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Milla Jovovich Creates Her Own Path In Parenthood

03/06/2009 at 08:00 PM ET
GSI Media

A seemingly confident mother, who admits her daughter is “so into me right now,” Milla Jovovich certainly spent her expectant months preparing for the big responsibility. “When I was pregnant I read so many different books on parenting and philosophies on bringing up kids,” she reveals in Interview magazine. Although her search has not delivered a book that the first-time mom “really connected” with, she has created her own path down the journey of parenthood. “I find pieces from a lot of different ones that I relate to,” she confesses.

While Milla has yet to come across a book that completely satisfies her parenting goals, she was fortunate to find a Resources for Infant Educators (RIE) believer in actor William H. Macy, who has two daughters with his actress wife Felicity Huffman. Over lunch, Milla and Bill have been known to spend “half our conversation[s]” on alternative parenting methods, discussing and exploring approaches to parenthood. Intrigued by RIE, Milla finds the hands-off approach to raising children “really interesting,” as parents encourage their kids to “make decisions” on their own.

“It’s this philosophy that’s based on allowing kids to reach their potential without too many of your opinions involved, where you support them but at the same time you let them deal with things on their own. You don’t force them to do things. You really let them naturally do what they’re going to do.”

One area where Milla has skipped the parenting books and followed her own family’s experience is that of potty training her 16-month-old daughter Ever Gabo. “Russians are pretty serious about potty training,” she explains. True to her culture, the proud mama reveals she wasted no time with her baby girl, saying “we’ve had Ever on the potty since she was like, four months old.” Despite their pediatrician’s reservations, Milla “comes from a different place,” one which, she says, has allowed Ever to be well on her way to leaving her diaper days behind her. “Every time she drinks, every time she eats, like half an hour after, she’s on the potty,” notes Milla. “I just have to be super on it. I’m telling you…Ever will come up and be like, ‘Uh-uh-uh.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, potty?’” However, the model can’t help but joke about any lasting effects her parenting skills will have on her baby girl!

“She’ll literally tell us [she has to use the potty]. I mean, it’s not all the time, but she does it. And now it’s like a game, because she’ll do that, and then I’ll say, ‘Potty?’ and she’ll go, ‘No,’ and run away. And then we’ll, like, chase her around the couch…She’ll probably hate me in 10 years.”

Continue reading to find out why Paul Anderson is happy to have had a girl!

Despite Milla’s recent comments that she will be holding off a bit until she gives Ever a sibling, when the time does come for the new addition, the 33-year-old’s partner, Paul W.S. Anderson, hopes to avoid having a little boy! Calling the act of raising a child “an arduous, convoluted road,” Milla admits that in the couple’s quest to avoid over-indulging Ever, they are actually denying their own inner childhood desires. “My husband is like, ‘Oh, thank God we didn’t have a boy, because there’s this train set that I’ve always wanted and these Star Wars spaceships…They say, ‘Don’t spoil your kids,’ but it’s one thing spoiling your kids, it’s another thing spoiling yourself,” says Milla.

While it still may be some time before the couple are prepared to take the plunge and add to their family, Milla is already comparing the benefits of being first born as opposed to one of the babies that follow.

“I was reading in some parenting magazine that statistically you take thousands of photographs of your first kid and then with your second kid, you take half of that. And then with your third kid, you, like, pawn off your first and second kids’ photographs and tell them they’re theirs. ‘Yes, this is your baby picture.’ ‘But that looks like my brother.’ ‘No, it’s you. That’s really a heart. That’s not a policeman on his T-shirt.’

Source: Interview Magazine

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Showing 14 comments

Heather on

There are plenty of people in the U.S that use EC ( what Milla calls potty training). There is very big difference between early potty training and EC (elimintation communication). The goalof EC is not potty training, but rcognizing the fact that even little babies know when they need to go potty, don’t like doingit on themselves, and can use the potty with mom and dads communication. It just happen that teh result is early potty training…basically, with EC, you never potty train, becaus you never taught them to use the potty on thmselves in the first place.
That said, know it isn’t for everyone, and I am worried that some people might say ugly thigs or make the “sounds like training the parent” comment about Milla- but I am glad to hear her talk about this.
as a newborn, my daughter only cried before and aftershe went potty-other than that she was a very content newborn- but we noticed the connection when we wuld leave her diaperless bec her very sensitive skin. The first time we tried her over the potty, she was a few weeks old. She was “potty trained” by at least 18 months old. I plan ondoing EC again with our new baby, though I think i won’t stress myself out as much by always going diaperless- and worrying about not catching baby’s cues when we are out and about.

marla on

um, don’t we all create our own path to parenthood? i don’t know any parent who uses one book for everything they do. you read up on different methods (or not), and embrace what you feel is right for your family, then try to apply it…

Maddie on

While I may not totally agree with EC, I’m fully with Milla on the RIE/Pickler method. I have no children of my own (yet!), but am an early childhood teacher and practice this philosophy daily in my teaching. I personally believe that children are only as capable as we believe or expect them to be (i.e. how you view the child). It’s surprising how much children can achieve when involved in respectful interactions with children, teachers and caregivers. If you have trust in children, it’s amazing where they can take their learning. I currently work with Pre-Schoolers (2-5 year olds), but am going on a course on the RIE/Pickler method and how it can work for preschoolers. I’m really excited about it :) It’s great that this method is being used by parents, teachers and celebrity parents alike.

