Author Archives: Laissez Faire

On Potty Learning: Wait Until They Are Ready!

Drop the prefold from the front, let it hang from the back, and the potty opp is still easy pee-zy.Nothing fills me with more sighs of consternation than the line, “Wait until they are ready!” when it comes to having children use the toilet. Let us exclude the special cases of children who have sensory disorders and delays, and discuss the rest.

Why does this line fill me with enough exasperation that I am forced to use twelve-letter words just to convey it?  Those five words never, ever come with any more explanation.      I present you with my argument.

1. We were not born with diapers; it’s not the human condition.   This means diaper use is a learned behavior; not instinctual behavior.  This “Wait” phrase implies the diaper use with no introductions to the toilet is the only option.   It implies that if you don’t wait, you are pushing children too soon too fast.     It makes parents afraid to merely introduce the toilet for fear they are being damaging.     Babies and toddlers around the world demonstrate that they can learn to pee other places as easily as they learned to pee into a diaper.

2. We are mammals and thus babies are very aware that they have to empty their bladders and bowels as surely as they are aware of hunger, thirst, and temperature.     They are already ready to go; we need only bring them to it.    US culture tells parents that babies and toddlers have no idea what they are doing when they are voiding bladders and bowels “until they are ready”.   When is that exactly?

3. We provide puppies with more opportunities to learn where the proper places go potty are as soon as they are capable, yet, our culture tells us that human children are incapable of understanding their own need to pee.   Our culture says that unless children can talk, pull down their pants, sit down to do their business, and pull their pants up by themselves they aren’t ready to use the toilet.  High expectations for a very simple process.

4. Readiness is not capability. No baby is born ready to use a diaper. The simple fact is that society says we are to put them in one and expect them to use it.   Yet, it is considered crazy to not put a diaper on them and expect them to void somewhere other than a diaper.

5. Waiting doesn’t mean you do nothing. Waiting means you actually continue to encourage use of diapers by putting them on until the child wants to spontaneously use the toilet.   It can happen that way, but it requires commitment to do that for as long as it takes. That might mean as early as eighteen months or as late as age six.    Average age for American children to be out of diapers is now edging towards age four.     Inconsistency is confusing.

6.   In reference to number five:   Around age 3.5 to 4, parents start to lose their patience as the pees get larger and the poops messier and the blowouts more frequent.   But because they have been told to, “Wait Until They Are Ready,” they have missed every window of opportunity that presented itself prior to the “age of autonomy.”  They are now in power struggle territory which is exacerbated by inconsistent signals (sometimes diaper, sometimes no diaper).

7.   “Wait Until They Are Ready” is never accompanied by an explanation of what that looks like.   I’ve yet to have anyone say that a signal might be:      Young children who are in the mimicry age range show interest by wanting to follow the parent to the toilet and sit.  Children who despise diapers and take them off at every available opportunity, even defeating backwards pajamas and duct tape tricks.     Children who hold themselves when they pee in a diaper.  Children who go hide in a corner to drop bombs.  Children who bring a fresh diaper as soon as they soil themselves.   These and more all demonstrate awareness.

8.  Waiting doesn’t make potty learning easier.  It simply takes the parent out of the process except for diaper changes and does not encourage parents to offer input.    This method is an option, but it requires commitment to waiting as long as it takes and to accept issues that are common with late toilet users.     Older children may have trouble peeing and pooping without a diaper.   The longer they are in diapers, the more likely this is to happen.  It does not happen all the time, but it is a very real possibility.  It is more common because they have not had to exercise those muscles or think about their elimination for years.  Sitting down on a toilet is also a whole different experience than peeing standing up just anywhere.   It can be quite scary!   They may not know how to release when sitting down, or release when their bladder isn’t full.   If they are wearing pants they may forget that they aren’t in a diaper because it has been a long term habit.     These children need even more patience and understanding because it is hard for them; it takes time to unlearn diapers and relearn body cues.

9.   “Wait Until They Are Ready,” never comes with an age to expect the magic moment to happen or what to do when it’s getting to be quite a bit past the average age.  What if the child is six and still shows no interest in toilet use for whatever reason unrelated to anything physical. They are healthy with no delays, but simply don’t want to use a toilet because they prefer a diaper.     Yet, the parent is simply done with diapers.   What then?  When is it okay to offer encouragement?  When is it okay for the parent to just stop participating in diaper changes?     It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen.

