Deciding to use the elimination communication method for potty training with M is just another decision that sets G & I outside the box, with both our sets of family. My Mum thinks we’re mad, and mother-in-law can’t grasp the concept full stop. Just like baby-led weaning, elimination communication is not a new idea worldwide, but it’s a new concept in the UK, and is unheard of in Turkey. The potty sits in the bathroom, and if people ask, wide-eyed, if we’re potty training already, we answer “kind of”, laugh and try and leave it at that.
Schools of thought for raising children in the UK and Turkey are poles apart. At times this is beneficial for us, at others we may have more difficulties than we would in the UK, but on balance, we prefer the opportunities we have here to raise our child, our way. Whether we lived in the UK or here, many of our choices..co-sleeping, babywearing, baby-led weaning, and now elimination communication are not the norm, but I don’t believe that today, with the global parenting community just a tweet or a stumble away, your norm for parenting should be confined to the country you live in.
When we first became parents, both G and I found it really difficult to balance what was expected from our families, with advice from the doctors and what we believed to be the solution. Many times, we found ourselves reverting back to our own personal starting points when our outside the box conversation was being questioned and I’d defend the British way, he’d defend the Turkish way and we’d forget that the conversation had started with neither of us wanting either way. I remember a dinner at home with both my Mum and the in-laws. M was maybe 10 days old and I sat him on my knee to wind him, hand under his chin supporting his neck, holding his head up. My Mother-in-law was horrified, first by the baby being sat on my knee and secondly my hand under his chin. I snapped at her –can you say post-partum!– that in the UK they teach you to wind babies this way (true) and that my Mum had raised four kids so that was that. As soon as the words were out, I realised that she’d raised three kids herself, and they were all fine too. Lesson learned. There is no right or wrong way to raise children, there’s just your way and my way.
Raising M here, I find a lot of the time I turn online for guidance, for advice, for support. I don’t rely on the doctor, or on friends but delve into the Web and research independently every development and concern. Many a time I say something and G just looks at me, “where did you get that from?””…well, there’s this woman whose second-cousins’ sister once lived in the Himalayas and in Peru they…”. We are blessed to be raising M now, when we have access to Peruvian folk tales and advice from all over to add to the mix. Yet like with everything, there’s a down side to balance the plus, and the down side to developing our own eclectic parenting style and the negative to learning about and implementing ideas such as potty training a six month old, is, you’re very much out on a limb. And with M’s development checkup this week, even though I like the doctor and feel she supports the intuitive approach, I can’t help feel nervous at the thought of our choices being called into question again. Days like today help balance that…seeing my son so delighted when he accomplishes something new:
..even if it that something is nothing more than pooing on a potty!