The 'Do It Myself' Phase
In the past one and a half years, I have seen quite a few phases with Dhruv. First it was the separation anxiety phase. Then came the short-lived over-possessiveness phase where he wanted his mummy to just speak to him and no one else, especially outside home. Next in line came the ‘Do it myself’ phase. I, ironically, coined it as DIM on the lines of DIY. The irony was though DIM expands into ‘Do it myself’ but in the literal sense it was hardly any close to dim atmosphere in the house with frequent shrieks of ‘Dhruv will do it myself…myself..myself’ accompanied with louder screams to vent out the frustration of not being able to carry out the task at hand.
It all started with one fine day, a few months back, when we returned home after running a shopping errand and as usual I sat down to change his clothes. But then he wanted to take off his jeans by himself. He got stuck and could not take it off since it was slightly fitted at the ankle. A lot of pulling up and down yielded into frustration and tears. Realising that my taking over might worsen the situation, I asked him if he needed my help. Help was not required and the dissent was made known to me by a loud scream. I waited. Watching the situation going out of hand I called for him for a big bear hug (we call it jaadu ki jhappi in hindi parlance). Thankfully, in our house nobody turns down the request for jaadu ki jhappi irrespective of the moods they are in and we are able to save a lot of meltdowns this way. A big bear hug for a few minutes calmed him down and I was able to show him the trick of getting the jeans off his ankles. It took a while for him to get hold of that trick.
That day, it was a good sign. It was a sign of his first effort towards achieving independence.
After this incident, a lot more followed.
While climbing up the stairs to our first floor apartment, he no longer wanted to hold my hand and wished to take his flight up the steps all by himself. So I said – Do it, I am here.
While waiting in line at the check out points in the supermarkets, he would want to place all items from the shopping basket on the counter, does not matter if something would be a bit heavy for him to lift, because the mantra was to Do it myself. And on accomplishment, he would say to himself – Well done Dhruv. Now this is called Self-motivation.
At supper time, he would like to eat all by himself balancing food in the spoon provided the food laid out on the table appears interesting and edible to him. Still if there is something which he thinks will mess up his hands by making them sticky or greasy then mummy is asked to chip in.
The handwash time is also met with Do it myself . This area is one I actively intervene because the act always becomes playtime with the soap seldom getting washed off.
Do it myself is not all about Dhruv taking initiatives on his own. Often it’s also about my pushing him around with Yes, You can do it….Give it a try…Go for it…I am here to catch you if you fall….Its ok to fall sometimes…Its ok to fail sometimes.
As a parent of a single child, I have always tend to rush to do everything for Dhruv even before his asking for the sake of love. However, to take a step back and to watch him spread his wings to fly on his own and confidently is indeed very rewarding. I want to send him a message that I value all his activities by my enthusiasm in his explorations and curiosity.