Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Doing of the Self

"I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What parent hasn't heard this impassioned cry, the huddled masses yearning to break free, the voice crying out in the wilderness? This one phrase has the capability to wrench forth many emotions; pride, fear, and on some days, a weariness that seems to seep into the bones. Oh, we know, us modern parents, that we should not stifle our child's independence. We must encourage his autonomy. We must never do for him what he can do for himself, lest he end up living in our basement when he's thirty.

I believe these things. It's crucial. Just not at 7:23 in the morning. At 7:23 in the morning, I am dying inside while Gianna puts on her socks in an almost leisurely fashion as the time is just roaring by and I am attempting to strangle my own shouts of agony; "We're late, LATE, LATE!!!!!! Just....give me that sock!" Ah, but in the beginning, it was not so. The first time the little tyke did anything for herself, I naturally reacted by throwing a small parade, dancing around squealing, "Ooooohhhhhh you put your shirt on all by yourself!!!!!!!!!! Genius!!!!" The first outfit chosen solely of her own volition, there was much picture-taking (well....there would have been if I were the sort of mother who took lots of pictures. I'm working on it) and indulgent smiling at the mismatching colors.

I promised myself before my children were born that I was not going to make an issue out of things that were not illegal, immoral, or dangerous. Despite my promise, many a morning I've found myself cajoling, wheedling, and advocating certain shirts over others, this dress over that one, these shoes instead of those....I should have been a lawyer. Or maybe a marketing executive. But I was an English major, you know, and so I've got a a way with words. Unfortunately, my words fall on deaf ears. (Pause to note the irony of that statement. Ok. Now we can move on.)

Most mornings, I begrudgingly end up allowing Gianna to wear whatever offensive combination of patterns she has come up with, and I move on, but gone are my triumphant shouts of, "You did self!!" These have been replaced with a mumble, usually uttered while I'm dropping her off (late, always late) at school, trying to avoid looking the teacher in eye, I hand over my garishly adorned child and say, "I dunno....she dressed herself...."


  1. i let my kids dress themselves too and I get MANY strange looks. Which I understand, I DID venture to Kroger last week with Spiderman, Cinderella, a Cowgirl/pirate and a baby wearing LOTS of costume jewelry! Love your blog! (I used to work with Brad at RB & T btw!)

  2. She is such a little cutie. Independence is good I guess, but it does make for some ridiculous outfits. I completely agree with the sales pitch mentality moms must adapt when their children attempt to dress themselves in something particularly heinous...