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What They See

November 5, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
If there were a top ten list of most frequently repeated pieces of child-rearing advice or information, "they do what they see" would rank at least number three or higher. I hear it all the time. I probably even skew the statistics by saying it myself sometimes. It does make me wonder though. It's true, I've put the theory into practice. When Eve seemed determined to come down steps on her own but couldn't quite work it out properly, I took to going down backward. Gingerly I placed one foot down behind me, then another, all the while holding on to my original starting space. I did it over and over again. I think the real merit was in the idea that she felt like she wasn't the only one going down steps on all fours. I think she had the physics down - it was more a matter of confidence and fitting in.

I did the same thing when Eve was even smaller. She would get terribly upset when she dropped things out of her tiny pudgy fingers. It disturbed her not to be able to hold on, and I could tell she worried about how the dropped things felt when they landed. To help her along, I took to dropping things from time to time. That let her see other people drop things, then pick them up, and in most cases everything was fine and could go forward. It took a little time but soon enough dropping things became a small matter instead of a meltdown inducer.

Today's lesson is the inverse. Today I was schooled in what I wasn't planning to teach Eve by example. Today I asked Eve if she would be ready to eat lunch. Her reply? "Not yet. I'm busy putting shoes on my duck."

It's a fine line with children. We want them to know we are always there for them and yet we don't want them to think we are servants at their beck and call. Still, she just ducked me for a duck. Sheesh. Time to work on time management! Again!


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