Like most young five-year-olds, there’s a lot Isabelle cannot do by herself. When one has a lot of plates spinning, it gets tiring to have to do so much for someone else. However, something happened this morning, as I was upstairs brushing my teeth, that made me remember kids learn how to become independent: bit-by-bit.
“Mommy!” I heard as a shut off my Sonicare.
I rinsed my mouth, dried my face, and walked down the hall to the top of the stairs.
“Yes… May I help you?” I asked.
Isabelle held up the garbage can that resides under her craft table. “Yeah. I need a new garbage bag for my trash can.”
“Do you know where they are?” I asked.
“Oh yeah!” she said running off. (If she knew the word Duh! I bet she would’ve said it.) “I do! I can do it myself.”
I smiled, but waited.
I heard her open the pantry. I heard the rustling of plastic bags. I heard her footsteps race back to her playroom. Then, I watched as she fumbled with the bag, opening it carefully, pushing the bottom of the bag into the trash can, and taking her time to wrap the bag’s handles over the top of the trash can.
“See!” she said lifting the can again. “I did it, Mommy!”
“I do see. That’s great! And you should be proud of yourself. You didn’t need Mommy to come downstairs to help you.”
“I am,” she beamed.
BONUS: She tied up her filled trash bag and left it by the garage door ON HER OWN.
As I sit at my desk — working — and think about my day, I’m focusing on the fact that it takes time for lots of little things lead to independence.