10.   These words are not a plan of action.   It’s inaction to changing a parent-established routine.    Some children do take to toileting all on their own, it’s true!  What about the others who do not and their parents?  What help does waiting provide them?

Inconsistency is confusing

Inconsistency is confusing

My advice is this if you want it.   If you are going to wait, then you must wait as long as it takes and commit to that philosophy.  However, don’t be afraid of introducing the concept in the first place.

Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with starting potty learning at any time.  Whether that is Elimination Communication style from anywhere between birth to eighteen months (   To modern potty learning methods starting at the windows of opportunity between eighteen months to two and a half years (    Waiting until after age three is a foot planted firmly into autonomous territory and it needs a whole different approach, understanding, and a heaping dose of gentle, but firm encouragement (

Choose your path;  there is more than one!

Make It Not Buy It #1: Hassle Free Homemade Powder Detergent

Laissez Faire

I amlazy consider my time to be more precious than to waste it on working too hard on domestics.     Green is good.  Reduce, reuse, recycle is a motto I follow to the best of my abilities, but with logic and practicality.       I’ve no interest in making liquid detergent because it requires stirring and a whole lot of inconsistency.   I’ve read the recipes out there.   I already hate laundry, I really don’t want to hate it more!  So, powder it is.

Play with the ratios as you like, there are no hard and fast rules only suggestions and a guiding hand.    I am happy with my recipe for our laundry needs. Two tablespoons per regular load is enough for us.   That’s right. Two tablespoons!  When you make your own detergent you aren’t putting in fillers and that means half of what you put in isn’t something other than…

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Finally, After Five Years…

The problem with this blog and blog not showing up in the news feed has been fixed! It seems that I may have been posting too consistently back in the day for a very, strange, unknown topic and I got flagged as spam for both blogs!

I know it has been a problem. I just couldn’t find a solution, was unsuccessful in getting help, and gave up. I purchased a domain name for my new blog, and an opportunity came up and the problem got fixed in twenty minutes.). You can now also follow The Other Side of the Moon and Pottytunities for Two on <a href=""&gt; Bloglovin.

Thank you for following and for your patience over the years!

New Directions

Hello Long-Time followers,

untitlednlkA big thank you from the 2015 me. This was my very first blog, and I never thought even two people would bother looking at it, much less generate a very respectable number of intimate followers. Even when WordPress stopped showing it in the feed for some reason, many of you followed it on Facebook instead. I know that this blog has been long outgrown since my focus has been on my son’s journey.  However, he is coming up on three years and I just like his sister will soon no longer need my help with anything much.  Alas, there will be no future spawn to discuss an EC journey.

I am beginning to transition to a new, more general blog focusing on more topics of interest to me, Amazon reviews (good and bad), domestic tips, and other opinionated musings at Laissez Faire Life which has it own Facebook page.  . A few people now and then ask me about accessory recommendations and I am putting together reviews and lists of such products, that I will add to this blog and it’s brother blog as they come up. I may in the future, open up Q & A posts depending on what the fates throw my way.

I am turning 42 this year and I want to take a new approach to writing by focusing on broader topics, and even to feel my way around Review writing. As the children grow there is more time to take for myself. I hope you will join me this year in a new direction!

Pottytunities for Two Mega Update

For those who have followed this blog and have not subscribed to little brother’s blog, Pottytunities for Two, I’ve just done a massive update. It is a daily blog with a lot of ramblings thrown in among the EC daily observations of both Itty Bitty’s development and brother Mini Moose’s EC journey.

Thanks for reading!

Month 36: Review – Lil Baby Chaps from EC Wear

Totally Scientific Experiments on the Blue and Gray Polka Dots EC Chaps with Subject B

Over the summer I was delighted to be asked to review L’il Baby Chaps from EC Wear.    I could totally type a review in between kid wrangling right?    The package arrived when we were away on a summer trip and when we got back it was BLAZING hot.   They were cute and had that nice fresh pressed pristine look that you know is going to be destroyed in 15 minutes of use.     Unfortunately, I had to wait a month before the weather even permitted using them on Itty Bitty’s little brother Mini Moose.I wanted to drag these chaps through a good course.   Put them through the paces like a good Household Scientist.

