There is a time between being a helpless infant and a (mostly) self-sufficient child. That time is the era of “All By Myself!” I’ve quickly learned that independence is a double-edged sword with a toddler.
My 3-year-old started insisting on doing everything without help. This sounded like a dream come true.
She can Velcro her own shoes! She can brush her own teeth! She can wipe her own butt after using the bathroom!
The reality of the situation turned out to be shoes barely hanging on by a strap, giant globs of toothpaste all over the sink, and enough toilet paper to clog every pipe in Buckingham Palace.
Patience is put to an ultimate test when it comes to letting a toddler attempt simple tasks. It would take a mom five seconds to get a child’s jacket on, zipped and she’s out the door.
When CeCe starts to put on her jacket, I turn on a pot of coffee and grab a magazine.
It is so tempting to just jump in and do everything for her, but I’m constantly reminding myself that this is necessary.
While CeCe putting on her socks turns into a wrestling match between her and her own feet, she has to learn by doing.
Her shoelaces are going to end up in tangles and knots before she masters a bow, and I have to just let the tangles happen.
We are so often up close and personal with our little ones. Stepping back and letting them take the reins can be freeing, and it can be heartbreaking.
Every time CeCe nails a new skill, like brushing her teeth or turning on her night light, she needs me just a little less.
Her needs are different. Adapting to that is rough.
I look back and realize that putting on jackets and fixing ponytails was the easy stuff.
It may seem like a mountain to her now, but soon she will breeze through these tasks without a second thought.
I am looking forward to what she will need me for next.
Watch Baby Bump Editor Katie Saltz on the ABC36 Noon News on the first Monday of each month to see new products and activity ideas for mom and baby.