Just spend time with your kids, show them you care

Bill Packard: About that Elimination Communication

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 8:30pm

Well, I feel compelled to write again. Actually, I've been writing all along and just adding files to my word documents. Holly and Lynda were good to me and I liked writing for them, so why not try to help out the Pilot? I felt it was important to start with a memorable article, but since the election is over, there wasn't much current that touched me so I found this piece in the files. I'm sure you'll find it memorable. Whether you like it or not remains to be seen. At any rate; HE'S BACK.

An article in the Bangor Daily News a while ago reported on a new phenomenon, "elimination communication." Probably the whole world is familiar with this thing, but it was news to me. I guess that's why it was in the paper. Elimination communication is not using diapers on babies. Seems some person or group has determined that if you monitor your baby very, very closely you can anticipate when the baby needs to go to the bathroom and then rush the baby to the pot and have a successful elimination communication. I have a real problem with that. First and foremost, people make way too big a deal about parenting, and overanalyze it way beyond where it needs to go. You use common sense. You don't do things your parents did that you feel didn't help you. Beyond that, you live parenting day to day and see how it turns out. These people that analyze everything and write a book or article for the paper are just screwing things up even more.

Kids need to be kids. They need to be allowed to crap in their pants.

The Sunday Telegram back along had a self-help article about a 2-½ year old that was still messing his pants. The experts said that babies/children don't want to give up bowel movements because they see them as part of themselves that is going away and they don't understand it. Huh? Who is talking to whom about this whole thing? Are there adults whose lives have been so scarred that they can't function because parents took their bowel movements away from them before they were ready to let go? I mean, come on. This is like people who tell you how animals feel about stuff. They don't really know. They're not talking to the animals. They're just taking their thoughts and justifying them. That's all it is.

So let's just say that some overeducated new parent decides to apply the elimination communication system. Here's the first problem I see. Most of the overeducated new parents who would buy into this theory will be in favor of the mother going back to work as soon as possible because, after all, having a baby is no reason to interrupt a perfectly good career. So the baby goes to day care, and while it might seem practical to monitor one baby looking for signs that signal the need to poop, I just don't see how that would work on a larger scale. So Caleb is communicating that need to poop, but then realizes that he's giving up a part of himself that he's not sure about giving up and while the daycare provider is monitoring this situation and Caleb's mixed signals, Emily has crapped her pants. But Emily has no diaper to control the situation because her parents are part of the elimination communication movement, too, so her clothes are a mess, the place stinks and all the other kids are upset. What a concept.

Kids are not allowed to be kids anymore, and this stupid idea is just the latest effort to create tiny adults that emerge from the womb ready for the world. What a bunch of crap. Literally. Kids need to be kids. They need to be allowed to crap in their pants. When it happens on the other end of the life trip, it's not because people don't care or communicate, it's because they didn't see it coming. If somebody 80 years old with lots of experience doesn't feel a b.m. (that's what the self help article called them) coming, what chance does a one year-old have? And I can guarantee that once you figure the whole thing out, you don't ever worry that you're losing a part of yourself. In fact, you can't get rid of that part of yourself fast enough.

Life is short and life is precious. There are two very short windows in people's lives where they can do what they want. One is at the beginning and the other is at the end. They are both very similar. You get to do stuff as a child because you don't know any better. You get to do stuff as a senior because you can't help yourself. While there is a possibility the elimination communication system might work at the beginning, it sure as hell won't work at the end.

Just spend time with your kids, show them you care. Encourage them. Praise them. Correct them. Let them have a blanket or teddy bear or whatever until they don't want it any more. Let them poop their pants. Cross your fingers, pray to God and hope for the best. They'll be gone before you know it.


 Bill Packard lives in Union and is the founder of BPackard.com.  He is a speaker, author, small business coach and consultant.