Know It All

So yesterday we spent the day at the beach with two other families that we are friends with. Between us, we have 8 kids. I have 4 so I win!…oh, right. Not a competition. Must repeat this mantra over and over: Not a competition not a competition…

But one of the families has two small boys, ages two and a half and 6 months.
The littlest human was pretty good, all things considered – he was quite content to sit on his mother’s lap, then his father’s lap, then his auntie’s lap. He did hang out on the blanket under the umbrella for awhile while his father hovered above him lest any sunlight dapple his fragile 6 month old skin.

Eventually though, he got cranky. Not the father. The 6 month old.

So I suggest, “Why don’t you put him down for a nap.”

Both parents look at me like I suggested we put him on a raft and push him out into the middle of the lake.

“He doesn’t nap,” says the mother. “You know, at home there’s so much going on with the two year old always poking at him, he just never relaxes enough to fall into a deep sleep. Sometimes though, if I stay with him, he’ll nap in my arms.”

I said nothing. I’m not about to judge how people raise their kids. Frankly, I couldn’t give a shit. I’m done that part of parenting. If you want to spend 15 hours with kids hanging off  you, well my darling, you go right ahead.

Apparently though, that’s not the reaction that my friend was looking for. My friend repeats the part about the baby not napping during the day because there is so much going on in her home. So much going on in her home. How do I not respond to this?

I don’t like coming across as a know-it-all, but sometimes I just have to admit that I do have some experience in the child rearing department. I’ve had four kids. People don’t like it when others start sharing their advice. And if I’d had only one child, maybe I wouldn’t feel like such an expert…oh, who are we kidding, yes I would.
But the point is, I’ve had four. I am a fucken expert.

I point out to my friend that the two year old can be put in his room for an hour of “quiet time” while she settles the baby, so that nobody is “poking” at him.
“Well, the baby won’t go in his crib.”

Alright, not getting into this. Breathing deeply. Don’t want to act like I know it all. Just return to the beach blanket and nobody gets hurt.

Baby continues to fuss because baby needs a fucken nap. But I say nothing.

Then my friend ASKS me, “How do you think I should go about potty training the two year old?”

I reply, “Don’t. Eventually he’ll just tell you he doesn’t want the diaper anymore.”

At this point, all parents present shoot me this look. Like I’m a fucken idiot. What did I mean, “Don’t potty train?” Of course you have to potty train. He can’t stay in diapers forever.

“He won’t be in diapers forever,” I say. “It’s not like he’ll be 10 years old, going to school in diapers.”
Well, it’s true.

Yet still nobody is speaking. They’re all just looking at me like I’m talking out of my ass.
People, I’ve had four kids. I know about potty training.
But I have to then go into my shpeel about how my first son was out of diapers by the time he was 24 months old. But I stress that I was the one who was potty trained. I knew to recognize the signals.
I recognized the look on his face when he was about to crap his pants. I was the one lunging at him, scooping him up while sprinting for the nearest toilet (God help me if I was in the Superstore where the bathrooms are located 2 kilometres away at the other end of the fucken grocery store), then plunking his ass down on the toilet, hoping that I made it in time.
Yet, most parents think that when their kids are out of diapers, they’re potty trained.

I explain the story of the second child who was out of diapers at the age of 26 months, but peed his pants until he was four years old.
My friends from the beach are like, “You should have just left him in his wet underwear, eventually he would have caught on, and wouldn’t have peed his pants anymore.”
My husband and I look at each other and burst out laughing. Ah the ignorant bliss of having zero experience yet thinking you know what you’re talking about.
I explain that not only did I leave the kid in his pissy pants all day, but the kid would be standing in front of me, talking to me, all the while peeing. We just kept him outside a lot. This way my hard wood floors didn’t get ruined.

I continue on with the third and fourth children, explaining that I just did nothing. By the time my daughter was almost three, she told me, “Take this shitty diaper off me, it’s gross.” Not verbatum.
And my youngest son pretty much did the same thing.
I did not buy those little dinosaur-shaped potties and put it in front of the television so they could pee and watch Barney. I did not buy Pull-Ups. I did not put Fruit Loops in the toilet so they could aim at it while urinating. I did not give candy everytime they made it to the toilet in the knick of time. I did not cut down their fluid consumption so that they wouldn’t have “accidents” when we were out in a public place.
I did nothing with the last two. I just said, “When you don’t want to wear your diaper anymore, let me know.”
And they did. And they never had one single “accident.”

Still though, all parents are looking at me like somehow I must have done something wrong. Because potty-training is an actual event in a child’s life. They sell books on this topic. Surely waiting for your child to be ready and to verbalize that he/she is ready must be wrong.

My friend then looks away from me and looks to the other mother, and says, “Yeah, so what do you think I should do?”


What do I know. I’ve only had four kids. I wonder how many more I would need to have before my advice is credible?
Sometimes, it’s ok to admit that you do know it all. I know a lot about child rearing from the ages of 0-14. After that, I don’t have a clue.

Last night, I was out going for a walk with my 14 year old when a van of rowdy teenagers drives by and screams obscenities at us.
I notice that my son has made a hand gesture. So I say, “Did you just flip them the middle finger? Good for you!”
He’s like, “No Mom, I just waved at them. I figured you can’t fight fire with fire.”


