Originally posted on my Facebook page. Follow there for more mini posts.
When our daughter was 2 and 3, she was really a breeze. Laid back, sweet tempered, I was so glad we got to skip out on the Terrible 2s and 3s.
We didn’t get to skip them.
Turns out her health was just so poor that those things were beyond her reach during those years. She didn’t have the energy or strength for any of that nonsense.
But now she does.
And guess what?
Those pushes for independence are a whole lot harder when your kid is bigger and smarter and stronger.
They can seem like really bad behavior.
But they’re not.
I mean, they are. But they’re normal.
A two year old wants to wear the clothes SHE wants to wear. She’s learning to figure out what she wants and assert herself. And sometimes that means picking out a sundress in the dead of winter.
But, if she was too sick to do that at age two, then we should be over the moon when she’s healthy enough to do it age 6 or 7 or 8 or ever!
It’s just…it’s hard when your kid has a longer memory and when their body is so much bigger.
Because toddlers are small and, let’s be honest, kinda dumb. It’s so much easier to redirect them, to distract them, to trick them, or to just pick them up and make them wear that winter coat because it’s 20 below and we’re already late!
But later on? You can’t use those tactics as easily. You have to talk to your child. You have to work on reasoning with them. You have to help them calm down.
But it’s still normal. And good. And necessary.
Our children will never learn true independence if we do not allow them to go through the DEVELOPMENT of independence.
And yeah, it’s hard. It’s really hard sometimes.
It takes more energy and ingenuity and patience on our part as parents.
But we work every day to remember that she NEEDS these steps.
And guess what? She’s becoming more independent all the time. She dresses herself. She brushes her teeth. She takes her own showers. She puts on her hearing aid and picks the right settings on its app. She puts on her own shoes. She can put on her pulse ox strap. She can hook herself up to the vent at night. She can buckle herself into her carseat. She can play outside without me hovering.
It’s been a lot of hard work to let her develop those skills, to encourage her in her demands for independence as well as prepare her for the very things she insisted on doing.
And we have to always remember that she missed out on four years of development because her health was so poor.
She’s playing catch up.
And catching up is hard work.
For her AND for us.