Friday, September 25, 2009

Learning to Communicate

At what point do you realize your kid is really growing up? Is it when they suddenly start calling you mom and dad instead of mommy and daddy? Or when they play quietly in their room - door closed - and they prefer not to be interrupted?

Yes, sure. But for me it's the way Sophie has dealt with us taking away her sippy cup.

Months ago, we made the mistake of letting Sophie go to bed with a sippy cup of milk. It was a decision made in desperation I'm sure (I don't remember the circumstances) and one I would regret time and time again.

I've known the dreaded no-sippy-cup day was going to happen soon. Roy and I decided to wait until after our trip to South Dakota. While there, I let her pick out some new, plastic cups at World Market. We implemented a "no sippy cup" rule at dinner time. But still, for a child that never had a lovey, the cup has been a major security blanket.

This past Wednesday, Sophie and I had a talk. I told her that I had done some reading about her sippy cup and I found out that it was bad for her teeth and that it could delay her speech. I told her that she was a big girl now and that she had neat, new cups to use during the day, and that she could still have a sippy cup of orange juice in the morning and a sippy cup of milk at night, before we brushed her teeth. I also told her that if she wanted to take a sippy cup of water with her to bed, that would be fine.

This was not good news to our little girl. She wined a little, but I changed the subject and we moved on.

We have survived 4 non-sippy-cup days and nights. When she asked for something to drink on Friday she asked for "a cup of orange juice, no lid. Sippy cups can hurt my teeth", she told me.

Right or wrong, as a parent I am prone to make decisions for Sophie without really explaining them. She wants to wear shorts, so I give her tights for underneath, but I don't explain to her that it's cold outside. In my haste to get out the door I think less words will somehow make the process go faster but the sippy cup lesson has taught me that the opposite is true - if I explain to Sophie why we need to do something, it becomes easier and is much less work later on. In fact, she she may become an advocate. And if she disagrees? She'll learn to express herself and formulate an argument.

Ah yes, my little girl gets less little every day.


Rachel said...

Oh, yes. Out of desperation this spring I gave Adeline a bottle with almond milk. Ooooooooooh this is a hard thing to take away! Kudos to you for such a sensible explanation!

kristin said...

i love this.

i think i forget that simple honesty can work.

Rae said...

What a big girl! We sometimes find Lauryn telling us similar things "mom, I don't need that, I'm 6(!!!) now, not 5 anymore."

We miss you Sophie!