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16 Responses to Know It All
  1. Truthful Mommy
    July 27, 2010 | 1:24 am

    They will learn! You are wise and have experience. You are Mommy Yoda! Damn fools.My first was potty trained by 24 months, I actually trained her. We had a baby and she regressed. The second baby,however, learned by watchign the first baby and was telling me at 18 months that she had to got potty. Well,actually she was taking her diaper off, throwing it at me and bolting for the bathroom. So much easier than trying to force them:) I also have a sister, who has 1, and she is so rigid about her sons schedule that they force feed him and force him to nap with out after taking into consideration extenuating circumstances like sleeping in or eating later than usual, nope they just force him, Its pretty ridiculous but you can't tell her anything..until she asks.Happy Mothering!

  2. Erin
    July 27, 2010 | 1:43 am

    I had a friend who has a sister and she calls her mommy know it all…I think it was just because she was annoyed with the advice she gave!

    And your posts…are cracking me up! I so love your honesty!

  3. Laura @ The Things I Said I'd Never Do
    July 27, 2010 | 5:56 am

    Let the mom go nuts trying to potty train. It'll be fun to watch her hair go grey!

  4. Joann Mannix
    July 27, 2010 | 9:52 am

    Ok, Ok, Ok! As soon as you started in with the, "I let my baby sleep on me" I was all, "Oh, Lawd, one of those stupidos."

    I have three, three teenaged girls, the oldest being 19, so when you get to the car accidents and fun crap like that, give me a call, since we seem to have the same sage parenting skills.

    Here's what I know: Kids learn to sleep, because you make them sleep. You put them down for a nap. You close the door. You don't do shit-ass stupid things like stand at the door while they cry and cry yourself. And if you start putting them down early enough, like 2 months, (and there is a collective gasp from the parents who let their babies sleep on them), they learn mighty quick how wonderful sleep is with very little fuss. And like magic, you make a good sleeper.

    Potty-schmotty! This is what we did after the first by the book potty training: When we were home, we just let them go bare bottomed. They made the connection pretty dang quick after that.

    We'll talk some more about proper parenting skills. I'm laid back, indeed. But at the same time, I've molded 3 good girls who are kind, and funny and lovely and smart, (all honor roll girls) and I did it without the help of many guide books or must do's.

    Here's to parents who own parenting. We rock!

  5. Ron Cooper
    July 27, 2010 | 10:23 am


    I’m following you now from Follow Me Back Tuesday! Please follow me back on my blog “Inspire!”


  6. Shelli @ Style Ingenuity
    July 27, 2010 | 10:27 am

    Hi There!

    Visiting from Follow Me Back Tuesday! I am your newest follower through Google Connect!

    Please stop by and visit my blog at

    Shelli :)

  7. Heather
    July 27, 2010 | 10:29 am

    Wow! To each their own with the whole potty training experience. I agree with you that parents become potty trained, unless you have a child who actually indicates in some way take me to the potty before the age of 2 and I think those children are few and far between.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting on my blog and I'm now following you back. :)

  8. F.A.T.S Momma
    July 27, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Hahahahhaaaaa! LOVE it! Totally sounds like my life as a mom of 4! Found you on FMBT!

  9. Julia
    July 27, 2010 | 11:09 am

    Okay…..I'm laughing.

    When I have a kid, and I need some advice, I'm coming to you.

    And I love that your son waved at those kids. What a good boy! Hahaha! Looove it!

  10. Sofia
    July 27, 2010 | 1:37 pm

    Everytime we take my son to the potty he either freaks out or says the seat hurts. I am going to follow your advice and let him tell me when he wants to stop wearing diapers. Some people make me want to smack them on the back of their heads and see if their neurons start working! I bet she also follows whatever their pediatrician says they must do. Sometimes I even wonder if said doctors have kids themselves…oh well.
    Loving your blog and following! Thanks for stopping by my blog!


  11. Mrs. Fine
    July 27, 2010 | 1:38 pm

    oh goodness, you made me laugh. I certainly don't have any young Fines at the moment. However, we were at friends with 2 kids yesterday and after leaving Mr. Fine suggested that perhaps I was too terse with the 3 year old. What? I wasn't terse. I used my teacher voice. I am so not going to talk to kids in the baby voice. The kid is going to tell me if he/she doesn't like the way I'm talking…that or not let me continue coloring with him/her. ps. Priceless 14 year old! Too cool!

  12. Liz
    July 27, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    I am SO with you on this! My kids are good sleepers and it's because I did what needed to be done for them to have good sleep habits.

    That women is making excuse after excuse, and truly is making life harder on herself. A child that little needs sleep and a LOT of it.

    What a dumb ass.

  13. Poppy
    July 27, 2010 | 6:54 pm

    Can we please go out for drinks? You make me laugh.

  14. Lynn
    July 27, 2010 | 10:07 pm

    Hmmm, it all makes sense to me. But then, I actually taught my son good sleeping habits. Sounds like that mom just wants everyone to know how tough she has it!

  15. Mama Hen
    July 27, 2010 | 10:12 pm

    Oh goodness, I know we should not say anything to other moms about parenting, but sleep is so important for a child. It is important for so many reasons. Well, next time you should make an excuse to walk away. Then you don't have to deal with sharing a bit of your experience, and you have experience! I hope you have a great night!

    Mama Hen

  16. Gigi
    August 1, 2010 | 2:54 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post! It's so true, you can't advise people, particularly with parenting, because they think they know better (like the guy at work whose kid takes a nap at 5:00 pm and then wonders why she won't go to bed before 11:00 pm…duh!). I have a friend with a small child and I never offer anything unless she asks and when she does she always comes back and tells me "It worked!" So that's my plan, I wait until asked.

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