Saturday, 3 March 2012

Charlie's steps to independence

This cheap step stool from IKEA cost about 13 euro. We have never had so much fun from a piece of furniture, I mean non-Adult fun. From the adventure that was the expedition to IKEA, the sitting in the trolley writing important things on a piece of paper, the spotting of the stool, finding it in the cavernous storage area, putting it together at home, then being let loose to decorate it, Charlie was in his element. He had a go with markers one evening, Noah joined in too. Someday soon he's going to paint it, then I love the idea of varnishing over it, preserving his designs for a while, then in years to come maybe painting over it again if he wants to.
This is HIS stool: he is the Boss of it. At 3 and 3/4 this idea has become very important to Charlie recently. He was getting frustrated with certain limits we were setting, having to come along with us on "boring" outings, and annoyed with some of our rules. We started giving him a little control over certain things, as in what he wears, which park we visit, what flavour cake we bake etc. This has given him a great sense of pride and achievement. The clothes thing has really taken off; he's going into his room and getting fully dressed each morning with no help, turning clothes the right way out too if necessary. He started this one day all off his own bat. He puts his own socks and shoes on when we're leaving the house, which really helps me out if I'm alone with the boys. We've deliberately never bought him lace-up shoes as he couldn't handle them for a while yet, and this lazyass is not going to spend her time unknotting and tying laces, not with another baby in tow that's for sure.
These little steps to independence are so small, they're barely worth mentioning, but they are like bricks, each little one building a wall of self-confidence for Charlie to take him through life. We praise him for each accomplishment, for the effort put in, even if the end result is not "perfect" (one day he went to a play area wearing a white collared shirt from my "costume department", tracksuit bottoms and ugg boots, with a fedora on top. He gave out we couldn't find his tie)

Other little tasks he can accomplish are:

Turning on the living-room lamp when it gets dark, done without us ever suggesting it.
Get a drink of water from the kitchen tap (with step stool)
Take fruit from the fruit bowl when he's hungry
Switch on and off the tv and Dvd player at the wall
Insert / remove / change a Dvd and press play
Butter toast
Cut a slice of cake
Brush his own teeth
Wash his own hands and do nails with nailbrush
File his nails
Get nappies / wipes for me if I need them for Noah
Dress himself
Find clothes for Noah if needed, going upstairs
Switching on the record player / changing a record
Bringing dirty nappies to the bin
Finding arts and crafts materials
Hand-sewing (once I've threaded the needle)
Gets into the car alone (I do his seat belt of course)
Gets out of the car alone, locks and closes the door
Writes certain letters and numbers
Counts to five-teen
Has a wallet and brings it shopping with his money
Took out Buckaroo and played it alone today, while we were cooking in the kitchen

There are probably loads more, but the above sprang to mind. He'll be four in June, and a lot of the above may be taken for granted that a kid can do at his age, but to me, from the tearful 3 year old whose world was turned upside down last summer when his brother was born, to be achieving all this since then is a big deal. I'm not going to go on a "proud mama" thing anymore, but I really feel he's moved on a huge amount in the last 8 months.

Feck it, I AM a proud mama, and I'm not going to apologise for it! He's fantastic. He's funny, he makes up silly songs, he can rhyme and rap, he taught himself breakdancing, he's adventurous, he's got a great imagination, he asks intelligent questions, he's got a brilliant memory, when he grows up he wants to be a chef, an astronaut and a rockstar. I love my boy so much and I am so proud of him. He is gentle and kind, stands back to let me in the door first, adores his baby brother, makes him laugh, befriends children wherever we go, exclaims every time we snuggle "This is lovely", chats to the old neighbours about the weather "It's a bit windy today, but that's grand", loves the cartoon Madeline, has the voice of an angel, feels sorry for the losing team in a football match, misses his balloon when it deflates, misses Valentine's day, is delighted when his third-hand bike gets a coat of paint, asks why don't I say prayers when I'm in a church (can't believe he ever noticed, we've only been to about 3 christenings/funerals in the last year), shouts thank you to his Christmas Fairy...

Ok, enough! But now it's YOUR turn! Please tell us what your child has learned to do that you are delighted by, be it gumming a piece of tomato / standing / reading / remembering to say thank you...
Let's celebrate our brilliant kids! Please leave a comment below!

Niamh x


  1. What a lovely post Niamh! I have started writing a little journal (in the form of letters to my LO) and note his little achievements in there. It is so easy to forget the little things when the move on to the next thing!

    At 2 years old, he is speaking a lot and learning new words and concepts every day, so really must write them down!! Particularly the ones he says funny.

  2. That's a lovely idea, a journal that he can read when he's older. I'm so sorry we didn't write all the funny mis-pronunciations Charlie had, you think you'll remember them forever, but new stuff comes and the memories fade a little. Two year olds have a brilliant view of the world, make sure you record as much as possible! x

  3. Love this post!

    Yesterday my husband came upstairs to tell me that Alec (14 months) had patted his own chest and then my husband's knee to show that he wanted to come up and sit on the sofa.

    Later he said 'bub-bub' and went to the bottom of the stairs because he wanted some milk and knew I was up in the bedroom.

    And I spotted him holding up his arms to Nana when he wanted her to pick him up.

  4. Ah Clare, how brill is Alec for making his needs known like this! You're going to avoid so many frustration issues as he gets older if he can sign and be understood by you all. It does wonders for their confidence too. Good on you all!


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