Look away, all ye who are squeamish, because this is the requisite mommy blog post about poop. (Rest easy, I’m not the type to get gross or stray into parental overshare – it’s not that kind of blog post.)
My boys are coming up on a year old and OF COURSE, they are not potty trained. Which is totally normal! Right? I thought so too. Then I stumbled on this article over at Mommyish.com – which introduced me to yet another mommy acronym and a parenting practice I had never heard of before.
“EC” stands for “Elimination Communication.” From what I can gather, you basically start toilet-training your tot from birth. You’re supposed to “read cues” about when he or she needs to tinkle, and get baby to a potty, pronto. Hold him over it. If that’s not possible, hold baby over some other kind of receptacle, or over a diaper. You make noises that simulate peeing and pooping as they perform the act (I’m not sure why). Wearing diapers, at least at home, is discouraged. It’s touted as “baby-led” toilet training.
Pros: Kid toilet trains early – theoretically. No need to bribe your kid with M&Ms or sticker charts to poop in the potty.
Cons: Um, pee and poop potentially everywhere, and – the biggest drawback, to me – having to watch your child extremely closely every second. (I’m all for supervision and safety – but I don’t want to have to decipher my sons’ every sideways glance and grimace and rush him to the bathroom in case that was the “I need to pee” face.)
I actually can’t even fathom how this would work with twins. It wouldn’t. I’d be holding one baby over the toilet, triceps quivering as he took his sweet time, and I’d miss the other kid’s “cues”, and come back to a playroom covered in you-know-what. I am already terrified of potty training twins – I’m leaning towards that whole “diaper-free weekend” approach, just to try and get the grossness and and the stress all out of the way in one shot.
Like extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and making homemade baby food, “EC” is one of those parenting practices that is a privilege of the affluent. (Full disclosure: we’re still nursing – though we’re almost done. We also cloth diaper, but we’re like the white-meat vegetarians of cloth diapering – we use disposables at night and for car trips. And I do make the boys’ food – which I’m sure they would be sad about, if they ever got to taste Heinz’s delicious apple-strawberry blend.)
Why are these measures – which, at first glance, should save you money – only for those with resources? Because if you have to go to work, you don’t have time for them. Breastfeeding and pumping are an enormous time commitment, and if, like most women in the neighbouring United States, I’d had to go back to work within three months of giving birth – particularly to a job where I couldn’t sneak away to pump every couple of hours – I would have ended up switching to formula, no question. Cloth diapers undoubtedly save us money, but they add multiple extra loads of laundry to my week (not to mention, most daycares won’t use them). And making baby food takes up at least a couple of hours a week that I wouldn’t have if I had to work. EC is another commitment for which – if you have a job, or another kid, or even just an addiction to celebrity gossip (ahem), you cannot make time. You can’t exactly tell your daycare provider – “Oh, don’t worry, this little guy doesn’t use diapers, just keep an eye on him and he’ll tell you when he needs to go.” Nope, this one is for stay-at-home-moms only.
Of which I am one. But I guess I must be the lazy kind. Good on you, ECers, but it’s just not for me. After all, playing the “nose game” with my husband – where whoever touches their nose last has to change the poopy diaper – is often the most satisfying “win” that I’ll have in a day. I gloat for hours. I wouldn’t cheat myself out of that kind of satisfaction.