Hey ya'll! This is a guest post from Malissa Moench of Northern Utah...she is one of our network of Certified GDF Coaches. Please enjoy her wonderful contribution and be sure to leave a comment for her, below! xx Andrea
I came across a quote by Edward Tronick the other day while reading the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Child, by Dr. Laura Markham. It rang true for me and has been bouncing around in my head ever since:
"Only maybe twenty, thirty percent of the time is the interaction 'perfectly' in sync. The rest of the time, you're in sync, you're out of sync, you're getting back into sync. This not being in sync frees up parents from that constant burden of being perfect -- because you can't be perfect. No matter how hard you try, you can't be. When you connect, one of the things that can happen -- not always, but some of the time -- is that you create something new. You figure out a new way to do something together that you've never done before. If you create something new, you grow. And babies are about growing."
And this is precisely what I'd like to talk about today...that constant burden of being perfect.
A rough start to finding peace with EC
I first heard about elimination communication (EC) when I was 8 months pregnant with my first.
A blogger wrote a post about her sister-in-law, who practiced EC with her daughter.
Those cute pictures of mommy holding baby in the classic EC position, and the idea that I could have less messes to clean up while being more environmentally friendly, hooked me. My husband and I were both immediately intrigued.
We felt like, and still feel like, we were meant to find this amazing method.
(Maybe you've felt this way too?)
I started reading up on EC and early toilet training.
As a new (very naïve) mother, I expected that, no matter what, if I worked hard enough and was persistent, my child would be toilet independent by 12 months, easily.
As you can imagine, the next three and a half years found me frequently lying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position, my brain whirling with allllllll the poop and pee misses.
(My first did, and still does, always ensure he is the one in control!)
I was nowhere near perfect at EC, or parenting. I often felt frustrated, angry, and defeated at times.
How things have changed with my new baby
With my new baby, I am giving this EC journey my all...but that looks different now than it did when I only had one brand-new baby.
Back then, that looked like me frantically rushing my son to the toilet whenever a wave of fear came over me that he would have a miss. Again.
Now it looks like putting anxiety aside, staying positive, and giving him time to learn.
Back then it looked like me panicking when he started to have a miss.
Now it looks like me calmly telling him, “Wait. Pee goes in the toilet.”
Back then it looked like frustration.
Now it looks more and more like peace.
Learning and teaching...at the same time
Do you often feel embarrassed or guilty when you aren’t in sync with your child’s EC signals?
According to Edward Tronick's quote, that means you might feel embarrassed about 70% of the time.
Here is your permission to let go of doing EC perfectly, even in front of other people.
Here is your permission to let your child teach you.
Here is your permission to choose peace.
I believe the writer, Robin Dance, said it best: “Perfectionism isn’t a goal of parenting.”
Elimination communication is a process. It's not about perfection. It’s about creating new connections with your child.
This is inherently a messy thing, literally and figuratively.
I promise you that this learning curve is moving in the upward direction.
All you need to do is focus on the learning process, and the teaching process...because you and your child are both learning, and you’re both teaching.
Reminding ourselves that we are safe
If you are going through tough times with EC, like we did, I certainly know what it’s like to feel frustrated and lost and angry with your child’s EC progress.
Regardless of these feelings, know you are safe.
Saying that out loud during the most difficult moments helps to ground me.
I am safe.
Not only are you safe wherever you are on your journey with EC, you are also safe in this community of fellow ECers...fellow parents learning peace and teaching peace.
Take a minute to let this sink in, to think about what you are going to choose. Then....
Please leave a comment, below with what YOUR next step is that will allow you, and your baby, more peace in your EC journey.
Thank you and peaceful ECing! Warmly, Malissa