A couple weeks ago I decided to delve into the whole potty training thing again with Beans. We've been trying for awhile, but I decided to really dedicate myself to the endeavor, and try a new technique.
It didn't go well.
All the usual familiar thoughts started going through my head. I worried that I had not tried hard enough, or that others would think that I hadn't. All those sorts of anxiety laced imaginings that catch up to me while I am laying in bed trying to sleep.
But, then I remembered that I am trying to be a better mom by being kind to myself. The happier I am with my decisions the happier of a mom I can be. If I am always looking to others to define my worth I can never be sure of how I feel, or who I am. I'll forever trying to reach an imaginary, unattainable standard. I stood up to those negative thoughts.
I began to ask myself some tough questions about whether I really thought that I did give it a good effort, and if my instinct was that he wasn't ready. I felt that my answers were genuine. Giving up the potty training for now is what is best for him. There has been so many other times where I listened to other people's ideas on what was best for my kids, and in the instance of developmental types of things I was rarely wrong. My instincts (much like most parent's) were almost always correct. There have been times where I deeply regret not listening to my instincts, and letting other's dictate the situation. Some of those times have greatly added to my children's anxiety, because I know the situation was too overwhelming for them at that time, or just the wrong fit.
I did begin to reassure myself about all the cool new leaps he's made lately. In the last year Beans has been able to do so many new things. His developmental progress is nothing to be upset about.
Let's have a look at all new skills Beans has acquired recently.
He now goes to the pantry when he is hungry, and gets the food he wants. He will carry it to the table, or bring it to someone to help him with it. This is huge! He used to sit at the table, and wait for someone to bring him something, and would never have indicated what his choice of food might be. We'd have to carry items two at a time to the table where we'd guess by his reaction if he was interested in anything we presented. A lot of the time we guessed wrong, and so much food was wasted.
It's not just the food choices that is awesome in that scenario. It is that he realized he can communicate with others, and seeks out opportunities to do so. Even the simple act of seeking another person to help him is something I could jump for joy about every time it happens.
On that note, he also is walking independently in public places without running off, and he actually looks to see where his family is. If he can't find one of us right away he begins to get upset, and look for us. He used to never act like he even knew any of us. Now, he definitely has a preference in wanting to be with his family vs. strangers. He use to treat everyone the same, and seemed to not have any kid of separation anxiety, even a healthy amount. Now, when I go upstairs to put away laundry, or whatnot I can hear him over the baby monitor walking around saying- "Ma ma, ma, mommm ma ma". He is actually looking for me! So cute, and makes me so happy!
Beans is also helping me do the laundry now, and picking up stuff he finds on the floor.Not so much the second one as the first, but it's a start! He has also learned how to unscrew caps, and lids.
So, in keeping with looking for the positives I think he is doing great! We'll try again later with the potty training, but I am grateful for the not so small accomplishments he has made recently.
*In closing I just wanted to mention that I am aware that I did not give many details about the techniques, or readiness skills Beans has used for potty training. I did this purposely in order to protect Bean's dignity. I was unsure if I even ought to pen such a personal piece, but decided that as long as I did not offer up graphic details about Beans personal life it would still afford him dignity while helping other autism parents feel reassured about taking things like this one step at a time. If you have a question I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you in an email, or private message. On the same token I appreciate that many of you may have some tips, or advice, but I must reiterate that success at this time is not about the right technique, but Bean's readiness. Thank you for reading.