My three year old daughter, like most kids her age, wants to do everything by herself:
‘Mommy, can I tie my hair by myself?’
‘Umm, okay, sure,’ knowing that I most certainly will have to redo it.
‘Mommy, can I mop the floor?,’ ‘I want to put the clothes in the washer,’ ‘I want to wash the apples,’ ‘I want to turn the TV on,’ ‘Can I do this?,’ ‘Can I do that?’
‘Go ahead, dear. It’s your call.’ No damage done 🙂
Recently, the not-so-doable questions started to pop:
‘Mommy, can I touch the oven?’ (Well, at least she asked!)
‘Mommy, can I paint my toenails rojo?’
‘Can I dry my hair?’
Hmmm, well, I could see that coming. ‘Umm, you can do all this once you’re a big kid,’ I said.
‘Okay, when I’m five?’
Five? Where did that come from?
And then I remembered. There’s an elementary school on the way to her day care. She has often seen kids playing in the school’s play area. She’s been wanting to go there lately and I remember telling her, ‘You can go there when you become a big kid,’ (She had looked at me inquisitively- am I not a big kid already?) ‘You know, when you’re five.’ Now it made sense.
Since then, she can’t wait to be five. She thinks she’ll be all grown up by then. Sometimes she wakes up in the morning and asks me, ‘Am I five yet?’, and gets upset when my answer is, ‘Not yet’. It’s almost funny how quickly she wants to be tall like mommy, wear mommy’s clothes and try on mommy’s shoes and jewelry. One day she even asked me if we could ‘swap’!
How ironical, I thought. She wants to become me and I wish I was a kid again. (Who wouldn’t? It’s awesome being a kid.)
Well, in a way I do become a kid while playing with her. I have to take a step down and see things from her perspective in trying to understand her points of view. I have to keep my so called knowledge-of-the-real-world and rationales aside and try to think like her to fully enjoy being with her. At the same time, sometimes she has to try and understand me- such as when I try to explain why mommy can’t let her do certain things yet. She then takes a step up, and the slight alterations in her behavior are gradually becoming apparent.
So, in a way, I become a little bit her and she becomes a little bit me. Perpetually looking forward to being each other; together- we thrive!