I was talking with a friend over the weekend who was lamenting how her 2 year old wants to do everything herself, making it nearly impossible to get out the door in the morning. “She wants to pick out her own clothes and put on her own socks and throws a fit if I dare try to help her”, she said. Of course she wants her to learn these important self-care skills, but it’s frustrating watching her drop her sock a million times before getting one toe in, only to take it off again because her other toes got stuck.
I can imagine.
Except, I can’t.
I’m not sure if this is a gender divide or not, but Owen has shown little to no interest in his own clothing. Choosing it OR putting it on. Since his teachers at school marked “putting on and taking off clothes” as one of his areas where his skills were “still developing” a few months ago, I’ve been working to let him struggle with taking off his tops and bottoms before his bath and helping him figure out how to tuck his thumbs in his waistband to pull his shorts off over his diaper. But to be honest I’ve never really focused on making him (letting him?) put on his own socks. And I still haven’t shown him how to take off his own diaper. I’m shocked he hasn’t tried it on his own, but I’m going to ride this “Only Mommy can do it” train as long as I can, for the sake of my floors and sheets! I will often ask “Do you want to wear the orange striped shirt or the green one?” so he can pick something, and he always has an opinion, but him doing these things “by himself” has not yet become a challenge for us.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I hear those powerful two year old words (“I do it on myself, Mommy! No helpin’ me!”) A LOT. But for us, they nearly always relate to death-defying stunts like tight-rope walking across a teeny tiny ledge or jumping from a dangerously high height.
Yep, I get it. Just not in the same way.
Exhibit A. Owen watched a 4 year old on the playground run on this hamster-wheel type thing while holding on to the handles. I tried to help him do it (ahem, safely) and he pushed my hands away, insisting, “I do it on myself! No helpin’, Mommy”.
Exhibit B. Balancing. “Do you want a hand, buddy? I’m just going to spot you.” “No helpin’! I do it on myself!”.
Exhibit C. More balancing. This one was at least wider so I wasn’t so scared of him falling off, but it was high off the ground and he was DANCING across it instead of just walking. Crazy kid.
And Exhibit D. Jumping. Oh, jumping will be the thing that gives me gray hairs. And lots of ‘em. This kid has no fear (which I’ve known since he learned how to walk) and gets immense joy from being airborne. “Look Mommy! I do it all on myself!”. “Great, buddy. Let me get 911 on speed dial.”.
So we may be a little behind in the “putting on your own socks” department. But I guarantee my kid could scale a rock wall without my help. So that’s something.