My dear Munch is nurturing his independent streak. I love seeing him gain confidence and do things on his own. He now helps with so much and you can see the pride he takes when he does something without help.
The past few days, he's started saying, "I got it," as he pushes my hand away to do whatever it is, whether it's opening videos on my iPhone or brushing his teeth or climbing into his carseat and helping to buckle it. "I got it." I hear much more behind it than a simple, "Hands off, I'm doing this myself."
I hear the existential, "Bitch please, I'm owning this. Don't trouble yourself. I got it." It's amazing.
For instance, the stairs. He now wants very little help going down the staircase. Sometimes, he'll reach for my hand, and of course I grasp it, but he doesn't always accept if I initiate. "I got it." And I hover a little ahead of him, clenching my teeth with each step, to see if he really does "got it," prepped for launch if he doesn't.
Same with that freaking ladder on the playground, remember that one? Now, he'll go to climb it and beyond saying, "I got it," he says, "No Mommy." He won't tolerate me even hovering close. And, last week, as Daddy hovered, with his hands cupped out ready to grasp, Munch did fall. Straight down through a rung at the top, onto his feet. By the grace of God, he didn't hit his chin. It freaked him out. He ran to me then, for a bit of comfort.
Now, as he goes forward with stuff on his own, he needs to learn that sometimes, he does need to ask for help. (Which he does, in the sweetest way, saying "Help you." As in, I always say, "I'll help you." Munch I think believes "helpyou" is one word.)
But, to me, indulging the independence, pushing boundaries and then reining in when necessary, is crucial. And it's something I struggle with to this day. I don't have an independent streak, at least not one that isn't also painted with anxiety and worry.
Case in point is the diving board. Growing up, I could swim like a fish, but I couldn't dive to save my life. I was on the summer swim team in 6th grade and I frog-flopped straight down off the blocks at the start of every race. The diving unit in Phys Ed nearly did me in--I may have even gotten a horrifying B in the class, if you can believe it.
I just couldn't dive. Diving required tucking one's chin to one's chest and jumping off, flying through the air and trusting that I could hit the water without looking at it. It felt out of control. I've done proper dives maybe three or four times in my life and remembering the sensation even now causes my heart to pound a little harder. It's free fall. Just for a few seconds, but it's there. The free fall is terrifying.
But, behind the terror, I can also feel the freedom. The diving free fall, done properly and without the belly smack I'm used to, is liberating. It's exhilarating. It's joyful and wonderful. It releases you from the burden of looking. The water is there, it will catch you. You just have to believe, you got it.
I love when Munch, even at 2, gets that look in his eye. I can practically hear him saying, "Chill, Ma. I got this. It's going to be fine."
I want to do the same. I want to approach life with the go-get-em spirit. With the diving free fall that is more about the journey to the water than the worry about the mechanics of getting there. I got it, I want to say to it all. I got it.