Saturday, September 13, 2008

A letter to Miss Independence

Dear Miss Independence,

Welcome to our home. Since you've arrived, it's becoming increasingly clear that you will not be going anywhere for the rest of my sweet daughter's life. In fact, you are probably just beginning to show yourself.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I welcome your arrival, but not the extra friends you've brought along. Your friend fussiness can move on out. I understand that when you aren't allowed to fully express yourself, you find it necessary to invite your friends to wreck havoc on our home. HAVOC is NOT welcome in the Benson household.

Let me give you a very specific example of what I mean.

Just today my sweet M wanted some water. For the past two years, whenever she wanted a drink, SHE ASKED FOR IT. But today...did she ask? Oh, no. Miss Independence, you whispered in her ear and gave her the specific directions necessary for fulfilling her desire for water. Everything was going fine. I was perfectly aware of what she was doing, but was sitting back, waiting to see how far she'd go. She got her cup. She set up the step ladder. She pushed the button for the water.

Enter havoc, stage left. Oh, he was stealthy this time. Just when M pushed the water button, she got distracted (he probably pinched her or something). Instead of water going directly into the cup, it went all over her clothes, in her face. on the step ladder, dripping on the floor. In her panic, M did not release the water button. So water continued to spew in all directions in our kitchen. Now I had to clean up a humongous mess and calm down a screeching, dripping, writhing toddler and it was barely 9:00 this morning. Thanks a lot.

Miss Independence, in that moment, I wanted to pack your bags and put you on the streets.

Our day continued with smaller, less significant issues similar in nature. They are usually preceded or followed by comments such as, "I do it myself." or "My can do it, Mommy!" or "Wet me try all by myself." I am thankful for the desire for independence. M is taking care of most of her potty-ing needs by herself. She feeds herself. She plays by herself. Today she even dressed herself, mostly. For those accomplishments, I am forever thankful to you, Miss Independence.

But when I don't allow you to fully expose yourself, Miss Independence, the tantrums are monumental.

Isn't there a better way to do this? Can't we find a way to allow you to slowly assert yourself without your friends, fussiness, havoc, and tantrum, involved? Truly, I do welcome you to our home. Let's just find a compromise that works for both of us.

I know we both have M's best interest at heart.

M's Mother, Natalie


Colleen said...

Oh how I love this letter! I could use a little break from Miss Independence myself. Well... at least from her friends.

Good luck to you on learning to live with the new independence!

Arizaphale said...

Hahahah. I can see her now with the water spraying all over her! Don't worry. It gets better :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great letter! You expressed so well sentiments I have had many times.

My AG was standing next to me when I pulled up your blog. She saw M's picture and said "I know her. She's been to our house. Where's her mom?"
L. Turner

Christina said...

Can I just add my name to your signature and steal this letter? Awesome.