Trixie has been a hot mess of toddler independence lately. She wants to do everything herself and she's far more determined about it than either of her brothers were when they went through their toddler independence streaks. Trixie's independence streak includes everything from eating, to walking, to riding her bike, to picking up, to putting on clothes by herself. The putting on of clothes is probably the biggest area of contention right now. If she's not allowed to put on a sock or a shoe or a pair of pants on completely by herself (which she can BARELY do, by the way) watch out! If I even touch an article of clothing while she's doing it herself, she rips the clothing off and starts all over again. "My turn!" she yells. It's sort of funny - and yet horrible in slow, painful, drawn out way. I would have been really disturbed by this behavior if she was my first kid, but being my third, I think I'm a little more, "okay – whatever."
Well, I'm not completely "whatever" about it. We are working on it. This week, I convinced her to let me lay the clothes on the floor for her before she tries to put them on. This makes it somewhat easier for her, since we can at least 1) orient openings in the right approximate direction for limbs and 2) make sure that nothing is half way inside out before we begin. Excuse me, I mean, before she begins.
One of the surprises in her independence streak is the discovery of Noah's influence. For example, today we went out for a bike ride. Trixie wanted to ride her balance bike, because, of course, everyone else was riding their bike. I wanted Trixie to sit in the bike trailer. She's pretty fast on the balance bike, but we were planning to go a longer distance. And, well, she's not keep-up-with-her-brothers-on-real-bikes fast. Trixie and I went back and forth: she, insisting on her bike, me, using every parenting strategy I could think of to convince her to get in the bike trailer.
Finally, Noah stepped forward and said,
"Trixie, you want to ride in the bike trailer. It's much more fun than the balance bike."
She listened to him and then climbed into the bike trailer without further ado.
It wasn't that Noah said anything I hadn't already said. It was more like she didn't trust me. She needed to hear it from someone else. Like her brother. I was miffed. She's only two, and somehow, I'm already not cool enough to listen to? I'm glad that she will listen to someone, but.... And then a similar thing happened to Fritz when he had all three children at the museum.
I'm still processing the idea that our parenting strategies need to include the calculation that the kids might listen to each other better than they listen to us.