Tuesday, April 17, 2012

By Herself

Stirred up with my desire to just get the carseat buckled up, the shoes on, or the coat zipped, is my amazement and pride in her growing independence. I have to take a lot of deep breaths and resist the urge to hurry her, to help her, when each day she is learning exactly what it is she can do by herself


Letting your three-year-old learn to help themselves takes such patience when it would be so much quicker to force them into their shoes. It can be painful to watch them struggle, to yell at the sock that twists or the zipper that sticks. I want to rescue her. But I know she won't learn anything from that.


I walk away, ready to respond when her grunts of determination shift into yells of frustration.
I know that this patience will pay off when she, like her brother and sister before her, becomes more independent of me: getting her own snacks, brushing her own teeth, and running out the door to play in appropriate clothing.

What fascinates me is that as she pushes me away to find her own way, she pulls tighter to me in other ways; she cries and asks for just one more kiss on the mornings that I work, and seeks just one more cuddle before bedtime. She has chosen this time to need me less in some ways, and more in others.

And like always, I put my trust in her; in these ways, she does know best. I kiss her, go out the door, come back in for a series of five quick smooches in a row, then leave her crying her head off. When I come home, it is to find her running down the driveway wearing rainbow pants and yellow rubber boots (that she put on by herself), and I celebrate the many ways she is growing each day.

11 comments:

  1. It is such a hard time, isn't it. We are also in the "let me do it" stage. It is tough to let them struggle, but so very necessary. I find the best solution is to leave them to it, just like you said, and come back when the struggle has become too much.

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  2. It is such a challenge to let the little ones work through those periods of frustration, knowing/learning where to draw the line as a parent. And each child is so different, in which "by myself" they want to tackle and in which order. Sounds like M has the perfect mix of "by myselfs", encouragement, and love. And aren't rubber boots just the best for independence?

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  3. Where do you find your patience? I feel like I'm losing mine every day! A. is 2.5, and literally driving me insane with her constant whining and crying fits. I try to encourage her to do things on her own, but she loses her own patience the minute the shoe isn't on right. These days, all I'm trying to do is a lot of deep breathing. Nice to hear that there's light at the end of the tunnel :)

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  4. I am going through the same thing here with the wee one. It all makes me alittle sad at how quickly they grow up. Her momma, my first baby, will be 29 on Monday and I am finding that so hard to get my head around. Life...it's a process.

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  5. Thanks for writing this post, and reminding me to be patient and that these power struggles are actually growth..this is a time to celebrate the little person my baby is turning into. It can be so hard to be pushed away one moment and then clung to the next.

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  6. One day Alyce said, "stop rushing me, Mama." Point taken. It's so hard not to want to help them, but the feeling of watching her do it herself is unbeatable. This morning Alyce woke up, got dressed, and did her hair all by herself, before even coming downstairs to say good morning. It was awesome.

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  7. How true! Now Jago is nearly three everyday is full of me taking deep breaths and being mindful and patient!

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  8. I'm so there! I've learned to add 10 minutes to our "about to leave the house" routine so little Miss can attempt the zipper on her jacket, the velcro on her shoes and pack her purse( usually with a little pink chick then zip that up). Usually, when i see the end result, it was worth the wait. And I've given up on any of the outfits actually matching, she prefers to put all the polka dots together at one time. Heck, at least she leaves wearing clothes, and if you can't be creative with your wardrobe at 3 and a 1/2, when can you?

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  9. This is all so familiar! I don't know if my little independent three-year-old is helping me to grow in patience or not, but when I'm not pulling my hair when she continually requests her pink clothes (even when they're all dirty), I'm trying to be thankful for her sweet little self and who she is!

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  10. Oh Wow. Do I love this post. Thank you so very much for the reminder. I am so quick to want to hurry it all along in the name of efficiency. Especially with my wee lad who has only just turned 4. I often expect him to suddenly be where his older sibling is at. A terrible mistake, but easily made without more awareness. So thanks again for your great reminders.

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