My children are plenty independent, but only when it is inconvenient. Owen insists on pouring his own milk, getting his own cup and bowl, and even cooking his own waffle. This sounds plenty convenient, except that when it comes to wiping up the spilled milk, picking up the shards of broken dishware, or turning off the smoke alarm, Owen is once again helpless.
"Owen, let's clean up the milk," I'll say, doing my best to stay calm. No yelling over spilled milk, and all that.
"But Momma," he'll whine, "I can't! I need HEA-LUP! HEA-LUP!" He speaks with the twang of an banjo-plucking Appalachian boy whenever he asks for help. Why? Search me. I personally would prefer an Aussie accent or perhaps a Jersey Wise Guy impersonation. Just to shake things up. But alas, I am stuck with Lil' Abner whenever it's time to get out the towels and mops.
I'll reassure him, saying, "Don't worry, Buddy, I'll help you clean it up." I will then hand him a towel, and give myself a towel. Owen will happily spread the milk all over the floor, while I actually clean up the mess.
Independence is a grand thing. I wish that Owen would show more of it when it comes to getting dressed. He can do it. I've seen it; Paul's seen it. It's not a mystery. Yet, Owen will play helpless when we tell him to get dressed for the day.
Once again, he'll do his Hillbilly cries from help: "HEA-LUP! My underwear is stuck. STUCK! STU--UCK!!!" Since I am, apparently, Owen's Bitch, I am supposed to gun it upstairs and un-stick his underwear. The other day, I went up to investigate, only to see the supposedly stuck underwear on his head. I can see how he would confuse his head with his ass.
We tell him, "Owen, you've got to pull up your own pants when you go to preschool this fall."
He says, "I know. I'll just do it there, and let you and Daddy do it here!"
Joel is equally independent, and it grows more terrifying each day. While mission-style furniture, with its sleek lines and sharp corners, is quite lovely, we might as well leave out shards of glass or barbed wire for Joel. He has become confident enough in his walking that he is fearless. Every day is the X-games here.
He scurries up the stairs whenever he gets a chance, laughing hysterically as we chase him down. He climbs on top of the coffee table, onto the open dishwasher, and, memorably, face-first into the laundry hamper.
He hasn't had his first birthday yet. Mark my words, he will be climbing out of his crib by Christmas.
This thought makes me want to cry. These are not tears of "oh-my-baby-is-growing-up-so-quickly." No. I'm terrified. You must remember that most of the time, they outnumber me.
Joel is not independent when it comes to me leaving his side. A dear friend watched him all last week, and lied to me, telling me that he didn't cry for long. I took Joel to the gym today, and he cried for at least half of my thirty minute run. You'll notice that I finished my run. That is because I am a heartless bitch.
Really, children are inconvenient most of the time. Thankfully, their hillbilly charm and feats of daring-do more than make up for it.