Monday, January 9, 2012

All By Myself

It’s official: Ryan has discovered the word (and the concept) “myself”. As in, “Mama! I get out of the car all by myself!” Or, “Mama! I make a tower all by myself.” As if he weren’t already Mr. Independence, the magic of “myself” has surely cemented it.

His independence also means an added degree of my independence. Now that he knows how to take off his own clothes (mostly), when we come home from a shopping trip I can deal with getting his baby sister settled while he takes off his jacket and socks and shoes. And on nights when I’m in charge of tubby time, I can be running the bath or laying out his jammies while he undresses himself. (Of course, the flip side of this is that he is occasionally stark naked when my husband or I get him after naptime or in the morning, but that’s a minor inconvenience in the whole scheme of things.) And since he also does pretty well at dressing himself, I can get him started with putting on his shirt or jacket or shoes while I’m working on my own jacket or shoes when we’re going out somewhere.

Even playtime is a show of independence. I can now leave him in his playroom with his trucks while I’m working in the office, or changing the baby’s diaper, or even upstairs making dinner, and he’s contented to keep himself entertained. Of course, he still wants me to come look at the marvels he’s wrought every now and then, but it’s much easier than when I had to be at his side every moment.

It makes me a little bit sad that my little boy doesn’t need me so much anymore. I keep telling myself that the whole point of parenting is to teach a child to be independent and do things for himself. But I’ll admit that it still feels really good when he comes running to me to kiss his booboo, or fix his broken toy, or just to show me something he’s done. He may not need me to do a lot of things for him any more, but I know he’ll always want Mama around to love him and cheer him on. And that kind of dependence is just fine by me.

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