Daddy Man thought they were a little weird, but he is used to my wack-a-doo ways and just went with it.     The chaps were actually quite lucky for a week before a stealth poo took them out.   They were used day and night.      It did take two runs through the washer, but the orange-yellow stain did come out (by the way, never ever *rub* baby poo stains.  Gentle agitation will get it out most of the time, if you rub it embeds the poop deep into the fibers where you can never get to them.  When out and about, a few people even commented on cleverness — they saw the advantage even with non-EC — what better way to show off those pretty cloth diaper covers!?  Traditional pants covering skull heads with rockin’ guitars or bows, playful monkeys, and fruited polka-dotted butts is a crime!

Drop the prefold from the front, let it hang from the back, and the potty opp is still easy pee-zy.

EC Friendly:     I was actually quite surprised how nicely the chaps fit and accommodated a prefold and belt, and when we were on an extended outing it was a bonus to be able to put on a diaper cover and not have to fuss with pants.  No bulk!    Potty opportunities with them were just as easy as without them…a big bonus in my eyes.  We had no incidences where they got wet and they never got in the way.    I don’t want anything to make a pit stop more difficult.   It was also nice to be able to remove the prefold and leave the boy unfettered but still keep his legs warm if it was chilly.   Made for really cute baby tush photo ops too!

Legwarmer Contender:    I love legwarmers.   I have

Sunject B found crawling a little slippery at first but he got the hang of it. Subject B even cuter with bare booty streaking by.

several babylegs and the one major advantage the chaps have over these legwarmers is that they don’t slide down.   Some of mine are worse than others as far as having to pull them up constantly, but that problem was non-existent with the chaps.      The big disadvantage for me with the chaps though is that they are a one trick pony…I can not use them for arm warmers for myself or Itty Bitty, and they will not grow with him and I can’t use them on Itty Bitty.  For some people that is okay, but I want to squeeze every penny and stretch out use as long as possible.

Washability:    As I mentioned, the chaps did get blasted with a poo bomb, but because they do not cover the buttocks the stains were secondary transfer.   We actually used them many times without needing to wash them.   And when they did need washing (poo incident aside) it was because they got dirty from crawling.   Of course, for the benefit of the review I did wash them many extra times with the other laundry to give them a proper showing.        There were a few stray strings that cropped up, but nothing unraveled and the fabric stayed soft after drying.   I did NOT run them through super hot  — it was either air dry (which left them a little stiff which was easily softened from body heat and wear) or low temp drier.    The fabric of these chaps was a light cotton.     On a curious note, the chaps always seemed to make their way through all of the laundry bits to be right at the drier door whenever I opened it as if eager to get back to work…

Subject B ponders Little Potty and Chaps…Made for each other?

Wishlist:    While I like the chaps and they are a nice addition to the wardrobe, I am always in preference of products that can do more than just one service.  In this economy where you look to save money by reuse and versatility and the growing trends to upcycle, I’d like to see this product be all that it can be.

  • Adjustable or more expandable elastic band — One of my main annoyances with the chaps was the elastic waist.   It isn’t that it was neither loose nor tight for regular wear, it just can not grow to accommodate size and it was also not tight enough to double as a prefold belt.    I am using a headband as a prefold belt (I’ve got a little thrift going), but I had been hoping the chaps waist band would have been stretchy and snug enough to do double duty.  At the very least, I wish it had been adjustable to get the exact snugness I felt was needed.
  • Leg Hems to Let Down —  The single most irritating thing to me about clothes and EC is that there is always too much butt room in clothes and when they grow big enough for the butt, the legs are to short!  Chaps eliminate the butt problem obviously!  On the other hand,  I wouldn’t say that my Littles are exceptionally tall, but still I found the chaps really limited in growing room.  If the hems had extra fabric to cuff attractively and then fold down for length as the baby grows that would be better than sliced bread.
  • Totally Crazy Peachy Keen Idea —  My dream baby chap would be one that was a winter knit with a little stretch that could bet detached from the waist band so that they could be used as leg warmers or arm warmers on a toddler.   I’d clap my hands with glee and do the Snoopy Dance!

I know that I ask for a lot from clothes, but I do my best to get my Little’ clothes to go more than one season and to do more than one thing if at all possible.     I LIKE the baby chaps, they are extraordinarily easy to EC with,  they are attractive, and I like supporting companies like EC Wear — Made in the USA.   It feels good to support the home turf.     I think they would have a real winner on their hands if they made some small adjustments so that their products would showcase extra uniqueness and have that lasting power a lot of parents look for.

