“No, mama! I can do it mysewf!”
Jacob isn’t talking yet—at least not in a language intelligible toanyone over the age of 2—but I am convinced that if he were, that iswhat would be saying 90 percent of the day. (The other ten percent ofthe day? “I am one fabulously good-looking kid with an awesome mom.”)
Lately, he has been determined to do e-v-e-r-y-thing by himself, andhis newfound independence has thrown me for a loop.
I thought that it was toddlers that insisted on doing things on theirown with no help from Mommy Dearest, thankyouverymuch. And, I don’thave a toddler. I have a baby. A sweet, little, cuddly baby who needsme now and for always and…
Is it totally obvious that I’m in denial about Jacob growing up? Like,hurry-let’s-find-a-magic-pill-to-make-him-stay-tiny-forever kind ofdenial? Because I definitely am.
Seeing his sense of self emerging more and more everyday makes me sadand proud and sappy and heartsick all at once.
Oh, and, if we’re going to be totally honest here (and why not? Thisis just a public blog after all), it makes me a wee bit angry, too.
Not like crazy call CPS kind of angry. More likeI-have-chicken-and-dumplings-splattered-all-over-my-hair-and-my-clean-kitchen-floor-and-new-sweater-because-you,-sweet-child-of-mine,-just-had-to-‘do-it-mysewf’-kind-of-angry.
The chicken-and-dumpling episode happened one night last week whileJacob was insisting on feeding himself, but we have basically the samebattle everyday. His manual dexterity doesn’t quite match up with his
mental readiness yet, and in that gap is where my patience is beingcontinually tested.
He wants to feed himself, but it turns a quick meal into a long,drawn-out event ending with a new change of clothes and/or a bath.
He wants to brush his own teeth, becoming inconsolable if I hold thetoothbrush or even try to help guide it, but he can't clean his teeththoroughly on his own yet.
He wants to put on his own socks and shoes, but can only manage tohold them against his foot (which is actually pretty darn cute).
And, walking is an on-his-own-no-hand-holding-from-mom kind of an affair.
I’m totally proud of his can-do attitude (he’s already such a greatlittle American), but his grumpy attitude or, worse, temper tantrumswhen he has to have assistance with something he can’t quite do on hisown is opening my eyes to a whole new side of parenting. A side wherethe motto is “parenting requires patience.”
I know that this new stage—and the need for some serious patience andunderstanding on my part—is par for the becoming-a-big-kid course.
Still, if any of you get any leads on that magic pill, let me know,wouldya?