- Pick up your room.
- Put on your shoes.
- Brush your own teeth.
- Empty your own wastebasket.
- Dirty pajamas go in the hamper, not crammed behind the bathroom door and left for ruins.
Then the thought occurred to me. We know why we do this. But do they?
So this morning, before school, I asked the kids why they thought we wanted them to do more for themselves lately.
"Because you are so tired." Grayson blurts out automatically. Oy vey.
"Because I'm SIX now, Mommy!" Abby sings even though she just turned three.
"Because one day you will be bigger and you will need to know how to do these things for yourself. Mommy and Daddy won't be there to do it for you."
You'd think they'd ask where we would be. Where they would be. What would happen to our little happy family when they grew up?
"I'm going to be a Marine," announces a very decisive little boy.
"And I'm going to be a DOCTOR!" Abby declares with two gummy vitamins crammed in one side of her face.
Good. Nobody wonders about the elusive aging process or why we, their parents, will not be still tying shoes on the stairwell or harping on jackets in the doorway when they are bigger. Innately, they must get that they will eventually be in charge of themselves. Masters of their own bodies. Engineers of their Own Fates. Decision Makers, Drivers, Conversation Starters, Zipper Pullers, Accountants, Cooks, Cleaner Uppers, Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Broken Hearted Souls, Home Owners, Victims of Internet Scams...
I think I need a paper bag.
No, this is good. I don't want them to worry.
Seconds later, in the car, Grayson asks if you can drive to San Diego.
"Yes, you can drive but it's faster to take a plane."
"Yeah, but where do you sleep?"
"Yeah. When you go to San Diego, where do you sleep? Do they show you? How do you know where to go? Like, are there beds in the Air-O-ports or how do you know where to go? Does everyone get off the plane, you follow them, and I mean, what happens next?"
Okay, I finally get it.
"You mean like when DADDY goes to San Diego because he's a Marine, where does he sleep? "
"Yeah, I'm gonna need to know all of this if I'm going to be a Marine, Mom."
"Yes, I suppose you are right, Honey. But you will. You will learn all of this and we will show you an airport and Oh My God, I'm so sorry I made you clean up the mess in the kitchen before we left. There is time, Honey. There is plenty of time to learn so try not to worry about it all now."
So you see, Dear Mommy Who is Pushing Independence Like it's Happening Tomorrow, slow it down. There is time.
Don't rush them.
You will regret it if you do.