Go to EC Wear and judge for yourself.    Order one and give it a go then pass it on to a friend and let them run it through the wringer.   If you live in the USA, support this US based business and if you live next door go local!      I hope you come back here and tell me how the little chaps survived in your home.    As for mine, once Mini Moose outgrows them I think they will be reborn as doll wear because they are just too pretty to part with.

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

Month 36: Happy Third Birthday!

Happy Third Birthday!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Our birthday theme was Pirates (read daily doses here)!   This will be the last year I pick her party theme and we are going to give her a small allowance of fifty cents a week (she likes coin operated rides).

Three years.   How can it be?   I feel like I’ve documented and made note of every moment, treasured it, and squeezed it and yet I feel like I’m barely hanging on to the tail of a time comet.

Homemade Treasure Map invites

Itty Bitty is leaving her toddlerhood behind and moving towards childhood — what most USA parents call pre-school age.   There are still glimpses of baby now and then in a Big Cry or sleepy plea for Mah-mees (nursing).   We nurse every night before bed and it saddened me that I had to all but eliminate daytime nursing to rare occasions because of latch pain and the feelings of aversion unless I am engorged.    I hope Itty Bitty remembers the comfort and not the sad denials.

Public toilets with children in mind have step stools to facilitate autonomy.

Itty Bitty has had no potty incidences this month, she requires no toilet insert or step stool, and most of the time she cleans herself and asks for assistance for a messy output.   She’s used the little potty in an “Peemergency” once or twice, but looks quite ridiculous with her knees practically hitting her chin.    Public toilets still require help as the toilets are set up quite high and are occasionally of questionable cleanliness.    Itty Bitty also likes to cue her brother, though most often he gets too excited in her presence and won’t finish a pee!

There’s been a renewed resurgence in learning songs, role play with My Lttle Pony, interest in friends by name, and she loves her new play kitchen.  We’ve spent more time on counting and numbers, crafts, reading, and art.   Itty Bitty took time to learn her new age and work her fingers to make three (American folks don’t use the thumb to indicate three).   She also knows her last name, address, her parents’ names, and her birth date (we add new personal info as she commits the others to memory).   Itty Bitty still has trouble with personal boundaries, not understanding why others do not accept hugs or why others dislike physical play.  We’ve also seen the growing territorial behavior with communal toys and disinterest in taking turns, but at the same time a slowly growing trend of cooperative play rather that “you do it this way not that way” play.   Itty Bitty isalso learning that baby brother has a voice and is not afraid to scream and cry if she takes a toy away from him and “trades” don’t always appease.

It’s harder than it seems!

When her brother was born in February, Itty Bitty suddenly sprouted a halo of hair and she looks so toddler-like in those pictures, but now she has lankier limbs and her face has changed.   At the beginning of summer Itty Bitty was a half inch or inch short of reaching tricycle pedals, and now at the end of the season she is just the right size.  We haven’t tried her on the Radio Flyer Big Wheel yet, but she still might be a hair too short.   We tend to buy her things older than recommended age, but you never know what they can do unless the opportunity is there.

Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?   Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of Free from fear.phrases?  Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?   Did I mention Itty Bitty’s non-stop conversational chatter and the repetition of phrases?

Oh and making unnecessary noise when I or her brother are trying to nap!


Happy Birthday Itty Bitty.  May your adventurous, inquisitive, sociable, determined, odd-bird personality mature and thrive.      When you are grown with your own Itty Bitty I hope you embrace her every mismatched ensemble, backwards shoe, inside out shirt, dirt smeared face, puzzle cookie offering, and cold nose, sticky lipped kiss.  And may her 30lb self step on your toe every day.

Phrases of the Month:

I love my brudder. (I love my brother.)
The baby crying, give him you moolk. (The baby is crying, give him your milk!)
Is it my birthday?
But he likes it {baby peeking out of the square storage ottoman}, Momma, I pud him innit.


Visit Brother’s Blog:  Pottytunities for Two

Month 35: Beach Trifecta

Our fifth anniversary was this year and we went back to the same beach for the weekend in Gloucester, MA (Wingaershek Beach and Good Harbor) that we went to for the last two years (Diaper Free at the Beach and Beach Redux).

