Between Luis and I, there isn’t a shot in hell our daughter wouldn’t be stubborn and determined. It didn’t take us long to realize that she was, indeed, cut from our cloth.
From an early age — i.e., three months, she wanted to hold her own bottle. By the time we introduced solids at five or six months, she began grabbing the spoon out of our hands to feed herself, and within weeks she was completely feeding herself … using spoons and forks and not even making much of a mess. Even before she could talk, she loved to pick out specific toys and books for us to play/read. She loved to feed Rocco (cautiously balancing his food cup before putting it in his dish) and put her laundry in the hamper, careful to make sure no socks fell out.
Then it became she had to brush her OWN teeth. Take off her OWN shoes/coat/socks. Put ON said shoes/coat/socks.
Now it’s walking down the stairs alone. Turning on/off the lights on her own. Brushing her own hair. Picking out which shoes she will wear on a given day and which bow is absolutely NOT going in her hair. Trying to snap/zipper her cardigans. Telling us when she has to go potty (and going quite often!). Flushing said potty. Washing her hands.
The phrase we hear more often than anything else these days is, “Maya DO it!”
(As if we had another option?!)
The thing is, I’m all about giving her choices (one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given as a mom — thanks, Mom and A.!) but this independent streak is tough because sometimes she really DOES need my help … and gets frustrated when she can’t do something alone. I feel for her … I do. And she is hard-wired — as we can see already — to keep trying til she can do it … but not everything can be done alone at age two.
Like climbing into the tub alone, ahem.
No, she didn’t make it in … but sure was hell-bent on trying, to the point she moved her bathroom stool in front of the tub in an effort to climb in. Fortunately I was right there and put the kibosh on that little experiment …
It’s hard, in that sense, to teach children limitations. We want them to believe they can do almost anything … that we believe in them, and know they can do it. But when safety or well-being is at stake, well, it’s a different story.
I don’t want Maya to live in a bubble where she never falls and gets hurt … that wouldn’t teach her anything. But I also don’t want her willingly subjecting herself — with my permission — to injure herself, either!
So I pick and choose my battles. If she wants to take 10 minutes in the morning to try to zip up her coat … more power to her. She isn’t going to get hurt, though we might be late to school.
But if she makes a pass for the tub … this mama is gonna get all up in her business.
How about you? Do you find it hard to let your children be as independent as they want to be?