My son came running into the living room holding his shorts and batman shirt – which is accompanied with a Velcro-attachable cape. He threw the clothes on a chair and began to take off his pajama shirt. He got his elbow stuck, like usual, trying to pull it out but was persistent enough to free one arm from his shirt’s menacing grasp. After exhausting his patience struggling to get his other arm out of his shirt, my sister and I told him “to take a deep breath” and he’ll figure out how to get the shirt off without our help. He kept huffing and puffing but thankfully didn’t get too whiny. A few times during the shirt-battle, he would surrender by shoving his face into the chair, then again start solving the irritating puzzle again. We told him to keep working and I started catching up on some unread email – assuming he’d give up shortly.
Next thing I know, he has his shirt off and I’m sincerely impressed with his uncommon persistence. He then put his batman shirt on and held the cape in front of him. My little man was gonna try another new feat. Now I’ve gotta see how this turns out…
He began to try to attach the cape to the respective Velcro strips. Almost immediately, my mother told him to turn the cape to face the other way, and flip it over his head to attach the cape. Yet again, he surprised us by actually listening to her instructions and successfully attaching his Batman cape to his shirt.
I was really proud of him, so I let him know. “Dude! Did you just put that on all by yourself!? That’s awesome! I’m so proud of you man! Give me a high five.”
High-fives went all around – to his aunt, grandma, and me. My mother made a comment about him growing up. I’m not sure exactly what led him to finally not give up prematurely, but I’m proud of my guy and know it’s my duty to communicate it. Let your kid know exactly how you feel, and why you feel that way. Let your little one know how to make a parent proud. Kids want attention, and pride can be the best form of it.
With this confidence boost, I’m hoping my son’s patience with future donning of his clothes will require less of my handiwork, and more of his personal gratification.
What I learned today? Pay attention to the small things. These can be the most important. Don’t forget to share your feelings with your child. It will make them stronger – in this case maybe more independent.