Itty Bitty had a grand time playing with what she called “the goose” (seagulls) and we named the relentless pursuit Beach Geese Bowling.   Daddy Man was run through the ringer and was exhausted from all the physical activity.   Unlike other years, it wasn’t oppressively hot so the water and ambient temperature were very pleasant.  I spent a lot of time in the water with Mini Moose.   You can read about the daily details of our beach bum days on Little Brother’s potty blog starting here.

Chasing “Beach Geese”

We set up camp much closer to the beach public facilities this year and I remembered to bring the little potty this time and a storage container to make it more pleasant to carry to the loo.  Even though Itty Bitty doesn’t need the little potty, I encouraged her to use it in our sun tent so she didn’t have to contend with the walk with a full bladder.  I wanted to set her up for success and make it easier on myself sincev Mini Moose is still so little.    I encourage my EC peers to not be afraid to travel with EC babies.  I find that catching during outings easier than in the house.   I don’t know if it is the activity, the mental clarity, the fresh air, or proximity to Mother Nature — but it has an effect!

Fun and Fancy Free

Itty Bitty has had no mishaps this month.   My only role is still “messy poop butt wiper” ad soon she will not call upon me even for that.  She still stays dry all night with no potty breaks needed which is on average 8-10 hours, but up to 13 hours!  We are cosleeping and she does stir in the night and resumes slumber after checking for me and plastering herself against my back, so it isn’t a coma-like sleep.    She usually uses the big toilet preferentially without the insert unless she decides she’ll be there a while and wants to be comfortable.   She uses the little potty once in a while and empties it as always.   If her underwear is dirty from a wiping mishap she puts it in the hamper and helps herself to the underwear on the shelf (I think I mentioned that some time ago that once she learned to use door knobs and was tall enough she no longer needed me to get her underwear — there is a closet by the bathroom which is where I keep underwear, socks, and cloths).

Other Non Potty Notables:

Little Brother in a cute Imse Vimse Cloth Swim Diaper

At the beginning of the summer, Itty Bitty was just an inch too short in the legs to use the tricycles we had for her and couldn’t quite manage them  very well.  Now she can touch the pedals without effort.    I am both happy and pouty — I’m sure you parents understand!

She has been practicing brushing her own teeth for the past year and has gotten quite good, though she has trouble still with the motion for brushing the surface of the molars and can’t get behind the tooth surfaces.   Our next dentist appointment she will have her first cleaning since she did so well at our last “look and see” visit.

Itty Bitty and fit right into her role as Big Sister.   Perhaps, with a bit more enthusiasm than I expected and that presents a total opposite set of issues such as how to help her to give her brother space.  I was prepared for rivalry, not smothering!   Hah!    At first I resisted, but decided it was better to embrace the love and let her hold him for short times while sitting even when he was newborn, and then later show her how to properly pick up Mini Moose when he was strong.  He loves it when she picks him up.  Go figure!    Itty Bitty also enjoys wiping up spit up from his face.     They have toy “arguments”, of course, and for some reason she wants to ride him like a horse.  We don’t expect perfection around here — it’s a process!


Can you believe Itty Bitty will be THREE next month!?

Month 34: Look Mommy, No Seat!

Hangin’ at the hotel on the way home.

At the end of last month, when we were out and about I forgot to bring our Primo Travel Potty Seat.    Our outing trips are usually pretty avereage or short length and Itty Bitty had an epic capacity, so if we made a pitstop before leaving it is rare that she needs a potty stop on an average errand.   We’d gone out to eat and I had diapers for Mini Moose, and was so used to not needing a travel seat for a 2 hour outing that I was taken by surprise when Itty Bitty announced her urgent need!     No big deal really, we’ve had to do the balancing act a couple of times before.   Off we went to the bathroom and we discovered that she had grown big enough to balance herself on the seat without needing me to offer support(the bathroom was very clean)!   When did that happen!?

After that discovery, Itty Bitty didn’t began to experiment with not using the insert on the toilet at home right away until after we returned from our annual Ohio trip (Read about it here at Brothet’s Blog — June 28 to July 9).   Once she did, however, she quickly disvcovered that without the insert she could hoist herself backwards easily without the aid of a stool and was able to balance with little effort.   She has been very keen to use the toilet this way, though if she desires more tush comfort she still will choose the insert from time to time, and if in an extraordinary rush will use the little potty though she looks ridiculous on it with such long legs!      She is no longer adamant about emptying her own potty and is more ambivalent if it is messy leaving it for me without argument.      She’s gotten quite good at self wiping and only asks for help if she notices if it is especially difficult.

