Thursday, September 13, 2007

I do it!

"I do it!"

This is the refrain we have been hearing a lot lately.

Now, I have always seen Scooter as stubborn and independent, traits that are appropriate for a preschooler. But he has been stubborn and independent in ways that don't match what's usually expected from preschoolers. Until recently, when given two choices, he would insist on a third. He has always played with whatever interests him, not caring what the other kids are doing. But this didn't extend to doing things--he was always happy to demand that we do things for him.

One of the most apparent changes over the past couple months, however, is how much more willing he is to try things on his own. We're getting a crash course on what it's like to have a preschooler who's into everything.

Mostly, I'm amused. When heading outside, he needs to be first and to open the door. He can climb into the car or truck--and get out by himself too. "No hands," he said many times when I would reach to guide him out of his grandfather's SUV. He will cut up his own food with the utensils he insists he must have. He can carry a basket at the grocery store with the strawberries he picked out himself. All of these things add a little time to every activity, but I can mostly handle that. It's a reminder that he's in a good cycle right now. He has gained more control over his body and that gives him confidence. With increased confidence, he's willing to try to do more and thus gains practice in movement. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the other hand, Scooter is still Scooter. And this means that his sudden desire to do everything is coupled with his unreal memory and powers of observation. We have learned that cries of "I do it" are preferable to the times that he just does it. Because when he gets an idea into his head, he thinks it through and creates a plan--then he carries through without hesitation or warning.

We discovered that the in-laws' front lock automatically unlocks when the handle is depressed from the inside. We found this out when Scooter decided to answer the door for the exterminator; he got there almost before I'd registered the doorbell.

Grandpa kept wondering where the cup that he kept with his exercycle kept going. Turns out that Scooter now knows how to get his own water from the fridge dispenser. He realized that Grandpa's orange cup was in easy range and that it fit under the dispenser. I'm not sure how long he'd been doing this when we figured out that the cup's disappearance, a little spillage near the fridge, and the fact that Scooter always had some water were all connected.

Today, Scooter picked up a step-stool and was moving it around the kitchen anytime he wanted something. As I made his grilled cheese sandwich, he clambered up to get a plate (very quickly, before I could reach him, even though I was right there). At another point, he used the extra height to get to a glass on the counter so he could get his own water (I'm so happy that skill has transferred).

To say he's keeping us on our toes would be an understatement. And occasionally I wish he would let up--just a minute or two, really. But then the moment passes and I'm smiling again because he can do it!


Lisa b said...

I totally relate to this. It seems to me like one of the many things you get told before you have kids that you don't really 'get' until it becomes a challenge.
Overall it is so exciting to see them figure it out but in the moment they open the front door, not so much.

bubandpie said...

Nodding vigorously. Bub is the same way - independent and yet not. He hasn't really entered the "I do it" stage, but Pie is totally there. Her new trick is that if she receives unwanted help with something, she'll UNDO it so that she can REDO it herself.

Mouse said...

Scooter is undoing things too. When I tried to hold the door for him a couple days ago, he insisted on shutting it first, making sure my hand was nowhere nearby, and then doing it himself.

Like I said, I mostly smile, but there are times I realize that I was so unprepared for this level of patience.

Aliki2006 said...

How wonderful! That persistence is a great trait, though. Tessa is very independent-minded, something we weren't used to (Liam was so reluctant to assert himself) and it's so neat (and sometimes frustrating) to see that independent streak!

kittenpie said...

I am finding that knowledge unnerving, too. Pumpkinpie pulls a chair over to get things she sees up high, and attempts doorknobs, which freaks me out. Suddenly, my increasing disuse of gates and childproofing features looks not like growing up so much as DANGER! DANGER! I think we'll start locking the one at the top of the stairs at night again once she's in a bed!