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  • Gareth Ellis

Independence Days, Sometimes

I love my kids. They’re funny, they’re sweet and although I may be biased, they’re bloody gorgeous as well. But bugger me they can be a bit full on at times.

Currently, Rupert wants to do everything for himself – everything but use a potty that is, but that’s another matter. Now, I know what you’re thinking, a bit of independence is great, children should learn to do things for themselves, and yes I’m all for that.

Now, imagine independence while picturing a three-year-old pouring his own milk and ready brek into a bowl, and now you can see why I’m a tad sceptical. Would there be a mess? Yes, most certainly. Would the ratio of milk to porridge be acceptable? Would it bollocks.

Every morning, Jess or I will make Rupert and Emilia their breakfasts, a task I recently described to her as like being the only waiter in a restaurant, looking after 100 tables, each with a different request.

‘Daddy, can I have a juice?’ Fair request.

‘Daddy, I pour the juice myself?’ Not so much.

‘No, the other juice’ as he’s poured it all over the table.

‘Daddy, I want to do it,’ has become a common phrase in our house right now and usually we’ll oblige and let him try (with our supervision) but not without us also making an out of earshot joke about him wanting to be involved in every step. Usually along the lines of ‘Daddy, can I grow the oranges for the juice/grow the grain for the bread?’

The fact is, all parents are encouraging their children to do these simple tasks as they grow older and more in control of their actions. We want Rupert and eventually Emilia to be able to pour their own milk, get themselves dressed and use the toilet by themselves, it’s just a bit of trial and error. Case in point, we recently left Rupert with the honey so he could add an extra smidge to his breakfast – the result? The lid completely off and about two remaining oats swimming in a bowl of honey. Maybe he’s not ready for that one just yet.

But he’ll get there, just like we all do and before long he won’t depend on us to get his breakfast, make him a drink or much else for that matter, and that will be a sad day.

I always find it an odd concept that we spend a lot of our time bemoaning the fact that we have to do all of this stuff, or wanting them to get that level of independence, only to then be upset that they don’t need us anymore.

Jess and I are still a little way off of that though. We’ve got two lots of potty training, switching them both to ‘big beds’ and years of them saying ‘Daddy, can you get me a driiiiink?’ Just as long as they don’t want to manufacture their own cups.

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