We had a couple of notable toileting matters:

 Jul 10:

When I got home from work  Daddy Man said they played outside for a while and that, “I was busy with Mini Moose and when I looked up I got an eye full of Itty Bitty dropping trou to squat and pee outside the sandbox.”

Oh dear, I knew peeing the baby outside was going to come back to bite me in the butt!  I’ll need to have a conversation with Itty Bitty.   It’s a proud thing that she didn’t pee in the sandbox and took initiative, but she’s not an in arms baby and just taking a whiz outside whenever she feels like it is not necessary unless it is an emergency or where facilities aren’t available.

Jul 12:

Itty Bitty decided to play in the toy corner and got herself stuck.   As she tried to extricate herself and was almost out, her bladder let go.  I heard the waterfall and she was standing there like a deer in headlights.     It got cleaned up easily and I made a mental note to remind her occasionally to assess bathroom needs–only after it has been a couple of hours.    She’d gone to the bathroom successfully several times today and even had a big poop, so it was just a situational accident.

I came home to a too quiet house.   Turns out that Itty Bitty went back to attention seeking behavior.  Had a tantrum when they got home because she wanted to stay outside but the baby was wanting to eat and was hot.  Daddy Man let her stay in the jeep for 15 minutes to try to diffuse the situation but the baby was too hot and was really wanting mommy milk.    He said it spiraled from there because he couldn’t give her attention.     G-Ma stopped by and not even that changed things because Itty Bitty wanted Daddy Man.    I guess, now that the Mommy situation was corrected she was seeking to fix the Daddy situation.   After G-Ma left and Mini Moose was on his second bottle and was just about asleep Itty Bitty apparently had had enough.     I am told she stood by him on the couch, lifted her leg, and peed.

She’s done that once before with him (“War and Pees” from Cause and Effect Month 21).

He cleaned it up calmly and ignored the behavior (he held it together — he wanted to spank but knows that’s a big no no with me–that’s a big loss of control and he’s a strong dude who can hurt you when he’s just playing around even when he’s being careful ).   Daddy Man put some water in the tub and left her to it.   She cleaned herself up and that was that.  She was mellowed after, he said.    Perhaps she felt mortified with herself or realized it was an impulse move that had the opposite effect of what she really wanted.    Too bad toddlers don’t come with sim thought bubbles.

There were no other errant pee incidences or acting out this month.   Funny how two incidents were unrelated to the situational pee, but had the common thread of wanting to be acknowledged.      Another attention seeking moment unrelated to pottying did happen another day: Itty Bitty’s Trip to the ER Jul 18.  and the Aftermath.

Sorry that this post was late and backdated nearly a month, I totally forgot about it!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two


Quotes and favorites of the Month:

“Come on Mom, Let’s go!”

Itty Bitty enjoys watch a math centered cartoon called Cyberchase (Sigh-chase!), enjoys My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic  (Po-nee!).   Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse have fallen out of favor.

Month 33: Unperfect Practicality

Sometimes we need someone to say that dirt is okay and to show us that mud is awesome.

So, I was reading a blogger today expressed that she felt like she needed to be a perfect parent and resentment over the choices she made to breastfeed, cosleep, homeschool, baby wear, EC, etc. under that “perfection” and the pressure and added stress from a controlling husband.  She felt like she was trained to be at everyone’s beck and call.

Oh my.

It’s a awful thing to have a spouse and community and/or family putting a lot of pressure on someone to be “perfect”.  That can suck the happy out of Disneyland no matter what you do.    I don’t think there is joy in that situation even if one strollered and never babywore, diapered 3 years, bought the latest in baby fashion, or bought into the best exclusive preschool.   Soul suckers in one’s life still find a way to steal  or spit in your cheerios.

