I’m going to go get dressed mom and brush my teeth! And get ready before the daycare kids get here (pause)….”MOMMMMM, I need your help! Can you please get this dress down?”
As nearly half the clothes in the closet are on the floor, or half hanging from their hangers.
Her outfit of choice is very eccentric.
“Can you button the back for me?”
“Mom, I brush my teeth in the morning, you brush my teeth at night!”
Ok, Olivia. I’m watching, can you show me how you get them really clean? You’re doing a really nice job getting the sugar bugs off.
“Mom, can you put two braids in? Not just one Elsa braid?”
“Mom, can I wear make-up today?”
No, you need to be at least 16, and talk to Dad about that first.
Back to brushing teeth.
“Mom, Aiden threw my toothbrush in the toilet.”
Frantically grab the little bristle brush out of the toilet, before the little guy decides to hit flush and send it on its way.
“Mom, can I have a piece of gum?”
You’ve already a piece.
Two minutes later she is in the truck, with three fourths of the container spilled in the back seat.
“Mom, I can buckle myself.”
OK, I’ll buckle Aiden in, and then come back around and check. Before I even get to the other side, “Ouw!!! Ugh!!! My leg is pinched in the buckle!”
You got this girl, I tell her, and she pedals off without training wheels, full of confidence, grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m doing it Mom!” As I have a flood of emotions, and realize my little girl, is no longer so little.
Did you wipe, flush and wash your hands?
“Yup!” As she is running out of the bathroom, pulling up her shorts.
So I tell her, if you can’t wash your hands by yourself, you can’t go to pre-school. And back in the eager-to-start pre-schooler goes to lather up.
My daughter is really into drawing, and it amazes me each day when I ask her about pictures she creates. Her vision, and my vision, seldom line up.
Twenty-month old little brother, now too wants to follow in big footsteps.
“Help, Help”, and my little guy sits down, and tries putting his shoes on his feet. Yet, gets frustrated when I try and assist him. “Help” and he wants me to assist pushing his body up the rock wall.
Aiden not wanting to ride in the wagon, but to pull it himself, or to walk himself, without holding my hand.
Aiden pushing me away or shaking his head no, not accepting being spoon fed. Which has really been the reality since about 8 months old.
I ran across a few quotes online that have really stuck with me, “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings” – Ann Landers.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” – Montessori quote.
Letting kids be independent gets messy, but that is how they learn. They try, they make mistakes, and they try again. They practice. They get better. They succeed. They fall, they rise again. They find strength. Yet they call on resources for help. And together, even though some days can be a full-on struggle to compromise, many great things can happen and lots of learning takes place.
As long as they are safe, they need to be given full opportunity to be independent.
After all, isn’t that why we celebrate Independence Day?