Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Encouraging Independence

I posted a while back in April, State of Independence, about how independent Callum is – or maybe how lazy his parents are!

I read an interesting article in The Independent recently, written by a fellow blogger, Katie Gunn called ‘The Lazy Mother’s Guide to Parenting’. Not only was it good to know I wasn’t alone but it was also good to hear that, actually, I am probably doing Callum a favour.

It made me take another look at Callum’s ‘independence’ and I felt an update post was in order.
We all like to eke out that time in the morning when your child is up and you want just an extra 1 or 2 minutes (or hours) in bed. Well, we’re no different!

So, when Callum comes in to our room of a morning wanting breakfast, we try to convince him to play in his room for just 5 more minutes…Callum, not content with this thought has often gone downstairs and helped himself to cereal, pouring it in a bowl. Thankfully, he tends to then leave out the milk but there have been occasions where he hasn’t and there has been a large puddle of milk on the floor – he hasn’t quite worked out control while pouring yet.

He even started to make himself a cheese sandwich once (I may have told you that already) – it was when Stuart had to work from home as Callum was poorly then had a miracle turn around following the wonder of Calpol! While Stuart was caught up with work, we think Callum may have got bored (and too hungry) to wait for him to finish what he was doing.

I may have, on more than one occasion, gone along with his wish to wear wellies when it is bright sunshine outside because it means he can get them on himself without my help. In fairness, he has Velcro fastening trainers now, which he can also do himself, so all good!

I have often gone out with Callum looking like I dressed him in the dark, because he has chosen his own clothes and, of course, I want to ‘encourage him’ to make his own decisions…! Sometimes, I can’t blame Callum for his poor fashion sense as I have chosen the clothes but I don’t tell anyone else that of course!

I have started to let him go into the men’s toilet on his own when there is a wait for the ladies’. It makes perfect sense to me, we can either stand in a queue until its too late and there is a puddle on the floor, or he can go in to the men’s toilets on his own – he insists on going in a cubicle on his own anyway. I now just look like a weirdo hanging around outside men’s toilets trying to sneak a look in every time the door opens…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!Winking smile.

Callum is still at that age where he is happy to do jobs for you and help. Like, get you a piece of kitchen towel or something from the fridge say, like, erm, a can of beer for Daddy maybe (ahem!). And we’d never dream of exploiting him for his willingness to help, nope, not us! We may finish a sandwich and put the plate down on the floor intending to take it out when we next go. Callum will see it, pick it up and take it out for us – and then follows a crash as it is thrown into the sink, but hey, its saved us a trip…and washing up too, if the said item hasn’t survived the sink throw!

The following is slightly less focused on laziness but more in wonder at what else Callum can do on his own or what he tries to do…
  • He can now stand up to wee like a big boy.
  • He has actually done the washing up a couple of times!! Admittedly, I did have to rewash most of it but he didn’t do too bad a job.
  • He takes the washing up for me and puts the clothes away – I then have the funny task of trying to locate the clothes later. He usually separates his clothes from ours and puts his own clothes away correctly (or near enough) but he hasn’t quite mastered Stuart and my clothes yet. The other day I opened a drawer and found all of our clothes in the one drawer. At least he tries – you’ve got to reward him for that.
  • He helps me put food shopping away – and again, often does a pretty good job! No incidents of finding items in strange places yet, which is probably better than I could say for myself, especially when I was pregnant! (tea bags in the fridge and milk in the cupboard!)
  • He has been able to wash himself and clean his teeth himself for a while – probably not unusual for his age.
  • He feeds Lotté (the cat)
  • I’ve mentioned before that he helps me cook all the time, even cutting vegetables.
  • He helps me sort dirty laundry and likes to help me add tablets/softener to the washing machine.
  • He sweeps and mops the kitchen floor
(ok, maybe some of those still are focussed on lazy parenting…!)

This post isn’t meant to be one of those “look what my kid can do” as in a smug mother who thinks their child is better than everyone else’s – its actually meant to be just in wonder, as a mother, of what my child can do…as in comparison to what my husband can do, say…

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