Anna on

I don’t understand why more people don’t train early. Nowadays it’s almost like people enjoy changing diapers. They wait until the child is “ready” to potty train, which means 3 or 4 years old!

I live in China where babies only where diapers for a very short time, after that they wear pants with a hole in them, so they can easily go. These children are potty trained very early in life.

Ruthella on

I potty trained my three at 2 years, which I think I was mostly able to do because I am lucky enough to be able to stay in the house all day if needs be. But EC? It must be so difficult to leave the house with no nappies? It sounds like Milla is doing a kind of diluted EC, which I have known a number of parents to do, but in truth, none of their kids were actually toilet trained any earlier than 2, either.

I can see the logic behind EC but don’t think I could be fully committed to it in the way it requires. To do what Milla (and some of my friends) do, just seems more like pot-luck! Not that I’m knocking it, I don’t think there are drawbacks to it, I just wonder how much difference it makes in the long run.

Good luck to her though :)

kris on

Ruthella – I don’t think it does make any difference in the long run. I guess it’s just personal preference.

Anna – What age do children typically stop wearing diapers in China? How do they go through a hole without getting themselves wet?

Anna on

I am not sure of the exact age, but I think it’s probably around 6 months old. You hardly ever see children over 12 months old wearing a diaper. It’s a communication with the parent, they hold the child up with the legs wide so that the pants stay dry.

You can see an example of the pants here: http://waiguorens.com/babyleu/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/04-china-bum-color.jpg

Sanja on

I don’t think it’s EC as such (never heard of it). What Milla is doing is standard practice in Eastern Europe.
The parent just has to anticipate and ‘catch’ all the little clues and remind the child ALL the time to use the potty (it is very time consuming and you have to be home -or have a grandparent/nanny do it), and in the summer especially you don’t putt dipers on them and they grow tired of being wet and leaking. All the kids I know were out of dipers by the time they were 3 and most of them about 2 years old.

kris on

Thanks Anna!

Maddie on

Ruthella, I understand what you mean. I’ve had a couple of children when I used to work in the infant room do EC, and wondered how much of it was just luck/good timing. I don’t know whether under a certain age the child is aware they are going to the potty. Its that awareness that puts toilet training into motion. But as I said earlier, each to their own. You bring up an excellent point though.

Sammy-xx on

I love what she says about the photo thing. So true. There are hundred of pictures of my sister, whole films of her doing the excact same thing but smiling in one and laughing in another. Yet with me (2nd) there isnt a lot of photos of me, and my Grandma had tried to say ones of my sister are me.

anna on

Does anyone know if Milla speaks to Ever in her native language or just English?

Early Training on

We are an ECing family and have been since our daughter was 1 month old. She’s now 19 months and is “accident-enough free” for me to feel comfortable leaving her out of her cloth diapers.

Some babies are ready to be out of diapers by 12-15 months. I had hoped my daughter would be one of them, but she wasn’t. :) She’s hardly had any poop accidents since 5 months old. When she started eating LOTS of solids (11 months for her), we had a few rough weeks as she adjusted to the difference between breast milk poo and the formed stuff. :) (We also did baby-led weaning for eating, so no purees for her.)

Catching pees takes more effort, but you could try just with the easy ones: after waking, etc. I also think it’s perfectly okay to attempt to catch their poops and worry about pees when they are 12-18 months. It’s usually obvious when they are going #2, right? I’m pretty happy to flush them and not touch them!

The book The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative by Christine Gross-loh is AWESOME! I highly recommend it.

If you are “too late” for EC with your child, check out this site for a good tutorial on “early” potty training. She defines early as finishing before age 2 with BOYS. :)

http://www.mycharmingkids.net/2009/02/potty-training-101.html

Kelly on

I started my first daughter on the potty at 9-10mos-ish, and she was totally done with diapers- nights too, by 19mos… I pkan on doing the same with my 2nd child! To those thinking its “wrong” to put a little baby on a potty- I would SO rather put baby on a potty that deal with a 3+yo with poop diapers!! oh ew!

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