It seems as though Sadie has been in the "I can do it myself, all by myself" phase for at least a good, solid year. I'm thrilled at her independence...really. And someday I will learn to appreciate it. ;o) I keep telling myself, "She'll grow out of this. It's just a normal thing that all kids do. She'll eventually accept your help sometimes without making a fuss." Oh, please! Who am I kidding? It's been a year already. This is definitely not her typical "phase".
I suppose much of the frustration stems from two things: #1- I run out of patience or time and #2)- she runs out of patience with herself but still doesn't want help (although she'll say she does and then refuse it). Very. Frustrating.
Honestly, I try to give her control of a number of reasonable things. I know how important it is to her growth and development and to her self-esteem. She needs to have the chance to accomplish things alone. She picks out her own clothes and shoes, then dresses herself (and has a style ALL her own). She buckles herself into the car. She carries her plate from the kitchen to the dining table and back. Those are things that she can do by herself most of the time. She's just slower about it...and I don't always make time for slow. Sometimes that can't be helped. Other times, it's just laziness or selfishness on my part.
Then, there are the things that she wants so desperately to do by herself that are settled with compromise. She helps me pour her drinks. If I'm baking something, she wants to crack the eggs and whip the batter (again, all by herself). Sometimes I let her and just ignore the fact that only half the egg made it into the bowl or just dig out the piece of shell that falls in. Other times I need to do it...like when I'm baking for someone besides us and are concerned more with quality. In a public restroom, she wants privacy in the stall, to get her own toilet paper (which usually ends up being way too little or way too much), and to wash and dry her hands...you guessed it, all by herself. You moms know that not every public restroom has a stool or short sink and you're not always comfortable leaving your 3 year old in the stall alone. So what do we do? We compromise. I hold her up to the sink, soap, and paper towels. I turn towards the door as much as possible if I need to be in the stall with her. I let her try to get her own toilet paper and then help with the more or less as needed...while trying to be encouraging, supportive, and explaining that everyone needs help sometimes, even Mommy. I think my message is falling on deaf ears (which may have more to do with my presentation than my actual words). :)
Let's face it, though. These compromises take time. It's hard to be patient. Sometimes, it's just not even possible (for instance, when I need to go just as badly as she does. :)). The point is, if there is something to be done, she wants to do it...all by herself. She's definitely teaching me patience...and it's a hard lesson. Kids will do nothing if not show you the ugliest parts of yourself.
Probably even more frustrating than my running out of patience or time (that is something mostly within my control) is when she runs out of patience with herself (not so much in my control). "Mommy, help! I can't do it!" I try to help. "No, I want to do it. I want to do it!" Seriously?? Make up your mind, kiddo!
Hopefully, I'm teaching her at least as much as she's teaching me. Hopefully, I can model patience and how to graciously receive help when you need it. That's a hard lesson for anybody, isn't it? I still want to do most things all by myself. I mean, don't we all think that our way is the best way? If we didn't, it wouldn't be "our way", would it?
Yes, I'm gradually learning to appreciate her independence. It means she'll be a strong, capable woman some day. I'm so thankful to have a healthy daughter who can demonstrate her desire to do things "all by herself". There are so many moms out there who would love for their children to be able to just feed themselves, to just have the cognizance and desire and awareness to even refuse help. So, I'll try to embrace this "phase" and be grateful for her "stubbornness" and that my baby girl is growing up! But, while it lasts, I'll also relish in the one thing she doesn't want to do herself...flush a public toilet! :)
- I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)