The best parent is one that can get rid of her kids as soon as possible!!
Wait! Lemme explain…..
As parents our foremost endeavor is to make our kids physically, mentally and emotionally strong. We try to impart some knowledge of life and the skills required to survive in the world out there.
If you see the bigger picture as parents we are endlessly trying to pass down skill sets to our kids that enables them to survive on their own.Hence, basically, parenting is about teaching our kids how to live without us.
That’s why I say that the best parent is one who can make her kids independent. So that they can survive safely and in full health even without mommy dearest.
In short, learn to get rid of your kids as soon as possible!!
The wild world does it too. Cubs are nurtured by the tigress only till they learn to hunt on their own. After that they have to venture out of her presence and make their own pack and territory. In the time they spend with her she teaches them all her stealth and skills but after a short span the cubs are really on their own.
I am a strong believer that our natural instincts should be inspired from the jungle. In the absence of social conditioning and facebook, animals are closest to their natural instincts. So what they do is usually what all mammals are wired to do. Even mothering.
Talking from experience I can confidently say that each skill set that my daughter picked up and started doing on her own made my life exponentially easier. You travel a step closer to Nirvana with each task your kid starts doing independently.
Though milestones are way different for all kids in this area, I just thought of sharing my experience with my baby about the skill sets I taught her at different stages. All moms are welcome (in fact strongly urged) to share their experiences in the comment box below.
AGE 10months- 1 Year:
Pee-pee training: I started sitting my daughter on a small baby potty every 2 hours or so since she had started sitting upright without help ie around 10 months. About 2-3 weeks of training she would wait for the time to sit on the baby pot before peeing. Of course she was completely diaper free only at around 1.5 years but she had picked up the skill quite early.
Diapers and all the associated issues of rashes left our lives once my daughter was diaper free. And of course my diaper bag was literally empty henceforth!
AGE 1-2 Years:
Holding a glass: I had skipped the bottle phase quite early for my baby. From breastfeeding, I hardly ever gave her the bottle and graduated her to the sippy cup early on. By the age of 1.5 she was drinking from the sippy cup and by 2 years from a glass without any drastic spillage.
It saved me the whole sterilization drill and the ease of just handing your kid a glass of water is unimaginable. One more item less from the diaper bag!
AGE 2 YEARS- TILL PRESENT:
Eating on her own: I had introduced the silver spoon (in India its common for babies to have silver utensils. Scientifically, silver does boost immunity) at 2. So though not born with a silver spoon, she got one early on in life J
It’s best to start with finger foods. These can be done much early- even when she is just a year old! And later also if she wants to eat something with her hand, let her! Don’t be insistent on a spoon. I am sure there is gonna be some time before she dines with the Queen!!
Warning: There is gonna be a loooootttt of spillage in learning this skill set. So make sure her chair and around is a surface that can be easily cleaned. And of course the baby is also dressed in something almost disposable. I had a dedicated set of “Eating clothes” for her that I changed her into while she was learning this skill!
AGE 2-3 Years:
Independent play: There can be nothing more peaceful than a kid who plays on her own. Introduce role-playing at around 2 years so that your baby learns to spend some time playing alone. There are some great role-playing toys at Early Learning Centre (ELC) that allowed me some “me-time” while my daughter was glued to them.
Of course her attention span is going to be very little. You will end up playing with her most of the time. However even that 15 minute break is a welcome blessing at that time!
AGE 3-4 Years:
Going to sleep on her own: This is something entirely for the Indian audience. I believe in the west, where co-sleeping is not very common, independent sleeping happens early on in the baby’s life. However in India where kids usually bunk with parents or at least in the same room it’s a good idea to introduce your baby to lying down on her own and going off to sleep without your help. A good way to start is to have a bedtime routine- reading a book, coloring a picture or listening to some lullaby- whatever is your baby’s inclination. After the small pre-bedtime task snuggle with her for a few minutes and then kiss her goodnight. AND LEAVE!
My daughter remains up for quite some time after I exit the room. But then she eventually goes to sleep without my presence in the room.
AGE 3.5-4 Years:
Group play: It was a while before my daughter left my side and ran off to play on her own with her group of friends in the park. In fact, till date, there are those clingy days when she wants me to keep standing near her while she plays with the other kids. However, there is no other better learning of social skills she can get than playing with a bunch of kids. Her friends range from 2 years-8 years now. And she is learning her way around society in this tiny yet significant way!
Good idea is for you to bond with the moms of her playgroup and organize some single playdates with one/two kid(s) at a time at home so that she gets comfortable with all the kids she sees in the evening.
These are the few skills that I can remember which surely did take the load off my head one by one and my daughter became strikingly independent on learning them.
Slowly each day extra minutes free up for you as your kid picks up these life skills. And you become less and less required. I wont say free coz that no mom can be. I still run to my mom for so many things. So forget the hope of being free, but surely you do get calmer and more relaxed as and when these milestones are crossed.
That’s why I said- get rid of your kid fast and come join the NIRVANA-MA club!