Me Do It!

18 May

My children are fiercely independent. “Me do it!” is my toddler’s favorite phrase right now. And he gets very angry when big brother, big sister, mom, or dad don’t let him do for himself. His actual skills are grossly inadequate for what he actually tries to do (like putting on his shoes), yet it is very important for him to be able to try. It tickles my heart to hear him shout “YAY!” when he buckles up his booster seat or opens a door or even (yikes) unbuckles his seatbelt. I have always let my kids do as much for themselves as possible. In my way of looking at it, it’s less that I have to do. I remember when my first was a toddler. I was a single mom at the time, working full time and finishing my degree. I was stressed and worn out. Well, he liked to dress himself. As long as what he chose to wear was weather appropriate, I didn’t care. The poor kid was always dressed in mismatched, odd ball clothes. Other parents with their immaculately groomed and dressed children would give me funny looks. One day as I was picking him up from preschool his teachers said, “We see C. dressed himself today.” I hastily replied, “Yeah, thank goodness! That’s one less thing I need to worry about in the morning!” On the drive home the comment slowly starts to sink in. I thought it odd that they would mention his clothing today, when almost every day it looks like he’s dressed himself. Well, we get home and I start putting things away and getting dinner ready and all sorts of other stuff. Suddenly I hear a cry from the bathroom. “Mom! I need help!” I rushed in to see what was the problem. He knows how to put his pants on. What’s the problem. Well… the problem was his pants were on backwards! Suddenly, the teacher’s comment makes sense. My boy had been running around all day with his pants on backwards! Oh, I was so embarrassed. I felt like the worst mom ever. Surely those teachers thought I was the most neglectful mother in the world. But,you know what, he never put his pants on backwards again. Not because I remembered to check every day, but because he had learned for himself.

Children like to do things for themselves. And we should let them.

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