Gaining Independence

by tinysneakers

Holy independence batman.

For the first time in almost four years, I can take a shower and dry my hair without waiting for my husband to come home from a business trip, paying a babysitter, wasting school hours, or waiting for a grandparent to come over and play. This may sound insignificant to those of you who have had pretty independent kids to start with, but KB has always been super, super attached – leaving the room he’s in is not on the list of things he likes.

toddler bike riding

By this point I’ve learned to embrace it; appreciate the time he wants to spend with me and how much he likes being with me {ha} before he’s a teenager and hating my guts and very existence. I’ve gotten as creative as possible over the years to find ways to get things done with his help or with him attached to my side, but recently I’ve barely had to use my well-practiced techniques.

toddler stroller walk

All of a sudden he’s doing all kinds of things by myself. It’s partly awesome and also not, because in about 30 seconds he’s going to be packing his car and driving himself off to college. But truly, it’s mostly great. Not only because it gives me a little bit more freedom and flexibility with the day, but also because it’s been amazing watching him grow and do things I’d never thought he’d do on his own.

independent reading preschool

He’s helping himself to food in the fridge, moving the stool to open the garage door {which clearly is going to lead to trouble}, picking out clothes, and climbing in the car seat by himself. He’s spreading peanut butter on celery and asking for raisins. He’s cutting the tops off his strawberries {supervised} and forever and always telling me what to do. I’m guessing that last one’s not going to change.

toddler helping himself to fridgepreschool independence

Part of the change I’m sure has to do with his age {he’s three and a half} and developmental readiness {or whatever you want to call it}, and part of it has been because we’ve been encouraging independence. For example, we put a small pitcher of “juice” {it’s watered-down Emergen-C}where he can reach it in the fridge and moved all his cups and plates to the bottom cabinets so he can help himself to a drink. We made his snacks easily accessible. His clothes are in drawers where he can reach instead of entirely hanging high in the closet. We gave him slip-on shoes {summer helps for that one} and put stools in the places he would need them the most {kitchen, bathrooms, etc.}. Mostly it was because it was just time and he was showing some interest in doing things for himself, but also because we didn’t want it to be a negative side effect of becoming a big brother – having to do things himself because mom was busy.

first day of preschoolpreschool bike riding

It’s working and leading to more and more independence and like I said, it’s making me both thrilled and wanting to cry all at the same time. I need my little buddy to stop growing up so stinking fast.

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