Like any parent we are constantly faced with questions about our children. These questions can turn a perfectly good day into making you feel awful if they play on any insecurities or worries you may already have. Obviously people ask you questions all the time and it’s a natural way to make conversation, but sometimes certain questions aren’t always welcome.
For me it often depends who is asking the question, and why they are asking it. Sometimes I think questions can be loaded and the person asking you knows full well it’s a delicate subject to be asked about. On the other hand, my close friends could ask me any of these questions and I wouldn’t have a problem answering them, because I feel they know me well and understand my point of view. I also ask people these questions, but I do try to think about how I phrase them and how my question might make them feel.
Here are the 5 questions I get asked the most and my responses…
1. When are you going to potty train James?
My honest answer to this question is I don’t know. I had been telling people that I would do it this summer but as I can’t get James to sit on the potty or the toilet it shows me he isn’t ready. This isn’t a case of me just asking him to sit on the potty and him saying no, although he does do that, but when I put him on the potty he straightens his legs and kicks and screams. I don’t think it would get us anywhere if I persisted with forcing him because he then won’t stay on it long enough to actually use it.
When I am asked this question it makes me feel pressure to do it and question why James isn’t ready to do it. Have I failed as a parent in some way? James is far more interested in playing than wanting to worry about using a potty. I worry people will think I am lazy for not having potty trained him yet. I am also conscious of strangers seeing that he is wearing a nappy in case they judge me as a bad parent.
2. When are you going to have another one?
This is the question I hate the most, because it is deeply personal but people still feel they can tell you what to do. Just having one child doesn’t seem to be an option for many people and I am so fed up of hearing that I can’t just have one.
I look at mums with more than one child in awe. I often imagine myself in situations when James is kicking off and how I would cope if I had another to contend with as well. I know I can do a good job with James, but would I be able to do just a good a job with two?
Pregnancy and another c section also doesn’t appeal to me, but to be honest it didn’t appeal to me the first time round either, but I had a feeling that I really wanted a baby. Who knows if I will get that feeling again, but at the moment we are really happy with James and enjoying watching him grow up.
3. When is he going to start talking more?
I really don’t know, but I don’t need to be reminded that he doesn’t talk as much as he should do for his age. He is making great improvements and that is what matters. We are having so much fun with him learning and he finds some words really funny. He surprises us all the time with words he does know and we often wonder how he knows them. He has even started singing which is great, and hopefully it will help him start to use sentences more.
One thing we have noticed with his speech is that he if he’s not 100% sure about a word he will continue to repeat it until we repeat it back to him, so he can check that he has said it correctly. He is also very keen to learn new words, it’s getting him to put them in a sentence that’s more of a problem.
4. Does he eat better now?
No! I don’t need to be told how so and so’s children eat really well and love their fruit and veg. James eats what he likes and doesn’t like trying new foods, pretty similar to me. I’ve stopped stressing about it so much now and hope he will eat fruit and veg as he gets older, although I recently spoke to someone whose 21 year old has never eaten fruit and veg and is still a fussy eater – he’s still alive and looks healthy to me.
James’ eating is just one thing I have come to accept. I am sure there are parents that watch my stories and are horrified with the frozen food James eats everyday but that’s what he will eat and I think it’s more important that he eats something rather than nothing. I give him vitamins and plenty of fresh air so hopefully that counts for something.
5. Does he play with other children?
It depends how you define “play”. James doesn’t have the language skills to talk to another child and come up with a game to play. What he does like is being chased and chasing other children; in fact he finds this hilarious. He much prefers being in play areas when there are other children around to watch and try to chase.
He will go up to other children if something about them interests him, for example a helmet they are wearing or if he likes something on their t shirt. This doesn’t always go down well with children as I think they wonder what James is doing, but the truth is he doesn’t have the social skills to ask if they mind him looking at something, so he just goes up to them and touches what interests him.
He is equally happy at playing on his own, and has a wonderful imagination that can keep him entertained for ages.
I think we all need to be aware of how we ask questions to other parents. Are we asking the question because we know the answer will make us feel better about ourselves? Do we have a genuine interest or are we just being nosey? Are we going to come across as judgemental in asking the question?
There are so many different ways to parent and just because you don’t agree with the way someone else is doing something, doesn’t mean we need to make them feel bad about it. Keep your opinions to yourself unless you are asked for them, and don’t judge people for doing things their way. Everyone parents differently because every child is different.