|Jack shows off his fetching ensemble.|
On the one hand, this is kind of awesome. Jack's sartorial tastes are really emerging (I'm a big fan of the train sweater vest myself, although considering we didn't actually leave the house yesterday, it was perhaps a bit much), and it means one less thing for me to do. Since I can no longer reach my own feet, having an extra set of functioning hands around is pretty sweet when I'm trying to do things like fold laundry - Jack "helps" by retrieving socks from the floor. This is more helpful than you can imagine (unless you've been pregnant before, in which case, you feel me).
On the other hand, "independence" in a four-year-old isn't always desirable, especially if you're a control freak like me. For example, did he really brush his teeth, or did he just suck the toothpaste off the toothbrush and call it a day? After a recent trip to the dentist, in which I was informed my child should be flossing every night, I feel like I might need to supervise his dental hygiene just a bit longer. And it was a good thing we didn't go out yesterday, because Jack's hairdo was reminiscent of a Great Horned Owl. Preschoolers tend to do things halfway and then act like they've just climbed Kilimanjaro. For example, does is it really count as going to the bathroom by yourself if you can't wipe your own ass? I'm not so sure.
Still, I feel like all this independence is coming at a good time, because in a couple of months, I won't just be responsible for ONE unruly little boy. When the baby arrives, I'm hoping to put Jack's new-found autonomy to good use for things like bottle-fetching and diaper-wrangling. He's already decided that he's going to lug the baby around in the carrier and that my new diaper bag belongs to him. In fact, I'm starting to wonder just how far I can push this independence thing. Is it really such a stretch to have Jack pick up a gallon of milk on his trike? Ask him to whip up dinner every now and again? Have him bathe the baby while I kick back with a bottle of Chardonnay? I kid, I kid. I'd only drink a glass or two. Someone's got to drive if there's an emergency, and Jack's feet don't quite reach the pedals yet.
In all seriousness, I think I'm the one who needs to be reminded just how much my kid is capable of doing for himself. As parents, it's sometimes easier (and certainly more efficient) to do everything ourselves. But as messy as our children's independence might be at times, with it comes a glimmer of hope, the promise of something far greater than we may yet dare to dream of: the day when we no longer have to wipe someone else's ass.