Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smart Babies!

When my oldest was about 9 months I came across information on Baby Sign Language. This would prove to help form many of my views and methods of parenting. He picked up on it fast. Within mere days he was communicating things to me like, "I need medicine, my teeth hurt." with only a few hand gestures. It hadn't really occurred to me that my baby comprehended things so thoroughly and at such a young age. Our learning to communicate with each other opened up our relationship and closed the door on so many manipulations that children learn to use to get what they need or want when they have no other means of communication. With subsequent children I have begun signing to them at 5-6 months to get them used to the idea of communication and how to do it. They start signing back around 7 or 8 months. My second son learned "milk" (for nursing) and "change" (for diaper change) and then tossed it all out the window and started talking early. He is 3 and has a larger vocabulary and comprehension than many kindergartners and 1st graders. He is learning to control and deal with his emotions and the the frustrations that come with his body trying to catch up with his brain. My daughter is 8 months old now. A couple weeks ago she started signing 'milk'. Now she signs 'please', 'change', 'medicine' and reaches for things she doesn't know signs for. This week she started telling me 'change' before she went or as she was trying. I thought laughingly, "I could potty train her!" But of course, brushed off the thought. The today when researching baby sleep patterns, I ran across a website for Infant Potty Training. INFANT! I'm a little late on the learning windows, but considering her behavior lately, I think I might try a little and see where it goes. I love ideas outside my automatic western mindset that turn me on my ear a little.
Here is an exerpt from the webpage:


Babies are smarter than we think! The big mistake that people make is to presume that a newborn baby is unaware of going to the toilet. We assume an infant is incapable of toilet learning since infants are small and uncoordinated and also because they cannot walk or talk. An infant is helpless in so many ways that it is hard for Westerners to imagine such a tiny being could be aware of peeing and pooping. It is even harder for us to believe that an infant has some control over elimination. With these preconceived and narrow views, we encourage and teach our babies to be unconcerned about wetting and soiling diapers. In short, we teach our infants to use diapers as a toilet.

A normal, healthy infant is indeed aware of the bodily function of elimination and can learn to respond to it from infancy. By using diapers, we condition and thereby train baby to go in them. Later the child must unlearn this training. This can be confusing and a traumatic experience for the child.

An infant does his best to communicate his awareness to you, but if you don't listen, he will stop communicating and gradually lose touch with the elimination functions. He will be conditioned not to care and learn that you want him to use his diaper as a toilet.

Not only is toilet training from infancy basically unheard of by many, but it also strikes some as inconvenient. With relatively few exceptions, however, toilet training is by definition inconvenient no matter when or how you do it. If you wait for your baby to self-train at 2, 3, 4 or older, you are subjected to years of diaper changes and clean-up as well as diaper struggles.

Diapers, especially disposable ones, are a temporary way to deal with toileting. We attempt to "plug up" our child's disposal system with diapers in the same way as we temporarily stop the flow from a leaking pipe. How many parents have pondered whether or not this is the most hygienic solution for the child? How many parents care about the effects of diapers on the environment? How many would care if they knew of an alternative to full-time diapers?

I am intrigued. let's see where this goes...


EzmereldaQ said...

SO crazy!! And definitely on the cool weird parenting meter.

Holly Tried It said...

It's so cool that your daughter is telling you about her need to go potty. My daughter started telling us around 12 months. Her cousin started communicating potty needs at about that age, too. There's a great potty training program using sign language that you might find helpful. They encourage potty training before age 2.