Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Independence seems to be the theme this year. Max has made so much progress lately. He has settled. Matured. He's suddenly doing some really exciting things all by himself!

And the flip side of that is that I am becoming more independent, too. We are tied together in so many ways, for so many pieces of daily life. There is a sense of freedom when I am no longer required for something. And I know that's a feeling that goes both ways.

Sometimes his new independence creates more work or mess or worry for me. That's a truth for any child, but perhaps more literally so with Max.

For example, the other day he entered the kitchen where my husband was making dinner and asked for "Help, please." He's been doing this thing with his videos where he wants help to change them or start them or rewind them or adjust the volume -- all things he knows how to do on his own, barring some complication -- because he simply wants the interaction. And every now and then there IS a complication, in which case he really does need help. But it's usually not clear until we go with him and assess the situation. After the bazillionth time, it is something we are reluctant to do. So, when he entered the kitchen with a request for help, my husband assumed it was yet another false video alarm. He refused to go, and sent him off with the encouraging words, "You know how to do it! You can do it yourself!" Max paused, but agreed, and took off down the hall. We found him in his room, gamely attempting to change his own messy pull-up. Ugh.

But mostly the changes have been good.

We finally had a spell of warm weather recently, and the snow melted off the pavement, making our street and sidewalk visible for the first time in months. I desperately needed to get outside and feel the sunshine on my face, and decided to do just that. Without Max. He's been sick, didn't want to go, was happily watching a movie just inside the front windows. He is clearly visible from outside. Our loop is a scant 1/3 mile, with a good portion of it in view of our house & yard. There is no traffic. Our neighbor was outside in his front yard. Max's brother was riding his bike in laps around the loop. I decided it could work. And by all my explaining here, it's probably clear that a) I don't want you to feel the need to call CPS or criticize me, and b) even though there are many reasons it sounded like a workable idea, it wasn't.

I noticed on the 2nd lap that I couldn't see him in the window, and there was no response to my maniacal waving. So I went inside the house to check on him. When he heard me enter the house, he came skittering down the hall from the bathroom, with a guilty look on his face. He was shaking his head no, and hiding his hand behind his back. I assumed the worst in a toilet-y sort of way, but the bathroom seemed fine. Then I noticed the fingernail clippers on the counter. And that is NEVER a good sign.

Sure enough, I asked him what he had been doing and made him show me his hand...

...and THIS! This is what he had been doing -- trying to trim his own nails!

Independence is a tricky thing. It's long overdue, yet way too soon. It's two steps forward, one step back. It's trial and error. It's mess and discomfort.

But I'm trying to remind myself that it's positive. And beautiful. And necessary. For BOTH of us.
Just as long as it doesn't involve clippers.
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1 comment:

Nan said...

Oh my, Julie! Ouch!!! That had to hurt horribly. Love that his IS trying things and is successful at some of them in his quest for independence. Bet it'll happen more and more successfully. Had to giggle at the whole diaper thing...he just agreed and headed out, eh?

How's the finger doing now? Nan