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patience and parenting and princess bikes

I'm not really one to tell people how to parent. (Or how to do anything, really; I have serious reservations about making general statements of "truth".)

But.

I will say that one thing I've grown to appreciate in the three and a half years I've been parenting is the value of waiting.

When Rosie was a baby, I spent way too many hours reading books and making charts and wondering what I was doing wrong as I tried to get her to sleep through the night.

The more I talked to other moms, and read other blogs, the more I realized that there wasn't one right way to parent, and that the fact that Rosie wasn't sleeping through the night wasn't a sign that i was parenting wrong. For me, having patience as I taught my daughter that she was heard and safe and cared for was the right thing.

It was the same with potty training. I pushed Rosie to do it when I was ready and she wasn't, and it didn't work. Months later, when she was ready for it, potty training was a breeze. It took a day and a half.

So with the pacifier thing, I've been waiting. I ignored the doctor and dentist who suggested I get rid of it. Of course, I haven't been totally passive. We did restrict paci usage to bed or rest time only. And we have talked on plenty of occasions about what it means to become a big girl. But my intuition told me that I was not to be the one to force my daughter to give up her dearest comfort (the mere mention of getting rid of it elicited tears, every time) and "grow up". I kept thinking about the story Grams tells of Aunt Patty, stubbornly throwing her pacifier in the fire place and declaring she was done. I wanted to wait until Rosie was ready, like little Patty, to resolve for herself.

We had mentioned -in passing, maybe twice- that bikes were for big girls. And so on Saturday when Rosie saw the neighborhood girls riding bikes again, she came straight home and threw her pacifier in the trash. "I want a bike," she said. And she went to sleep that night, and the next, without even a single tear. On Sunday she picked this bike out, and today she has ridden up and down our street for about four hours.

Waiting until your kid is ready makes parenting so much easier.