I tend to beat myself up when reading into what the parenting world views as the ‘norm’. Parental comparisons start to form when learning what the appropriate ages are for various childhood milestones. When should one start the transition to solid foods? At what age should we as parents wean our little ones off the ‘binky’? Is it  time to progress into a toddler bed? When should I start thinking about potty training? When these specific deadlines in Jonah’s age approach and, God forbid, the milestones have not been met, it frustrates me to no end.  It fills me with self-doubt and makes me question my own validity on the parenting scale. But in honesty, I don’t know why I allow the self-pity and the rally of questions.  I know that each child is different.  I've learned that reaching these milestones are just that--reaching them.  When training for my half marathon, yes, I trained, hard.  It took several months of discipline. But when crossing that finish line  I didn't think to myself, "I should have done this sooner or when I was younger". I wasn't ready to endure the discipline it took to train a few years prior to then. I know comparing my son’s milestones to mine are few and far between, but it has helped me understand that clearly we will reach them all when we are ready. 

Back in May of last year, Jonah had learned to climb out of his crib. Every nap time, every night.  He would literally do a flip out of his crib, head first mind you, and land on his bum. It came to a point where I would sleep with one eye open in fear that he would wake up and I’d have seconds to spare only to hear the dreaded boom from him hitting the floor. Patrick was away at WIC training, and I knew something had to be done.  The question arose—is it time to transition to a toddler bed?  I knew the timing wasn’t right.  I knew it would just be a fight to get him to stay in his bed.  It already was.  Even though all the internet sights, parenting books, and mothers around me softly mentioned he was at the prime age to transition, I knew he wasn't ready.  A crib tent solved the problem perfectly, and despite the feeling that I had to justify my reasoning, I know it was a decision that fostered many restful nights for all of us.   

Furthermore, for many that know me, I am and have become an advocate for child naps.  I strongly believe and know that naps, or lack thereof, can make or break a day.  So when a few weeks of Jonah striking against a nap occurs, I fear the inevitable.  That prime age the parenting world views—‘around 2 or 2. 5 years of age’ that a nap may disappear from a child’s daily routine lingers in my mind. The cycle begins, frustration, followed by doubt, and so on and so on….

I begin to reflect on what I've learned thus far with these said milestones and unlike some where I worry much longer on the topic (solid foods, potty training, transition to a toddler bed) I firmly take a stand on this one.  I know what is best for my child (and for my sanity).  These naps will continue to prevail in the Hancock household as long as I see the need.   The past couple weeks or so, Jonah had been napping in our bed.  He seemed to enjoy the aspect of being ‘tucked’ in.   It quickly dawned on me that I could stray away from any fight he might present just by allowing him the comfort of sleeping in ‘mommy and daddy’s' bed.  He’d fall asleep in less than 10 minutes flat.  This mere realization quickly led to another.  He was ready for a toddler bed. 

Friday evening, Jonah soundly slept in his new toddler bed.  It was the easiest transition by far.  Dismissing the emotional mother that I was Friday evening, realizing my baby is, in fact, growing up, I knew this progression would have been a nightmare if done any sooner. There was no fussing, no crying, and no getting out of his bed.  Here I sit one pleased parent.   I know among the vast amount of parents out there several have successfully gone through this transition with their child at a younger age than Jonah.  Some parents continue to allow their child a 'binky' when the presence of Jonah’s made its way out the door several months ago.  I know several children younger than Jonah who are fully potty trained.   Jonah is not. 

Clearly this slightly long rant signifies a continuous need to justify to myself why these said milestones aren't always met under the guidelines given.  Milestones--shmilestones, I tell ya. There is no harm in buying a few more boxes of diapers, and why worry if Jonah started earlier on solids a few months earlier than that said, “norm"?   In the end,  it doesn't reflect on who I am as a mother, or any parent who reads this—each child is different.  As parents, we are given this opportunity to direct and guide them rightfully in their own time.