(I wrote this post awhile ago but never published it. I wanted to get it out there for posterity sake:)
Locke grew up overnight.
No, he really did. He went from a little guy in diapers needing mom for everything to an independent, talking, briefs sporting little guy.
First, he goes potty on the toilet all by himself now. I wrote a post about potty training back here, but basically Locke decided one day that he was ready to potty train. I heard a yell from the bathroom, “Mom, I went potty!” I mildly panicked because we had had no practice. I ran into the bathroom to find him sitting on the potty smiling at me. That afternoon he went poop on the toilet all by himself too. No “Mom, I need to go to the bathroom.” or “Hey Locke, do you need to try to go potty?” Just a yell from the bathroom telling me he was done before I even knew he could go.
His “training” confirmed my feeling that kids are ready when they are ready and it is not in their best interest to force or bribe or push. Whether it be reading, potty training, writing, walking or organized sports, kids learn and grow at their own pace, on their own timeline. I feel it is beneficial to expose and encourage, but if we have our own time specific agendas as moms that we are stuck on, we and the kiddo will just end up frustrated.
Second, Locke joined the dinner dishes team. He can clear the table, wipe up and sweep. But he is particularly good at wiping up the table. Granted it requires him to crawl on top of the table to reach all the spots, but he does it. He brings me the rag every once in awhile to rewet and resoap. He even wipes the chairs.
His dishes ability reminded me to never underestimate my children (remember this post?). I wouldn’t have assigned him dishes for another year or two, but he was ready to do it now. From toddlers to teenagers, they can all do so much more than we give them credit for. Give them that chance to show us.
Third, Locke dresses himself now. He declared he was going to dress himself one day and we went with it. Watching him was torture for me as I wanted to step in and help him get that arm through the hole or straighten that sock, but Locke insisted he do it himself. He would scream at me if I tried to help. So I would hover in angst … until I learned to just walk away. I realized Locke would either get dressed or he would come ask me for help. His frustration level was different than my frustration level, so it was important that I didn’t step in and take over, but wait for him to come to me asking for help. So I’ve learned to back off and he is learning to get dressed on his own. He still needs help with his zipper and his shoes but he is Mr. Independent.
When it comes to our children’s “tasks”, I recommend the ‘walk away’ technique’ vs the ‘hover’ technique. You are less likely to jump in, get frustrated, take over or over correct when you aren’t around. You come back and wah-lah the job is done. You don’t need to know how it got finished, you just need to know that they did it.
Lastly, Locke says the family prayer. For a long time we couldn’t even get Locke to repeat our words in a prayer. We would whisper to him what to say and he would remain silent. Then as if overnight he decided to pray and now he wants to pray…every time: morning prayer, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and family prayer. The other kids are good sports and patient to let him pray every time. Probably because we love how his little voice blesses “Grandma Coconuts” and how he says Amen as he hits his fists.
When my older kids went through the “I want to pray everytime phase” I think I might have told them “No” and then tried to teach them that we need to take turns and that daddy gets to pick prayers and everybody needs a chance, blah, blah, blah. But now I realize how short the “wanting to say the prayer every time” phase is. Locke can say the prayer all he wants, because it won’t be too far off when he won’t want to say the prayer at all. I can handle everything being blessed but the food at dinner because I know it won’t last forever.
My baby isn’t a baby anymore, and I am loving seeing his growth and progress. As long as he still snuggles and kisses me that is.
The next thing I know he will be in Kindergarten, then on a mission.