My youngest is three and I just threw away the little potty. I had to. I couldn’t bear to dump even one more turd out of it into the big toilet. I just couldn’t do it. Sorry little 3-year-old…you’re pooping on the big potty from now on. I feel bad, like somehow she got the shaft in the whole “little potty” department. But seriously, my oldest is 11…almost 12. I’ve been holding my nose and dumping dookie for a long time. I never would have tossed the little potty when my oldest was only 3. At that point I think I was still giving him stickers and buying him prizes every time he went in the bathroom and did his business. If someone had suggested having him go on the big toilet (when he was a mere 36 months) I would have been as horrified as if they suggested I dip him in honey and lay him over an ant hill.
Yes, the life my 11-year-old led when he was just a little 3-year-old is quite different from the life my current 3-year-old leads.
For one thing, his drinks were always in sippy cups. Always. Usually milk, sometimes apple juice that had been cut with water. She has developed a taste for Sprite. Yes, soda. (Don’t judge me.) And she loves chocolate milk (which she can make herself if no one is getting it for her fast enough.) We may have one sippy cup somewhere in the house, but I can’t find the lid.
His bath time was all Johnson & Johnson Baby Head to Toe wash because it is gentle on the skin. Her bath time is more like “careful you don’t get any of that bar of Dial soap in your eyes because it will sting like the dickens.”
When my oldest was 3 he watched shows like Thomas the Train and Caillou. Now that my 5th child is 3 she watches Impractical Jokers. It’s her favorite show. She can name them all and even has a favorite one. (Sal) You’ve gotta hand it to her, she has good taste in shows. Impractical Jokers is hysterical…and Thomas the Train totally jumped the shark when they started animating the faces.
With him I was cutting his food into such small pieces that I might as well have just chewed everything up first and then placed it into his mouth like a mother bird. (No, seriously that is so gross I just threw up in my mouth a little at the thought of it. Alicia Silverstone did that when her son was little. I think I have post-traumatic stress just from watching that video. Here is the link so you can be mentally tortured, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMjyiHQoWxs) My current 3-year-old will grab a large piece of pepperoni pizza, fold it in half and eat it like a boss.
With the older kids, their lives are documented with meticulous detail in their baby books. With my youngest I think I may have written the day and time she was born and that’s pretty much it. There is no written record of her first words, although I’m pretty sure they were something along the lines of, “Oh, forget it, I’ll just do it myself.”
How much of this is birth order and how much of this is just who they are? I mean, it’s pretty clear that my parenting was different with my first baby than it was 8 years later with my 5th baby…but was it really THAT different? If she had been first and he had been last would she be asking me to get her a glass of milk at 11 years old, and would he have been turning socks right-side-out before he put them on at 3? I mean, he did pretty much come out of the womb like “take care of me” and she came out like “if you can just hand me the blue bulb thingy I will suction my own mucus out of my nose.”
So maybe it is just a matter of “you are who you are” from the minute you are born, with a little dash of parenting style in there to give you the platform to be yourself. Or to screw you up. Either way.