I’m going to rattle off some super basic parenting questions. Answer them honestly, and then we’ll talk default parent and what that really means (to me, at least). Here’s the thing, you either know exactly what I’m talking about, or you don’t. And there’s no shame on being a default parent or not. It is what it is and each role in parenting carries different perks and negatives. Here are some scenarios:
It’s 7 pm, kids are down and you need toothpaste. Do you A. Run out and get it or B. Ask someone to pick it up?
Your child gets a cut at school. Does the school call you first?
Schools out, snow day! Who’s the parent to stay home with them without much thought?
It’s 2:30 am and the baby is screaming in their bed. Do you jolt awake in bed or slumber through?
Doctor’s appointment and it’s time to fill out the forms…Do you have their information memorized or are you texting to find out answers?
And then there’s just a million and one excuses. He’s not developmentally ready (says who, and what’s the actual requirement for potty training? It all seems sort of arbitrary), he’s not showing an interest (well, he likes the word poop and to flush it, is that interest?!), he’s not asking to go potty. I think more than any of those questions and standards, it’s on the parent to be ready to do it.
After deciding that I could handle a weekend of potty training, I got two different potty training books, one of which had been sitting on my shelf since March 2020. I took them out and placed them on my nightstand and…never read them. I have every single intention of reading them, but I was just too tired at night and had other things prioritized so I decided to go into the potty training blind—using only my gut as my navigation system.
As a 1991 baby, a millennial, but not really one at heart, I feel my style rolls more like a gen-x. I also feel like my boomer family judges me every step of the way from the fact that I let my kids test their limits or paint apron free or the fact that I don’t force them to wear a coat to the car so that they experience the natural consequence of feeling cold. Are you rolling your eyes? Hi, Mom!
These sort of memories and smells and feelings are engrained in me from holiday traditions. Now that I have my own family, I want them to have these sort of memories as well. I find that merging my own traditions with my husband's has created a really fun season for us. With Lincoln being 2 and Layla being 1, this year is finally a year that he gets it and can join in on many of our traditions.
Left to do!
How to stop a toddler tantrum before it ever begins...
Here's the actual truth, you can't. HOWEVER, I do believe that you can equip your child with coping and self-regulation skills to where a tantrum is a quick and relatively painless process. Tantrums are developmentally appropriate for toddlers as this is a time in their life when they discover their autonomy and that they're an individual in a big, big world.
But that doesn't mean your child should be miserable and fighting with you all the time in this crazy power-struggle. It starts from day one and it starts with you setting them up for success. The tips I mention below are all practiced in my house (as much as possible) and I think they've helped Lincoln, my two year old, be able to work his way through tantrums better.
Due to COVID rules and the timing of their appointments, I had to handle both kids well visits at our pediatrician alone. Layla had her nine month and Lincoln had his two year. When I planned them together, I thought it was such a smart idea to get it over with and to streamline the visits into one. However, on the way there when Lincoln was kicking the backseat because he wanted to go back on the playground and Layla was crying because she was already overdue for a bottle, I knew I had f’ed up.