Children in general take a whole lot of commitment and an enormous amount of time no matter what!    The investment of time just comes with the territory.      I don’t mouth feed my baby like Alicia Silverstone because it wouldn’t make me happy to do so,  not that I think anything is wrong with it or that I think I’m better or she’s better.  It makes them both happy, it harms none and that’s what matters.  Though, I admit, I share grapes out of my mouth with my kids (I peel the flesh away from the skin with my teeth while in my mouth  and would give my then under 15 month old daughter the meaty bit with my fingers, and I occasionally still do it if  I am getting begged and I refuse to give up my whole share to the food hoover).  No one told me to do that and I didn’t read about it…I just did it. No reason other than it was easier than getting up for a knife.

Babywearing, EC, breastfeeding, BLW, cosleeping, unschooling…these aren’t strange dogmas…they are merely lost arts modern parents are trying to reclaim in a world that thinks it is weird and assumes you want to be perfect.   They are things parents of yore did because it was practical, free, and made them happy!     Children learned through play and watching adults , EC in a world without diapers just made sense, breastfeeding was something everyone did because that’s how babies eat, families slept together for warmth and safety, they wore babies to keep their hands free and keep them safe.

I don’t do things because I want to parent perfect (what does that even mean!?) or because I am pressured to, but because babywearing is easier than lugging around a heavy stroller packed in my teeny tiny car and it keeps my hands free  (I have a jogging stroller specifically for jogging because I am not getting naturalized exercise); I breastfeed because I can, it is free and doesn’t require me to wash bottles, buy or carry formula;  I use old fashioned cloth diapers because I hate the smell of disposables, they are low cost, and have multi-uses; I EC because I can see when my babies have to pee and it is just easier than changing a diaper or trying to later wrestle a 30lb 2 year old into one, it lightens the load I have to carry, extends the baby wardrobe and extends the functionality of my cheap prefolds, and I hate poop scraping;   I follow babyled solids and don’t do purees because frankly I am lazy and cheap…I don’t want to buy jars, don’t like how they taste, and don’t want to spend an afternoon pulverizing mush in a blender either — so I give what we eat.    I co-sleep because I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night and I…like it — simple as that.

It’s not a spiritual ritual for me.  It’s not a philosophical set of rules I follow.  I am not trying to please anyone. It’s practicality.  It feels good.   I get strange looks sometimes for putting my baby on the floor rather than in a bouncer — I don’t have room or money for those things (to unforeseen benefit).  The floor works nicely and they can’t roll off.  LOL!   I don’t think I do “more” than your average parent or invest more time.      I am always looking for ways to make my life less complicated.     Learning something new might be complex at first, but experience tells me that short term investment nets long term gains.

It’s complicated only if we don’t let it happen.

I think the blogger was so right in saying that parents have lost their way in being confident in themselves and enjoying their kids and do things in a way because they like it and it makes sense for them, not because they are told to do it, or that’s the way it is done, or feel like they have no choice or support.   We’ve lost the ability at times to hear advice neutrally and take it or leave it as we like at our leisure.

Why the competition aura?  Most of it is artificial and taking things the wrong way.  Happy people like to spread the news of what they learned.   Humans love to share and enjoy attention.   Take a look at any playground and listen for the, “look at what I can do!”   from little excited voices.  Do we ever really outgrow that?    A child doesn’t mean “I am better than all of you,”  they are saying, “look what I have discovered, I have learned something new, who will join me, I can help!”

I think most of us are just lonely and feel like if we express joy in what we do, we might sound like a goody-two-shoes, know-it-all, perfect-parent-wanna-be.  We don’t often get a chance to grow up in the company of other women as support and most of us learn parenting on the fly.  We gain experience isolated, silently observing, whispering, and with trepidation.     That pressure often bursts out online in one topic rambles the moment you find like minds because the relief is just so great!    It changes from feeling like you are selling illegal goods in a seedy alley, to a collective,  “Ahhhhhhhh!  So you pee in the shower too!?”

I think learning and following your instincts is a good thing, but there is a lot of static out there getting in the way of letting us … dare I say … play it out.

It’s a pity that the joy is sucked out of everything these days.    I hope my blogs on EC shows just how delightfully unperfect it is and that I am far from perfect!   There are days I want to make my reader’s laugh, or be less skittish.   Sometimes I want something crazy to happen so I can use a phrase like Poop de Grassy — it’s a shame such a cheesy pun hasn’t been used yet in context.  I just want to ramble, share my toys and pass it on.

Tag. You’re it!

Visit Brother Blog:  Pottytunities for Two



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