What Works For Me 4/365 Doing It for ThemselvesPosted: January 4, 2012
My push for the boys to have a bit more independence began in earnest in November. The thing that really spurred me on what was when we were in a shopping centre before Christmas and I gave the boys some money so they could go off and buy a present for myself and Anthony. Eric immediately told me that people under 18 were not allowed to go up to shop counters. We discussed how this was not the case and they set off happily while I sat in the food court with a coffee and my phone. Eric had his phone too. 20 minutes later they were back, beaming like a pair of Cheshire Cats and bearing a very large Target bag. They had explained their whole mission to a wonderful cashier at Target who really took good care of them, putting my present in a black bag so that I wouldn’t see it and reassuring the boys that they were doing a great job. Top marks to Target!
Since then some other baby steps have been:
handling the electronic check-out of library books without me standing with them
going across a road to buy themselves sausage rolls at the bakery
walking 5 mins home from our local supermarket (instead of doing small grocery shop with me)
ringing their friend’s houses to arrange play dates and the like
Paying cash for some items while shopping and returning with change
On the home front they are really improving with:
dealing with Vera “souvenirs”
loading and unloading dishwasher
cutting up things needed for dinner (especially mushrooms in the case of Daniel)
starting a load of washing
hanging out washing (Eric)
tying a knot in the gar bag before taking it downstairs (Eric)
bagging up empty toilet rolls and putting now rolls on holder (Daniel)
I have no doubt people reading this will look at some items and think to themselves, “They couldn’t do that yet?” But we are all different. As I often used to say to parents back in my days as Year 2 teacher, “They all learned to walk and talk at different times so it stands to reason that they will learn other things at a different times too.”
I love the way their confidence blossoms as a result of taking on challenges and succeeding and the way in which they have had to solve problems and have managed to do so often even if it means discussing options with another grown-up. Their most recent crisis was a yesterday when the bakery had run out of sausage rolls and they had to choose something else.
And please know that they are safe. We have endlessly discussed a range of situations that may crop up and the things they would do. If we are in a familiar place I negotiate a time with them to meet me and Eric has his phone. If it is an unfamiliar location I might allow them to go to a counter or similar but keep them in my line of sight.