only completely gross but also a tad disturbing…

  6. People are so quick to judge. My kids, ages 4, 6, and 8, still drink from those straw cups with the plastic tops, because I just don’t feel like cleaning up the spills! I get it. xo

  7. Shell’s point is exactly right. If a person really wants to be judgmental go ahead. Just do so where you can’t be heard by someone else who might be offended by your judgemental nastiness.

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